Planning to Get Married in Vegas?

AS I mentioned last week, a friend of The Wedding Lens is planning to get married AND in Las Vegas! Not because they’re getting married quickly, but because the couple has family the Vegas and wants to be close to the family. So the question is — if you’re not trying to get in to a quick Elvis wedding, what do you need to do to get married in Las Vegas?

Wedding Ceremony (not necessarily in Vegas!) photo from The Wedding Lens!

First, there are lots of convention centers and hotels, of course. But there are tons of churches and restaurants too — that are OFF the strip! Check out some of the romantic wedding locations that are just off the strip and provide beautiful scenery. There are also a whole slew of “Off the Beaten Path” suggestions to look at that might give some good ideas.

Second, know the legal requirements: Once you get your venue, get a marriage license! Appear together at the Marriage License Bureau (201 Clark Avenue, (702) 671-0600). You can download a marriage license application from the web and learn more about the legal requirements at http://www.accessclarkcounty.com/depts/clerk/pages/marriage_information.aspx.

Third, keep in mind a few things:
  • If you get married in the summer, remember that it’s hot. Don’t just remember this because your guests will want to be indoors and air-conditioned, remember this because your cake will melt. Seriously.
  • Book early. Many people want to hitched in Vegas, so places fill up quick — especially if you want to get married on the strip. Yes, even by Elvis.
  • Make sure caterers are allowed at your venue OR that you like the food that the venue serves. That’s always true, but sometimes it’s harder to find venues that allow outside catering. Just make sure.

For everything else, it’s about the same: find the florist, the other vendors, you know… plan your wedding and be sure you keep in mind our tips for the day of your wedding & for staying calm!

Got more questions? Just ask!  Email me at natasha@theweddinglens.com.

~ Natasha

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Summer of Wedding Blog Posts

In honor of the 4th of July weekend (and just passing our first anniversary as a blog!), here’s the top Blogs Posts on TheWeddingsLens Blog — as rated by YOU! Well, okay, I’ll create a list of our favorites too. Since you asked.

  1. How to Choose the Right Wedding Gown  (which is actually right up there with Colorful Wedding Dresses!)
  2. 75 Cheap Wedding Tips
  3. How to Create a Seating Chart
  4. How to Write Wedding Vows
  5. Which Flowers are in Season for a Wedding
  6. How to Ask for Gift Cards or Money
  7. Photobooth at the Wedding Reception
  8. Creative Guestbook Ideas
  9. Invitations and Bringing a Date to the Wedding
  10. How to Pick Vendors for Your Wedding

The most read engagement story? Nicole & Kate’s Engagement Story (who just had a beautiful wedding and are using The Wedding Lens to share their photos with their guests!)

Our favorite blog post – aside from those above? Well, it’s tied, I think. Three ways. Or Four. I’d do five, but we’ll be here all day as I list through all the rest of ’em trying to decide. 🙂

  1. How to Plan Your Own Wedding (without a wedding planner)
  2. 50 Green Wedding Tips
  3. How to Meet Your Boyfriend at a Wedding (my personal fav!)
  4. Top 10 Reasons to Use The Wedding Lens (duh!)

Three things I notice — the “how to” blog posts seem to do a lot better than the others (generally) and we need you to submit more engagement stories! Email ’em to natasha@theweddinglens.com.

What’s your favorite The Wedding Lens Blog Post ?

~ Natasha

Top Five Things Most People Forget On Their Wedding Day

You think you’ve remembered everything… you’ve even consulted my previous list of things to do when planning your own wedding. But you’re still going to forget some things. Here are the top 5 things you might forget (until now!)

photo from The Wedding Lens

photo from The Wedding Lens

  1. Things to remember: Safety pins, hair pins, tissues, matches (for a candle lighting, if you have one), bandaids for your feet (and/or a change of shoes)
  2.  Before the wedding, get your money together. You’ll need to pay the caterer, florist, DJ — and maybe others. Make sure you get those payments together (along with any tips) and give it to someone who will be in charge of paying everyone that day.
  3. During the wedding, get someone you trust to take care of your personals — ID, camera, makeup, etc.
  4. During the wedding, be sure to EAT.  I know you won’t, even with this warning, so ask the caterer to pack a box for after the wedding so that you & your new husband/wife can eat!
  5. After the wedding, you’ll need help! Get someone to take the flowers home or donate them to a local hospital. Ask a friend to take your dress to the cleaners. Have a groomsman return your tux/suit or take it to the cleaners. Tell the caterer what to do with leftover food (hint: donate!)

Good luck!

~ Natasha

Don’t forget you’ll want to see your guests photos too!

Dividing the Tasks: Who Does What for the Wedding Planning

During the wedding planning, my friend’s coworker said to her, “your fiance is helping with the planning?!” He was aghast. He figured that the woman took care of everything. Ohhhh my.

Team Work in Action!

Team Work in Action!

What stuns me even more is that most of the articles and blogs I can find seem to say the same thing — or a variation of that, along the lines of “How to FORCE the groom to help!”  or “Demand your groom helps!” How charming….

I’m going to run on the assumption that people were taught to share and help and be kind to one another.  With that in mind, I encourage dividing tasks.  Everyone divides tasks differently, of course, but it is important for both people to get involved. Partly because both should have a say AND partly because putting the whole burden on one person could be overwhelming.  I think it’s healthier for the couple to work together on the wedding.  It lets you work together and support each other during the whole planning process.

My friend gave me a good outline of how they divided tasks and what they really enjoyed doing together. But keep in mind that you really should divide the list based on things either of you might care about.  My friend’s fiance is a graphic designer (or something like that) and cares about artsy/creative things.  He wanted to do more with that side of the planning; others might prefer to work on music or on food. 

Here is my friend’s sample task list divide:

For him

As I mentioned, he’s creative! So he took care of invitations, the wedding website, and the slideshow (that they showed during the wedding).

For her

Flowers, dresses, and anything that required handwriting.

Keeping track of RSVPs — because they were sent to her. 

Both

Getting names & addresses for the guest list.

Picking out a song list (which, of course, can be done together — but might be easier if each person goes through their song list and picks out the ones they definitely want)

Together

The big things should be done together and it can be fun! So…  Vendors and locations, cake tasting (!), picking items for registry, seating chart, and photo album.

Perhaps take a dance class for your first dance!

What did you do? How did you divide your tasks?

~ Natasha

Wedding Cake Toppers

So let’s say you get a cake (not cupcakes) and you want a clever cake topper. There are a ton of different ideas out there, ranging from do-it-yourself to avatars. And everything in between! Here are a few ideas and suggestions:

There are do-it-yourself guides everywhere, but the one on Design Sponge gives a simple way to create a wedding topper out of styrofoam that fits your style.

Magicmud.com offers a variety of custom-made cake toppers  such as baseball hats of your favorite teams, the couple on a motorcycle, and a cake topper for wine lovers. They have lots of different scenes that might spark some ideas for you.

Paul Pape Designs, which a friend of mine used for her cake toppers, also makes custom cake toppers that look like you! They call it a Mii Cake Topper & it really looks like an avatar for your cake.  They offer three different levels of “custom” depending on what you can afford. This is a photo of my friend’s cake topper from there:  

photo taken by John & his crew at livingphotography.com

photo taken by John & his crew at livingphotography.com

Of course, I’m sure that there are other inexpensive cake toppers that are available easily and nearby. Ask around!

~ Natasha

How to Create a Seating Chart

One of the more daunting tasks about planning a wedding is where to seat people at the reception.  While there are numerous ideas and suggestions of how to do it, some people opt to only seat the wedding party and close family and let everyone else select their own seats.

If you do a seating chart, make sure people who know each other are sitting together. As much as you want people to mingle at the wedding, people don’t want to go outside their comfort zone. You want your guests to enjoy themselves as much as possible! 

Sometimes that’s hard to do – you have single friends or several people who only know the bride and/or groom, but no one else. Do your best. While a singles table can be awkward (and it’s obvious what the bride and groom are trying to do!), sometimes that might be the only option in the end.

Keep in mind that seating is not forever. People can get up, move around, and mingle. If you can’t get all your friends at one table, split ’em up! It’s not like they can’t hang out before and after.

The bride and groom also need to sit somewhere!  A sweetheart table (for just the bride and groom) is a great idea because the wedding party can sit with their dates and friends. Also, people can easily approach the bride and groom. Alternatively, the bride and groom could sit at a table with their immediate family, again allowing the wedding party to sit with dates and friends. Guests can thank the families all at one time.  Another option is to have the bride and groom sit with the wedding party but not with family. It allows the wedding party to bond, but might make the family feel left out or excluded.

If you’re overwhelmed with seating, the WeddingBee tells us about SimpleSeating.comSimpleSeating.com creates your seating chart for you! You upload the names of the guests and they create the seating chart.  It’s free for certain sized groups and there are charges for larger parties.

~Natasha

The Bride and the Budget (Part I)

There’s no getting around it, these days the recession is on everyone’s mind. The increasing costs of gas, living, food and dramatic effects of the housing market have made cause for a new breed of bride, the money minded. Being mindful with what you spend on your wedding could mean the difference between putting a down payment on a house as opposed to scrimping rent together in your first years of marital bliss. Luckily, there are many ways to save and create a beautiful wedding without going into massive debt.

If you have just started your wedding plans, beware that gas prices aren’t the only things to have gone up. Wedding vendors are adjusting their prices to mirror the economic turmoil of the time, so be prepared right from the start.

Try these savvy saving tips:

  • Look at your financial status. No one wants to know their FICO score, credit card balances and bank accounts, but taking a look at what you have to work with is the first step. Don’t pretend that you have more money than you actually do there is always something to work with. There are lots of things you can do before you say “I do” to ensure a beautiful wedding free of money worries.
  • Stay away from the extras. Think of your wedding as a big wonderful extra where foregoing all the little extras such as mani/pedis, $4 lattes, and frivolous shopping is worth the effort.
  • Look at your wedding the right way. Be flexible with your wants to achieve a beautiful wedding as a whole. Not every part has to be totally extravagant. As much as you’ve always dreamed of having dozens of roses as the center pieces of all of your tables, be realistic and try to come up with an alternative that is equally as lovely and costs less.
  • Wedding Insurance. Take the time to cover your bases financially and invest in your wedding. Be cautious and read absolutely everything before signing.

There are lots of ways to save on your big day, and with proper planning, you will walk the aisle not just to wedded bliss, but financial security.

*Michelle Ruiz