After a year of putting wedding plans on hold, brides everywhere are finally ready to dust off their dresses and take that walk down the aisle. And while nuptial celebrations these days might look a little different, there are still time-honored traditions that you can uphold without violating CDC guidelines, like stealing the spotlight from your sister, the bride. Considering that she stole your senior year prom date (and your parents’ affection from the moment she was born) she definitely has it coming. Since the most important day in a woman’s life is the day her younger sister gets married before her, we created a step-by-step guide to help you make your little sister’s wedding all about you.
Step 1: The Headpiece
Now, the most obvious way to upstage your sister on her wedding day would be to wear white, but since you’re her maid of honor (if she knows what’s good for her), and therefore already have an assigned dress, you’ll have to take a subtler, less cliche approach. Insist on wearing a headpiece! Whether you end up with a flower crown, a tiara, or even a veil—it doesn’t matter, as long as you threw a tantrum at a David’s Bridal along the way.
Step 2: The Dress
According to Heteronormative Brides Weekly, most brides have been dreaming about their wedding dresses since they were little girls. But it’s not about what makes the bride feel beautiful on the most important day of her life, it’s about what you want, so be sure to let your opinions be heard! If there was ever a time to throw shade, it’s now, so be sure to make a snide remark about whatever dress she chooses. Remember, you want that comment to linger in the back of her mind all night long! Here are some examples of what to say when your sis says yes to the dress:
“No, I like it too! I mean, you wouldn’t want to upstage the groom.”
“If you love it, we will learn to love it.”
“I just think your skin is too pasty to pull off lace, but what do I know?”
“If YOU think you look good, then that’s all that matters!”
“It’s so brave of you to go strapless!”
Step 3: The Date
Bring your sister’s ex as your plus-one and then gaslight your family into thinking that that’s not inappropriate. “Why would it be weird? Brian and I have always been close. He’s practically family!”
Step 4: The Borrowing
Traditionally, no bride’s outfit is complete without something borrowed, and since your sister has been borrowing your stuff since the 90s, this is the perfect opportunity for you to re-insert yourself into the spotlight. The plan? Lend your sister your diamond tennis bracelet, or something equally flashy and expensive, and then bring it up incessantly. After all, your sister’s wrist looks beautiful today because of your generosity, and you deserve credit for that. When Aunt Judy says your sister looks beautiful? Mention the bracelet. When they cut the cake? Mention the bracelet. When you give your speech? Mention the bracelet! Hell, you can even stir up some sisterly drama while you’re at it with a comment like, “You better not wreck my bracelet, like you did my car in high school.” Passive-aggressive is the new black!
Step 5: The Speech
While we’re on the topic, the wedding speech is the one moment where everyone at the wedding will FINALLY be paying attention to you, so you’ll need to milk it for all it’s worth. This is your Super Bowl. My advice? Cry an inappropriate amount. Like, way too much…
Once you’ve succeeded in making all of the guests and groomsmen uncomfortable, proceed to tell an embarrassing story about your sister from her slutty college days and incorporate as many of her ex-boyfriends as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter what story you tell as long as it makes your sister look like a drunken, hot mess. “Good thing that dress is off-white, right sis?” If her in-laws aren’t googling “annulment” by the end of your speech, you did it wrong. Also, if you had Covid over the past year, definitely mention it. This is your special day, after all, you deserve all the attention you can get.
Step 6: The Dinner
You’ve most likely been drinking on an empty stomach all day long, so by the time dinner rolls around you should have just enough drunken confidence to feign an allergy to an obscure ingredient on the menu! Pretend to have a scratchy throat as you walk around telling guests that your sister doesn’t care about your coriander allergy because she’s a self-absorbed bitch! Leave her guests wondering, “is the maid of honor slurring her words because she’s drunk or because she’s going into anaphylactic shock?”
Step 7: The Dance
Choreograph a dance and dedicate it to your sister. Blow her guests away with an overly sexualized interpretive hip-hop performance about sisterhood and ultimately, marriage. Guests and in-laws will be too busy talking about what a freak you are that nobody will be paying attention to your sister! Score! Totally worth it!
Step 8: The Bouquet
After a long day of champagne and sabotage, you might think it’s finally time to just relax and enjoy the reception that totally should have been yours. That’s where you’d be wrong. The biggest part of your night is still ahead of you: the tossing of the bouquet. For centuries, the tossing and subsequent catching of the bouquet has been considered good luck, and superstition tells us that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to wed. Considering that this should have been your wedding to begin with, you need to catch the bouquet AT ALL COSTS. I don’t care how many grandmas, flower girls, or bridesmaids you have to hip check to make it happen. This is not the time to show mercy, this is the time to take out your aggression about your sister getting married before you on all the single women in the room. Take. No. Prisoners.
Step 9: The Hail Mary
If you tried steps 1-8 but were still unable to upstage the bride, then there’s one more trick you can pull out of your taffeta sleeve, but it’s not for those with a weak stomach. Seduce the groom. Just kidding! Unless he’s hot… then use your own discretion, girl. If that doesn’t work, make sure you get proposed to. Doesn’t matter by whom.
Well, there ya have it, ladies! My tips and tricks that are guaranteed to make you the star of your sister’s wedding. Join us next week to learn How To Steal the Spotlight at Your Niece’s Bat Mitzvah!
Image: Leah Flores / Stocksy.com
Planning sucks, and bachelorette parties are a ton of work. So we’re taking all the guesswork out of planning a bachelorette party by breaking down top bachelorette destinations. Our guides will tell you where to stay, eat, party, how to get around, and give you a sample itinerary that you can follow. You’re welcome.
Scottsdale, Arizona is quickly becoming one of the more popular bachelorette destinations on the scene and with good reason. I mean, how many times can you celebrate in Vegas or Miami? Talk about redundant and a waste of money. This desert town has tons of restaurants, bars, and pool parties to fill an entire weekend and then some, which is why we suggest heading here on a holiday weekend like Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day.
At the center of the party, you’ll find Old Town, the downtown hub that features a strip of bars and restaurants that are walkable from one another. And if raging 24/7 is not your scene, Scottsdale offers some of the most beautiful and relaxing spas in the country. But chances are, relaxing is the last thing on your group’s mind.
How To Get There
With direct flights from the Northeast, arriving at the desert is pretty easy and if you’re flying from the west coast, it’s even easier. A flight out there will cost anywhere between $400-500 depending on the time of day you choose to fly, which, sadly is “reasonable” when it comes to bachelorette flights. You’ll fly right into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is only a quick 20-minute drive to the heart of Scottsdale. Since you’ll be three hours behind (east coast time), you’ll really be able to make the most out of your first day, especially if you leave first thing in the morning.
Where To Stay
The size of your party will help to dictate whether you choose an Airbnb or a hotel. For groups of 8 or more, we highly suggest renting a house. You can get a lot for your money and the
houses mansions are enormous. To put it in perspective, the house I rented for mine in Scottsdale was next door to Michael Phelps’ house, cost each girl $390 for a total of three nights, and we had leftover beds. These houses, located outside the downtown area, are located in Paradise Valley, a quick 10-15 minute Old Town.
If you’re feeling a hotel then we suggest staying at the W Scottsdale. The W is smack in the middle of all of the action so won’t need transportation to get to the bars or clubs since everything is within walking distance. Home to Sushi Roku, Shade Lounge, Living Room Lounge & Bar, and WET Pool Deck, you honestly could spend the entire weekend without actually leaving the hotel.
How To Get Around
How you’re getting around is totally dependent upon where you are staying. If you’re staying outside of downtown Old Town, you’ll be using Uber to get to and from your house when you’re going out or going to dinner. If you’re staying at say, The W, mostly everything will be within walking distance. Scottsdale is known for having golf cart-like taxis that will take you around the downtown area for just $5/person. The beauty of the city is that regardless of where you go out to at night you can walk to any other bar or club because everything is in one central location making it the ideal place for groups. Because of this, barhopping is so easy, which will allow you to experience more places than you would in most other cities.
Where To Eat
Okay now that the logistics are settled, let’s focus on the important shit: where to eat and drink. Scottsdale has a ton of options, so it’ll depend on the vibe of your group of what type of dining experience you’re looking for. For brunch, we suggest: The Montauk, Breakfast Club, Morning Squeeze, or The District and for dinner, Sushi Roku at W Scottsdale, The Mission, Sumomaya, or Olive & Ivy. As the name suggests, The Montauk features a lively beachy atmosphere with fun American food. If you’re looking to get fancy for dinner, you need to hit up Sushi Roku, a swanky sushi restaurant located in the lobby of the W hotel. The Mission and Sumomaya are both Mexican inspired restaurants whose environments boast party vibes, making them ideal for large groups. Depending on the size of your party, you may have to do a Prix Fixe menu—but at least that makes splitting the bill at the end of the night that much easier.
Where To Party—During The Day
Similar to Vegas, Scottsdale has a pretty wild day scene. Between the SHADE Lounge at W Scottsdale and Maya Dayclub, your days under the sun will be filled with bottles and booze. Maya Dayclub is known as being the biggest Vegas-style pool party in Arizona, making it a must during your bachelorette party. When it comes to DJs, Maya Dayclub draws in international talent like Chromeo, Fedde Le Grand, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and more. SHADE Lounge is a bit more upscale but equally as fun, so you can’t go wrong if you’re only hitting one of the two pool parties over the weekend.
Where To Party—At Night
Maya Dayclub is the gift that keeps on giving because at night it’s transformed into Maya Nightclub, also bringing world-class entertainment right to the desert. Celebrate in style with a table to get your own space at this rowdy club. This is the perfect place to kick off the weekend festivities because who doesn’t want to start the trip by dressing up? Other clubby options in Old Town include: The District, Dakota, El Hefe, and Riot House. When it comes to the bar scene, you’ll want to check out Living Room at W Scottsdale, Dirks Bentleys Whiskey Row, Bottled Blonde, Bevvy, and AZ 88.
Thursday, Day 1:
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling from the east coast, take advantage of the time difference and aim to arrive as early as possible to allow for an entire day of indulgence.
- Arrive at hotel or Airbnb
- Before you even have a chance to be hungover, hike Camelback Mountain—it’s not as hard as it seems, offers beautiful views, and is a must-do Arizona thing
- Get ready for dinner on the earlier side to hit the bars before dinner to get a lay of the land
- Dinner at The Mission
- Bop around to the bars on the strip, like Bottled Blonde, Dirks Bentley, Dakota, and The District
Friday, Day 2:
Pro Tip: Fight off that hangover with a big brunch before embarking on any type of bar tour.
- Brunch at The Montauk
- Make a reservation with Arizona party bike where you’ll ride around town on a group bicycle while getting on and off, bar hopping around downtown
- Dinner at SumoMaya
- Hit up Maya Nightclub with or without a table
Saturday, Day 3:
Pro Tip: End the trip with a bang with a Vegas-style pool party and leave the rest of the night up in the air to allow for some much-needed bachelorette spontaneity.
- Order in and have breakfast at your house or pick up a casual breakfast near your hotel
- Pool party at Maya Dayclub or SHADE Lounge W Scottsdale
- Dinner at Sushi Roku
- Head back to the strip to bar hop between the bars you didn’t make it to on Thursday night like Bottled Blonde, Dirks Bentley, Dakota, and The District
How about them 2020 weddings, huh? Thanks to the Virus That Must Not Be Named, celebrations of all kinds look different this year. With state regulations and new reports coming out each day about hotspots and sick celebs, it’s clear COVID is not only here to stay, but it’s here to f*ck with your big day for a long time as well. Because for couples getting married during a global pandemic, pre-wedding stress is at an all-time high.
Not only do engaged folks have to budget for things like gloves, makes, and hand sanitizer, but chances are they’ve had to postpone their events (multiple times, in some cases) and the end results don’t look anything like the celebration we all dreamed off since watching Bride Wars when we were in middle school. There are a lot of aspects that majorly suck, but one of the biggest is the fact that some of your closest friends or family might not get to be there on the big day.
Whether they’re high risk, morally opposed to big gatherings during a pandemic, or can’t risk catching anything due to work or their general love of being alive and not ill, odds are there will be a few VIPs who have to change their RSVPs from “hell yessss” to “uh, actually. No.” As someone who’s recently faced a lot of “you’re the worst” backlash after RSVPing “no” to every wedding in 2020 (with plenty advance notice, mind you—I’m not going texting the bride the day before saying I can’t make it), here’s how to deal when your guests decide that your big day just isn’t worth it rn.
Remember: There’s A Literal Pandemic Happening
Not to state to obvious here, but like, the whole coronavirus thing is still a big deal. As bars, restaurants, and sex clubs open back up, you have to remember: It’s not because we’re any safer. It’s because places need to make money. Your friends who are diligent about avoiding crowds, keeping their distance, and staying home when possible aren’t being dramatic. They just like, you know, want to stay alive and want to keep their friends and family alive and healthy. While it might seem like a personal affront for them not to risk their safety to watch you marry some guy you drunkenly met at a college bar, it’s not. It’s a literal matter of not wanting to catch or spread a potentially deadly disease. Keep that in mind before giving them the cold shoulder after they give you the news.
Keep Your Cool
Yes, your guests choosing not to go to your wedding is upsetting. But the thing is, they’re not wrong here. Having an event—any event of any size—is a risk right now. Your guests wanting to stay home aren’t in the wrong here. While people always have the option to RSVP “no” to weddings, the whole virus excuse is a really good one—and the fact that they’re courteous enough to (hopefully) politely tell you they can’t attend without lecturing you about safety practices is a win. Remember: They could send you pages of data about why having a wedding rn is risky, so consider yourself spared.
So, instead of bitching out your friends who don’t feel comfortable attending, trying to remain calm. Tell them you’re bummed but understand (assuming you understand, of course) and take some time to mourn. It’s a really hard time to be getting married, but creating strife in your relationships won’t make things any easier. Be kind and compassionate and chances are they’ll still send you a gift.
Offer Virtual Options
I know Zoom weddings seem sooooooo summer 2020, but not only are they still a thing, but they’re a great option for guests who don’t feel comfortable celebrating in person. Make sure to set up virtual links so anyone who doesn’t feel great about being in crowds can still be a part of the big day. No, it’s not ideal, but as someone whose maid of honor couldn’t be at her wedding pre-COVID due to pregnancy complications, the event can still be just as special. Make cardboard cutouts of your non-attending VIPs. Set up multiple Skype stations that guests can access so they can see different parts of the party. FaceTime any besties who can’t make it as you’re getting ready. This way you can still feel the love, and your guests can feel included from home.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
I know I’ve said this before, but if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, chances are you’ve seen people living their lives like a virus isn’t still running rampant through America. Yes, weddings are about dresses and flowers and attention, but mostly they’re supposed to be about marrying the person you love. Well, that and getting a KitchenAid mixer, of course. The point is, it sucks that this once-in-a-lifetime event is happening during a pandemic, but you still get to get married (something generations of people in interracial or same-sex relationships didn’t have the option of doing), you still have friends (unless you’re a total monster to everyone who says they can’t attend), and you’ll still get to rock that overpriced diamond band. If you can make it out of this with your relationships intact and your romantic bond strong, you’ll be able to get through anything.
Plan An Event Post-COVID
It won’t be the same as having the giant wedding you originally planned, but let’s be real: The world is going to look different after this. No one is used to going into an office anymore and we haven’t worn real pants in forever so like, yeah. That ship has sailed. With so many couples having to downsize their weddings, vow renewals or post-wedding parties are 100% going to be a thing in a year or two (just like how babymoons became something to do). If you shun everyone who didn’t come to your covid wedding now, you won’t have nearly the guest list you’d like when there’s a vaccine and you can have another party.
The point is: Yes, this sucks, but your friends aren’t bad people for not coming to your wedding rn. Don’t be a d*ck and hopefully, we can all go back to grinding on the dance floor to “Get Low” while our grandparents watch in horror someday soon.
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Image: Analise Benevides on Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
We know you probably never want to hear the words “coronavirus,” “quarantine,” and “unprecedented times” again, but unfortunately The Rona is still among us. Corona brides across the world are lost when it comes to what to do now that their wedding has been postponed or canceled. The days of saying “I do” in front of friends and family and taking shots with your bridesmaids at the open bar seem so distant, but we’re hopeful that the investment towards celebrating this new chapter in your life is worth the wait. For those of you that have officially made the decision to share your vows with your S.O. in 2021, you’re probably wondering WTF to do with all of your plans now? Don’t freak out, because we’ve gone ahead and asked the experts to share their thoughts on what couples can be doing in the meantime to ensure that all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted before the big day.
Yes, you probably had everything planned out perfectly, right down to your personalized stationery before the virus happened, but now that your plans have changed, there’s some tricky re-thinking to do. “It goes without saying that trying to navigate the postponement of a wedding is mind-boggling, and it can be hard to know where to start, or better yet, figure out an organized way to keep track of your progress and your remaining to-dos,” says Lisa Bowser, Founder of Brite Lite, a company that makes LED neon signs. “Lists on lists on lists can be quite boring to look at, yes?” Um, yes! Bowser recommends the acrylic dry-erase Goals Calendar to eliminate your wedding stress. Bonus: you can still use it in your home after your wedding planning process is (finally) over.
Read Your Contracts
I know we’re all programmed to click “accept terms and conditions” without a second thought, but with circumstances constantly changing as our world adapts to the virus, it’s essential that you and your future spouse have your contingency plans up-to-date. As AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director at Boston-based event planning company AJ Events, recommends, “When reading your contracts, make sure you have your planner and vendors develop a rescheduling contract or addendum, and to change the Force Majeure to include pandemics and decreased capacity due to government mandates.” This way, you won’t have to scramble to make things work any more than you’ve already had to.
See What Safety Precautions Your Vendors Are Taking
When you do end up walking down the aisle, you want to be sure all possible measures are put in place to ensure that your guests stay happy and healthy. AJ Williams reports that for all future events, his company “will require cleaning/sanitation measures from our vendors and venues working on our events and add sanitation efforts plus add supplies at attendee check-in to protect the safety of our work environment and your attendees while allowing us to continue to service our clients.” He adds, “We have created branded plexi walls on our bar and catering stations, adorable customized face masks with your favorite quote or funny message or emoji icon to include your signature style. Get creative while keeping safe.” So make sure you check with your vendors to see how they’re adapting to these (my brain: don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it) unprecedented times.
Enjoy Your Engagement
Though you’ve (understandably) been mentally designing your reception place cards since the moment you got a ring on your finger, take this unique opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy this extra time of being engaged to the love of your life. Of course, says Taylor Waxman of L.A.-based event design and production company KED & Co., “Changing your wedding date can be emotionally draining. Managing your friends and family travel plans, rescheduling your vendors to make sure everyone is available on the same day and overall reimagining a new date in a new year—you’ve been through it.”
When adjusting your wedding planning timeline, though, staying sane is essential. “Don’t over plan,” advises Waxman. “It’s very easy to focus on your wedding during this time, but our biggest advice is: don’t. Once you have your vendors and location rescheduled and all guests are alerted of the new date, take a step back to enjoy your engagement. Spend quality time with your partner, schedule outdoor picnics or Zoom dinners with family and friends, take this time to reconnect and appreciate what is around you.”
Make The Process Fun
Now that you’ve got some extra time to plan things out, you and your partner can hone in on achieving the wedding of your dreams. Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director at Colette’s Catering and Events, suggests that you “Cast aside what might be typical wedding traditions, and do what YOU really, truly want for your wedding. Explore bright colors, beautiful seasonal menus, wine flown in from your favorite winery, book a unique outdoor venue, mix and match your linen pattern choices, custom built backdrops from local artists, neon signage, etc. Now you have the time to really customize!”
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with pressing health concerns on top of your color scheme choices, “Making the difficult decision to postpone your wedding should be the hardest part. Once you’ve done that, try to make the rest of the process fun,” advises Matt Ramirez, Senior VP of Marketing at Generation Tux. “Look at new wedding trends, new seasonal colors, and opportunities to update your wedding plans! Everyone in the wedding industry knows this is a tough time for couples, and we’re here to work with you. Take this time with your husband to design the look of your wedding suit or tux again, order some free swatches, and get a free home try-on delivered to the groom.”
If you want to get creative without overloading your plate, Taylor Waxman suggests designing your own thank you notes online, finding custom postage for your wedding invitations, registering for gifts, working on your wedding website, finalizing your guest list, and choosing meaningful songs to be played during your ceremony. She also suggested pulling inspiration images (as if you needed an excuse to add to the wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college.). “Focus on your style and look, try not to go too deep in detail,” she recommends. “Keep this light and fun.”
Can’t Wait? Go For It!
As Nike says, “Just Do It.” If you and your S.O. are itching to get married ASAP, Sarah Kuhlberg suggests having a mini wedding and eloping in your backyard, and then scheduling a reception for a year later so you can celebrate your first anniversary with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and feel free to “Create your dream celebration and know that this new wedding style is something we are all getting used to.”
Images: Natasha Fernandez / Pexels; Britelitetribe.com; @betchesbrides / Instagram
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You know, it’s cute, everyone keeps saying things like “love is not canceled,” and it’s inspiring, really, it is, but if you were a bride planning on getting married this year, and now your plans are f*cked, it’s hard not to feel like love is pretty damn canceled. But brides- and grooms-to-be are taking it in stride and serving up proverbial “F you(s)” to the virus with their socially distant elopements, live-streamed and drive-by weddings, and hilariously self-aware change-the-date announcements. But the fact of the matter remains, we still have very few answers about when all this insanity is going to go away and when the wedding world can rise from the ashes.
We’ve been obsessed with all the #quarantineengagement content filling our feeds, so much so that it’s kind of making us wonder if being trapped in a tiny apartment with your S.O. for months could actually be good for your relationship. Like, if you want to put a ring on it while trying to coexist in isolation, then maybe you’re really in it for keeps?
After speaking with a handful of newly engaged couples and a few engagement experts, one thing is clear: a global pandemic isn’t hurting the proposal game. The ‘Rona might be a raging bitch, but guys and girls ready to pop the question aren’t about to throw all their plans out the window.
College sweethearts Kristi and Kelly got engaged with a pretty epic double proposal on Leap Day, just two weeks ahead of the lockdown. After a trip to the Point Pleasant boardwalk, they headed to the arcade to feel like kids again.
“We played for a little and then we decided to take a photo booth picture (it’s become our thing over the years),” Kristi recalls. “We were taking the third picture for the strip when Kelly said ‘let’s do a silly face!’ So, I immediately closed my eyes and stuck out my tongue… when I opened my eyes she was holding a ring! I was in shock and immediately started crying.”
But Kelly wasn’t the only one with a proposal up her sleeve that day—Kristi, completely coincidentally, had also chosen that day to pop the question. It took some urging to get her back home, but once they arrived, Kelly saw that the apartment was decorated with a trail of roses and candles leading to their bedroom.
“She walked into the room and burst into tears,” Kristi says, “because it was filled with pictures of us throughout the years, balloons, more roses and candles, and on the bouquet of roses was a ring for her. I got down on one knee and asked her if she would marry me! She said YES and then we got ready for a celebratory dinner for two with lots of champagne.”
Little did the two know that a few weeks later, a celebratory dinner for two would become the date-night norm for couples in quarantine. Kristi shares that “for about a week we were able to enjoy the bliss of being engaged. We were able to tell all of our family and friends through Facebook, FaceTime, and Instagram, but we have not yet been able to celebrate with anyone in person, which is a little disheartening for us.”
Days after they broke the news to their favorite people, Kristi says that her parents, excitedly, started to plan a June engagement party for them.
“Currently the party is on hold and up in the air,” Kristi explains. “We are trying to stay hopeful that we can have that special time with our family eventually, but at the same time, we’re so thankful that right now everyone is home, safe, and healthy.”
It’s definitely a weird time to propose right now with stay-at-home orders in place, but couples are strategizing how to pop the question in a special way while staying socially distant. If you weren’t stuck safe at home, what would you be doing, where would you be going, how would you be having fun with your future fiancé? That’s exactly where you need to start with your proposal. At least, that’s what The Yes Girls, the beauty and brains behind some of the world’s most incredible and personal marriage proposals, advise.
Having had a part in planning over 3,000 custom proposals since their launch in 2008, Megan Bicklein, Yes Girls proposal planner and designer, is feeling like now, more than ever, they need to show up for their clients. “We are the rock for our clients during one of the most intense, anxiety-ridden, and life-changing times in their lives, so we have to be as level-headed and supportive as we can possibly be, while taking their lead,” Bicklein says.
She explains that while some of her clients still want to go through with their proposals as planned (regardless of the restrictions at play in their respective cities), some are calling “in a panic because their vacation was cancelled and they need to come up with a new plan, some are unsure of what this means for their future, and some just really need a sounding board, someone to vent to during this uncertain time.”
Similarly to what couples have been doing to pivot their wedding plans while respecting social distancing cues, The Yes Girls are becoming well-versed in the various virtual ways to propose. “We’re currently planning a proposal right now that plays off of the virtual zoo tours that many local zoos are leveraging to draw audiences in from the comfort of their own homes. The video call will look much like the typical virtual tours being offered right now, but with a fun surprise at the end!”
If nothing else, the pandemic, as horrific and devastating as it may be, is ushering in a whole new wave of creativity and pioneerism in the proposal space.
“What we have seen more of is people caring less about the ‘showiness’ of the proposal and more about the overall mood and experience with their loved one,” says Bicklein. “Before, there was always a ‘how can I make this proposal so over-the-top’ goal behind the events, but now, we’re seeing more clients who just want to give their partner a meaningful memory to have forever. I think once the unlimited resources are taken away, we really get down to the heart of what we do this for: to help those popping the question make lasting and authentic impressions on those they love most.”
And when you’re holed up at home with all those resources taken away, something super simple can be the perfect proposal prelude. For Jess and Todd, who found love through a dating app, breakfast in bed on Sunday, April 12th (six days before her 40th birthday) was kind of everything.
“He woke up before me, which usually does not happen, and when I said ‘what are you doing,’ he said ‘I’m going to make you breakfast today.’” Maybe she was nervous about what would be coming out of the kitchen or perhaps it was more of a “let’s be cute and pretend cook together like one of those influencer couples,” but when Jess offered to help, her guy immediately told her to stay comfy and get more sleep. “He made me a yummy breakfast, brought it to me on a platter with a rose, and when he placed it down on the nightstand, he dropped to one knee. It was perfect!”
Simplicity at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
Susie Saltzman, a NYC-based fine jewelry designer, tells us that she’s seen no dip in engagement momentum since quarantine became the norm. Granted, for her, since 80% of the clients she works with live outside of the tri-state area, Zoom designing and ring brainstorming are nothing new. But that doesn’t mean that she’s any less pumped to “get the ball rolling and get people excited about the life that WILL HAPPEN once these wild days are past us.”
Since mid-March, Susie says she’s finished and shipped 18 engagement rings to clients who are ready “to move forward with their lives in the ways that they can.” And, like The Yes Girls, SS is a big believer in humble gestures to lock it down.
“I have a few clients coming up with really sweet private ways to propose at home,” Saltzman shares. I think people realize how precious ‘normalcy’ is and how much we take it for granted in our day-to-day lives. Tomorrow is not promised, and this uncertain, unprecedented time has been a true reality check for people.” She adds, “I think our inability to do some of life’s simplest activities (like go out to eat with a loved one, celebrate your birthday, take your children to school) has made people really want to embrace life once this is over. People want to celebrate their love NOW—they don’t want to wait to formalize their commitment to one another.”
That’s what Shannon’s fiancé, David (one of her older brother’s besties-turned-bae), was thinking when he proposed with flowers (brought over by his mom) after a “fancy date night in” on Friday, April 17th.
“Since we were unable to go out with everything going on, we got all dressed up and cooked dinner together. Nothing was out of the ordinary until David went to the front door after dinner and got flowers. He said, ‘you can’t have date night without flowers.’ I still didn’t think anything was going on, because before all of this, David would get me flowers all the time. I was going to put the flowers away and was in the kitchen near the sink when I turned around and he was down on one knee. I was so surprised it took a moment to realize that this was really happening. I started bawling, and with the perfect speech he asked me to marry him. I was so happy that I said yes before he even opened the ring box. Despite being quarantined, it was the happiest, most perfect day!”
“I have had a Pinterest board for our wedding for some time now,” explains Shannon. “I have so much in mind for what we want for our special day, but it’s kind of a catch-22. We have all of this time at home to be able to plan, but with so many places closed, we’re pretty limited. Also, who knows when this will all be normal, when weddings can happen, and how many people will ultimately be allowed to be gathered at once when they do.” Despite all the uncertainty, Shannon says, “It’s hard to start planning with so many unknowns, but, right now, we are enjoying being engaged and will start planning in the near future.”
True, it’s a whole new world for the just-engaged set, but somehow we think it’ll all be okay… Especially since you can still actually do a lot of wedding planning while in quarantine. While day drinking. Without pants, even.
Images: Andre Jackson / Unsplash; Kristi Hunt (3); Jessica Pollack; betchesbrides, susiesaltzman / Instagram; Shannon Martin; Giphy
There’s no doubt that being engaged right now is hard. While things could certainly be worse, we feel for those brides who have had to postpone or cancel their dream weddings, and who right now, may or may not be sulking on the couch with wine in hand.
I was so stressed during my wedding planning that I literally started a company to help alleviate stress for other brides called Luv Collective. We’re a platform where brides can book wellness experiences for bachelorettes, weddings, and most importantly, for themselves. One of Luv Collective’s offerings is all around bridal therapy, because although we’d rather be a bridechilla, it def takes some help to get there.
But with the global pandemic bringing with it a new kind of wedding stress, we called in Luv Collective’s resident bridal therapist, Landis from AisleTalk, to help learn some tips and tricks on how to handle it. Landis is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in New York City. She was trained at Columbia University in New York City, earning master’s degrees in counseling psychology and mental health counseling. After working in nonprofits, providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families coping with a wide range of stressful situations and mental health conditions, she realized how stressful navigating the transition of getting married can be, and that she loved helping clients through that particular time in their lives. Once she had that epiphany, she combined her passion for psychology, counseling people through stress, and interest in weddings to inspire wedding therapy as a specific specialty.
What Would You Tell Brides Who Have Had To Postpone Or Cancel Their Wedding?
First of all, I’M SORRY. There is no way around it. No one plans a wedding casually. You picked a time that was significant in the scope of your life planning, you invested money and emotion and energy gearing up for this, and so did everyone around you. This is a completely unexpected interruption, and I want to acknowledge and validate the difficulty in it.
Beyond that, rather than tell you something, I’d want to ask you: how are you feeling about all this?
Along those lines, I’d want to tell brides who’ve had to postpone/cancel: feel your feelings! Don’t let others tell you (implicitly or explicitly) that you don’t deserve to feel that way, and definitely do not judge yourself if you feel sad, disappointed, angry, heartbroken, robbed, defeated, or anything else. And if you don’t feel that bad, that’s okay too!
I’m working with a lot of people on identifying and processing feelings. You can do that with yourself, a professional, or a nonjudgmental friend/family member. Talk about your feelings. Journal them, sing them out—whatever it takes. All of the feelings I mentioned are natural parts of any grieving process. And BTW: Grieving does not only take place in the context of someone dying. It also can happen when we lose something. Like something we had been planning, anticipating, dreaming of, you get the idea. A wedding can absolutely fall in that category, because a wedding is a way we mark a big life transition.
Only when we acknowledge and validate our own difficult feelings can we work toward acceptance. It’s not that we’re happy, but we accept the new normal, and we are able to possibly start making alternate plans. But we can’t get there if we keep judging ourselves for the feelings that come before.
What Can Brides Do To Reduce The Wedding Stress Right Now?
First of all, make sure you have a good support team. Your fiancé, your family, your MOH, your planner, your therapist, etc. They will help you make decisions if you are in a gray area, and will help you cope once you’ve made them if they were hard ones to make.
Shift focus to the tasks you can do remotely now, and save in-person stuff for later. Reorganize those to-do lists. And when you’ve run out of things to do, shift the focus off wedding planning. For most of us, this time is about accepting that we can really only do so much right now.
Use the extended timeline to work on things you might not have had time for before. Wedding therapy can be helpful for this—maybe quarantine is bringing up old relationship wounds or family stress. Maybe you’ve been wanting to develop a meditation practice, try a new exercise, or perfect your skin care routine! In a time of feeling so globally out of control, focus on some small things you can control.
What Is One Thing Every Bride Should Know About Wedding Planning?
It doesn’t last forever. Whether it’s an exciting time for you or a challenging time or both. It’s a relatively short period of time in your life, so if you can remind yourself that it’s only temporary, you might be able to enjoy some parts of it, while knowing that the less enjoyable parts won’t last forever.
Images: Gus Ruballo / Unsplash; Betches / Youtube
In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, at least one thing’s for sure: it’s not an easy time to be planning a wedding right now. Spring and summer brides are canceling or postponing their nuptials, but for brides with wedding dates further out into the future, wedding planning presents a different kind of challenge. Venues aren’t open, brick-and-mortar bridal stores are shuttered—but for those of you who cannot sit still and need to be doing something productive, never fear. In light of shelter in place orders, many bridal companies are offering ways to continue supporting their clients and help them plan for their special day, just virtually. From seeing full venues on your computer, getting free swatches, and even having a tux or gown delivered right to your front door, there are a number of ways that wedding vendors are adapting to these crazy times. Since there’s nowhere to go besides the couch, what better way to take advantage of your extra time than to plan your dream wedding? Whether you had to postpone your event, or your special day is in the near future, here are some virtual wedding planning tasks you can cross off your list without leaving the house.
Virtual tours provide the opportunity to tour venues when you’re unable to view them in person, like for instance, right now. Jenna Miller, Creative Director at Here Comes The Guide, says that during the COVID-19 quarantine, many wedding venues are offering personal site tours via FaceTime and Skype. She explains, “You can virtually ‘walk’ through the event spaces with the venue’s on-site coordinator, talk through what your wedding could look like at their location, and ask questions as they come up in real time.” If you don’t feel like talking to anyone or dealing with yet another Zoom call, Here Comes The Guide offers many virtual venue tours on their site with 360-degree videos that allow you to get a virtual feel of the space. I don’t know about you, but seeing venues from my couch with a glass of red seems pretty nice to me.
According to Kristen Maxwell Cooper, Editor-in-Chief of The Knot, bridal salon owners and designers are continuing to go the extra mile for their clients: “they know that shopping for ‘the dress’ is a special experience, and one of the most anticipated and exciting moments of wedding planning.” That’s why thousands of local bridal shops around the country are holding client meetings through FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts where they discuss the bride’s vision and virtually take her through the store. If you do have that “say yes to the dress” moment, many stores are offering to ship gowns directly to your home, if your wedding is taking place within the year.
Bridal retailer Brideside is taking the virtual shopping experience one step further with virtual styling appointments over Google Hangouts, where stylists will pull mood boards and can show swatches, screen share, and even try on gowns for brides to give them an idea of fit. Clients who book a virtual appointment at least five days in advance will get mailed complimentary color swatches to have on hand. And if you’re freaking out about your wedding budget getting totally nuked by the pandemic, don’t worry—Brideside’s virtual services are free (you just have to pay for shipping if you’re getting a try-at-home box delivered).
When it comes to fitting for a suit or tuxedo, Generation Tux offers a virtual fitting process that creates your fit using your specific height, age and weight, traditional pants size, age, and body type. These new virtual tools make getting your suit or tuxedo easier, and faster, than a traditional fitting. It’s already hard enough to get your fiancé out the door to try on suits, this way he doesn’t have to worry about doing anything other than picking out something
you like he likes.
I know this may not be the way you expected to plan your special day, but thanks to these amazing new technologies and companies, you can still plan your dream wedding while quarantined and potentially spending way too much time with your soon-to-be husband. Hang in there. You’ll wear that gorgeous gown for real soon enough.
Images: Louis Paulin, Shardayyy Photography, Charisse Kenion, Jason Briscoe / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
No one who knows me would call me a traditional person. At 16, I was a blonde, perky cheerleader obsessed with the color pink, but I was making out with girls at parties and let’s just say, had zero interest in the football players. Nowadays, I find babies annoying and, frankly, weird to look at 99% of the time. The only time you can find me in rubber gloves and an apron is if I’m dressing up as Betty Draper for Halloween. In fact, the most conventional thing I’ve ever done is fall in love with my wife the first moment that I met her like I was in a rom-com, meaning that I would have to call myself a believer in love at first sight—even though that sounds insane and up until that point, you were a lot more likely to find me at a house party talking about how love isn’t real. Somehow, though, it happened, which is how I ended up married at the ripe old age of 26 like a child bride, sending all my “cool unconventional girl” credibility down the drain. (I got a little of it back when I proposed to my wife first after I got tired of waiting for her to ask me, a tip I’d recommend to any girl getting impatient for a ring.) But anyway, all of this is at least partly why most people who know me were surprised to hear that I was planning on changing my last name once we were married. The bigger surprise was that there was someone out there willing to marry me at all, and I know that because that’s what everyone told me.
I didn’t think much about the name change during the wedding planning process, mainly because I was busy crying on the phone to my mom about cupcake flavors and generally losing my mind. I knew it was something that would have to be dealt with, but until I found the perfect veil and made sure my bouquet would lean peony-heavy, I didn’t have the headspace to add it to my to-do list of things to stress about. Once the wedding was over and regular life was setting back in, I started researching what I’d actually have to do to have the same name as my wife. That investigation wasn’t super pleasant.
All the reasons not to change your name are pretty convincing, honestly. It takes a lot of time in both the short- and long-term. In the short-term, you’ve got to carry your marriage certificate everywhere you go while you run around to government offices like Social Security and the DMV, and everyone knows a potential trip to the DMV is reason enough to decide to keep your maiden name forever.
In the long-term, it just takes a while for absolutely everything out there in the world with your name on it to get the memo that it’s changed. You have to re-register to vote and get new credit cards and notify Human Resources at your job. And if you mess it up on a flight reservation, forget it. If anyone out there really doesn’t care that you’re a newlywed, it’s TSA. In short, I understand the real reason divorce is such a big deal now, and it isn’t the emotional devastation at all—it’s the sole idea of having to change your name back again.
Some people asked me why I was the one to take my wife’s name, and that’s a valid question. As two women, the typical gender roles that designate who changes their name didn’t apply to us. It could have gone either way. So, how did we choose? Part of it was that she wanted to keep her maiden name as a doctor. Cool. You’re smart, we get it. And she would’ve changed to mine if I felt strongly about it, and I knew that—so it wasn’t like I felt forced into taking hers. She also works a schedule that isn’t in line with normal working hours (see: doctor), so changing her name would have taken her three times as long and been much harder to accomplish. It just made more basic sense for me to deal with it instead. So, I stepped up to the plate and tackled the process myself, because one way or another I was determined for us to have the same last name. ‘Til death do us part, and all that.
But it wasn’t all based on logistics. The process was emotional to me on another level because of who we are.
As a same-sex couple, it’s uniquely important to us that we’re visible as a family unit to the outside world, and we have to put more effort in to achieve that visibility. We’re 10 times more likely to be mistaken as sisters, friends, or cousins. Part of that isn’t anyone’s fault. We’re both long-haired blondes who just tend to present as stereotypically straight, even though we aren’t. Guys will hit on us and then linger to ask inappropriate questions about our sex life once we tell them we’re married, instead of respectfully leaving the way they (usually) would when a straight girl says she’s married. I, on the other hand, once explained to a man in a bar that I was married to my wife, and he insisted on taking a picture with his arms around us like we were zoo animals. There have been times when men thought I wanted to be chased or that I was playing hard to get somehow by lying about being married to my wife when I was, in fact, just being honest and trying to get myself another drink without my marital status being dissected.
Taking my wife’s last name doesn’t automatically prevent these types of situations from happening. No one is asking for our ID or documents in public, except the bouncer at whatever bar we go to (and sometimes we do forget our rainbow armbands at home). But it still continues to make a difference in every aspect of our lives, because it means something on a deeper level for us.
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This National Coming Day post is coming out late, but so did I. I did not come out in a “normal” timeline, as if there is one. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t but at 16/18/20, what does that really mean? It takes time and it takes courage to acknowledge what’s true about yourself and what isn’t, regardless about what the rest of the world has to say about it. If I have any advice for anyone in the process of coming out, it’s just that there’s no right way to do it and that you’re doing fine. That’s it. You’re doing great. Keep sipping that chardonngay if it feels right. Don’t if it doesn’t. In the words of @spaceykacey, just follow your arrow wherever it points. 🌈 #nationalcomingoutday
Taking my wife’s last name was another connection between us that made a difference to the outside world in addition to deepening how we feel about each other. Sharing a last name makes me feel validated when we book a flight together, or check into a hotel, or get our taxes done. If that sounds utilitarian, it is. But that’s part of the point. It’s making those typical, everyday experiences reflect the new boundaries of who we are. I’m not losing my individuality, but I am presenting a new part of my identity that’s now aligned with hers, and if you ask me, that’s as romantic as it gets. It’s not about who changes their name; it’s just about making it the same. Out of every single other person out there in the world, we chose each other. And as two women living in a country where marriage equality was just legalized federally five years ago, us being married is still a statement, whether we want it to be or not. There was a time not at all long ago where I couldn’t legally call myself her wife, and that’s something I’m always aware of. Choosing to take the same name as her was another way to celebrate everything that simple gesture symbolizes. The process itself was anything but exciting, but there was still a thrill in changing my name to hers. It’s an unmistakable link, a bond that can be seen on our licenses and passports and my new signature. If you ask me, that alone makes it all worth the paperwork.
Images: Shannon Layne Nomann via Anni Graham