Everything You Need To Know About Doing A Bridal Boudoir Shoot

To quote every bride who has ever done boudoir: “Do it, you won’t regret it!” Whether you’re talking to your friends at brunch, your co-worker at happy hour, or just scanning posts from random girls in a Facebook group, there’s one thing most brides who’ve done boudoir can agree on: it’s f*cking awesome. Whether stripping down to your panties and taking glorified nudes has always been a part of your wedding plan or the new trend just has you thinking about it, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about not only doing a bridal boudoir shoot, but making it your b*tch.

First of all, the idea is scary to almost everyone at first. Getting naked (or naked-ish) in front of a stranger and taking pictures that you’re going to show to at least one other person sounds like a way to get a reality show, not celebrate your upcoming marriage. If taking photos of your scantily-clad body sounds shocking, the price tag can be even more so. The last thing most couples want to do after spending a sh*t ton of money on their wedding (and on potentially rescheduling their weddings, thanks to covid) is spend more money. The engagement photos and wedding photos are already astoundingly pricey, so why would you add another set of pictures onto the final price tag? Basically, because it makes you feel amazing. It makes your spouse feel amazing. And if you’re not going to take bangin’ nude photos of yourself now, when the hell will you?

So, whether you dream of your future husband or wife getting a pic of you rocking your garter (and only your garter) before walking down the aisle or you just want something you can look back on you’re old and wrinkled, here’s everything you need to know about doing a boudoir shoot. Warning: Your pic game is about to level TF up.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

What’s The Investment?

One of the first things you’ll notice when looking for a boudoir photographer is that most of their websites talk about the importance of the investment without saying the prices. That, or you’ll get a cost that will make you low-key want to vomit. A lot of boudoir studios—while professional, talented, and all-inclusive—come with BIG price tags. Not only do you pay for hair and makeup (and sometimes access to their costume closets), but you have to purchase individual photos instead of just getting a Dropbox link with like, 30 pics (which you can then make into a book via Shutterstock or Walgreens for less than $100 as the most amazing wedding gift to your S.O. ever.)

When this is the case, oftentimes the cost of the shoot is anywhere from $100-$500. But, this is just for the shoot itself. After you have a “reveal” session where you can your photographer go through the images, select the ones you like, and add any final edits. This is how the cost gets real expensive, with each photo or file ranging from $10-$100. If you want the photographer to print a book for you, the cost goes up even more.

Don’t get me wrong—these photos are gorgeous, and if you have the means or really want an all-inclusive experience, go for it! But if you’re looking for a cheaper option (which is what I did), there are photographers out there who take photos that are just as gorgeous, but without all the additional fees. For my shoot, which took about an hour and a half, I paid $150. We shot in a gorgeous hotel in Austin (she booked multiple clients throughout the day), I provided my outfits, I did my own hair and makeup, and I even brought my own Champagne. If I do say so myself, the results are as good as people who paid $1,000, with just a little more work on my end.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLCRebecca Jordan Photography

How Do You Find A Photographer?

Whether you want an all-inclusive experience where you pay per photo or something that costs a little less, the best way to find a photographer is through Instagram. Search hashtags in your city or state (like, #AustinBoudoir #AustinBoudoirPhotography or #AustinBoudoirPhotographer) and do some digging. See whose photos/styles you like and whose you don’t. Doing this, you’ll come across photographers that range from all-inclusive to just getting started. Once you find a few you like, send them an email or DM to get prices, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you want something added or removed from a package—or if the shoot is still out of your budget—let them know! Chances are they’ll be able to work with you or refer you to someone else.

Images: Rebecca Jordan Photography

How To Prep Emotionally

Not to sound like some new-age guru, but the key to feeling sexy is to think you’re sexy. No matter how “traditionally” hot you are, chances are you have an area or patch or section you don’t feel great about. Everyone does. Boudoir isn’t one of those “I’ll wait until I lose three pounds” kind of things. It’s more of an “I’m hot exactly as I am” kind of thing. A good photographer works with and celebrates all body types and knows how to pose you so your end results are bomb.

Instead of going into the event feeling scared and shamed, spend some time pumping yourself up, just as you would if a friend was doing the shoot. Compliment yourself. Check yourself out. Focus on everything that makes you a catch and remember that these photos are about feeling good just as much as they are about looking good (but don’t worry, you’re gonna look good—I promise).

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

How To Prep (Physically)

While it’s all about feeling good, for most of us, looking good for a big event helps boost self-confidence. First, think about the feel of your shoot. Do you want something casually sexy? Full-glam and sultry? Naughty-yet-bridal? Chat with your photographer, make a Pinterest board with inspiration, and have a plan for how you want the photos to look. Once you do that, prep yourself like you would for any other important situation where photos are involved.

Remove any unwanted body hair, moisturize, utilize those makeup skills you picked up on YouTube, and style your hair to go along with whichever vibe you’re shooting. It’s always a good idea to bring a curling iron, some bobby pins, makeup, and hairspray with you to the shoot (whether you’re doing your own makeup or getting it done professionally) for touchups or a quick changeup of looks. You don’t need to crash diet, cut carbs, or work out endlessly to physically prepare for the shoot. If you aren’t sure which poses flatter your body, ask your photographer for help. Let the pros do their jobs and be kind to your body.

Images: Rebecca Jordan Photography

What Do You Wear?

It should come as no surprise that you can pretty much wear (or not wear) anything to a shoot and make it sexy. While heading to the shoot (or waiting for the photographer to arrive), however, wear loose-fitting clothes to help eliminate any unwanted creases in your skin. When it comes time for the shoot, here are a few favorites to create some ~memorable~ images:

Just a note, the more you bring, the better. You never know what inspiration will strike, what lighting will look great, or what outfit you’ll wish you would have worn. While it’s important to try on all of your looks ahead of time (just to ensure everything fits and feels good), throw some extras in your bag as well.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

What Happens At The Shoot?

While every photographer and experience is different, in general, it’s all pretty straightforward. You’ll arrive at the venue (or they’ll come to you). You’ll chit-chat for a few minutes. You’ll go over ideas and inspiration for the shoot (if you haven’t shown them your inspiration photos, now’s the time). Then, you’ll throw on some music, pop some Champagne, and get changed while they test the lighting.

After that, just follow the photographer’s lead—they’ll help you pose. The key to great pictures is to keep moving. Pretend you’re on America’s Next Top Model and just do sh*t. Dance around, flip your hair, move your face in different ways and directions. Arch your back, arch your feet, grab your boobs. Laugh, don’t laugh, pout, preen. The more you move, the more options you’ll have. Your photographer will direct you but don’t be afraid to speak up. Want to try something? Just say it. It’s your shoot, and their job is to create images for you. It’s better to do tons of different poses (no matter how silly you feel randomly crawling on the floor) so there are lots of options when it comes time to select your favorite photos.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

How To Make It Not Weird

Before booking the shoot (or while finalizing the preparations), make sure your photographer is cool with you bringing a friend or two along. Pick pals who are not only pros at posing (yes, the friend with lots of followers will come in handy here), but aren’t afraid to both direct you and hype you up. While you want to be told how great you look, you also want to be told if you’d look a million times better if you just turned to your left half an inch. Give them your inspo Pinterest board so they can speak up about any additional looks you might want to accomplish and have them at the ready for fixing stray hairs, smudged makeup, or letting you know when you need to pull your cleavage up.

Additionally, a playlist that makes you want to dance around is your secret weapon. Blast all of your cheesy, feel-good, belt-at-the-top-of-your-lungs music. While the end result of boudoir is great, enjoying the experience and letting yourself feel like a f*cking rockstar will make you love it before you even see the end result. Also, it should go without saying, but Champagne is an absolute essential.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLCRebecca Jordan Photography

5 Things Your Groom Wants You To Know While Planning A Wedding 

Nowadays, it seems like we only hear the bride’s perspective on wedding planning because, let’s be real, in most cases, it’s the bride who is calling the shots. But I’ve also seen my soon-to-be-wifey’s friends write off their future husbands’ opinions due to their immediate lack of interest in color schemes and calligraphy options. The majority of grooms know better than to question their future wives about all things wedding related and will do anything to avoid getting their head bitten off. However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have opinions and preferences. Marriage is about compromise, and it’s important to consider how your future husband feels. So, from all the silent grooms out there, here are some common (and important) things they want you to know while you’re planning your wedding. 

1. They Don’t Need To Be Reminded On A Daily Basis Of Everything They Have To Do For The Wedding.

Yes, there are a million and one things to do leading up to your wedding day. Yes, your groom is highly aware of this. Trust that he will show up to every appointment or tasting (and if you can’t, you have a bigger problem than just wedding planning). He will also handle picking out tuxes or suits for himself and his groomsmen. Don’t assume the wedding isn’t a priority to him just because he hasn’t made a Pinterest board for it. Cut your future husband some slack—he bought a ring and proposed without your help. He will show up for the important stuff. 

2. They Don’t Want To Argue About The Details, Especially The Guest List.

 

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but it’s the only date my dream venue isn’t booked!

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One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is coming up with a guest list you both think is fair. Your groom doesn’t want to argue over which guests get a plus-one or who has more family members on the invite list. Don’t give your fiancé the silent treatment when he says hell no to inviting your entire sorority pledge class (think about it this way: the fewer people you invite, the less thank you notes to write). 

3. If They Disagree With You, It Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Respect Your Opinion.

Similar to arguing about the guest list, there will be things you don’t see eye-to-eye on. Your groom might take a firm stance on having a band vs. a DJ, and it might not be exactly what you envisioned for your big day. But, like we said in the intro, compromise is key. One of my best friend’s grooms wanted the band to play the Eagles Fight Song during the reception, and this almost gave her a heart attack. She couldn’t even begin to see how this would be a good idea, but agreed to it anyway. It ended up being hilarious and everyone had fun singing along. Point is, it’s impossible to agree on everything, and he still respects the hell out of your taste even when you disagree, so give him the same courtesy. 

4. It’s Only One Day And No Matter What Happens, The Rest Of Your Lives Together Will Be Even Better. 

it’s cool that if planning a wedding doesn’t kill u then u get to be married

— Taylor Hatmaker (@tayhatmaker) August 29, 2019

The average bride can spend one to two years planning for their wedding day. During that time, it gets hard to remember that it’s only one day and not the rest of their lives/marriages. It’s also one day that will go by very quickly. Your groom needs you to know that this is only a tiny piece of your story together and you will have so many more important and bigger moments to experience in the years to come.

5. They Fell In Love With You Long Before The Wedding Day And Will Still Love You Even If Everything Isn’t “Perfect”. 

This goes back to the “it’s only one day” point above. Your groom already thinks the world of you. I mean, hey, he’s even given up his bachelor lifestyle to commit to you. Being with you is way better than playing hours of Fortnite on dual TVs with their roommates. So don’t sweat the small stuff. They will still love you if your florist accidentally uses the wrong color peonies in the bouquet or if your hair and make up team isn’t on schedule (even though they do wish you would spend less time getting ready). Their love for you is bigger than this day!

Images: Alvin Mahmudov / Unsplash, Giphy (3)

Crazy Wedding Story Of The Week: They Made Their Guests Cook & Clean

Whether you hate the wedding-industrial complex, are a bride planning a wedding and want to feel better about your own demands, or just need something to read, we’re doing a new series where we share the craziest, most out-of-touch wedding story we found on the internet that week. Submit your own crazy wedding stories to [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story, and we just might feature yours. And make sure to follow @BetchesBrides on Instagram and subscribe to our podcast, Betches Brides.

Because I have been single for about a hundred years, I’m not proud of how much I know about weddings. I don’t even know where I learned all this sh*t, maybe from planning my brother’s wedding in full, or maybe just from reading bridezilla stories from across the internet. Probably a little bit of both, tbh. Either way, I know enough about wedding etiquette to know when people are completely f*cking it up. Even though every bride with whom I’ve ever come into contact was absolutely a micromanager, that doesn’t mean all brides are super Type A and want every detail of their wedding to be just so. Some, in fact, are pretty chill and just want to push all the responsibilities on other people, like their planners, maids of honor or, in some f*cked up cases, their very own guests! That brings me to an email submission we received from the sister of a groom whose wedding was a true and utter sh*tshow. The first line of said submission is, “My brother’s wedding was a grade-A disaster and, to be frank, it was trash.” I knew I was in for a good time because this girl is as petty as she is honest, and I’m here for it. Grab the popcorn.

All you need to know at this point is that the newlyweds-to-be are violently high-maintenance, cheap af, and assholes. I mean, lethal combo. Also, the wedding is taking place in a very small town that has no hotels. Luckily, the bride’s family lives in/near said small town, so they’re set. Great!

My brother invited me, my fiancé, my sister, and parents to come from across the country and my aunt, uncle, and grandma to come from Europe. Neither bride nor groom thought about where people would stay, though, and imagined that our foreign family (who speaks little to no English) would just figure something out. In this small town that doesn’t even have a motel. 

I mean, I can’t even trust my English-speaking relatives to do anything at all, so I can’t imagine how confused and frustrated these foreigners must be trying to figure out Airbnb or whatever else is available in this hick town. I get that the bride and groom are probably overwhelmed with sh*t they have to do before the wedding, but providing a few options for family and friends to sleep is a pretty big one to forget about.

The family decided not to come and they eventually agreed to give my parents a spare room in their house. My fiancé, sister, and I got to sleep in tents in their yard. 

Understandable that the family would decline the invite, but what is not understandable is sleeping in a tent, like, ever, but especially the day before your brother’s wedding! WTF? I’d really like to know whose idea this was.

My brother asked me to make a wedding cake and cupcakes for them and I agreed that that would be my gift. Unfortunately, they insisted on a large-ish cake and enough cupcakes for each guest to have three. When I explained this was unnecessary, they insisted on the amount. Because they have such a small kitchen in their house I had to do all the baking and decorating the night before the wedding at a local bakery once they closed for the day. So I was up all night baking up a storm.

Okay, the groom sounds like he also kind of sucks. I am usually more excited about the prospect of a cupcake than I am sex, but three sounds like a little much. Like, yep, let’s eat an entire meal, cake and three smaller cakes, and then dance? No thanks! Also, the fact that the groom’s sister spent the night before her brother’s wedding baking 700 cupcakes in a random kitchen and then calling it a night in a f*cking tent on the bride’s front lawn is insane. I used to think I deserved sister of the decade award for simply existing in the same house as my idiot brothers, but this girl definitely earned the medal. She is a saint.

The night before the wedding is traditionally the rehearsal dinner, is it not? Well, none of my family was allowed to come to the rehearsal (there was no dinner) and when my mom and I came by the location to see where we would need to set up, the bride was pissed that we dared show up and that we weren’t cooking and baking for the next day.

Correct me if I’m wrong, which I’m not, but the rehearsal dinner is for family and out-of-towners, so it’s very weird and rude that the groom’s sister and parents were not only not invited, but expected to spend the night before their son’s/brother’s wedding cooking for it. That’s not all, though! The family wasn’t the only crew expected to bring some nosh to this wedding because IT WAS A POTLUCK WEDDING. I could spend paragraphs going off on how tacky that is, so to spare you all, I’ll just move on.

So we get to ceremony day and the bride is pissed at me and my sister, who are grooms women, for “not doing our jobs,” which were apparently to show the guests where to go, where to bring food, etc. We would have done it had anyone told us. Maybe she mentioned it during the rehearsal we weren’t invited to? Then everyone gets in their places and it’s ceremony time, but for whatever reason, there’s no music.

As a frequent wedding-goer, it is definitely not the job of anyone in the groom/bridal party to serve as ushers during the ceremony. That’s why they have, you know, specific ushers. Of course, the Bride from Hell blamed the sisters for the mess of guests and I bet she also blamed them for the lack of music. I can imagine her being like, “You were supposed to learn how to play violin for this, God! How did you not know??” She made sure everyone knew she was mad, but saved her most aggressive moments for the reception, where the guests were apparently supposed to drag their ceremony chairs themselves. Uh, k.

Then we get to the potluck cash bar reception. People are eating and drinking and things are normal until the bride gets drunk. She was wearing a short dress that she kept lifting up to flash everyone. Most of the guests were her family, so I’m sure they loved that! She doesn’t stop drinking and starts going up to female guests undoing our hair and trying to undress us. Then, the couple disappeared. No goodbyes or anything. They just left. People kept looking for them, but when we realized the couple was gone, all of the guests left. This was 9pm at the latest, real wild party. 

I wish I was making this up because there is so much to address here. Before I get into it, I just want to ask why there is a cash bar. The only reason people go to weddings is for the open bar…right? Also, why is Bridezilla flashing everyone? Bigger issue: why would her family love it?? Satan’s Bride obviously loves attention, so why is she ripping off the female guests’ clothes, too? I mean, obviously, like, don’t take off someone’s clothes if they want to keep their clothes on, but also this seems a little off-brand for someone who wants everyone’s eyes on her at all times. Just saying.

Lastly, I’ve been to a wedding or two during where the bride and groom disappear for a little, but I’ve always assumed they’re just, like banging in the bathroom or something because they always come back and pretend they’ve been here the whole time. This couple just straight up left. Qué?? And at 9pm? Jesus! I’ve had dinner reservations later than this sh*tshow of a wedding! 

So we cleaned the hall, packed up the food, and threw out a bunch of stuff (including the insane amount of cupcakes the bride made me bake) and got out of there. Then the couple proceeded to drunkenly fight with my mom when she got to the house and asked why they left without saying goodbye. Apparently they were done with the party and were mad that the DJ wouldn’t play the songs they requested. 

Wow, the guests are way better people than the couple. That’s for damn sure. I would have left that nightmare couple with that mess to clean up—not my circus, not my monkeys.

The next morning the bride started freaking out because she couldn’t find her tiara. Apparently she had one. Eventually we figured out that while she was drunk she threw it off (trying to be sexy, I think) and it landed behind the bar. The bartenders were super nice about the whole thing and kept it safe. This tiara was the most expensive part of this wedding it seemed.

It seemed? This tiara, which, knowing the bride, was probably from Claire’s, was easily the most expensive part of this trash wedding. I’m sure she’ll wear it everyday until the day she dies, too.

A juicy tidbit that the bride doesn’t know: their first dance song was the song my brother was supposed to use for first dance to when he was going to marry someone else. Someone the bride hates.

*Slow clap* Wow, ya truly love to see it. The sister really came full circle with that all-star pettiness and I’m so here for it. What do we think, fam? Is this a one-of-a-kind bridezilla or what? 

Can you top that? Submit your crazy wedding story to [email protected] with the subject line “Crazy Wedding Story”!

Image: The Creative Exchange / Unsplash

9 Things I Didn’t Believe About Wedding Planning Until I Started Planning My Wedding

As someone who’s written about weddings for the last several years, and attended/been in more than a handful, I thought when it came time for my own I would have this planning thing down. I used to say that when I got married I wouldn’t get stressed out about dumb sh*t (lol) and I would do what I want without other people’s opinions influencing me (ha!). So when I got engaged this past June and started planning my wedding for next September, I was just as surprised as anybody that I totally did not have this planning thing down. After going through the first six months of planning, my new M.O. on weddings has become, “Don’t judge a bride until you walk a mile in her wedding shoes,” and damn, those shoes are hard AF to walk in. 

Below are nine things I thought about weddings that flew out the window when I started planning my own. 

1. I Won’t Worry About The Little Things

Boy, was I wrong on this one. In fact, the little things are ALL I worry about. I constantly run through all the wedding signage we’ll need in my mind and whether it matters if the fonts on the table numbers match the font on the bar sign. I worry about trying every appetizer during cocktail hour or that I’ll be in the bathroom when the band plays “Sweet Caroline.” I never worry that our caterer won’t show up or that the band will suck. Why would I worry about major issues like that when I can stress about how the welcome table will be laid out?

2. My Wedding Won’t Cost That Much

Them: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done while planning your wedding? Me: I agreed to pay the band $200 extra to have someone play a 2 minute sax solo during the ceremony

— Ashley Fern (@disco_infern0) July 26, 2019

I’d like to think I’m pretty well-versed in how much different vendors cost, so I have no idea what the hell I was thinking when I said this. Especially since we’re having a tented reception in my grandma’s backyard, and that sh*t ain’t cheap. Every time I see a new bill come in, my heart stops beating for a split second and I honestly wonder how big of a problem it would be if I served McDonald’s instead of beef tenderloin and just made a Spotify playlist for the reception. 

3. I’ll Never Compare My Wedding To Someone Else’s

I have so much respect for the brides that sign up for Four Weddings. I truly can’t imagine willingly subjecting myself to having my wedding scrutinized by three strangers—I’m critical enough on my own. It’s hard not to compare yourself to other people in general, especially when so many friends are getting married around the same time. I find myself thinking about what I’d do differently or the same whenever I attend another wedding, which is actually kind of annoying because I’d like to be able to get drunk and enjoy myself. Plus, I sure as hell don’t want people to be doing that at mine. 

4. There’s No Point In Stressing About The Weather Since You Can’t Control It

not to be dramatic but if it rains on my wedding day I might kill someone

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) December 13, 2019

HA! This is actually laughable and I’m not even sure I ever really believed it. This is, without a doubt, the number-one thing I spend the majority of my time thinking about. There is honestly nothing in the world more terrifying than the idea that it might actually rain on my wedding day. The closest I ever get to a serious mental breakdown is when I spend more than 30 seconds thinking about a monsoon beginning as soon as I walk down the aisle. 

5. This Whole Planning Thing Is Going To Bring My Mom And I So Much Closer

I will admit, my mom and I haven’t really fought about wedding planning, which I know is rare/weird (I’m sorry if that makes you want to punch me in the face). But it’s definitely not bringing us closer. At the very beginning when we were trying to sort out all the vendors, my mom and I would text and talk on the phone multiple times a day, which was a lot, and it felt like I was engaged to my mom instead of my fiancé. She definitely triggers me with some of  her ridiculous suggestions (like having guests move their own ceremony chairs to the reception tent), but overall the ride hasn’t been too bumpy so far (knock on wood—we’ve still got nine, months to go). 

6. I’ll Get My Way On Everything

I know this sounds like a ridiculous thing to think, but when I was wedding planning in my mind, nobody was there telling me I couldn’t have our family labradoodle walk down the aisle (I’m still not 100% convinced that won’t be happening), so I never foresaw any issues. I didn’t think my photo booth idea would get shut down by my fiancé or that my idea for a limo bus instead of going to our cocktail hour would be considered a waste of money. I’ve only recently come to the conclusion that I don’t NEED everything on my wish list. I know, I’m so mature. 

7. It’ll Be Easy To Make Our Guest List

Pretty sure my wedding vows said "in sickness and in health" but nothing about dealing with in-laws over Thanksgiving, yet here I am

— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) November 26, 2019

It would be so cool if there was an etiquette rule that said, “If you haven’t spoken to your great aunt in two years, she doesn’t need to be invited”, so I could just point to it and that would be that. Unfortunately, no such thing exists and people are left to their own judgment when deciding who to invite. Making the guest list was like a balancing act. From trying to keep it under a certain number, to accommodating my future in-laws’ list, while also keeping my mom from inviting everyone she’s ever met, it was one of the hardest parts so far and I’m very thankful it’s over. If you’re going through it now, my best advice is to pick your battles. If you don’t win this one, you’ll win the next. Why does planning a wedding sound like being at war?

8. I Don’t Understand Why Someone Would Want To Elope

Because of all the reasons I just listed and 10,000 more, I truly believe that people who elope are geniuses and we should all be more like them. 

9. Are Post-Wedding Blues A Real Thing?

Me: I’m just going to have a simple wedding.
Also me: pic.twitter.com/bubmgscPmk

— Amber Pera (@AmberPera) December 4, 2019

Absolutely, yes. My mom told me she sobbed on her wedding night because it was over. I’ve heard from all my married friends that they miss being engaged and wedding planning, so I’m trying my best to soak it all in, despite the challenges that come with it. I’m not looking forward to the day after my wedding when I realize it’s all over. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up crying in the back of a limo like a contestant on The Bachelor who’s just been kicked off. Sorry in advance to my soon-to-be husband, but hey, we said in sickness and in health right?

To all the brides I’ve judged before, I’m sorry. there’s a lot I thought I knew about weddings, but just like anything else, you don’t really know until you experience it for yourself. I’m walking a mile in all of your wedding shoes and wondering how the heck you did it. Cheers to you! 

Images: Andre Hunter / Unsplash; betchesluvthis, betchesbrides, disco_infern0, amberpera / Twitter

5 People You Don’t Need To Invite To Your Wedding

#Nonewfriends is the mantra you should live by when you’re creating your guest list for your wedding. Too often, couples let their guilt get the best of them and end up inviting people they don’t really want there. Let’s face it, there are going to be people on your proposed list that make you and your fiancé ask each other, “Do we really need to invite them?” Think of it this way: would you want a framed picture of you with them in your wedding dress hanging in your house in 10 years? If the answer is no, they shouldn’t make the cut. Here are five people you can definitely “forget to invite”. 

1. The Sorority Sister Whose Wedding You Attended Five Years Ago

 

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you just got unfollowed | @carlyaquilino

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You were thick as thieves in college, pregamed semi-formal together, and you even visited her hometown during summer break one year. She got married right after graduation and you attended her wedding. Here’s the catch: you haven’t seen each other since then and the only reason she knows you’re engaged is because she follows you on Instagram. You may feel like a huge bitch by leaving her off the guest list, but if you haven’t spoken to her in the last year (happy birthday texts don’t count), axe her. Weddings are priced on a per-head basis, so not inviting her will save you a few hundred dollars. Since you don’t see each other on the reg, you won’t have to face her and explain that her invite must have gotten lost in the mail. Let go of the guilt and move on. 

2. Your Co-Worker

Just because you talk about your wedding with the people you work with doesn’t mean you’re obligated to invite them. Sure, they threw you a surprise party for your engagement and listened to you bitch about your fiancé’s lack of involvement in planning, but unless you regularly hang out with them outside of work, remove them from the list. They’ll probably be relieved not to receive an invite, especially if you’re getting married in a different state than the one you work in. If you’re struggling to figure out what to do about a specific co-worker, think of it this way: if you left the company tomorrow, would you still keep in touch with this person? If not, then they shouldn’t be at your wedding! It’s not in your job description to include everyone on the guest list, so invite who you want to invite. 

3. Your Mom’s Cousin Twice-Removed Who You’ve Never Met

 

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You’ve got your A list, your B list, and even your C list. May the odds be ever in their favor ✂️ | @hotpatooties

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It’s possible you or your fiancé will see names of people on the proposed guest list that you had no clue you were even related to. In some cultures, it’s tradition to invite every single relative to the wedding, regardless if you’ve met them or not. If that’s not the case and your mom is pushing to add Great Aunt Sylvia to the guest list, approach mom calmly and explain that you and your fiancé want to keep the wedding to close friends and family. If that doesn’t work, bring up the money factor. Again, weddings are priced on a per-head basis, so if you show your mom how much she’ll save, she’ll probably want Great Aunt Sylvia to stay home. Plus, her hip is bad anyway, so you’re kinda doing her a favor.

4. Kids

No, you don’t have to invite your cousin’s 2-year-old daughter who cries whenever her mom isn’t near her for 10 seconds. Asking guests to leave their kids at home isn’t an unreasonable request, especially if you give them plenty of notice. Who wants seven attention-hungry kids taking over the dance floor at your reception or hogging the late-night snacks? TBH, your guests who have children will probably be relieved that they can’t bring them along. It’s a nice excuse for them to enjoy some kid-free time for a few hours. It’s important you don’t put this explicitly on your invitation, though. Put only the parents’ names on the envelope and make a note on your website that it’s an adults-only affair. You can even offer childcare if you know that a guest has no other option than to bring them. Bottom line: if you don’t want kids, don’t invite them.

5. Anyone Just Because They Invited You to Their Wedding

 

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everyone knows the women’s bathroom is where you meet your l̵i̵f̵e̵ ̵l̵o̵n̵g̵ ̵f̵r̵i̵e̵n̵d̵s̵ bridesmaids | tw: mere_cyr

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This is not a reason to invite someone. It might feel awkward not to include them, but think about the situation in reverse: if you knew you were being invited to a wedding solely because you invited them to yours, wouldn’t you feel a little less welcome? Guests at your wedding should be people you want to celebrate your love with, not people who are there because you feel like they should be. If you strongly believe it will be more awkward later on to not invite them, that’s your prerogative, but you’re not breaking any wedding etiquette rules by leaving them off the list.

Overall, push your feelings of guilt aside and be selfish with your guest list. There’s no reason you should feel like you have to invite anyone (unless mom insists and she’s writing the checks), so take that red pen and start crossing off names. Your wedding only lasts a day, so why spend it with people you don’t want there?

Images: Annie Gray / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram (3)

Are We Having Expensive Weddings To Compete With Instagram, Or Our Friends?

It’s no secret that weddings have gotten out of control. Just ask any 29-year-old who’s spent hours every Sunday this summer performing the ritual wedding hashtag stalk. It’s also no secret that the number of millennials currently in debt thanks to their wedding—or worse, other people’s weddings—is not zero. 

Asked why, the obvious answer is that people are motivated to do it for the ‘gram. According to Wedding Wire’s Newlyweds Report, 28 percent of couples cited “succumbing to Instagram pressure” as a reason for their increased wedding costs. I mean…that photo of the donut wall cake-cutting that never seems to f*cking leave my explore page may be pretty, but I’d rather not make interest payments on it, and I feel like most people would agree. So can Instagram really be the main reason for increased wedding costs when the average bride has like 500 followers and 10 photos on their hashtag page? (I completely made that statistic up.)

This is the donut wall Instagram that’s everywhere:

 

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Who needs wedding cake when you have a donut wall ??? . . Follow [email protected] Follow [email protected] Follow [email protected] . . . . //Photo by @lukeandmallory //Dress @bellalilybridal //Bride @allyscalf //Groom @ryanscalf •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ • ⠀ #soloverly #weddings #bride #bridetobe #truelove #thebest #pursuepretty #weddingfun #iloveyou #weddinginspiration #instawedding #blushgown #weddingideas #weddingphoto #weddingtime #instabride #gettingmarried #weddingblog #valentino #michaelkors #marriage #perfect #weddingcake #dessert #relationshipgoals #donuts #cuteideas

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We spoke to Jamie Lipman, the founder of the event-planning company absolute. Wedding & Event Planning to get her take on what she sees as brides’ main motivations for spending more money, and the answer was a tale as old as time: brides are actually spending to compete with their close friends.

Credit: Alain Martinez Photography

According to Lipman, “As a planner, we’re privy to getting super intimate with our clients, and it’s kind of like therapy. They can just flat-out say, ‘my friend got married last week, it’s gotta be bigger and better.’” And as it goes with friend groups, when one gets engaged, there are usually more to follow. The result is that brides are going to numerous weddings around the time they’re getting married, which creates opportunity for comparison. “I had a girl who was kind of like 27 Dresses—went to a wedding every weekend—so every weekend was something incredibly extravagant. The place card wall was floor to ceiling, they had fire-based entertainment, neon LED lights—she compiled all this stuff and gave me a list of everything she’s seen lately and that she has to do more and have a bigger wow factor. She hit every single possible thing of miscellaneous entertainment that we do in our industry. What she neglected to do was focus on the details.”

“The things people try to one-up are the dresses, outfit changes, the gifts they’re giving their bridesmaids, even the way they thank their vendors on Instagram. Honestly, I see a lot of resemblance in photos after.”

Credit: Adi Adinayev

There seems to be no aspect of the wedding—no matter how sentimental or meaningful—that is exempt from competition. “I have had brides who demand to read speeches and toasts ahead of time and critique them because they know how well their best friend’s father did reciting his speech and now she is demanding her dad ‘be more sentimental’ about her,” Lipman says.

Apparently this pattern encompasses more than the wedding itself, and includes pretty much every event a bride could conceive of to celebrate herself, from engagement to honeymoon. “There is an element of status that goes along with the bachelorette,” Lipman explains. “Where are you traveling? How many girls? To see a lot of girls on a trip in your honor makes a statement. So it becomes so much about what will the attire be, as in ‘what will look the best in photos.’ It all looks better in their mind because the actuality of it is that no matter how much you love each other, no girl wants to travel with so many other girls. Intimate environments are what it’s all about.” 

Credit: Cheryl & Jay

At the same time, there’s pressure to do things differently from one’s closest friends, basically for the sake of being different. “We also get brides who don’t want something because their friend had it. I’ve definitely had friends or sisters also tell someone that they can’t have something. Especially if it’s the same venue. Sometimes a bride will want to do something, but their friend got married first and took the idea so now they won’t or feel like they can’t.” She even says, “I’ve definitely heard brides say their friends can’t use the same dress designer.”

Lipman says the real way to stand out is through personalization. “There’s nothing more exciting than the subtle references and details that are specific to the bride and groom, that usually have some humor to it, that make people go ‘wait what? This is great.’” But it’s important to keep it subtle. “Over personalization is something that, when not done right, copied off of social media, or not guided in the right direction by a planner, can be tacky and obnoxious. For example, monograms are pretty basic. I don’t know how important it is to put names of the couples on a logo at the top of the wedding menu anymore. Everyone knows who they came to see.” So make it just a little more interesting.

Credit: Emily Harris Photography

When it comes to Instagram, she thinks brides use it more for inspiration than for competition. “People gather information from Instagram, but it usually stems from a good place because they don’t know the person whose wedding they’re looking at. It’s usually an influencer and you don’t have a direct connection to them. So you can still appreciate it. None of the other human emotions—jealousy, competitiveness—get in the way. The bride can still take from their idea and truly feel that it is their own because they don’t have friends or family in common with this social media stranger. It won’t trace back in her own world, so she gets to hear ‘wow…that was so creative, I can’t believe you did that.’” 

We asked her how stressful this must be to deal with and she assures us that, “it’s not always so catty. I think everybody prides themselves on at least trying to be original.” You know what that means: say no to neon signs and donut walls in 2020.

Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash

How To Tell Your Guests You Just Want Money For Your Wedding

For some reason, the biggest wedding faux pas of all time is to straight-up ask for a cash gift. This isn’t the 1950s, so it isn’t everyone’s dream to get a Crock Pot or a new set of knives as a wedding gift (but both of those things are awesome IMO, #adulting). Chances are you and your soon-to-be spouse have been shacking up for a while now (forgive me Father for I have sinned), and your place is probably furnished. So like, you don’t really need another KitchenAid mixer or a bunch of plates because you bought that stuff years ago. Thankfully it’s 2019 and we’ve finally figured out how couples can get what they really want from their guests: money. Here’s how to do it tactfully. 

Cash Registry

 

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We are ALL for creating cash funds for your wedding!!!! When it comes to a wedding, is there even a better option? | @cathy__rose @offcampus

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Websites like Zola and Honeyfund have ushered the concept of wedding gifts into the 21st century by giving couples an option to register for items unrelated to houseware. You can ask for money towards your honeymoon, home renovations, an activity, or another large purchase. Guests will feel better about gifting money when you tell them how you’re planning on spending their money. Without enough context, older guests might be convinced they’re funding your next kegger, so be as explicit as possible by asking for things like a couple’s massage on your honeymoon, or a new couch for your living room, so they don’t shy away from giving you that sweet cash. 

Don’t Put It On Your Invitation

Guests probably won’t react well if your wedding invitation has your Venmo handle on the bottom of it. You might be tempted to stamp “bring me cash!!!” on the envelope, but try your best to resist. On your wedding website you can provide a link to your cash registry, which will heavily imply what you’d like (which in this case, is cash). We’re moving into the 21st century by being able to give money, but let’s keep things classy when it comes to invitation language. 

Spread The Word

me to my family: can you just write me a check and leave me the F alone?

— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) April 16, 2019

We all have that bridesmaid who doesn’t STFU. Normally she’s the only one you can’t tell anything to, but we’ve actually got the perfect job for her. Let her know that you and your fiancé would prefer a cash gift, and (mouthing) off she’ll go. If people ask you what you’d like for your wedding, don’t be afraid to be honest. Let them know you have a lot of home goods already and you’d love them to contribute to your honeymoon or a big furniture purchase. Again, telling them explicitly where their check will go will make them feel better about not giving a physical gift. 

Set Out A Card Box At The Wedding

Let’s be real, when you see “cards” written on a wooden box at a wedding, what the couple really means is, “Help me, I’m poor”. Setting one of these by the guest book or the escort card table will let guests know you’re open to receiving checks. Don’t go as far as having the ushers walk up to guests during cocktail hour asking for donations (this isn’t church), but setting it out as an option for guests is a subtle way to ask for dolla dolla bills.

Give People Options

once you accept you’re going to be bleeding money, the entire wedding process will start to get a litttttle bit easier

— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) July 25, 2019

No matter how badly you don’t want a traditional registry, you’ll probably have guests that are sticklers when it comes to tradition (for example, my mother), so it’s a good idea to create one in case people are committed to giving you a physical gift. There are still dozens of options for non-traditional registry gifts, like sports equipment or bar accessories, so you don’t have to get stuck asking for baking trays or a mixing stand if you’d never use those. At the end of the day, people are going to give you whatever gift they feel most comfortable with, so you might as well be prepared with a traditional registry in case. 

Images: betchesbrides / Twitter; betchesbrides / Instagram

Does Anyone Actually Have Sex On Their Wedding Night?

We’ve all seen the stereotypical depiction of wedding night sex on TV and in the movies—the groom carries his bride across the threshold into a hotel room that looks like Valentine’s Day threw up, and the couple proceeds to have missionary romantic sex and consummate the marriage. As heartwarming as that may sound, I was skeptical that most couples do this, especially after experiencing the exhaustion following my own wedding. Do most newly married couples actually have sex on their wedding night or is this yet another wedding tradition that is better left in the 1950’s (looking at you, garter toss)? I decided to consult a panel of experts my married friends to find out.

How Common Is It?

Although wedding night sex sounds great in theory, the majority of couples don’t do the deed on their wedding night: one survey found that 48% of couples actually had sex on the night of their wedding, and in my own informal survey of my married friends, only one-third reported having wedding night sex. This isn’t very surprising when you consider the wedding day in its entirety. In most cases, you’re up at an ungodly hour for hair and makeup and on your feet for hours on end posing for thousands of pictures, dancing, drinking, and pretending to like certain family members greeting guests. After over 12 hours of being “on,” there’s a good chance that either the emotional or physical exhaustion (or both) will get the best of you. If you do summon the energy to do it, you’ll be lucky if either party finishes before passing out. That said, if tradition is important to you and you would like to increase your chances of having wedding night sex, read on for some tips.

DO Pace Yourself And Have A Plan

If having sex on your wedding night is a priority for you, it’s best to work out a plan with your partner ahead of time. It’s no secret that a day’s worth of drinking will lead to sex that is about as enjoyable as a root canal—potentially painful and numbness is a prerequisite. If you have an after-party planned for late into the evening, it might be a good idea to find some time to sneak away in between the reception and the after-party, as one of my friends did. Or you might decide to forgo sex right after the end of the night and wait until the next morning, as a significant number of my married friends did. After all, by the time you stumble home, it will probably be the next day anyway. If you both agree that taking advantage of the open bar is a better use of your time (same), it may be better to use those couple of hours before passing out to drunk-eat pizza rather than wiggle on top of each other endlessly with no hope of a finale.

DON’T Get Carried Away

Given the sheer amount of hours and energy that make up a wedding day, even attempting to have sex on your wedding night is quite an achievement. Just like the best weddings are those that are an authentic representation of the couple, the same can be said for the sex that is had on the wedding night, if any. While it might sound nice to be carried over to a bed littered with rose petals while the poor man’s Kenny G. is inexplicably playing over the Sonos your bestie let you borrow, unless you are this extra in all of your sexual encounters, it’s best to keep things short and simple. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of googling “wedding night sex” and believing the utter bullsh*t hype you will no doubt encounter. For example, your wedding night is no place for a sexy treasure hunt or some erotic story time, unless that’s in your usual repertoire (and if that’s the case, please explain yourself). There’s no shame in getting some shut-eye after one of the longest days of your life, especially if you have a brunch or other activity planned for the next day.

Weddings come with enough pressure and expectations as it is; whether or not you decide to have sex on your wedding night should not add to the stress. If you have the desire and the energy to do it, then go for it and godspeed. But if you’re utterly exhausted, there’s no need to beat yourself up, either. Know that you’re in good company and you’ll have the rest of your life to make up for it.

Images: Sweet Ice Cream Photography / Unsplash; Giphy (3)