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Advice Wedding Planning

10 tips for an out of the ordinary courthouse wedding

LOW-KEY FABULOUS WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BIG DAY STAND OUT

Wedding season hasn’t quite been the same since 2020 reared its ugly head. Whether your lavish wedding was cancelled due to the pandemic or you’re more inclined to organize a low-key affair for the big day, courthouse weddings are seeing a resurgence.

The rigmarole of wedding planning can be overwhelming at best, so there’s no surprise that the simplicity of courthouse weddings are attractive to couples who want to get through the “I dos” and just be married already. After all, isn’t the marriage the most exciting part of it all anyway?

With that said, as quick and simple as courthouse weddings can be, they can sometimes leave you feeling a sense of “was that it?” There are floral arches, breathtaking views, regal aisles, or themed décor (unless an old wooden-clad office lined with ancient books and an inch of dust is your thing).

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make the event a little more special. There are a number of things you and your partner can do to transform your quaint ceremony into something spectacular.

BENEFITS OF A COURTHOUSE WEDDING

LESS EXPENSIVE (LIKE, WAYYYY LESS)

According to a 2017 survey, the average cost of a Canadian wedding is over 42K, with almost 88 per cent accounting for the ceremony, reception, and other expenses like flowers, entertainment, photography, and stationary.

A courthouse wedding in Canada costs less than $200.

LESS TIME PLANNING

When you cut out major time-consuming elements of wedding planning like searching for the location, booking the venue, searching for backup locations, picking themes, music, seating, programs for the ceremony – you get the picture – you’ll have less stress since the amount of time spent planning a courthouse wedding pales in comparison to a traditional wedding.

We found a study published in 2019 by The Independent, and they determined that the average time it takes to plan a modern wedding is around 528 hours.

LESS STRESS AND PRESSURE

Naturally, when you spend less time and money planning an event, you feel less stress and pressure from deadlines, timelines, choices, and accommodating your needs and the needs of everyone invited.

MORE INTIMATE

You can’t cram in 150 guests into your courthouse wedding, so there’s no need to be shy when working on your invitation list and slashing through names that don’t make the cut. That’s one of the joys of having a courthouse wedding, you can surround yourself with only the people you love most.

WAYS TO MAKE YOUR COURTHOUSE WEDDING MORE SPECIAL

Getting married is special enough as it is, but if you wanted to zhuzh up your courthouse ceremony, check out these ten tips!

GO ALL OUT ON YOUR DRESS

Just because you’re getting married in a courthouse or at city hall doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself the incredible joy of wearing a gorgeous wedding gown perfectly designed for your style and personality.

At the end of the day, the moment is about you and your partner and the love you share, so splurge on what will make you look and feel your absolute best on your last day of singlehood. There’s truly nothing better than getting ready and slipping into your dream gown, taking a twirl, and knowing you’re the most beautiful person in the world at that moment.

Read More: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR DRESS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE DURING A PANDEMIC

PAMPER YOURSELF

Following the theme of doing whatever makes you happy on your wedding day, take a moment for some self-care. Whether that’s getting a facial, a mani-pedi, a 90 min massage, doing hot yoga, meditating, dirt biking, getting your favourite breakfast a greasy spoon, or going on a shopping spree, spend the time before your ceremony to check in with yourself and indulge.

HOST A RECEPTION

You’ve said, “I do,” you’ve signed the papers, and now you’re married. It’s time to celebrate! There’s no need to hold back on your reception. In fact, you have so many great options to commemorate this joyous event.

Throw a bash, host a party, rent a cottage, have an intimate dinner party, make it a little more formal with a venue, or even throw a “surprise, we’re married” style party.

INVITE YOUR FAVOURITES ONLY

Do you remember when MySpace was relevant, and you could pick your top ten besties to have on your wall? Think of your courthouse wedding like that.

There may be some hurt feelings, but the day is about you and your partner, no one else has a vote in how you choose to get married.

Invite your core group – the people who truly know you and want to support your exciting new endeavour. But be sure to call ahead to find out how many people you’re allowed to bring with you. Some courthouses have limits, especially due to the pandemic.

SPLURGE ON FLOWERS

Bring colour, vibrance, and life to the courthouse with a flourishing bouquet adorned with your favourite blooms. Flowers are seasonal and, particularly when they’re from specialty shops, can run a bit of a bill, so call ahead, find out what their selection is and place your order for your wedding day.

BOOK A STYLISH RIDE TO WHISK YOU AWAY

There’s always the tried-and-true limo or UberX, but did you know you can rent luxury vehicles and old-fashioned specialty cars for the day? You can arrive at your ceremony in style and step out of a car even James Bond would envy.

INCORPORATE SOME OF YOUR OWN TRADITIONS

Every family has its own set of traditions, whether they relate to the holidays, seasons, or weddings – there’s usually something you do that is unique to you and your loved ones.

Well, you can also apply these traditions to a courthouse wedding!

Take a moment to think about what is important to you and what rituals, observances, or other unique elements you want to factor into your ceremony.

WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS

You are two very unique people with shared life experiences, so it’s fitting to write your own vows to express your special bond.

HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER

Just like a traditional wedding, you’ll need someone around you to capture the magic.

And we don’t mean your bestie hosting an Instagram live stream of your nuptials.

Make it a priority to hire a photographer and videographer – oftentimes, they can do both – so you can cherish the day for years to come.

They will fall under your wedding party, so make sure you factor them into your final count for the ceremony.

SELECT A GORGEOUS PHOTO BACKDROP

Whether you’re posing in the park, gathering in the garden, or doing a photo shoot at home, your backdrop will make a world of difference.

Scout for the ideal location for your wedding photos or purchase/rent backdrops to host your own photo shoot. If you’ve hired a photographer, they usually have backdrops, so be sure to ask them ahead of time.

Psst – Don’t forget to have a backup location in case the weather doesn’t go in your favour!

A courthouse wedding may be completely customizable, but these ten tips can elevate your experience and allow you to represent who you are, your unique personalities, and the incredible love you have for each other.

In the end, it’s not about the things or the location. The most important part is that you’re with the love of your life, and you’re about to embark on a magical journey together. Make your memories, share love and laughter, and enjoy the ride!

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Advice Dress Shopping Wedding Dresses

The different types of undergarments to wear under your wedding dress

SOLVING COMMON BRIDAL UNDERGARMENT DILEMMAS

With so much focus on finding your dream wedding gown, we often forget about what we need to wear underneath the dress – which is almost as important! To help you you choose the right bridal undergarments that will give you the perfect silhouette on your wedding day, we’ll provide solutions to common undergarment dilemmas and offer tips for finding the perfect bridal undergarments.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WEARING THE RIGHT BRIDAL UNDERGARMENTS UNDER YOUR GOWN

Undergarments may seem like an afterthought, but they really are important. They have the power to completely alter your silhouette, provide support when needed, and help you look your absolute best in your gown.

Most brides imagine themselves wearing a beautiful lingerie set under their wedding dress, however, something more comfortable and practical that will give you a streamlined silhouette and won’t show under your gown is often a better way to go.

COMMON UNDERGARMENT DILEMMAS

DO I NEED TO WEAR A BRA?

We hear this question a lot. Whether there are concerns of modesty or needing support, the question of whether to wear a bra with your wedding dress is an incredibly common dilemma for brides.

The beauty of wedding dresses is that in most cases, you do not need to wear a bra. Many dresses are designed with built-in cups or can be customized during alterations to add more support. This is great for dresses that are low cut and/or backless that would not be able to hide a bra.

However, that’s not to say that you can’t wear a bra under your gown. If you feel you need the extra support and your dress will conceal a bra, then you can absolutely wear one. It’s all about finding what makes you feel most comfortable.

YOU WANT A SMOOTHER SILHOUETTE IN A FITTED GOWN

While many fitted gowns are structured to create a beautiful silhouette, you may find that you’d like things smoothed out a bit more. In this case, shapewear or seamless nude underwear can help smooth everything out so there are no bumps or visible panty lines.

TYPES OF BRIDAL UNDERGARMENTS TO CONSIDER

SHAPEWEAR

If you’ve chosen a fitted gown, shapewear is a great way to ensure everything is smooth and seamless.

If your dress is snug around your hips and thighs, look for shapewear that starts at your natural waist and extends just above the knees.

Just remember that if you do decide to wear shapewear under your gown, you will need to bring it with you to every fitting as it can have a significant impact on the fit of your dress.

SLIP

If your dress is slightly sheer or slinky, a slip will provide a smooth canvas and ensure no undergarments are showing.

CORSET

If your dress doesn’t have a built-in corset, but you’d like to get the cinched in effect that one provides, a custom-fitted corset is a great way to achieve the silhouette that you want. However, also keep in mind that comfort is incredibly important on your wedding day and that you don’t want anything standing in the way of enjoying your wedding and dancing the night away.

LINGERIE

If you’ve had your heart set on a beautiful piece of lingerie for your wedding night, that’s okay too. Just be sure that it’s in a lighter colour so that it won’t be visible and detract away from your beautiful dress. Try to stay away from black, red, or bright colours unless you’ve gone with a non-traditional coloured gown.

BACKLESS BRA

If you’re wearing a backless dress but need more support than just cups alone can offer, there are backless bras on the market that can help.

SEAMLESS NUDE UNDERWEAR

Every bride needs a great pair of seamless nude underwear that will appear invisible under your wedding dress. We promise you’ll thank us later.

TIPS FOR FINDING THE RIGHT UNDERGARMENTS

ASK YOUR BRIDAL STYLIST

When shopping for your wedding dress, don’t be afraid to ask your bridal stylist what types of undergarments you may need for a particular dress. Your stylist will know which dresses have elements like built-in corsets or cups, and which ones can be customized during alterations.

BRING YOUR UNDERGARMENTS TO DRESS SHOPPING AND FITTINGS

If you have a good idea of the style of dresses you’ll be trying on and know what type of undergarments you will need, bring these to your initial shopping appointment and all subsequent fittings. This includes nude underwear, a strapless nude bra, or shapewear if you plan to wear it.

GET PROFESSIONALLY FITTED

Around 80% of women wear the incorrect bra size, so if you do plan to wear a bra under your wedding dress, be sure to get properly fitted at a lingerie store so that it not only fits perfectly but is comfortable and looks great under your dress.

FACTOR IN COMFORT

While every bride wants to look beautiful on their wedding day, it’s also important that you are comfortable as well. Throughout your wedding day, you will be on your feet a lot, from walking down the aisle to greeting guests, dancing, and eating. So, you want to make sure that you are going to enjoy the festivities, and not spend the whole night feeling miserable and uncomfortable. Make sure that your undergarments aren’t too tight and constricting and allow you to sit and move around comfortably.

The takeaway here is that wedding dresses and undergarments go hand in hand, so it’s important to factor this in when shopping for gowns and planning your head-to-toe bridal look. When in doubt, plan for comfort and practicality. And of course, ask your bridal stylist for recommendations. Because with the right pair of undergarments, your bridal look will come together flawlessly, so you can feel nothing but confident while walking down the aisle.

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Advice

Post-wedding Checklist: Everything you need to do after saying “I do”

WHAT TO INCLUDE ON YOUR POST-WEDDING CHECKLIST

You’ve said the I dos and danced the night away. Yet, before you can be whisked off on your honeymoon and live happily ever after, there are some important tasks that need to be taken care of. Like a post-wedding checklist!

Since you’ll likely be caught up in post-wedded bliss after your wedding, we’ve made this process a bit easier by providing a breakdown of everything that should be on your to-do list after your wedding. Along with timelines for when these tasks should ideally be taken care of.

THE DAY AFTER

SLEEP!!!

It’s no secret that planning and executing a wedding is exhausting. As the adrenaline wears off and reality sinks in, you’re going to be pretty tired by the end. I mean, unless you have some sort of superhuman powers (or just lots of coffee). So, carve out a bit of time for self-care and let yourself sleep in the morning after your wedding. You deserve it!

HOST A POST WEDDING BRUNCH

This isn’t mandatory, but it’s a great way to get together for one last hurrah. You can reminisce about the night before, and thank your guests. Especially if you have a lot of out of town guests or had a destination wedding.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or have your entire guestlist in attendance. Just gather your close friends and immediate family, along with any out of town guests for a casual sit-down or buffet brunch and toast to your new life as a married couple.

PACK UP ITEMS AT THE VENUE

If your venue doesn’t offer onsite accommodations, you’ll need to head back over the next morning to gather all your décor and decide what to do with it.

Whether you sell them, keep them as mementos, or decide to get rid of them, that’s completely up to you.

READ MORE: The 15 Most Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue Before You Book

DONATE YOUR FLOWERS

Again, this one isn’t mandatory, but is a great way to do some good with your flowers that would have otherwise been thrown out. But you might be wondering, how and why would you donate flowers?

There are many organizations that collect wedding flowers and turn them into beautiful bouquets. These bouquets are then brought to hospitals or seniors’ homes to lift the spirits of residents and patients. So, not only will your wedding flowers bring you joy on your special day but will be used to bring a smile to someone else’s face who may be going through a hard time. How sweet is that?

If this is something you are interested in, do some research! Find an organization that will either pick-up or allow you to drop off your flowers to them right after the wedding.

RETURN YOUR RENTAL ITEMS

If you rented any equipment, décor, furniture, a tent, dancefloor, or other items for your wedding, these will have to be returned to the vendor, either the next day or whenever was specified in your contract.

Be sure to look over your rental contracts to find out whether the vendor will be picking up the items and handling the takedown, or if you need to take care of these tasks yourself.

3 DAYS TO 1 WEEK AFTER

GO ON YOUR HONEYMOON

For couples lucky enough to jet off on your honeymoon immediately after the wedding, this is a great opportunity to extend your post-nuptial bliss and escape from reality for just a little while longer.

However, many couples also choose to delay their honeymoon to save up a bit more for a big trip either several months or even one year after their wedding. If this is what you have planned, then you can skip to the next step.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR GOWN

If you are planning to hold onto your wedding dress to serve as a reminder of the love, happiness, and jubilation that you experienced on your wedding day, it’s important to have it professionally dry cleaned and stored to preserve its beauty for years to come.

This should be done shortly after your wedding (ideally one week after) so that any stains can be swiftly removed. And if you think you can skip this step as you managed to keep your gown stain-free on your wedding day, keep in mind that some stains can be invisible at first, but will turn brown over time and create a lasting stain. Therefore, having your gown professionally cleaned is always a good idea.

OPEN YOUR GIFTS AND CARDS

Once the dust has settled and you are back from your honeymoon (if you chose to take one right away), now comes the fun part – opening your gifts! There is no timeline for this. However, you likely will want to get to this soon so you can put all your gifts to good use.

While opening gifts, make sure that you write down who gifted you what. This helps with sending out thank you cards after!

3 TO 6 WEEKS AFTER

SEND OUT THANK YOU NOTES

After you’ve opened all your cards and gifts and have recorded who gifted you what, you’ll need to send out thank you notes to anyone who gave you a gift or money. A good rule of thumb is to have your thank you cards sent out within three months after your wedding. Ideally, you should get this done sooner.

This can feel like the tiring and tedious part of your post-wedding checklist at times. But getting your cards completed and sent out quickly will not only show your guests how much you appreciate their generous gift, but will also free up time on your end so you can focus on enjoying married life.

REVIEW YOUR VENDORS

It takes a village – and a lot of vendors – to pull off a wedding. So be sure to show your appreciation for all the vendors that helped make your wedding special by writing favourable reviews. Often vendors will ask you for a review directly. Even if they don’t. Still reach out and ask them what the best way is for you to provide a review.

This not only helps the vendors to book future weddings, but also helps other couples looking for vendors to make their big day magical as well.

CHANGE YOUR NAME (IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO)

If you’re planning to change or hyphenate your last name, start working on this within the first couple of months after your wedding. This can be a lengthy process. If you’re keeping your last name, then you can just sit back, relax, and skip to the next part.

ENJOY MARRIED LIFE!

This is the final and most important part of your post-wedding checklist. Planning a wedding is a huge endeavour that involves a lot of moving parts. But the days and weeks after the wedding can be equally as stressful. For this reason, it’s so important to remember to take time to relax and enjoy being married.

We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that you didn’t have a wedding just for the party. You had a wedding to celebrate your love and be joined together with your new spouse for life. So take time to reflect on your big day and soak everything in. And don’t stress too much about taking care of all the little things after your wedding.

There you have it – your post-wedding checklist!