bridesmaids helping brides

Tuesdays with Ty - Keeping your engagement ring sparkly

After getting the engagement ring of my dreams I hardly ever wanted to take it off...whether to shower, sleep, exercise or anything!  My ring has become a permanent fixture on my hand.  With that much wear it is bound to get a little dingy ever once in a while, so I did some research on how to keep it sparkling just like the day Brandon slipped it on my finger!

When to take it off:  Jewelers will tell you to take it off to exercise, shower, sleep...but let's be realistic.  I take mine off to shower, when I am cooking and using my hands in meat, cleaning with chemicals,  and I would if I worked outside (but that doesn't really happen). 

Cleaning:  I clean my ring about once a week.  It doesn't have to be anything special.  A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small bowl of warm, soapy water will do just fine.  Many jewelry stores also sell a container of jewelry cleaner with a small brush that is also convenient.  Also remember to stop up the sink anytime you have your ring off around an open drain!

Care:  Take your ring into your jeweler once or twice a year to have the setting checked.  This will prevent the prongs being loosened due to wear and losing your diamond!  A few hours without it is better than a tragedy.

White Gold:  You may or may not know that white gold is simply yellow gold plated with rhodium.  If your ring is white gold you may notice after a while that it is not as shiny as it once was.  This just means it is time for your ring to have the rhodium refreshed and sometimes is required twice a year.  This is also a good time to have the prongs checked and have it professionally cleaned. 

Platinum:  Rings in a platinum setting may just need to be buffed every once in a while to refresh their shine.  Your jeweler can also take care of this for you. 

Bridesmaid Tip:  When your friends get engaged get them a goodie bag and include jewelry cleaner and a ring holder in it:)  They will be two things she won't want to be without!

Happy Planning!



Tuesdays with Ty - Reception Menus

The food served at your wedding reception should help reflect you and your fiance's style and tastes.  What if your tastes are vastly different, you may ask??  That's where you can (and should) build both in to the menu.

Brandon and I we decided at the beginning we wanted everything to be comfortable and relaxed for our wedding day, and that will extend to our food.  Our caterer, Lundy's Special Events, has a HUGE menu to choose from.  After weighing all the options, we decided on a dinner buffet for our reception.  We are trying to stick within our budget and while some may think heavy hors d'oeuvres are less expensive...think again!  Since the portions are smaller, many people will eat several.  If you are going this route, be sure and include some more substantial food mixed in.  The bite sized menu items are all the rage with receptions this year.  I love the idea, but it just wasn't our style for the main course, so we plan on using it later in the evening. to reveal our dinner selections!  It is important to make sure YOU are going to enjoy the food served to all your guests.  Brandon doesn't like crazy foods and I love home-style cooking, so we are doing a traditional Southern meal.  Southern pork tenderloin, fried chicken, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, salad and fresh fruit!  I am getting hungry just thinking about it!  We are also going to serve a "late night snack" but have yet to decide what it may be.  The ideas we have been given are Krispy Kreme donuts, mini cookies and milk shooters, cheese sticks, mini milkshakes...I could go on and on! 

Food stations are also a fun idea for receptions.  We considered doing this with a pasta station and hot brown station.  Never be afraid to ask your caterer what your options are...the possibilities are endless!  Nacho bars, sushi bars, mashed potato bars, etc.  You can make the reception meal whatever you want!  Just make sure everyone will eat, drink and be ready to dance the night away!

Bridesmaid Tip: Offer to take your bride out to dinner at her fave restaurant to help brainstorm her favorite foods.  This may trigger a reception idea she may have never considered!

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Planning the Honeymoon

On these cold, snowy days in Kentucky I am longing for tropical breezes and sunshine!  What better time to plan our honeymoon??!! 

Since we were pretty much snowed in yesterday, Brandon and I started researching honeymoon spots and weighing our pros and cons for each location.  Where do you begin, you may ask??  We started with deciding what kind of trip we want...a relaxing, tropical get-away where we can lay on the beach with a few good books and not worry about anything other than what fruity daiquiri to try next or where to eat that night.   There are lots of options out there depending on what type honeymoon you want.  We won't have more than a week due to his work schedule and mine with Twirl, so somewhere far, far away isn't ideal for us.  We are sticking with somewhere within a 4-5 hour flight so the relaxation can begin right away!  That being said, we will end up in either Mexico or the Caribbean!

There are TONS of great options out there for helping you plan if you are doing it on your own.  You can always go the Sandals All-Inclusive route - they have tons of great locations and know how to treat honeymooners.  My best friend just went to Sandals St. Lucia and loved every minute of it.  There are usually local representatives you can speak with about different options and they will help tailor your trip to exactly what you want.

Travelzoois another great website for deals on trips.  Yesterday I found a trip to Playa del Carmen Mexico to a great resort for a heck of a deal!  I also found a 6 day trip to the Amalfi coast of Italy for an unbelievable price.  If we had more time, believe me we would be in Italy!  My suggestion if you find any hotel on a deal website like this is to look it up on TripAdvisor and read the traveler reviews on everything.  You can usually get a good feel of how the resort will treat you, how the food is, etc.  That way you can make an informed decision on your trip.  Expedia and Orbitz usually are a big help when looking for deals as well.

In the end, it just comes down to what you and your fiance want out of the Honeymoon experience.  You can make any budget work and have a fabulous trip!

Bridesmaid Tip:  Sign up for Travelzoo or other travel website "Deals of the Week" to keep your eyes open for deals to send your bride for her honeymoon.  Any little bit of help is welcomed when trying to plan everything.

Tuesdays with Ty - The Guest List

This part of wedding planning could quite possibly be the trickiest and stressful part of your wedding experience.  Parents, grandparents, friends all giving their input and putting the stress on who you need to invite!!  It is enough to drive any bride crazy.

No one really realizes  just how many people you know until you start making your wedding guest list.  I suggest you start this process soon after the engagement before you start looking for venues.  You will need to know the core group of people you have to fit and most all places you visit will ask you how big your wedding will be.   This will also help with the catering and bar budget and everything else!

We started making an Excel spreadsheet (yes, I know, I am a dork) of family on one page and friends on another.  That way both lists were organized and separated.  You can make columns for each name, address, what names you want on inside envelope and it also gives you a central location to keep the RSVPs as they come in.  You can also keep track of gifts each guests sends as well and have their address handy for thank you notes!  This one list will keep you organized throughout your wedding process:)

So now the tough part.  Where do you draw the line on who to invite?  We set a budget and are trying really hard to stay within it.  Our guest list way exceeds the budget we set, but our wedding falls on a holiday weekend, so we are assuming that may play into who will actually be able to make it.  We also made the preliminary list and THEN asked the parents if anyone important was left off.  This will eliminate them adding a ton of people that you may end up having to trim down.  While you want to keep them happy (especially if they are helping to pay) this is your wedding and you don't want a ton of people there you don't know. 

Also remember a few etiquette not invite anyone to a shower or wedding function that will not be invited to the wedding.  Never tell someone you can't wait to come to their wedding unless you are 100% sure you are invited.   Another biggie is whether or not to let single friends bring a guest.  While tradition says you don't have to give them a plus one unless they are seriously dating someone, if you can swing it with your budget it is always nice to give them the option.  I was the single girl for years and it was never fun to be reminded that I didn't even have the choice to bring anyone.

Bridesmaid tip: Help keep your bride calm through the process of the guest list.  Offer her advice on if she should invite her kindergarten teacher just because her mom wants her to...and help her realize it will all be ok in the end!

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Starting your Wedding Registry

Now that you have all of the big things done...chosen your bridal gown and picked out the cutest bridesmaid dresses from you get to make your wish list for wedding gifts!  This is the only time in your life that you can pick out gifts and friends will ask where they can buy them for you!  To make the most of it, I suggest asking your bridesmaids their advice!

Since we both have had our own houses, Brandon and I took an assessment of our top priorities for the registry.  We decided to be traditional and register for nice China and stemware because we do like to entertain and it will be useful in the future.   We also decided to find flatware that will be appropriate for everyday use and nice enough to use with our China.  I also wanted to select new everyday use dishes that will last through the years and not become dated after using them for a while.  So after thinking long and hard about what we wanted, we chose to register at the following places and why:

  • Macy's - Great selection of China, Flatware, Stemware, Towels, Cookware.  Always having a sale!  They also do fun "Sip and Scans" in the evenings where you can enjoy appetizers and drinks and socialize with other couples.  Macy's also offers rewards back to the couple on their Macy's card for everything purchased off your registry.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond - Great selection of the same China, Kitchen Gadgets and Bakeware.  They are always sending out 20% off coupons so that makes it nice and more affordable for guests as well!
  • Pottery Barn - I LOVE Pottery Barn - everyday dishes, glassware, serveware.  It was a must for me.  Classic style that will last for years.
  • Lowe's - This one was Brandon's request.  Do you know how many trips you make to Lowe's when you are working on a house project??

Tips from my bridesmaids:

  • Nancy: "Register not just for items for today but things you may want to use 5, 10 or 20 years down the road. I love my china and silver I registered for even though I don't have a dining room now to use it, I know I will one day!"
  • Deanna: "Just relax and have fun.....register for everything that you think that you might want, you can always take it back."
  • Katherine:  "Let your man take the scanning gun.  I apparently “stole” the gun from Les, and I still hear about it to this day!  You can always go online and make adjustments afterward, so let them have their fun!" 
  • Hillary:  "Don’t hold back…this is the time to register for those things that you never buy for yourself!  And.. My mother always says every girl has to have at least one thing from Tiffany’s for a wedding gift!"
  • Jodi:  "When I registered for dinnerware, I registered for something that I could use current day.  Six years later, the set no longer matches the decor in my kitchen.  I wish I would have registered for china that I could have passed down to my daughter when she was married - something plain, classic, and something you only bring out for special occasions."

Happy Shopping!

- Ty