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What to get the bride and groom for I Do’ number two

WeddingDress-main_FullBy PAULA KASHTAN – WeddingChannel.com 
Your friend just announced she’s getting married – again. Now, the tricky part: What should you do about the gift? Serving platters, place settings, and kitchen appliances don’t seem as useful when it’s the second time around.

Whether it’s the number-two “I do” for the bride, the groom, or both, a second-time couple probably doesn’t need many of the traditional registry items.

After years of independent living, the issue is more likely to be too much stuff rather than a lack of basic household gear. In fact, many couples don’t even fill out registries for their second weddings. Even if there’s no formal registry, though, it’s natural to want to celebrate their big day with some kind of gift. Ditch your old ideas about wedding presents and go for something that truly reflects the couple’s unique style and interests. Get started with these fun ideas.

Activity Starter
If the couple has enough stuff, give a gift that lets them spend time together. Consider a gift certificate for dancing or cooking lessons, museum memberships, a day out on a sailboat, or dinner at a fancy restaurant. Maybe you’ll help them find a new passion!

Hot Tickets
Look for single-performance or season tickets. Maybe there’s an upcoming concert or opera the couple will love. Tickets to a play, musical, or the ballet will thrill culture-seekers. For a sportier pair, check out upcoming professional, minor league, or college athletic events in your area.

Modern Home
Even if the couple’s kitchen is already fully stocked, they may be missing an espresso machine, indoor grill, or martini shaker set. Since they already have the basics, you can have fun buying them cool new gadgets and appliances.

Family Plan
If the bride, groom, or both have children from a previous marriage, look for a gift that the whole family can enjoy together. A dinner cruise, tickets to a sporting event, an evening at the theater, or day lift tickets for a nearby ski resort are all great options.

Weekend Away
Since many couples skip honeymoons with their second spouse, surprise this pair with a weekend at a nearby resort or bed and breakfast. Day spas are also an excellent way for the couple to spend a few hours relaxing together after the hectic months of wedding planning.

A Charitable Gift
For the couple who really has everything, the best gift is one that lets them do the giving. Make a donation to their favorite cause in their name, or give a gift certificate to Global Giving (GlobalGiving.com) and let them pick the charity. If you’d like something more specific, try a site like Changing the Present (ChangingthePresent.org), where you can choose to give clean well water to a community in a developing country, sponsor half an hour of breast cancer research, and hundreds of other small projects in honor of the couple.

Household Help
If the couple will be living together for the first time after the wedding, get them something that celebrates their new home. Sure, they’ve got basic dishware and furniture, but do they have a hammock built for two? Or, if they’re renovating to accommodate their new life together, try a gift certificate to a home supply store.

Personalized Presents
Honor the bride and groom’s new life together with a one-of-a-kind customized gift. Whether it’s something useful (new address labels or a doormat with both their names) or just for fun (a case of Jones Soda with their photos or a customized game of Monopoly), the couple will love the thoughtful celebration of their new partnership.

Monthly Reminders
Give the bride and groom something they can enjoy together for an entire year with some sort of monthly club. Who wouldn’t love a new type of chocolate, wine, or fruit delivered to their door every four weeks? If the couple isn’t the foodie type, consider a fresh flower club. Or, for a pair that loves to read, invest in subscriptions to a few of their favorite magazines.


Bridal Shows – One Stop Shopping

2009-10Facebook Image-2Planning a wedding can be fun and exciting, but with so many plans to be made you’re going to need all the help you can get. Don’t sweat it Bridal Shows may be just what you need.

If you’ve ever planned a wedding before, you know the budgeting and myriad of details involved can be overwhelming. And if you’ve never planned a wedding before, you’ll soon discover the pressure of contacting and contracting with the church, the reception site, the caterer, the florist, the photographer, the videographer, and the musicians – – not to mention ordering invitations, sending thank you notes and finding gifts for your bridal party.

Feeling stressed yet? Well don’t – – whether you are newly engaged, almost ready for the big day, or planning a second wedding, attending a bridal show will save you an abundance of time and significantly reduce the amount of stress you may experience. 

Bridal shows are an inexpensive and timely way to meet and speak directly with a vast variety of wedding professionals from your hometown at one time, in one location! They can help you to get started planning or help you acquire those last minute services to make your event special and unique. 

If you are an encore bride (planning your second or third wedding), don’t hesitate to attend a bridal show. So many new wedding ideas have emerged since your first wedding and a show is an ideal venue to soak it all in.

With shows being a one-stop shopping experience under one roof, a bride can virtually plan her entire wedding in just one day if she is prepared ahead of time. Here are some helpful hints to benefit the most from your bridal show experience:

Establish your wedding budget ahead of time. Make a list of what you need the most and what portion of your budget you wish to allocate to each service/product. 

Plan to spend half of the day there.  Allow enough time for parking, registration, watching the fashion show (usually it lasts approximately one hour), and time to view exhibits before & after the fashion show.  When you get there, go to those businesses who have what you need the most first.

Pick up any information available.  Take some time to look over what you’ve collected once you get home.  Make notes on the literature at the show while it’s fresh in your mind.

Be prepared to make decisions and put deposits down on services. Bring those people who are vital in helping you make decisions, or at least bring someone to bounce off ideas.  Wedding dates fill up quickly once an exhibitor participates in a bridal show.  If you know you definitely want to book with a service provider at a show, they’ll probably require a deposit to hold your date.  Each exhibitor will have its own requirements for payment be it cash, check, or credit cards.  Read contracts carefully and inquire about refund policies before giving any money.

Bring color swatches of the material and ribbon in the colors of your wedding, and even photos of your wedding gown.  This will assist bridal shops, bakeries, florists, and many other professionals in generating ideas to complement your wedding theme.

Bring printed address labels and a pen. Some shows have multiple prize drawing opportunities through the show producer and/or offered by the individual vendors.  To avoid having to write your name, address, phone number, and wedding date 50 times, consider bringing some address labels with all the information on it, or make up your own computer labels that include your phone number (which is usually required for all drawings). If you do print your name on entry forms, write neatly and legibly.

Bring a calendar or date book to help you schedule appointments with potential service providers after the show.

Arrive early regardless of which fashion time you choose, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours before the fashion show.  Fashion show seating is typically first come, first serve.

If you can’t attend personally, send your mom or a friend to pick up information for you. You may even still qualify for prizes at some of the shows.

Grooms-to-be are always welcome!  Bridal shows are not just for brides, there are plenty of wedding plans that may require the groom’s input. 

By all means, ASK QUESTIONS! The vendors are there to help you. You are under no pressure to buy from them, so find out everything you need to know.

When used to the fullest extent, you can plan your entire wedding with the help of just a few shows and without having to fight traffic and drive all over town.  How many shows you decide to attend is up to you. If you only have time to attend one show, try choosing a show that is either produced or sponsored by professionals that specialize exclusively in weddings. However, the more of them you can attend the more time and money you can save. And who knows, you might just win a valuable prize!

How to Create your Bridal Registry

jcpcollage21As a soon-to-bride the gift registry will be a nice way to invite your friends and family to purchase items that you need or want for your new life with your husband. There are a multitude of stores such as department stores such as Macy’s, JCPenny, Dillards, Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other small family heirloom shops and in-home demonstration companies that can provide a bridal registry. One stop shopping places such as Wal-Mart and Target also offer gift registries. Creating a bridal registry is simple and can be done in a short period of time.

Set up a wedding registry checklist if you want to avoid getting five sets of cutting knives and multiple waffle irons among your wedding gifts. 

A wedding registry is a system where you and your partner go to various stores and choose a list of gifts your friends and family members can choose from. Setting one up helps you make sure you do not receive items you already have or do not need, and it will help your loved ones choose gifts you and your partner could really use.

Most stores have a wedding registry system either in the store or online. If someone buys a gift, the list is updated, which will prevent another guest from bringing the same item.

Getting Started

Think about the kinds of items you and your partner need and want for your new life together. Some people will want dishes and others may want decorations.

Remember to research the stores you use; each store may have a different set of guidelines and policies for their wedding registries. Choose stores with wedding registries that are easy to use. Ask if the store has multiple locations, online access and an easy ordering process

Wedding registry Web sites have simplified the gift-buying process. Using the Web will allow you and your guests easy access to your online wedding registry when all of you look to see if updates have been made to the list.

Check on the return policies for the stores you’re considering. For example, they may give you cash back for returns from the registry. Other stores may have restrictions on returns and dictate that you have to have a receipt, that the tags must still be on the item and that you can exchange items only in the same department as the original gift. Make life easier on yourself by finding this information in advance.

Also, some stores offer users a discount on items that are not bought. If you choose each wedding registry list wisely and consider what you and your partner really want, you will be able to start your new life while saving yourselves some money.

Ask friends and family members about their experiences. Also, check with bridal forums and magazines for word-of-mouth feedback on stores and their user-friendliness.

How Many Wedding Registries Are Enough?

You want to have enough wedding registries and selected items so that your guests have options, but you do not want to have so many registries that you overwhelm them. Remember to start this process early; you want to give your guests enough time to shop around and make a decision regarding the perfect wedding gift.

However, you do not want to start your search so early that the items sell out, are discontinued, or shift in price. Take your time doing your research and make your selections three to six months before the wedding. Make sure to check back from time to time to see if the store still has your items in stock.

What Items to Choose

Be sure to choose a variety of items in a range of prices. You don’t have to ask for things you don’t want just because they are cheaper, but some of your guests have and are willing to spend more money than others. Let your guests enjoy buying you gifts without worrying about their bank accounts.

Before you select items, look at your guest list. Most people select two to three items per guest. Your guests will have many options to choose from, but they won’t see so many items that your guests can’t make a decision.

Choose items that you want, and take a little extra time to assemble your wedding registry list. This is your chance to ask for things you and your partner really need or desire and will eliminate gifts you’d return or might take up unneeded space. Many people use their registry to receive items for decorating their new homes. Traditionally, people ask for tableware, china and kitchen appliances, as well as bedding and other home-based items. But always keep your and your partner’s needs first.

When you create your wedding registry, also specify you and your partner’s name. Some of your guests may want to personalize their gifts to you. For example, they may want to engrave a picture frame with your names.

If you do not want traditional gifts like kitchenware and throw pillows, try making a honeymoon-specific registry where guests can contribute meals, trips, lodging and small extras. Also, consider asking your guests to donate time, money, or gifts to some your favorite charities

How to Tell Guests

Many stores provide users with cards to include alongside wedding invitations. However, the decision to include these cards is up to you. Some people may think mentioning gifts in your invitations is uncouth or rude, but some people may welcome the information because they won’t know where to start or shop. 

Check out  this Bridal Registry Checklist when trying to decide what you need and what you don’t.