Tips For a Healthy Bride

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, nature is beautiful and……full of pollen and cedar. There’s nothing like being sick on your wedding day to bring down your mood! That’s why it’s important to start allergy prevention and take care of yourself well before your wedding day gets here. Of course, you can always take a prescription or over the counter allergy medication once you start feeling under the weather, but I think healthy and organic prevention is the best way to go! After all, you want to build a strong immune system, not weaken it with chemicals. The Texas hill country is full of allergens; we’ve got cedar, oak, ragweed, junipers, ash, elm,  and many more.

3lbJarHoney_pinkPhoto Credit: Fains Honey

Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and pick up some locally made honey — meaning within 50 miles of your location. If you take a spoonful each day, it will help acclimate your body to the pollen in the area and will hopefully lessen its effect on you. It’s very important that it be local honey, the closer the better, or it won’t help much at all.

noni_fruitPhoto Credit: Noni.org

I recently discovered the amazing properties of a Hawaiian fruit, Noni. It’s a tropical fruit that’s been used for years to help the body resist infections and enviro-toxins. Noni can be taken as a juice, pill capsule or in its natural form, eaten as a fruit. Warning! Noni has an unpleasant smell that some people find unbearable. I’ve found that the pill capsules don’t have the weird flavor that you’ll get when drinking the juice or eating the fruit.

neti_pot_sinucleansePhoto Credit: SinuCleanse

Neti pots are not my favorite items to combat allergies with (I hate the feeling of having liquid in my nose — like a really big wave at the beach!), but everyone I know who uses one says it works wonders for them. It looks like a tea kettle or magic lamp, and works like nasal spray by using salt water to flush your sinuses and keep them clear. Recommended use is two times a day, especially after spending a lot of time outdoors (like floating the river).

omega-3-fatty-acidPhoto Credit: Psych Central

Omega-3 fatty acids are your best friend for a lot of reasons, one of which is allergy symptom relief. Omega-3s can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and grass-fed meat and eggs. Some added benefits are lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, therapeutic for children with ADHD and autism, prevents and reverses insulin resistance, and is absolutely wonderful for your skin. You can find them in capsules at the grocery store and health food stores if you don’t eat enough of it in its natural form.

crib_mattressPhoto Credit: Greenopedia

Believe it or not, your mattress could have something to do with your bad allergies! The best thing to do is find a high-quality, allergy-free cover or mattress. Wash all of your bedding with hot water at least once a week during allergy season to keep it fresh and irritant free. Check the tags of your mattresses; unless stated otherwise, most mattresses and sheets are sprayed with pesticides.

product_oil_of_oreganoPhoto Credit: Home Remedies Web

Oil of Oregano can be found in capsule form and is good for respiratory issues such as cough, asthma or allergies. It comes from the leaf of a plant called Oregano; the oil is also good for menstrual cramps, UTIs, headaches, and heart conditions. You can relieve stuffiness by putting a few drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer. To relieve a sore throat, drink a few drops of the oil with some water or juice.

-Nikki

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Going “Green”

It is becoming more and more important for us to remember our impact on the environment when going about our daily business. It should be equally as important on your big day, but it may take a little extra work! For an outdoor wedding, choose a location that will show the natural beauty of its environment. For an indoor wedding, ask around museums and art galleries; they will sometimes donate your deposit to a good cause. When choosing your wedding bands, make sure to ask the jeweler if they use conflict-free gems and recycled metals. Lastly, try to use as many local vendors as possible to support the community! As for the rest, here are a few ideas to get you started…

Stationery

invitationPhoto Credit: TwistedLimbPaperworks

So much paper is wasted every year and many more trees are cut down to make even more paper! Cut back on your invitations by using only one envelope instead of the traditional outer/inner envelope design. As for the paper itself, there are many ways you can go: recycled paper, bamboo, cotton, linen, or even a plantable (yes, plant it and it will grow) invitations! Check out Twisted Limb Paper, they design 100% recycled and handmade invitations based on a consultation with you. Also, I recommend providing most of your wedding information on a custom website. That way, you won’t need to send as many invitations.

Catering

cateringPhoto Credit: Eco Caters

Ideally, you’ll want to find a catering service that offers organic, pesticide and preservative-free meal options. This may be harder to do if you don’t want to go all vegan, but it can be done (remember, it will most likely cost more to go organic). Discuss with the caterer how they will be cooking and/or serving guests. After all, what’s the point of having an organic, eco-friendly meal if you’re wasting electricity and using paper napkins and utensils? As for the cake, there are many bakeries to choose from who use only local ingredients. Just keep in mind any allergies your guests may have (i.e. nuts, gluten, dairy).

Favors

favorPhoto Credit: Wedding Photography Design

Send your guests home with their very own seedlings! This display could also double as your seating arrangement; just tag each bag with a guest’s name and corresponding table number. Make sure the seeds are all organic, and locally bought if possible. Even if you don’t use pesticides, the seeds could still be affected if they came from a plant that had pesticides used on it. Or, you could give your guests some yummy organic treats as gifts, instead! If you’d prefer not to give favors, then consider donating to a charity and letting your guests know (or even choose).

Photos

plantwall

Talk to your photographer/videographer and make sure everything is digital; also find out if they use any extra lighting or equipment that would use electricity. If you are in an outdoor location, I’m sure they can help you take full advantage of the natural environment. If you are indoors, then I love the idea of having a living wall for a backdrop or central decoration. It provides so much color and life, and should make the perfect setup for taking pictures indoors!

-Nikki

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Bachelorette Party Games

scavenger hunt

I recently attended a bachelorette party in San Antonio and will be attending another one in New Orleans this summer. We played a fun game to help the bride prepare for her honeymoon and it got me thinking about what games we could come up with for New Orleans! So here are just a few ways you can celebrate with the bride-to-be whether it’s a casual dinner and drinks or a night out on the town.

Name That Lingerie

lingerie

On the invite for the bachelorette party, the maid of honor (MOH) listed the bride-to-be’s size and requested that everyone bring a set of lingerie. After dinner, each gift was opened and the group helped name each set. The MOH will put together a “menu” using the names we picked. On each night of the honeymoon, the groom will pick an item off the menu and the bride will wear it. We had so much fun coming up with different names, ranging from sweet and innocent to sexy and mysterious. Some ideas we had include: Pink-a-Boo, Wild Thang, Nip Slip, Turqoise Delight and everyone’s favorite, The Cherry Popper.

he said she said

The MOH created a list of quotes from the bride and groom, some obvious and some difficult. We each had to circle the name of either the bride or groom next to the quote we thought was theirs. Whoever had the most correctly circled won a prize! Depending on the type of bachelorette party you have this could mean cute little trinkets or a drink at the next bar. This game is a good way to get to know the bride or groom, whichever you don’t know as well, a little better as well as encourage conversation between members of the group who don’t know each other.

Who Knows the Bachelorette?

bride

This game is similar to the previous one except it’s all about the bride-to-be! The MOH hands out sheets of paper with facts about the bachelorette for guests to finish filling out. Some suggestions for this are: drink of choice, shoe size, most overused phrase, her nickname for her fiance, honeymoon destination, etc. The game works best if there is a mix of easy and difficult questions.

scavenger hunt

You can have a lot of fun with this game if your bachelorette party is a night out on the town! Get a photo with the bartenders, photobomb a stranger’s picture without being caught, take a picture with a cop pretending to handcuff you, take a picture with a flaming shot and then take it, ask someone to marry you, find someone with the same first name as the groom, etc. Be creative and have fun! Keep in mind who is going to be attending the party because that could change the tasks on the scavenger hunt, especially if you know someone very outgoing.

Drink If….

cocktail

This is a good game to start the night out with! All participants must drink if… you’re the youngest, the oldest, holding a beer, wearing a necklace, have blue eyes, hate your boss, don’t know the bride’s middle name, etc. This game is probably best planned by both the bride-to-be and the MOH together since the bride will probably know more about all the attendees. Have specific people in mind when listing the drink if… tasks, it will make it more fun if everyone is assured a chance to drink if…

Last but not least, the hangover kits!!

hangover

Please be kind to your bridesmaids and MOH and provide them with a handy kit to cure any illness the next morning. You can put things in there like aspirin, sunglasses, breath mints, gatorade, water, altoids, bandaids, alka seltzer and 5 hour energy. Your bridesmaids will be sure to thank you for this (and yourself, too)!

-Nikki

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The Wedding Send Off

bubbles

Congratulations! You’re married and now that you’ve eaten, talked and danced the night away, all that’s left is the bride and groom send off. The old traditional send off with rice is rarely used anymore because most venues don’t allow it. There are plenty of fun alternatives, however, that are sure to be even better than rice! Make sure and confirm with your venue that whatever item you end up using is allowed there.

Sparklers

sparklers

The most common send off at weddings these days are sparklers. I recommend filling some pots with dirt and placing them on either side of where you want the guests to line up for the send off. Place long sparklers in the pots so that guests, especially children, won’t be too close to the end of the sparkler. These are great for creating an arch for the bride and groom to walk through as guests are lined up on either side. Shorter sparklers are better if you would prefer taking pictures of words and designs you make with the sparklers.

Balloons

balloons

LED light balloons are a great idea for a send off! You can place them wherever you want and you don’t have to worry about them not showing up in pictures at night. They create the perfect glow to see the bride and groom off on their new life together. They can be purchased at many online stores as well as your local party store and come in a variety of colors. Tie the balloons to chairs or hand them out to guests to hold!

Noise Makers

noise makers

Any children in attendance will love this idea, the adults maybe/maybe not! It is, however, only going to last for a few minutes so it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s a celebration, it should sound like one, too! Buy them online, in your local party store, or make your own with glass bottles and knick knacks.

Confetti

confetti

This will make a mess, a huge mess! But who doesn’t love confetti? You can buy already made confetti poppers or you can make your own with recycled colored paper. Again, make sure your wedding venue is okay with your guests using these because they will get everywhere.

Paper Lanterns

paper lanterns

Paper lanterns have grown in popularity over the last few years, although they have been traditional for some families for many years. They give a magical glow to your send off and guests of all ages will enjoy lighting and sending off their own lantern.

Bubbles

bubbles

Bubbles are the new rice! Bubbles, bubbles everywhere at almost any wedding you’ll attend. They’re fun, small, inexpensive and everyone knows how to use them. The best part? Absolutely no clean up! Shop around for different types of bubble containers and decide if you want to go small and traditional or big and colorful.

Red Carpet

red carpet

Want to feel glamorous? Have your guests line up on either side of a red carpet and take pictures of you and your groom with the flash on. Disposable cameras are inexpensive and polaroid cameras are more expensive but can give an instant photo. Consider leaving in a limo as well and you and your groom are sure to feel like celebrities!

-Nikki

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How To: Include Your Children

A wedding is focused on the bride and the groom but what about when one or both have children? A wedding is about uniting two families into one, so it only makes sense to include the children in your celebration. Discuss with your fiance how involved you want the children to be and include them in your planning process. They will feel special and this could provide a great opportunity to form a closer relationship with your spouse’s children if you haven’t already done so. After you decide what role you would like the children to play, ask them if they are comfortable and if they have any opinions. It is still your decision in the end, but asking their opinion will show you value what they have to say.

flowergirl

If you have younger children, they could be your flower girl or ring bearer. There is no rule about what age they should be, but you typically see children between the ages of 3 and 8 in this role. Younger girls usually enjoy throwing the flower petals down the aisle more than those who are in high school and older. A younger boy as the ring bearer makes for an adorable photo shoot after the ceremony with the groom. An older child could just as easily fill these roles also. They might remember the ceremony and recognize their importance in it more than a younger child would.

sandceremony

The unity sand ceremony is a tradition with three vases at the altar, two filled with different colors of sand and one empty. After the bride and groom exchange rings and vows, they each take their respective containers of sand and pour them together into the empty vase. The unity sand ceremony symbolizes the joining of two different people, or families, into one. To include your children, there should be a container filled with different colored sand for each child. After you and your fiance pour your sand together, have each child pour theirs as well.

wedding-favor-bag

You can put the children in charge of, or just to help with, the wedding guest favors. A common favor at weddings is bubbles, which almost every child loves. Others include coloring books for kids, mini engraved candles, or tiny bells. If it’s in your budget, consider letting each child contribute one small favor to a goodie bag. That way, each guest will go home with a piece from each member of your new family.

brideandchild

Include the children in your before and after wedding shoot. Before the wedding means your engagement photos; this way you can let all of your friends and family know that it isn’t just about you and your fiance, but a whole new family. The photos you take after your wedding could be perfect for your new house together. Younger children don’t always have the same attention span as an adult so don’t plan for them to be in a lot of pictures. Talk with your photographer before hand about taking the photos with the children first, so that they can relax and have fun while you finish your photo shoot.

Other roles include letting the children pass out programs before the ceremony or pass out the wedding favors instead of placing them on the tables. Also, when reciting your vows, have you and your fiance add a verse or two at the end to include promises to your children. You may also buy an item for each child to symbolize your joining as a family. This item does not need to be expensive, it could be a plastic ring for play or matching bracelets. As long as it holds meaning for you as a family and shows the children they are welcome and loved.

-Nikki

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Burlap!!!

burlap 1

One thing that I absolutely love during this fall season is the copious amounts of burlap that can be used against these fabulous fall colors! I love burlap! Burlap runners, fork and knife holders, napkin holers, etc. Remember you do not always have to rent them, if you have time to do it yourself and a sewing machine why not have a DIY weekend and make them yourself! I even think a lighter burlap is beautiful with the light colors of spring so do not think you can only use this fun stuff for a fall wedding! Enjoy playing with burlap and enjoy this weather that is cooling down! Happy Planning!

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Family Style Wedding Feasts….

family style dinner

I have a bride that is currently doing something for their dinner that I LOVE. Fall reminds me of a crisp breeze through the air, families getting together for the holidays, plenty of holiday dinners, and what better way to incorporate this comfy/coziness then to serve your guests family style at your wedding. There are now more and more caters that offer the option of doing a family style dinner where they bring a mix of foods and put them on the table and guests can pass these foods around and take what they want. It is a great way to have the “buffet style” where your guests are able to choose what they want to eat but it also has the “sit down” feel. Keep the feel of fall and family fun in your wedding theme and serve family style, I guarantee your guests will think it is fun! Happy Planning!!!

 

Kayleigh Ziegenbein

Certified Wedding Planner

Lotus Ranch

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Wedding Ideas for Wine LOVERS!!!

wine cork 4

Is there anybody else out there besides me that loves a glass (or two) of wine at the end of a very long day. If you are a wine lover and want to incorporate that into your wedding theme save your extra corks and use them for decor. I have seen many things where people make their initials for hangings out of recycled wine corks or even use them to hold up seating cards! Remember there is plenty of ideas that you can use these corks for, always incorporate what you enjoy into your wedding!! Happy Planning!!!!

 

Kayleigh Ziegenbein

Certified Wedding Planner

Lotus Ranch

 

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Budget Brides!!!

sell 3

One idea of how to save money on your wedding stuff is to actually purchase items and resell them. There are many brides that love to do DIY centerpieces and many other sorts of decor. Sometimes you are forced to rent stuff but what I have found is that if you can purchase as much as possible there is the good possibility that you could resell it. When you purchase the stuff it is then yours, not only could you resell it but there is the possibility you may want it in your own home. Some things I have found that are items that resell well are: linens, champagne flutes, all kinds of glass vases/ jars, electric candles, table runners, rustic decorations, antique stuff, fun chairs, decorative doors, some centerpiece material and the list goes on. DO NOT think renting is a must try to buy and resell, this way you are getting the biggest bang for your buck! Happy Planning!!!

Kayleigh Ziegenbeiin

Certified Wedding Planner

Lotus Ranch

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FUN Boutennieres!!!!

b8

Sometimes (ok most of the time) it seems like the groom and the groomsmen tend to get lost in the shuffle of all of the wedding planning going on. I like to make a point of including everyone and really getting them involved even if it is something simple as letting them choose the “theme” for their boutonnieres!!! I personally love a boutonniere I think it brings in a touch of color and can transform the groom/groomsmens whole outfit ( I also love a pocket square but thats a different topic for a different time). Today I just wanted to show you some pictures of fun boutonnieres that just make an outfit pop. You can do anything you want… DO NOT THINK that you are forced to stick with just flowers!!! Happy Planning!!!!

 

Kayleigh Ziegenbein

Certified Event Planner

Lotus Ranch

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