Wedding Traditions Around the Globe, Part 2

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Japan

weddingKimonoPhoto Credit: Wedding Resource

The traditional wedding ceremony is usually very private and formal, taking place at a shrine with only close family present. Of course, a lot of couples opt for the more non traditional ceremony with a lot more people; some still have a ceremony in front of a shrine, but inside the hotel where the reception and festivities are. A Shinto priest performs the ceremony, the couple is purified and drinks sake before reading words of commitment. The ‘san-san-kudo’ sake ceremony is part of the wedding vows and symbolizes the union of two people and two families. The wedding ceremony ends with symbolic offerings to kami (Shinto gods), typically small tree twigs called ‘sakaki.’ Guests are expected to give money at the reception in small, beautifully decorated packets to help pay for the cost. Throughout the reception, the bride and even sometimes the groom will change clothes several times to symbolize their preparedness to return to everyday life.

Russia

zags2Photo Credit: Russian World Forums

A couple will apply at the wedding registry office, ZAGS, several months in advance. They will then think about their decision and go back for their official marriage certificate on their wedding day. Traditionally, the wedding rings are provided by the groom and are worn on the right hand. Engagement rings are a recent addition to Russian weddings that were introduced with Western customs. On the wedding day, the bride’s parents pretend to steal her away and ask the groom for a ransom. He will pay some symbolic monetary value or jewelry, get back his bride, and then they head to ZAGS for their official registration ceremony. After that, they go to a beautiful location for pictures followed by greeting their guests and celebrating together. And of course, there must be plenty of liquor and food, because a traditional Russian wedding lasts at least two days!

Ireland

wedding dresses 2016 nz online shopPhoto Credit: Irish Central

“Marry in May and rue the day,” or “Marry in April if you can, joy for maiden and for man!” Wedding dresses for the traditional Irish bride were not white, but blue (still symbolizing purity); although nowadays the blue dress is more rare to see. Brides used to carry horseshoes to bring good luck to the ceremony and the rest of the marriage. Since those are heavy and a little inconvenient, they now place items to represent a horseshoe in their hair, bouquet, embellished on their dress, etc. During the ceremony, the bride and groom literally tie the knot! Rope, cord or ribbon is tied around the couple’s clasped hands in bright colors (or those matching the wedding theme). Another superstitious Irish tradition is to give guests small bells at the ceremony to help ward off evil spirits. If you don’t want to risk all of your guests ringing bells at the same time and annoying you more than warding off spirits, you can wear a bracelet, anklet or small personal charm with bells.

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Wedding Traditions Around the Globe, Part 1

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There are a lot of old and new wedding customs in America and even within each family. But how many of our traditions came from other countries? Whether you want to get in touch with your roots, or just embrace part of another culture, you’re sure to have fun with these customs from around the globe!

Italy

italian weddingPhoto Credit: brideorama.com

The night before the wedding, an Italian bride stays at her parent’s house and wears green for good luck. She will not wear any gold on her wedding day aside from her ring as that is bad luck. In addition to something borrowed, something new and something blue, the bride will also wear something she received as a gift. In some regions of Italy, the bride and groom cut a log together with a double-handed saw as a show of how they will work together in their marriage. During the reception, guests will often bang their glasses with spoons to encourage the bride and groom to kiss. At the end, the bride and groom say thank you to their guests with ‘bomboniere,’ which is a present with confetti (sugared almonds) and printed ribbons. This is a symbol of family life; the number of confetti should be an odd number, 5 or 7 for good luck. A lot of times, the wedding party and closest guests will parade down the street from the church after the wedding.

Mexico

MexicoPhoto Credit: Snippet & Ink

Before leaving for the ceremony, the bride’s mother traditionally will offer a prayer with the bride; sometimes both parents participate. Mariachis are responsible for most of the music at the wedding and reception, but sometimes an organ is still used for the bride’s walk down the aisle. The bridegroom presents 13 gold coins to the bride as a symbol of his unquestionable trust and confidence (placing all of his goods in her care). To symbolize unity during the ceremony, a designated person will place a figure-eight loop of rosary beads around the bride and groom to be worn throughout the service. For the first dance, guests surround the bride and groom in a heart shaped crowd.

Germany

ndidigunnar_290Photo Credit: Kathryn Croskey

Listen up, ladies! In Germany, BOTH the men and the women wear engagement rings on their left hand (why didn’t that tradition cross over here??) After the wedding they wear the wedding ring on their right hand. The night before the wedding, the bride and groom smash china plates at a party to scare off evil spirits. They then clean everything up together to show how well they work together. Oftentimes the women will replace a veil with a flowery headband and ribbons, instead. They may wear a tiara and if they do choose to wear a veil, it never covers their face. The bride and groom are married first in the registry office and then enter the church and walk down the aisle together. It isn’t typical for there to be bridesmaids, groomsmen or a flower girl. Usually the bride and groom only need a witness at the registry office, and then their family and friends at the wedding ceremony.

-Nikki

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Spring Is All About Daisies

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Daisies have always been a well-known staple of springtime, but now they are also a popular and growing trend! You can incorporate this simple flower into tons of different spring theme weddings and in multiple colors, too. Daisies will go well with natural, rustic, hippie, and classic-themed weddings. Keep in mind how many of each color you order, especially the white daisies. You may want to use different colored flowers for accents to break it up if there is too much white.

daisyaisleCredits: Wedding Chicks, Martha Stewart, SMP

Accent the aisles with daisies galore! You can play around with different colors, and use ties with burlap and ribbons. Hang them from the chairs, plant hangers or make your own decorations like the yellow and white daisy poms pictured above. My favorite idea is to have the flower girl scatter daisies as she walks down the aisle. If you use fresh flowers, they’ll not only look fantastic but there won’t be any cleanup necessary after the ceremony.

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I absolutely love this idea as a backdrop for photos, or even behind where the ceremony takes place! Order daisies in the color you want and string them together using twine, ribbon or fishing wire. This depends on your overall theme: twine for rustic, ribbon for classic, and fishing wire for anything else because it won’t be as visible (especially in photos). Try playing around with the different daisy strands and hang them at alternating heights or in patterns.

daisywreaths

Wreaths not only make great decorations, but they are also ideal for pictures. Find different size and shape wreaths, either plain or with some green foliage, and then just fill it with as many daisies as you want! Some other flowers that go well as accents are baby’s breath, billy balls and lavender. Remember, you can also order Gerbera Daisies in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and white. Hang the wreaths against wooden fences or in between trees for the perfect photo opportunity (make sure you tell your photographer what props you will have so they can show up with ideas and props of their own, too).

centerpiecs

For table centerpieces, you can try floating one or more daisies (depending on their size) or simply arranging them in a vase. You can purchase tons of those decorative little pebbles at your local dollar store or online fairly cheap. For a more classic theme, you may want to try the sleek look in the bottom left picture with colored accents of ribbon to fit your wedding colors. Again, if you think there is too much white, consider different colored daisies or accenting with lavender or billy balls.

lanterns

Lanterns double as colorful accents during the day and cute lights at night; you can buy them very cheap and in bulk online. If you have extra daisies or just want to add more, try stringing them to the lanterns or on alternating tree branches.

Daisies can be incorporated into any theme you want for your spring wedding! They’re very versatile in use and color, and are in abundance during this time of year. So call your local florist or wedding coordinator and ask about all the ways you can use this beautiful flower.

-Nikki

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Destination Wedding: Hawaii

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I know what you’re thinking, Hawaii as a destination wedding is nothing new; but I’m not talking about your average beach ceremony! On a recent vacation, I attended a luau at Smith’s Tropical Paradise and their venue is absolutely gorgeous! They have 30 acres of botanical and cultural gardens located near the Wailua River on Kuaui, where they also provide river boat tours. In the garden, you’ll find an Easter Island head, Japanese garden island, tropical orchard, peacocks, and a small lagoon with a floating platform in the center.

smith-s-tropical-paradisePhoto credit: Trip Advisor

Or! You could choose to have your ceremony at the Fern Grotto, which is just a short boat ride up the Wailua River and a short walk through lush trees and ferns. Many tourists visit this spot, but you can have a private wedding complete with romantic Hawaiian music along the way, and the Hawaiian wedding song performed at the Fern Grotto by local musicians.

ferngrottoPhoto credit: Smith’s Tropical Paradise

After the ceremony, you can return (or stay if you choose the lagoon) to the Smith family property for a wonderful luau! They have several imu ovens (underground) where they roast the Kalua pig. You will also be served a variety of side dishes, teriyaki beef, chicken, fish, and traditional Hawaiian poi! The luau is followed by songs and dances from Polynesian culture and other cultures that influenced Hawaiian traditions.

luau_1Photo credit: Smith’s Tropical Paradise

The Smith family offers several different wedding packages for each location, Fern Grotto and the garden’s lagoon. Fern Grotto packages range from $850 – $2,250 and all include a variety of wedding boat departure times, boat ride for 18 passengers, souvenir wedding certificate, wedding license, and different photo and video packages. Each package increases in benefits starting with the simple ceremony, leis, minister and solo musician for the Basic Package, then the Superior and Deluxe packages, and finally the Evening Candle and Torchlight Package includes musician and hula dancer, wedding cake, non-alcoholic champagne and glasses, and edited photos and DVD of the ceremony. The Tropical Paradise location provides the Plumeria or Hibiscus Wedding Package. The Plumeria includes a minister and two leis while the Hibiscus adds a bouquet and professional photographs. Both packages include up to 10 guests, wedding certificate, wedding license, and additional photos or DVD for an extra cost.

Smith’s Tropical Paradise is a wonderful place for not only a destination wedding, but a unique and cultural ceremony with traditional Hawaiian entertainment!

-Nikki

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Wonderful Wedding Vendors

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It’s okay if you’re still missing a few vendors on your list for the big day. Here are a few photographers, videographers, wedding cake decorators and flowers shops, as well as what they can offer you and your fiance on or before your wedding day.

Photo credit: Airstream PhotoBooth

This creative and mobile photo booth uses Daisy, a 1967 vintage airstream, to travel to your wedding, fraternity/sorority party, or corporate event location and provide fun and entertaining photos for your memory book! Airstream PhotoBooth was created by Chris and Yvonne Johnson, who are also the owners of Austin Imagery Photography. Daisy is a fully-functioning photography studio on wheels including professional cameras, lighting and on-the-spot printers. You can rent Daisy and their services for a variety of prices, the Modern Package for $950 or the Vintage Package for $1,150. Both packages offer photo props, unlimited photos, digital images, online viewing, set up and take down, and up to 3 hours of service. They travel all over Austin and the Texas Hill Country areas as well as outside those areas, but extra travel fees may be applied to any outlying locations.

photoPhoto credit: New Road Productions

New Road Wedding Photography and Videography that serves the greater Austin area, including the Texas Hill Country. Most of the photography and videography is done by Wes Sheperd with the help of additional photographers depending on the package ordered. Wes offers a variety of photography packages: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, that can be requested for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $1700-$2750. His videography packages include Silver, Gold and Platinum that can be booked for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $900-$1800. Wes uses all professional equipment and has a resume that boasts work with HGTV, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, DIY Network, as well as having won WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Award in 2012 and in 2013. We love working with Wes and his production company here at Lotus Ranch and hope you will too!

Simon Lee Bakery

SimonLee12-406x600Photo credit: Simon Lee Bakery

This is an excellent place to order your wedding treats from! Located just outside Austin in Pflugerville and with over 35 years in combined experience, their motto is “Simon Lee…when it has to be perfect.” They have an extensive menu to choose from including, but not limited to, white french vanilla, italian cream carrot cake, red velvet, marble cake, cheesecakes, fruit toppings, chocolate truffle and more! Simon Lee decorates their cakes beautifully and can make a cake for the bride and groom, as well! They have won the Austin Wedding Day Style Elegant Style Award, The Knot’s Best of Wedding Picks from 2007-2012, and the 2010 Bride’s Choice Award.

Whim Floral Design

prom dresses online shop 2016Photo credit: Whim Floral Design

Whim precisely caters your flowers to you: your personality, likes, dislikes, style, budget and the season (remember, not all flowers are available at all times of the year). They offer a “Signature Collection” which includes consultation, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, cocktail arrangements, aisle petals or chair flowers, and a custom proposal with one revision. The “Custom Floral Package” includes your favorite flowers (in season), custom proposal with two revisions, complimentary farmer’s market visit, and the option to rent or own vessels (candelabras, elegant vases, backdrops, unique antiques, etc.). You can also opt for their “DIY Floral Package” which includes seasonal fresh flowers for up to 150 guests, along with a link to a video tutorial on how to put bouquets and floral arrangements together. You have the option of picking up flowers that are fresh from the market two days before the wedding, or already prepped and cleaned flowers 1-2 days prior.

No matter which vendor you choose for your wedding, make sure you are comfortable with the arrangements you have made and that you have clearly stated to your vendor what you want from them. If you have a question, ask them, because it is much easier to negotiate in the beginning rather than a few days or weeks away from your wedding date.

-Nikki

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Rain, Rain Go Away?

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So the weather decided to rain on your parade, I mean, wedding. This shouldn’t mean you need to change your date or location if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Below are some ways that can help you prepare yourself, the wedding party and your guests for any potential rain!

umbrellasPhoto found at Wedding Wonderland

Umbrellas, galore! Have several vases, buckets or your choice of container full of umbrellas near the entrances to the aisles for the ceremony for your guests. You can choose specific colors to go with your color scheme but it could be fun to see how different colors turn out in pictures later. Consider getting matching or complementing colors for your wedding party, keeping in mind the wedding party pictures and how the colors will come together later, too. You can find umbrellas for various prices, colors, and sizes on websites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.

heart

Here’s a cute umbrella for the bride and groom to share! You can purchase this heart-shaped umbrella at www.unique-vintage.com for $37 plus tax/shipping.

rainbootsPhoto found at Brides of North Texas

Rainboots are another important item but could be more difficult to provide for all of your guests because of their price. If you don’t have room in your budget for all of your guests, then provide rainboots for the wedding party and make sure to inform your guests to bring their own if they’d like. If it is in your budget, you can find a variety of rainboots for different prices at websites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.

photoPhoto found at LN Photography
photo3Photo found at Bridal Guide

No need to worry about the rain ruining your pictures! Talk to your photographer about any ideas he/she or you might have for using the rain in your photos. You can take traditional photos inside but why not use what Mother Nature has given you? There are tons of ways to use your umbrellas, rain boots and the natural landscape of your wedding location. Look for large puddles, have some fun and don’t be afraid to get your hair a little wet (well, depending on your hairstyle and how well it holds)!

quotePhoto found on Pinterest

You should also have a few necessities like large beach towels and clear plastic tarps to keep seats and the dance floor relatively dry. The plastic tarps can be used to cover floral arrangements, food or if your venue has a breezeway (we do here at Lotus Ranch) then you can use it to cover one open side to block wind and rain from entering the breezeway. And I leave you with this quote :) when you feel stressed out, just remember that it will be okay and you can still have fun in the rain!

-Nikki

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Spring Weddings

Spring Bouquet

Spring is a popular time for a wedding and one of my favorites for Texas weddings. It’s not too cold, not too hot and usually, most of the wildflowers are in full bloom. Consider this if you’re looking for an outdoor venue, but also be prepared for any unexpected rain showers as the weather can’t be predicted that far in advance.

colorscheme

You have so many color options to play with when planning a spring wedding! Pastels and brighter shades in almost every color, but I would stay away from using too many shades of green; especially if you are getting married outdoors. There should be plenty of natural green around you in the springtime. When using pastel colors, you can even choose a bolder, darker color for an accent. When using bright colors, stick to one or two bright colors with a light contrast (white, unless you prefer something more non-traditional).

centerpieces

For your centerpieces: flowers, flowers and more flowers! It’s okay to use a lot of flowers but try to break it up visually with props. You can use vases, rustic wood decorations, umbrellas, baskets, perfume bottles (filled with water) or even bird cages.

dress

You can match your groomsmen to your bridesmaids by ordering bowties of the same color as the bridesmaid dresses, or pastel pants that complement the bridesmaid colors. Feel free to go fun and crazy with prints and patterns! If you choose the pastel route then try to stick to nude or white shoes, and if you choose the bright colors then wear nude or black shoes. Also, try to find shoes in the same color as the bridesmaid dresses so you can match your girls! For your wedding dress, ruffles and lace designs are very in fashion for the springtime.

food

Floral decorated cakes are almost a must for a spring wedding or you can add a subtle touch with lace detailing. Wine, tea, lemonade, popcorn, fruit pie pops, macaroons, fruit and cheese are all great snacks for a spring wedding. Depending on how early or late in the spring your wedding is, an ice cream cone/sundae bar might be a welcome refreshment for your guests!

Some flowers that are available in spring include: tulips, daisies, peonies, lilacs, anemones, daffodils, orchids, forgetmenots, pansies and sweet peas. Baby’s breath is always available and even if you don’t think you want them in your wedding, I would recommend ordering some anyway, just in case. They’re great for filling spaces in bouquets, table centerpieces and along the aisles.

-Nikki

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So, You’re Engaged…

Lotus Ranch

So, you’re engaged…now what? Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate for a little while. But, eventually, you need to get down to business and start planning (or calling wedding planners). There’s no need to feel too overwhelmed in the beginning as long as you don’t try to take on everything at once. Use this helpful timeline to plan a few things at a time, and hopefully you’ll be on your way to a stress-free wedding day! Depending on how long your engagement is, this timeline may be extended.

After Engagement

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First, you need to set a budget, choose your bridal party, create your guest list and narrow down a few dates for the big day. You don’t need to pick a location yet, but you might want to start researching places that you would like. Some venues can be booked full for almost an entire year in advance, so it’s best to find out early on if they’re available. Creating a wedding website is optional, but I highly recommend it! It’s a good way to keep yourself and all of your wedding details organized. Also, you can defer a lot of your guests’ questions to your website instead of everyone calling you for answers.

1 Year Before

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Research photographers and look at their portfolios, and start shopping for your wedding dress! You will feel more comfortable having plenty of time to choose a dress, and then get it altered. Find your wedding venue, and book it! Make sure you find out if they have accommodations for sleeping over and a reception dinner. If not, research nearby hotels who have rooms available for your dinner and guests. No need to book it just yet, you can do that closer to the big day. Also ask the venue if they have an officiant and book them if you do not have one already.

11 Months Before

flowers

Find a florist and decide what flowers you would like to use, and how many of each kind you will need, for bouquets and/or decorations. Think about what you want to use for centerpieces (i.e. flowers, candles, vases, photographs) and begin gathering those materials. Also, discuss what type of food you want to have and book a caterer. Keep in mind any guests you know who have allergies. A lot of caterers can provide an alternative for those with food allergies.

8 Months Before

weddingregistry

Book the photographer/videographer you decided on now. Make sure to meet with them and discuss the pictures you absolutely want taken, along with any ideas the photographer may have. Now is also the time to start your wedding registry. After you have registered, send your save the dates out to your guests; include the link to your wedding website if you have one, which should give them your wedding registry info.

7 Months Before

cake

Research and meet with a baker for your bride and groom cake, as well as any cupcakes or side treats you wish to have. Meet with your photographer and take your engagement photos. You may take them earlier depending on how you want them to look and if you need to gather any props for the photos.

5 Months Before

linens

Arrange to rent any linens, tables or chairs you may need. Make sure to discuss what specific measurements you think will need. When in doubt, I recommend getting longer linens and a few extra tables and chairs. You can always cancel a table or two closer to the date if you find out it won’t be needed. Book a DJ or band and find out if you need to provide any extra sound equipment for them. If so, arrange to rent that equipment as well. If your wedding venue does not have a space, book a location for your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

4 Months Before

groom attire

Decide on the groom and groomsmen attire and have them fitted and altered as needed. This is also the time where you can complete your attire, i.e. shoes, lingerie, veil, jewelry. And now the fun part: booking the honeymoon!! You can do this step earlier, but make sure you book it no later than 4 months prior, just in case. Start trying different makeup and hairstyles; use Pinterest for a DIY approach, but most makeup counters in department stores will give a demonstration with a  small purchase.

3 Months Before

limo

If your wedding venue does not have accommodations on site, this is the time to book those arrangements elsewhere. Now that you know where you are getting married, where the reception is and where you are going to stay after the wedding, you can book a car/limo to take you there if you wish.

2 Months Before

invitation

Check with all of your vendors, caterers, DJs, etc. to make sure everyone is on the same schedule and still confirmed for the big day. Send out your invitations about 8 weeks prior to your wedding day. Again, include the link to your wedding website.

1 Month Before

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Get your marriage license, have your final dress fitting, and start buying your bridesmaid’s gifts. Also arrange any spa day treatments or special bridesmaid activities now.

1 Week Before

Confirm the arrival times with all of your vendors, pick up your wedding dress and break in your shoes!

Finally, relax! There will be some details that still need to be worked out but you can be confident in the fact that all of your vendors and guests have been confirmed, and your wedding day is only a few days away. Congratulations and enjoy!

-Nikki

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Vintage Glam

brides dress

Trends fade, and then they come back again! For this reason, vintage will always be in fashion. The best part? You can usually find items to use by asking friends and family. There are many ways to use vintage items and different sub themes those items will go with, like rustic vintage, Hollywood vintage, etc. The great thing about a vintage theme is that not everything needs to be matchy, the little pieces will come together to make a beautiful big picture.

babys breath

Baby’s breath is already a common occurrence at weddings, but it is also a cute vintage detail. You can add baby’s breath to your floral arrangements, table centerpieces, and bridal party bouquets. (picture from Robert Wojtowicz)

guest quilt

Instead of a traditional guest book, gather old scraps of fabric from family and friends or find slightly distressed new material. Use the scraps for your guests to sign and after the wedding you can get it custom quilted, unless you know someone with that talent already.

brides dress

Detailed beading on your wedding dress can give you a classic vintage look, or a hollywood glam vintage look. Details with glitter or colored beading will be more Hollywood vintage and white pearls and simple beading will be more classic. (picture from starryeyedbride.tumblr.com)

brides veil

A white fish net veil is perfect for a vintage wedding veil! It can go with a classic or Hollywood vintage theme and because of recurring fashions and trends, it is becoming more popular these days. It is a beautiful alternative to the traditional long and lacy veil, without taking away from the femininity of it. (picture from bellagala.com)

shoes

Your shoes may or may not be visible, but you know they’re there, and they can still help make your look complete. They don’t need to be a real vintage pair, but it might mean more to you if you are wearing your mother or grandmother’s shoes.

flower girls

The flower girl dress/dresses can be simple but elegant with tulle and pearls. An accessory can be added to the dress to make it go with the sub vintage theme you prefer. Some options are flowers, glitter, lace, ribbon or bows. (picture from The Little Pea Boutique)

ring book

Instead of a ring bearer’s pillow, try using an old bible or book. Ask your family members if there is a book that has been in the family, or find one that appears slightly distressed. The more used (and loved) the book looks, the better!

table numbers

For table numbers, use photos of the bride and groom at that specified age. You can use any number of apps or find a template online to give the photos an aged, vintage appearance.

-Nikki

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