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A Bit Of Fun From The Knot - How To Create Your Inner Bride!
Date: April 08, 2009 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Funny & Hair & Beauty & Pets & Planning & Reviews & Site News & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas & Wedding Blogs

If you're in need of some light relief from wedding planning head over to The Knot and check out their "My Inner Bride" online wedding tool which allows you to create a wedding avatar of yourself.

Using their easy to use free wedding widget you can choose your own body, face shape, hairstyle, dress (you can mix and match necklines and skirts to create your perfect dress) and backdrop. They have some cute and cheeky accessories too for you to select from.

As you can see from my avatar I chose a pair of cute pooches as accessories over the more traditional bouquet! Once you've created your wedding icon you can save it as your "My Knot" profile image, send it to your friends, or embed it onto your own wedding website (so it's useful too!).

So come on, put down your wedding to-do list, let your imagination run wild and have a bit of fun!

Leave me a comment and a link to where I can find your avatar.

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78 Free Wedding Tips And Book

As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore. For example tips on wedding djs, getting guests to mingle, giving a great speech and tipping wedding suppliers to name just a few!

To give you a flavour of what to expect I have copied the types of wedding tips you will receive below:

Sample Tip 1 :

At the reception hall, fill baskets in the bathroom with miniature hand lotions, breath mints, hair sprays, and hair gels for emergency touch-ups. You may also want to put out a basket with a few inexpensive pairs of pantyhose and
some clear nail polish.

"Thanks for all the tips..and for making them genuinely "free".... the tips I found most helpful of your's were about etiquette ... it helps to remind brides of other people's feelings when they are getting caught up in their own! And that idea about giving framed pictures to the parents is one I will definately do! Blessings!" - Suzanne, US

Sample Tip 2 :

Don’t forget grandparents and other relatives who may feel “left out” during the preparations before the wedding. Take a camera along when you are shopping for your dress or looking at flowers.

Send pictures with a quick note that says, “Here’s me rubbing my feet after trying on shoes that were murder!” Or “Aunt Joan, the flowers were beautiful, but I wish you could have been there.”

"Just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful tips! I enjoy reading them every week!! I will use you're advice throughout the planning of my wedding and on the big day! Thanks again" - Dan

Sample Tip 3 :

For bridesmaids' dresses, consider separates, especially if you have attendants whose sizes and shapes vary widely. Skip the bridal stores and check out department stores for evening skirts and separate tops that are made of luxurious fabrics and trimmed with beading or embroidered details.

"Dear Emily your tips have been very helpful to me in planning for my wedding thank you for all of your help, looking forward to receiving other tips from you. Best Regards" - Cornelia, US


To Greet or Not To Greet? What You Need to Know About Wedding Receiving Lines
Date: January 24, 2009 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Bridal Party & Etiquette & Extended Family & Family & Groom & Guests & Planning & Reception & Site News & Site Reviews & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas & Wedding Blogs

The purpose of a traditional receiving line is to allow the newlyweds, their parents and other members of the bridal party to personally welcome the guests to the wedding. With modern family dynamics now including divorced parents, ex-partners, etc it can make the logistics of who stands where in the receiving line complicated. Put this alongside the fact that receiving lines can be quite time-consuming, and some guests balk at having to stand in line waiting to greet the happy couple, and I suspect these are the reasons why many couples nowadays reject the option of having a receiving line at their wedding.

Personally, I had a receiving line at my wedding and I enjoyed greeting every guest, introducing them to our parents and attendants and thanking each of them for joining us (many of them had travelled large distances to attend our wedding). The alternative would have been to spend the whole evening at the wedding reception chasing down guests on the dance-floor or at the bar in a bid to guarantee that my husband and I personally welcomed each and every guest to our wedding! In this case the receiving line definitely seemed like the easier option for us!

So are receiving lines an out of date tradition and a waste of time, or are they an integral part of your wedding, enabling you to make each of your guests feel valued and welcome? To help you decide I recommend you take a look at this brilliant blog, Receiving Line 101, at ManoloForTheBrides.com. It discusses the advantages and etiquette of receiving lines at weddings. Take a look at the comments section too as there are plenty of great tips for alternative versions of receiving lines including ideas for greeting guests immediately after the ceremony and mingling with guests during the reception meal.

Whether you are hosting an intimate wedding where a receiving line with so few guests would seem redundant, or you simply dislike the idea of a receiving line at your wedding day, remember that you do not have to include every time honored tradition in your wedding day - just do whatever you and your fiancé feel comfortable with.

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How To Boost Your Wedding Budget – Invite Your Guests To Pay For Your Wedding!
Date: June 02, 2008 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Etiquette & Gifts & Guests & Honeymoon & Industry News & Planning & Reviews & Site News & Site Reviews & TV Shows & Unique Ideas

When you look at the following facts:

♥ the average cost of a wedding in the UK tops £20,000

♥ increasing numbers of couples are marrying after they have already set up home together

♥ most couples plan and fund their own weddings nowadays

it’s no wonder that:

♥ couples are now looking for alternative ways to pay for their weddings (rather than having to depend on family contributions, loans or credit cards)

♥ couples planning their weddings don’t require traditional wedding gifts to furnish their home with such as housewares and fine china

The conclusion which can be drawn for couples planning their weddings nowadays is that what they need more than anything is financial help with their spiraling wedding costs.

As I mentioned in my previous blog in the last couple of years online honeymoon gift registries such as Traveler's Joy, Honeymoon Wishes and Honeymoon.com have become hugely popular. Couples planning their nuptials turn to these websites to save themselves money as their wedding guests contribute funds towards their dream honeymoon.

One step on from the honeymoon gift registry is Youbuymywedding.com, an innovative website which allows couples to pay for their wedding by inviting guests to make financial pledges online towards their wedding costs rather than buying them a traditional wedding gift. I think that this is an ingenious concept.

As featured on Five News, Youbuymywedding.com encourages brides and grooms-to-be to opt for money rather than traditional wedding presents and thus take the financial strain off of their wedding plans. For couples who want a dream wedding but find that it is beyond their restricted wedding budget this website is perfect as rather than having to scrimp and cut corners you can share the wedding costs with your guests.

According to Youbuymywedding.com its aim is to

“help couples finance their weddings by inviting their guests to share the cost of paying for the big day, instead of buying wedding gifts in the conventional way”.

So how does Youbuymywedding.com work? It appears to be quite simple. You set up your own personalized wedding page using the website and choose the pledge items you want to be covered, using up to 20 categories covering every aspect of your wedding, including invitations, flowers, reception, cake, car hire, honeymoon, rings and even the dress. Next, decide how much you want to raise for each category. Your guests can then visit your personal wedding page and browse through your selected pledge items. A great feature is that the website also indicates to your guests which items have received the most support, and which still need contributions. Guests can make a donation towards their choice of wedding expense using the secure online payment service Paypal, and they will receive an email confirmation of their pledge, which can be made anonymously if they prefer. Once they have made their pledge Youbuymywedding.com will also notify you by means of an SMS text alert.

So that you can keep up-to-date with your wedding budget you can check your wedding fund balance on the website any time and make withdrawals at any time (in the form of a bank transfer or cheque) to pay for or book items in advance of your wedding.

I think that this website has advantages too from your wedding guests’ point of view. Rather than them having to find and buy a possibly unwanted or duplicate wedding gift, they can save time and effort by simply logging on to your website and give you the gift you really need – money!

Whilst honeymoon gift registries have proven to be a popular choice with modern couples who want to register for alternative wedding gifts, I think that unique websites such as Youbuymywedding.com will also be popular amongst couples who already have everything they need for their marital home but who could use some financial assistance to bolster their wedding fund.

So, if you don’t want to rein in your wedding plans, restrict your wedding budget or have to finance your wedding using a loan or credit card and start married life in debt then why not take a look at Youbuymywedding.com.

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Solving The Double Wedding Invitation And Gift Dilemma
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50 Money Saving Tips From Martha Stewart
Date: June 06, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Catering & Flower & Decorations & Magazines & Planning & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

If you are looking for some money saving tips when it comes to planning your wedding then you should definitely check out Martha Stewart’s website. Her feature “50 ways to trim your budget” contains fantastic budgeting tips for general wedding planning, flowers, decorations and catering.

Here are a few of my personal favourites:

Pay wedding costs with a credit card to earn frequent-flyer miles toward your honeymoon. Just make sure to avoid incurring interest charges by paying the balance in full each month.
After the event, donate your flowers to a hospital or nursing home; it's a thoughtful thing to do and also a tax deduction.
Eliminate reply cards and have guests handwrite a note instead. You'll save on stationery and postage, and the responses will be great keepsakes.

Take a look for yourself as the tips are sure to give you some inspiring ideas and help to shave money off your all important wedding budget!

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Use Viddia.com To Host And Share Your Wedding Video Online
Date: January 22, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas & Videography

Sadly it is often only yourself and your closest family members that get the opportunity to watch a video or DVD of your wedding. Traditionally the videographer will send you just a couple of copies of your wedding video and as a result this makes it difficult for all your wedding guests to re-live your wedding day at their leisure. Ultimately this is a real shame considering you have spent thousands of dollars on having a professional videographer record your wedding.

Thankfully this has all now changed as a new company called Viddia ensures all your friends and family will get to see your wedding whenever and however they want. By streaming video via the internet Viddia allows you to easily share your wedding video with everyone. You no longer have the hassle of copying wedding DVDs for all your loved ones.

Using Viddia each couple can share their wedding video from a password protected customized web page (this can be deactivated so as viewers don’t need a password). This page can be designed to reflect your own tastes and display a personalized message to your family and friends! In addition friends can leave comments and order additional DVD copies from the site.

To give you an idea of how your online wedding video might look have a look at this demo of Erica and Robert's Wedding. It is easy to skip to different "chapters" of the wedding day including parts such as the bridal preparations that most guests will not have previously seen. This video has been encoded and delivered to a very high quality. In fact Viddia will detect the speed of your internet connection and play the highest quality video possible.

It really is simple to take advantage of this service, you simply have to ask your videographer to place an order with Viddia. They can drop your video in the mail using the pre-paid envelopes Viddia provide. It usually takes between 2 – 5 business days to make your video live.

Once live you have tools to send out a customized email viewing invitation to all your friends and family stating that your wedding video is ready to watch. This is similar to when someone shares pictures using a service like OPhoto or Kodak Easy Share. It is especially great that you can share your day with friends who couldn't be there to experience the big day themselves.

Please leave a comment if you have used this service for your own wedding, I look forward to hearing from you.

Viddia Contact Details:

Phone: (310) 260-9263

Email: contact@viddia.com

Mailing Address:
Viddia.com
234 San Vicente Blvd
Suite 5
Santa Monica, CA 90402

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Wedding Podcast Network Offers Expert Advice On Your iPod And MP3 Player
Date: November 16, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Engagement & Groom & Industry News & Lose Weight & Planning & Podcasts & Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

Back in October I wrote about a site called Bloglines.com that I use to keep me up to date with all the wedding industry news on a daily basis. I highlighted the ease with which it is possible for me to read various stories without having to visit the actual web sites if I don’t want to. This all happens due to the magic of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, certainly every blog has such a feed – though not all web sites do. This might not be news to everyone, but for those brides discovering it for the first time you will certainly enjoy the luxury of having all your news in one place.

One site I am always excited to hear the latest news from is the Wedding Podcast Network (WPN), at WeddingPodcastNetwork.com, run by husband and wife team Robert Allen and Holli Ehrlich. They provide an alternative to mainstream wedding planning advice in a portable, on-demand format you can listen to where ever you are. WPN allows brides and grooms to easily listen to advice on wedding planning and obtain valuable information in an entertaining and educational format that can be downloaded to an iPod, MP3 player, mobile phone or on the computer free of charge. I love the idea of downloadable audio giving me the opportunity to control which specific wedding programs I hear, when, and even where.

Listen To Free Wedding Advice Today:

I recommend you open a Bloglines account and subscribe to the main Wedding Podcast Network feed today.

Robert Allen, WPN co-founder and executive producer says:

“We wanted to establish an authoritative resource for brides and grooms that are planning their wedding, but realize they have busy lives, whether they are commuting to work, working out at the gym or running errands. Wedding Podcast Network is like listening to wedding talk radio on-demand on your iPod or computer.”

Robert and Holli offer not only authoritative but also entertaining and fun shows to listen to. You can keep copies of your favourite shows and play them over and over again.

The Wedding Podcast Network features seven original internet radio programs including:

♥ Meet the Masters - Listen To Show Here - Exclusive interviews with the wedding industry’s foremost style shapers and consultants. Guests have included Preston Bailey, Ron Ben-Israel, Sylvia Weinstock, Laura Geller, John Mahdessian of Madame Paulette, and celebrity wedding planners Ann David and Nicky Reinhard.

♥ Bridal Scene - Listen To Show Here - Trends and happenings including exclusive, behind-the-scenes interviews from the industry’s premier shows and events. Some of the subjects of on-site guest interviews have included bridal registry trends, destination weddings, bridal beauty, scrapbooking, invitations and honeymoons. Recents podcasts include a couple of entertaining shows from the Bridal Market in New York City (part 1 and 2).

♥ Lovecast - Listen To Show Here - Relationship advice from The Love Doctor, Dr. Terri. Dr. Terri teaches listeners how to accept differences, communicate, and resolve conflicts. Fun quizzes, valuable advice and important life lessons about one’s significant other and each other's families are part of the programming. Men and women differ greatly how they talk about the relationship with their partner - listen to these podcasts to find out why!

♥ Newlywedcast - Listen To Show Here - Real couples recount their wedding stories and share firsthand advice from a purely personal perspective. Listeners hear unique proposal stories, surprising confessions, original ideas
and secrets to planning a successful wedding. Listen to newlyweds, Kim and Quint, share the details of their April destination wedding in Lake Tahoe, California and wedding at the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Or how Jamie and Daniel planned their wedding in just 4 days!

♥ Wedding Workout - Listen To Show Here - This fitness-focused podcast offers advice and tips on how to lose a size and get gown ready before the walk down the aisle. So get pumped! get motivated! and become a buff bride today! Listen to Real Pilates owner Alycea Ungaro discuss how exercise is an enormous stress reliever which is critical during wedding planning.

♥ Grooms with a View - Listen To Show Here - Grooms offer their perspective on the big day. In the first show Craig Michaels, author of Thirty to Wife (see my review here), talks about what every prospective groom should expect at a wedding. Craig shares some great cost saving ideas without cheapening the affair.

♥ Planet Bride - Listen To Show Here – Michand Henry Roth, sister and brother design duo, share their three generations of family bridal tradition and take you on a unique wedding planning journey. Hear how to get real and how to deal from a pair that know the wedding business like no other. In their first show Henry & Michdiscuss the ever important pivotal component that sets the tone for the whole wedding - the wedding dress!

If you have any questions about RSS and podcasts just pop me an email and I will do my best to help.

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Confetti East - The New Site For Asian Weddings By Confetti.co.uk
Date: November 09, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Reviews & Shows & Site Reviews & Themes & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas

The UK’s Number one wedding website Confetti.co.uk has launched a brand new micro site called Confetti East, dedicated to South Asian Weddings and festive occasions. This exciting new micro site offers ideas, inspiration, products and services relating to the exotic east and is a complete one-stop source for anyone planning an Asian or Asian style celebration.

Sections include exciting features such as Indian traditions to include in a wedding, an etiquette guide to South Asian celebrations and interesting facts about henna or mehndi. Practical guides include dos and don’ts of shopping in the Indian subcontinent and how to avoid the most common planning errors.

With guides to style, fashion and beauty and customs, the site educates, informs and entertains anyone planning a Hindu, Sikh or Islamic wedding as well as appealing to those brides who wish to add a little something different to a traditional ceremony.

To Celebrate the launch of Confetti East, you can visit the Confetti stand at Mela from 17 – 19 November at the Birmingham NEC, where there will be a beautiful array of table settings using Confetti products and experienced staff on hand to advise on any aspect of wedding or celebration planning.

Further Confetti.co.uk Reading:

Announcing The New Confetti Wish List Service - The Gifts You Really Want!
Confetti.co.uk Coupon - Free Delivery On Orders Of £75 Or More
Confetti.co.uk Launch Their New Site - New Improved Layout!
Review Of Confetti's Glasgow Store by Brown.
Compare Confetti's Wedding Insurance to other UK products.
Confetti's New Must-Read Magazine - Confetti Receptions
How To Use Confetti.co.uk For A Stylish Christmas - a one stop shop for wedding and party advice.

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Win A Free E-Engagement Announcement From OurWeddingCast.com Today
Date: October 26, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Coupons & Engagement & Photography & Reception & Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas & Videography

How would you like to win a free e-engagement announcement simply by sending an email to Jamie at info@ourweddingcast.com? Quite simply the first newly engaged bride to quote "Wedaholic" in their email receives a free e-engagement announcement. No catch - just totally free! So please send an email now to stand a chance of winning.

This is a great opportunity to share your engagement story with friends and family instantly. No longer is there a need to repeat the story a million times! Using this service you can create your own moving photo slide show with pictures and music you have chosen.

Additionally Ourweddingcast.com are kindly offering all wedaholic readers a discount of 10% off ANY of their services. You just have to enter the code "Wedaholic" to take advantage of this great offer.

Other OurWeddingCast products include Photo Montages and Webcast & Podcast Services:

The OurWeddingCast Photo Montage allows you to create a slide show of your lives both separately and together on the big night (or during the rehearsal dinner). There is now no longer the need to set up a projector and click your way through each picture - all you have to do is press play, sit back and let your wedding guests enjoy your very own "love story". This is definitely the stress free approach to making a vibrant photomontage that you can share with friends and family for up to 1 year!

The OurWeddingCast Webcast & Podcast Services mean you no longer have to pack your living room with friends and relatives in order to share your wedding video. Have aunt in New York or a cousin Florida? Now, by simply clicking a link they can see you and relive your wedding from their very own lounge!

Take a look at a recent wedding cast from OurWeddingCast.com . Good luck and please leave comments after you have used the service.

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Honeymoon Wedding Registry Service Ideas - Lists With A Difference!
Date: October 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Coupons & Gifts & Honeymoon & Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

Are you looking for a true alternative to the traditional wedding list? I know you already have your fair share of towels and kitchen appliances between you and your partner and you want something different.

If this is the case, I recommend you take a look at the honeymoon wedding registry service MyHoneyMoon.co.uk and see how your wedding list could pay for a wonderful holiday to Hawaii, Mauritius, Barbados, or even Paris!

This is definitely a fun way for your guests to make a donation towards your honeymoon costs. They can use a secure online payment facility to make a payment using their credit card or debit card – or even pay by cheque.

MyHoneyMoon director, Daniel Ox says:

“It's the perfect alternative to a cutlery set or kettle as the guests are really buying wonderful memories for the newlyweds."

A HoneyMoon account costs just £49.99. For this your account is setup and you will receive expert travel advice including suggested itineraries, stylish notification cards for you to distribute to your guests, and your own personal wedding homepage to display photos and memorable stories.

Small Print:

As always you should definitely read the FAQ and in particular the “How much does the service cost?” section:

“ If you decide not to book your honeymoon with us then that is fine but to help cover the ongoing expense of administering your registry and providing full services to you and your guests, a 7% service fee is payable against the final balance of the account.”

Thus with this service you can save yourself the 7% service fee if you actually book your honeymoon through MyHoneyMoon.co.uk.

Compare this to another UK honeymoon registry service called HoneyMoon.co.uk. based in Edinburgh. Here you are charged 9% service fee on gifts purchased from your list. The fee is deducted from your total gift fund when the donated funds are transferred to you.

The services covered by this fee include but are not limited to credit card transaction fees, gift registry updates, gift acknowledgments and thank you card manager updates. You can liken the costs incurred in the service fee to the cost of your guests buying wrapping paper, card, postage and packing, etc.

So it is up to you which registry service you prefer. I must say though I do like the wedding list samples found on HoneyMoney.co.uk.

Special Promotion:

There is currently no set-up fee for a HoneyMoney list. All you need to do is enter the code PRMT21 in the appropriate box on the registration form and the usual £50 fee is waived.

Good luck and please leave comments if you have used either of these services.

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OurGreenWeddingList.com - The Wedding List That Doesn't Cost The Earth
Date: October 18, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Gifts & Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

Here is a new wedding list site with a difference - OurGreenWeddingList.com - one that doesn't cost the earth!

This site encourages couples to have a greener wedding list and an environmentally friendly wedding day. So certainly not the list for those adamant they want a mahogany coffee table or patio heater!

To quote the site:

"Our Green Wedding List offers you environmentally considerate goods at comparable prices as an alternative to mass produced and environmentally damaging products. Some items (subscriptions to organic veggie box schemes) even enable you to start the first months of your married lives with an environmental outlook."

The products are sourced from UK based suppliers so as airmiles are reduced. Although Fair Trade goods are imported from beyond the UK. Products fall into a number of categories, namely Recycled, Craft/Artisan, Organic
Environmental benefit, Energy efficient, Made in the UK in an environmentally responsible way and Fair trade. In essence you will find the same type of products you would find on a traditional wedding list, but greener!

The site was set up this year after the founder Holly Long at Wedding List Giving Ltd had conversations with friends about green products 'not being as nice as conventional factory goods' and wanted to ask only for a few ethical gifts for her own wedding. Holly's dream of making 'green/ethical' goods more accessible is certainly NOW a reality. OurGreenWeddingList.com really does encourage people to think about having a green wedding list.

Holly Long can be contacted on 01273 476015 or here

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Announcing The New Confetti Wish List Service - Receive The Gifts You Really Want!
Date: October 17, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Gifts & Guests & Honeymoon & Industry News & Shopping & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

Confetti.co.uk now offer a superb wedding list service where by you can receive the gifts you really want, from honeymoons to house deposits. As a couple you simply ask for money to be placed on a Confetti Wishlist prepaid Maestro® card in place of gifts. Guests do this simply by visiting your very own customised web page and making a contribution online. The web page link can even be changed to include your own names and wedding date. You can then share this link with your guests by sending an email from the wish list service, or by using the template online to create a gift list card that can be slipped into your invitations.

These cards are perfect for all couples whatever their financial situation. For couples getting married later in life who have all the basics, this is a unique opportunity to ask for gifts and experiences which aren’t normally available on the high street. Imagine you can add gifts such as donations to your favourite charity, a piece of art, a trip round around the world or plants for the garden. Equally if a couple are on a tight budget the Wishlist Card would be ideal for helping with wedding expenses, honeymoon costs or car and house deposits. Basically you can use the Confetti Wishlist Card wherever you see the Maestro® acceptance mark, including shops, restaurants, online or on the telephone.

Research has shown that over 50% of couples would prefer to receive money but are too embarrassed to ask for it directly. In fact guests are happier to give money if they know what it will be spent on. They have the ease of buying online 24 hours a day with no need to put cash or cheques in the post or ask for the couple’s bank details. The Wishlist Card ensures your guests no longer have the age old problem of finding a wedding gift in a specific price range, as they can now easily group together with other guests to contribute towards any gift they like.

As always don't forget to read the small print, Confetti provide a comprehensive FAQ and the terms and conditions, including what happens if your card is lost or stolen and how long it remains valid. I urge you to read all these pages in their entirety, like you would with any other financial product.

Sign up for your Confetti Wish List card at ConfettiCard.co.uk today

Further Confetti.co.uk Reading:

Confetti.co.uk Coupon - Free Delivery On Orders Of £75 Or More
Confetti.co.uk Launch Their New Site - New Improved Layout!
Review Of Confetti's Glasgow Store by Brown.
Compare Confetti's Wedding Insurance to other UK products.
Confetti's New Must-Read Magazine - Confetti Receptions
How To Use Confetti.co.uk For A Stylish Christmas - a one stop shop for wedding and party advice.

DISCLAIMER

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A Unique Concept In Wedding Table Planning - TheTablePlanner.com
Date: October 04, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Flower & Decorations & Funny & Groom & Guests & Planning & Reception & Reviews & Shopping & Site Reviews & Stationery & Themes & Unique Ideas

A seating plan is an essential piece of stationery for your wedding reception. By having a seating plan on display for wedding guests to refer to you avoid any unnecessary confusion about where they are expected to sit. Seating plans also prevent the usual chaos which can prevail if you have an open seating arrangement at your wedding reception, which traditionally begins with a mass free for all as guests seat themselves and ends with a few lonely people ambling around the reception room looking for a spare seat or a friendly face!

You can tell I am a real advocate of seating plans at weddings, so I was fascinated to come across the TheTablePlanner.com stand at the National Wedding Show last weekend. They are a table planner design company who produce stylish and distinctive table plans. I was impressed with the quality of their beautifully framed and mounted table plans and by the diverse and quirky design assortment they offer. I hardly had a chance to speak to Creative Director Mike Daniels at the show as he was surrounded by a throng of prospective bride and grooms asking questions about his funky table planners, which has to be a sign of their popularity!

“Ideal for events, functions and weddings. Thetableplanner.com offers you a fresh and exciting new idea to compliment your special occasion. We have a team of designers who will work with you to create a unique table plan for you and your guests. The table plan will then become a picture that records your cherished day as a memento of you with your family and friends.”

Take a look for yourself at the website to see the unique and distinctive array of table plans you could choose from, the themes range from “Reservoir Dogs” to “Greek Gods". The table plan designs are all created by the design team who are more than happy to custom design your table plan depending on your wedding theme, hobbies or interests. How about personalising your table plan by basing it on your favourite sport (Formula 1), your chosen honeymoon destination (Hawaii) or one of your interests (Cocktails)! I particularly liked the James Bond themed table plan which is not shown on the website but was on display at the Wedding Show - this is surely a design which prove to be popular with every groom for their own 007 wedding reception! I think that these table plans would be particularly great if you are hosting a themed wedding - you could use the design of the table plan to convey your wedding theme. I wish I had known about them when I planned my wedding as it was loosely based on a golf theme but unfortunately we did not think of carrying this through to the seating plan and table names.

Once you have chosen a table plan design all you have to do is provide the design team with the table layouts and wedding guests’ names typed in word or excel format and they create the table planner for you.

Prices for the table plans start at £395. Whilst this might seem like quite a princely sum for a table plan, do bear in mind that these table plans look like pieces of artwork and would definitely look fantastic adorning a wall in your house after your wedding as a lasting keepsake of your special day. Thetableplanner.com are also able to provide table number or name cards for each table utilising the same design theme, as well as holders for these and place cards. If your reception venue is unable to provide you with an easel or suitable wall fixture to display the table planner on then Thetableplanner.com are able to provide this too.

These table plans could bring the fun and colourful element to your wedding reception which will have your guests talking about it for years to come! This is a very original concept and I imagine it will be popular with couples who want their weddings to be unique. You will not find these anywhere else and I imagine even the most adept wedding DIY expert would not want to attempt one of these masterpieces themselves.

Take a look and see for yourself. Happy planning!

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The Alternative Gift Wedding List - Donating To Charity
Date: October 03, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Gifts & Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

I would like to recommend "The Alternative Wedding List", an online wedding list service with a difference!

Using this list, couples sign up to gifts of donations to various charities - instead of the usual toasters and kettles! There are no charges to couples for registering a list. Take a look at this page for an example of how your wedding gift list could look.

Charities you can donate to include Breast Cancer Care, British Heart Foundation, FARM-Africa, PDSA, Samaritians, Sense, St. John Ambulance, Terrence Higgins Trust and War on Want (more charities are listed here). This service really appeals to me and it is no wonder that since its launch in March 2004 it has gone from strength to strength.


There are a variety of great reasons why couples are choosing to use this an alternative to the usual wedding gift lists:

♥ Many couples already have everything in their homes that they could possibly need.

♥ Increasingly, couples are looking for something different and want to stand out from the crowd.

♥ Lots of couples want to feel good about their choice of gift list.

♥ The range of charities that participate provides a variety of list options for couples and means guests have a grest choice of charities to donate to rather than just one.


More about the Gifts:

Gifts range in price from £10 upwards. Each gift purchased represents a donation to the charity whose gift a guest has selected. Example gifts include:

♥ £27 pays for a gift to Sight Savers International to allow them to pay for a contaract operation for a child in Bangladesh,

♥ £50 buys a gift to Save the Children to allow them to buy a set of winter clothes for a child in Serbia.

♥ £20 covers the costs of a Marie Curie Cancer Care nurse for an hour in the home.

♥ £100 enables Help the Aged to make an older person's home safe and secure.

♥ £100 also enables Barnardo's to pay for an activity day for children living with HIV.


It is so easy to create an Alternative type of Wedding List:

Couples simply have:

♥ To register online and select one of the groups of charities that we've put together.

♥ Send their guests details of where their list is held.

♥ To logon to their list to view purchases and messages from guests, download details onto a PDF at any time and then receive final confirmation of total donations to each charity.

It really couldn't be easier!


The Alternative Wedding List is part of Give It Limited, a non-profit making set-up founded by Andy Hickey. Their main goal is to generate incremental charitable donations for a broad group of UK registered charities. It is important to remember that:

♥ They pass on 100% of the value of donations made through the service to the charities.

♥ They use the Gift Aid (an extra 28% of the value of eligible donations) to fund the operation (website, card processing, management, advertising) and the target is to use less than half of this money. Whatever's left also gets passed onto the charities.

♥ There are no upfront fees or other charges for the charities.


Finally his type of charity gift lift isn't just for weddings, other sites operated by Give It Limited are:

GiveIt.co.uk - The online 'individual gift' service, where you can make a one-off selection of a gift to celebrate someone's birthday, a wedding, Christmas or any event you care to think of.

TheAlternativeGiftList.co.uk - Here you can turn your big day into a special occasion for even more people than you and your family and friends

The AternativeChristmasList.co.uk - Would you like your family, friends or work colleagues to spend their cash on something other than a pair of socks for you this christmas? If so this is the site for you!

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Confetti.co.uk Launch Their New Site - Wedding Planning Just Got A Whole Lot Easier!
Date: September 21, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Site Reviews

As regular readers to Wedaholic.com will be well aware, I’m a real fan of Confetti.co.uk. This is largely because as an online and offline resource it plays a significant part in the planning of most weddings in the UK. It didn't surprise me recently to find out that over 90% of UK brides use Confetti at some point in their wedding planning – whether to browse for information, research suppliers, to buy products or to gain support and advice in the café channels (which have a strong community feel!). Some of my most recent Confetti related blogs are listed below in the “Further Reading” section below.

Well the HOT news off the press is that Confetti have just launched their new web site with clearer sections, new products and an improved layout!

It is the first time in Confetti’s seven year history that they have made major changes to the site. Confetti acknowledge the growing trend the internet plays in every aspect of people’s lives and wanted to reflect this in their new site.

I certainly found it much easier to browse than the old site, finding information in half the time. The new landscape format and top horizontal navigation bar make for a more enjoyable online experience .

Confetti certainly hope you like their new site and in fact ask you to send an email with your feedback or problems.

Further Confetti.co.uk Reading:

Review Of Confetti's Glasgow Store by Brown.
Compare Confetti's Wedding Insurance to other UK products.
Confetti's New Must-Read Magazine - Confetti Receptions
How To Use Confetti.co.uk For A Stylish Christmas - a one stop shop for wedding and party advice.

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Weddingbee.com Lists The Upcoming Trunk Shows And Sales In Manhattan
Date: September 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Budgeting & Dresses & Shopping & Site Reviews & Wedding Blogs

Every Tuesday Weddingbee.com features listings of many of the upcoming wedding trunk shows and sales in Manhattan. In fact if you know of a trunk show, sample sale, or sale that isn't on their web page please send it to them at tips@weddingbee.com

I continue to thoroughly enjoy reading WeddingBee.com following my review back in May, though at times it is hard to keep up with the number of posts!

There are currently 15 “Miss Bloggers” who submit posts to the site, in conjunction with entries from 5 “Mrs Bloggers”.

I've only been to New York a couple of times and of course loved every second of it. I can only imagine how amazing it must be to actually get married there!

Weddingbee.com is a great insight on life in Manhattan, plus it provides all brides an extensive array of amazing wedding ideas where ever they live in the world.

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Wedding Weather Forecasts In The UK
Date: August 24, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Planning & Reception & Site Reviews

Every bride worries about what the weather will be like on her wedding day. There are many women around the UK, as I currently write, praying and keeping everything crossed that come this weekend will have at good weather. The last thing they want is rain, especially if the wedding involves tents and marquees. Sadly you can plan every aspect of your wedding except the weather!

It is quite natural to study online forecasts up to weeks in advance, though unfortunately they won’t be too accurate. I well remember the Great Storms of 1987 with the infamous Michael Fish forecast to know I have to take them all with a pinch of salt. In his defence though he did say:

"batten down the hatches there's some really stormy weather on the way"

- this always gets edited out of the clips we see of the forecast!

There are many good sites for checking weather forecasts, though I personally always like to check the official MetOffice.com one before all others. After all this is the one other weather sites use to acquire data.

If for instance you are planning a wedding next year and want to be certain of having certain minimum temperatures you can check out the 1961-1990 and 1971-2000 mapped averages at this site. I found that if I selected “Leuchars” famous for its RAF airbase just a few miles from me the average minimum temperature was only over 10 deg C for July and August! I guess if I were a bride though I could take heart from the fact the average highest temperature was 19 deg C in July over this 30 year span. Nevertheless it goes to show that having a summer wedding is no guarantee of a warm wedding - especially in Scotland! In fact it can work both ways as my own little story goes to show.

I was married back in April 2000 in Largs in Ayrshire at the Clark Memorial Church and everyone commented on how hot the day was for an Easter Saturday in Scotland. I was indeed very lucky because research from the weather stations at Auchincruive, Ayrshire (31miles away) and Paisley, Renfrewshire (23 miles away) shows it could be as low as 3 deg C and not higher than 11 deg C on the day. I don't know the exact temperature on my wedding day but I do know it was definitely t-shirt weather!

If I had been married in Surrey in the south of England (which could easily could have been the case), my wedding would have probably been a very wet one. All the UK weather reports and news stories at the time centred on the troubled British Grand Prix. Many fans couldn't get to the race on time due to the very heavy downpours and resulting traffic congestion.

So all in all it really is difficult to definitely ensure you will have good weather on your wedding day. How many of us wake up to sunshine at the weekend and think how lucky some brides are going to be that day.

For those brides who really would like to know the latest forecast all the way up to the actual day I would recommend you visit this page. Here you can see rainfall radar images at half-hourly intervals, from the oldest (T-6 hours) to the latest (T-0 hours) in the form of an easy to follow animation. This enables you to quickly see whether rain clouds are heading towards your wedding venue. I sincerely hope not - but at least this way you will be prepared.

Recommended Websites For Checking Short Term Weather Forecasts:
Metoffice.com - Visit for the most accurate regional forecasts in the UK.
BBC Weather - UK and World 5 day forecast. Enter a town, city, country name, or a UK postcode.
Weather.com - Get the local weather forecast for any location in the world.
Accuweather.com- Review up to 15 day forecasts for any town in the UK.
Metcheck.com - Search on any UK Town for a 14 day forecast. Also feel free to add your own weather reports!

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How To Use Confetti.co.uk For A Stylish Christmas Wedding
Date: August 15, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Flower & Decorations & Industry News & Miscellaneous & Reviews & Shopping & Site Reviews & Themes & Unique Ideas

Whether you are planning a winter wedding or simply celebrating the festive season in style, Confetti has all the pieces to create a truly stylish affair. Order from the most popular wedding website in the UK, Confetti.co.uk states that over 90% of brides use their website at some stage in their planning process) or visit one of their five stores nationwide, in London, Reading, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow.

Confetti is a one stop shop for wedding and party advice and planning, with a huge array of wedding suppliers and expert advice as well as exciting and innovative products.

I recommend you decorate a festive table in stunning white and silver or classic gold and red for an occasion guests will never forget. Begin with stylish personalized stationery to set the tone, and then dress tables with an assortment of stationery and accessories, stylishly co-ordinated and beautifully presented.

Let me take you through some of their offerings for this coming Christmas:

♥ Snowflake confetti sprinkled on tables adds a touch of sparkle and glitter to any winter celebration.Snow confetti £1.99 and Mini Frosted Filled Votives £0.99 each

♥ These cute wired doves will sit merrily on top of the cake, twist in to a floral decoration or bouquet or can be wired on top of a favour box for a truly special decoration. £12.99 for 6.

♥ Add a touch of festive fun to favours with personalized ribbon in burgundy and gold – select from a variety of colours to suit any winter theme.
10 mm Personalized Ribbon £14.99 for 10 m
Chocolate Coins £4.99 for 200g
Ribbed Favour boxes £5.99 for ten

♥ These wonderful place name holders are perfect for the Christmas table – choose from "Perfect Angel" or "Cuddly Santa".
Angel/Santa place name holders £0.99 each.
Blank name cards £1.99 for ten.
and Choc Balls £9.99 for 775g.

♥ Create your own table planner with Confetti – guests will know exactly where to sit and the planner remains a beautiful keepsake of a special day.
Table Planner kit £12.99.
Organza Bows £1.99 for twelve.
Petal Confetti £19.99 for 150g.
Ribbon Favour Boxes £8.99 for ten.

♥ Christmas is a time for fun – break the ice with these fabulous trivia sets from Confetti.
Paper trivia £9.99 for six.
Paper Chance £3.99 for four.

♥ Let the season commence with a personalized fabric advent calendar – place chocolates in each pocket for extra fun! Who can resist the excitement of Christmas Eve? Increase the pleasure by hanging up a personalized stocking – a gift to remember year after year.
Advent Calendar £14.99.
Stocking £12.99.

Personalized presents make lasting gifts – Confetti has a wide range all year round.
Personalized Champagne Glass £9.99
Personalized tankard £9.99

♥ Commemorate a special Christmas with these fun personalized baubles – why not give one to every member of the family to enjoy and build up a wonderful collection to last forever?
Baubles £9.99 each.

Whether celebrating a wedding or simply planning a magical family Christmas, Confetti has everything to make the season glow.

Good luck with your festive wedding!

Further Confetti.co.uk Reading:
Review Of Confetti's Glasgow Store by Brown.
Compare Confetti's Wedding Insurance to other UK products.
Confetti's New Must-Read Magazine - Confetti Receptions

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Announcing Eight Free Online Wedding Budget Planner Reviews
Date: July 27, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Checklists & Planning & Reviews & Shopping & Site Reviews

We all know that weddings can be as expensive as they are elaborate. The first step on the wedding trail that all newly engaged couples need to take is deciding on how much they can comfortably afford to spend on their big day. The Knot carried out a survey which showed that 44% of couples admitted that they did not set up a wedding budget before starting planning for their big day. Setting up a wedding budget is the best way to ensure that you do not overspend. You can see what amounts of money need to be allocated to each area of your wedding planning and it will give you an overall estimated cost for your wedding. It is helpful before you actually start spending money on wedding services to have in your possession a sensible estimate of what it is going to cost you to have your dream wedding. Your wedding budget must be realistic to your financial circumstances.

According to a survey carried out by the Condé Nast Bridal Group, which publishes Brides, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride magazines, the average cost of a wedding has nearly doubled in the past 15 years to $27,852. With one third of all weddings now being paid for entirely by the bride and groom, $27,852 is a vast amount of money for the average couple to stump up. This is why I totally recommend you use a wedding budget planner. These calculating tools are not only free (one of the few wedding services you will encounter which can claim this!) but they also take the stress out of managing your wedding finances.

How Interactive Wedding Budget Planners work:

♥ Usually the budget planners provide you with a comprehensive list of all the costs you will encounter when planning your wedding including: Reception, Ceremony, Photography/Videography, Catering, Rings, Attire, Music, Flowers, Honeymoon, and Decoration.

♥ Some of the websites allow you to add your own items which are unique to your wedding planning (e.g. cost of caricature artist, release of doves, firework display or ice sculpture at reception).

♥ With every planner you begin with the overall amount which you can afford to spend on your wedding. You input that figure and the wedding budget planner breaks the amount down and calculates for you what you can afford to spend on each aspect of your wedding.

♥ Most of the interactive budgeting planners offer you estimates and average prices which couples spend on each area of their wedding which help you to work out how much your wedding is likely to cost.

♥ You can enter into some interactive budgeting planners how many guests you are planning to invite (you only have to give a rough approximation at this stage, you don’t have to finalise that decision until you are ready to book your venue, catering and order your stationery) and some of the planners ask how many male and female attendants you plan to have. By inputting this information you enable the interactive planner to divide up the budget accordingly (e.g. catering might be $80 for each guest, so by inputting that you are planning on inviting 100 guests the planner calculates that the estimated catering costs for your wedding will be $8,000). Overall this helps you to work out how much each aspect of your wedding is going to cost.

♥ The interactive budgeting planners range in timescale from the moment you get engaged to after your honeymoon when you are at the “Sending thank you letters” stage.

Advantages of creating your own Wedding Budget Planner

♥ It is better to have a clearly categorized wedding budget set out before you rather than a vague list of wedding services and approximate costs. The more itemized your wedding budget is the better so that you can see clearly where your money is being spent and, if need be, where you are able to cut back.

♥ The budget planner will help you to understand from the outset how much you can realistically spend on each aspect of your wedding (e.g. $700 is too much to spend on a wedding cake if your total wedding budget is $5,000!). You have to know how much money you can afford to spend on your wedding.

♥ By seeing the figures set out in black and white on the budget planner it should help you to keep track of your wedding expenditure and stick to your original budget. You have to have to keep an eye on your wedding spending otherwise you will be paying for your wedding for the next 10 years!

♥ These planners are great because they show the areas you will need to think about when planning your wedding (e.g. you are unlikely to overlook flowers if it is on the list with $150 next to it). They pinpoint areas of your budget you have to consider when planning your wedding and help you create a “to do” list as you realize you have not even considered some of the wedding planning categories yet!

♥ A definite advantage of some of these planners is that if you are on a tight budget the planning tool might well be able to help you decide on what size of wedding you can comfortably afford. For example, if your budget is only $4,000 then you might prefer to have a lavish wedding for 12 guests than a budget wedding for 60 guests. Sometimes a wedding budget can help you to determine the number of wedding guests you invite or sometimes the number of guests you intend to invite help you to determine your budget.

♥ By using a budget planner you can easily choose which aspects of your wedding planning to forego if necessary. You will clearly be able to see where your largest area of spending has been to date and you can also see which “extras” such as favors, lavish centerpieces and extravagant catering can be sacrificed to keep your budget looking healthy. Of course every bride and groom want the wedding of their dreams for an affordable budget but you must use the budget planner to help you prioritize your spending.

There is no need for you to spend lots of money on paper and software wedding planners. I have researched eight of the online wedding budget planners for you and checked what facilities each one has. The interactive wedding planners I have reviewed below are all free to use.

BridesMagazine.co.uk

♥ This interactive wedding budget planner is simply but attractively laid out and very easy to navigate.

♥ There are two blank columns for you to enter the estimated and final figures spent on each area of your wedding.

♥ The third column contains “average” figures for each different wedding planning category. The planner has calculated these already for you based on a total wedding budget of £17,740 or $27,852 (as mentioned above, Condé Nast Bridal Group who own this magazine carried out a survey and found that this amount is the average wedding cost in the UK and USA). This is really useful as you can use them as a guide price and check whether your own estimate is accurate or over-the-top!

♥ As you click out of each cell it automatically updates the whole budget planning table including the total amount at the bottom.

♥ The wedding categories it gives are quite basic but all areas of wedding planning seem to be covered (except wedding insurance).

♥ An advantage of this wedding budget planner is that you can save it (by becoming a Bride’s member, which is very straightforward and free) which means that you can come back to it and update it on a regular basis as you plan your wedding.

BlissWeddings.com

♥ When you click on this interactive wedding budget planner it asks for your names (which I thought is a nice personal touch) and the total amount of your estimated budget.

♥ The planner then breaks down the total budget you have given into different amounts for each of the categories, giving you their estimates for each area of your wedding planning and what you should expect to spend. This makes up the “estimate” column and alongside it you have the “actual” column for you to enter what you end up paying for each element of your wedding.

♥ The major fault with this planner is that although they call it “interactive” you actually cannot fill in any of the cells, you have to print this budget out and fill it in by hand!

♥ A further disadvantage is that the planner tends to lump things in together in each of the categories – for example “wedding attire” is for the whole wedding party rather than it being separated out into wedding dress, groom’s outfit, attendant’s clothing, veil etc. I think that the categories seem a bit vague as to what is being covered under each of them. It is far better to have as much of your wedding budget itemized as possible so that you can see clearly where your money is being spent and, if need be, where you are able to cut back.

♥ This planner gives you the option to email it to a friend or print it but does not have the function to let you save it and revise it at a later date (not that you would want to really as you cannot alter it online anyway).

ChicagolandWedding.com

♥ This is a great interactive wedding budget worksheet which is not specifically for Illinois residents, it is for anyone (including UK residents - although the figures are in US dollars).

♥ With this planner you enter in your available funds for your budget, add in your actual wedding costs and click on the “Calculate” button which updates your wedding budget and shows you what your overall budget is minus expenses so far.

♥ The only drawback with this interactive planner is that it does not suggest estimates for each wedding planning category and does not even include a column for estimates.

♥ The advice they give is to start by calculating your “ideal” wedding budget. You do this entering in your estimated wedding expenses into each of the categories and the resulting negative number in the "Wedding Budget Totals" is how much your ideal wedding will cost you. If you prefer to calculate how much you spend on your wedding this way then go for it but personally I would rather work out what I could afford to spend on the wedding and have that figure dictate what I spend on each wedding category.

♥ The categories are divided up into wedding planning sub-sections such as “Bridal Trousseau” which encompasses the wedding dress, veil, shoes, wedding dress cleaning fees, wedding night lingerie and more, and “Personal Appointments” which includes the categories hair, make-up, manicures pedicures and even dental appointments. These sub-categories have unambiguous headings and from what I can see they cover all aspects of wedding planning you are likely to encounter. They even include an “Essentials and Extras” category which includes all of the additional costs you might choose to add on to your budget from pre-wedding dance lessons to wedding planning books and software. Even if there are items within the categories which you think are unnecessary for your own wedding budget, they do serve as a reminder of costs to consider.

♥ I like the fact that each category is calculated separately – it makes it easier to see where the varying proportions of your wedding budget are being spent.

♥ An advantage of this wedding budget interactive planner is that the figures you enter will automatically be saved when you exit the website (so long as the cookies are enabled in your browser’s settings). I was able to re-access my wedding budget very easily and update it.

♥ The hints and additional information at the foot of the planner is really helpful and give you reminders for things you might otherwise forget when wedding planning.

WedAlert.com

♥ This is a very basic wedding budget checklist and it is not interactive.

♥ It has estimated and actual wedding cost columns. You can either type your costs into the columns and print this budget out, or just print off the blank budget and fill it in by hand as you go through each stage of your wedding planning.

♥ The categories seem to cover all aspects of wedding planning but they do have some random categories such as postage stamps, calligraphy and wedding parties. Again, this is another planner which overlooks wedding insurance on their wedding budget guide!

♥ It goes without saying that there is no option to save this wedding budget planner and add anything to it or update it in any way. It is only useful as a printable wedding budget checklist.

TheWeddingNetwork.co.uk

♥ This is a really cute interactive wedding budget planner. I think it is one of the best ones available for free on the internet for UK residents.

♥ You do have to register and log in to access the planner but this means that you are able to save your budget and come back to update it regularly.

♥ Each section has a link to local suppliers in your area (you give them your postcode when you register) so this is helpful if you need contact details and ideas for your reception entertainment, caterers and even addresses of local wedding dress boutiques.

♥ It has two columns, one with reasonable estimates and the other for the actual cost you pay for that aspect of your wedding planning.

♥ It is easy to remove items from the budget planner which are not required and you can update the whole planner with the click of a button – very user-friendly!

♥ One of the things I love about this wedding budget planner is that each sub-category has a little clickable information symbol next to it, which provides you with a helpful hint or piece of friendly advice relating to that area of your wedding planning (e.g. next to wedding dress it tells you that national average in the UK is £750 but that £300 can get you nice dress too).
♥ An advantage of this planner is that each planning category (such as “For the Bride”, “For the Groom” and “Fun Stuff”) breaks down into easy-to-read sub-categories and at the end of each section you can calculate the total amount you have spent solely on that section.

♥ At the bottom of the planner you have a “Total Estimate” figure and (my favorite) an “Under-budget by £xxxx” figure – what a great idea! Every bride wants her a dream wedding which does not break the bank so it adds a bit of excitement to your wedding planning as you see how long you can maintain that “Under-budget” figure for!

Hitched.co.uk

♥ This is another great interactive wedding budget planner aimed at couples planning weddings in the UK.

♥ It has four columns alongside each wedding planning category. One for “who pays”, “hitched estimates”, “your budget” and “actual cost”.

♥ Hitched’s estimate for an average UK wedding is £13,875 and they have broken down this figure and calculated the average amount of money which should be spent on each area of your wedding planning. The estimates seem quite low to me to be honest but they are serving only as guide price for you.

♥ You have to register at Hitched and log in to access your wedding budget planner but it does save your budget and allows you to amend and update it as often as necessary. It updates the figures very easily.

♥ You might find the “Who Pays” column useful to keep track of who is paying for a certain aspect of the wedding, particularly if your families are contributing towards the wedding costs.

♥ With this planner you cannot add in other categories of your own which is a disadvantage if you have your own wedding planning ideas which are not covered by Hitched’s various categories. However, you can easily delete the categories which you will not be utilizing for your wedding. I recommend that you do delete any unnecessary categories as it will make the planner totally personalized for your wedding and also easier to read.

♥ To be honest this is quite a basic wedding budget planner. Whereas some of the other wedding budget planners available online are slick in their design and add your name and sometimes even your wedding date to the top of the planner, this one is average but it does serve its purpose!

UtahBrides.com

♥ This is quite a basic interactive wedding budget planner. You enter the amount of your total wedding budget, how many guests you are inviting, how many male and female attendants you intend on having and the planner then calculates an estimate of how much should be spent in each area.

♥ The planner has two columns, an estimated amount and a column for you to insert the actual amount spent. There are sub-totals for each section, and at the bottom is a reminder of your total budget amount and a tally of what you have spent so far – all very clear to read.

♥ The categories are straightforward but seem to cover most areas of wedding planning. However you are not able to add in your own wedding planning category and if you deselect one of the existing categories, rather than deleting it the planner simply enters a “$000” value into the column for it.

♥ You can update the planner easily by simply hitting the “update” button.

♥ I like the fact that if your spending has gone up in one area (way over their estimate of how much you should spend on this area of your wedding planning) the budget automatically re-calculates all of the other areas which you have not yet spent in so that you can see where you will have to make recommended cut-backs. That could prove invaluable to brides who pay double what they expect to for that dream wedding dress!

♥ A disadvantage of this planner is that you can print it but not save it, despite the fact that you have to register and log in to access the tool.

TheKnot.com

♥ This is the most polished and thorough of the free interactive wedding budget planners I have looked at and it is definitely my favorite of the bunch.

♥ You have to register on The Knot and log in to access your interactive planner but it does add your name and wedding date to the top of the page, as well a countdown counter to your wedding date which automatically updates every time you log in to your budget planner - I think that is a nice touch!

♥ They have laid out a sample budget which you can have a look at to see how it is done, which is helpful.

♥ The budget planner has two columns, the first is the estimated cost of each category and sub-category and the other is the actual cost you pay for each area of your wedding planning. The estimates are based on whatever you insert into the budget planner as your overall total wedding budget. In my personal dummy budget, which I have linked to above, I inserted a budget of $18,000. The planner breaks the total sum down for you - it couldn’t be easier!

♥ This planner is easy to navigate and clearly shows you their recommendations of how your wedding budget should be divided up.

♥ I think that the average costs it gave me for my dummy budget looked very realistic. However, even when I inserted a budget of $5,000 the planner still gave me achievable wedding cost estimates. I think that whether your wedding budget is $5,000 or $50,000 this planner is perfect for you as it will take the total of whatever funds are available to you to spend on your wedding and distribute it in appropriate proportions to each area of your wedding planning.

♥ In order to calculate your budget this planner asks how many male or female attendants you are planning on having. This is so that the planner can calculate the cost of dressing your attendants and how much you can spend on their thank you gifts.

♥ It also asks you to insert how many guests you intend to invite so that it can divide the catering and favor costs by this amount of guests to get a “per head” cost for you.

♥ I like the way this wedding budget planner breaks each section down (e.g. music - ceremony music, cocktail hour music, reception music). The details within each section help to remind you of costs you might not have thought about yet or might remind you of things you have yet to plan (notoriously you forget to include pre-wedding pampering costs for yourselves!).

♥ It looks to me like every wedding planning category is covered in this wedding budget planner. This planner also gives you the option to click on the categories which are required, unlike some of the other planners where you have to just leave the category blank. You are also able to add your own categories too, which is great if you have something which is not a traditional cost in a wedding budget (e.g. cost of wedding attire for your pet!). The items you add in can be inserted into a category which already exists on the planner rather than having to add random items in to the bottom of the planner. This is brilliant as it keeps your budget planner organized and allows you to modify the budget planner to your specific needs by deleting unnecessary categories and adding in your own wedding budget items.

♥ This planner give you the option to click a “View Advice” button which gives you advice and tips for each category (e.g. for the wedding gown category it reminds you to include the costs of possible dress alterations, cleaning costs, shipping costs etc). I think most couples will find these reminders and information invaluable when they are planning their wedding.

♥ At the foot of the planner it sets out the “total budget”, “spent to date” and “amount left to spend”. Each category gives you a sub-total too so you can clearly see where might be overspending. It is easy to add or delete wedding costs, you simply click on the “update” button.

♥ Additionally, The Knot provide you with a payment tracker which was a unique idea. There are several columns spread across the worksheet. As you enter figures into the wedding budget planner, the costs will also automatically appear in the appropriate columns on the payment tracker; “Deposit”, “Second Payment”, “Final Payment”, “Amount Paid” and “Balance Due”. You can insert additional details such as method of payment and diarize the payment due date which is fantastic news for busy couples planning their weddings. I speak from experience when I say that it is all too easy to overlook paying one of your wedding suppliers! You can add calendar reminders so that this does not happen to you. This worksheet, like the wedding budget planner, is printable and you are also able to save it.

Now remember, setting your wedding budget is the unpleasant bit - now you can move on to the fun planning stage!

Good luck!

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The Scottish Wedding Directory - For All Brides Marrying In Scotland
Date: June 30, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Directories & Industry News & Shopping & Site Reviews

Everyone loves a Scottish wedding! I know I won’t forget my big day back in 2000. I was blessed with glorious sunshine in Largs, Ayrshire.

These wonderful memories spring to mind on hearing that the Autumn/Winter 06 issue of the Scottish Wedding Directory is out tomorrow on the 1st July.

The Scottish Wedding Directory is a directory and 480 page magazine, split into two - The Directory and Scottish Wedding Venues.

The Directory features 750 wedding suppliers and is crammed full of ideas, advice, adverts, and pictures. In addition there are articles on everything from the latest trends in wedding gowns for Scottish brides to musicians, transport, photography, stationery and flowers. Also look out for a number of great competitions to be won!

The Magazine “Scottish Wedding Venues” offers comprehensive information on wedding venues throughout Scotland. This includes the “Gazetteer “ which enables you to quickly scan all the available venues and their facilities. There are also features on unusual venues, marquees, catering and a whole lot more!

This special 2 magazine package can be bought over the internet for £6 via this link. Delivery within the UK should take a minimum of four working days and includes postage and packing. You can also buy it from all major newsagents.

I would also highly recommend you checkout their website for every wedding service imaginable. For example whilst looking for stationary suppliers in Scotland I came across the very company I used, namely Isis Stationery. We combined the English rose and Scottish thistle motifs to represent the marriage of an Englishman and Scottish woman!

Finally before you leave the site sign up for their monthly newsletter, the form is on the left side of the homepage. Here is a link to the April newsletter called "Something New".

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How To Successfully Choose Your Wedding Songs And Music
Date: June 02, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Music & Dance & Site Reviews

Whether you choose a live band, a string quartet, a DJ or even do it yourself with an iPod your musical choices will set the mood and the pace for your wedding day. Wedding songs are one of the elements of the wedding day remembered most by guests, so be sure to put your own stamp on the day through your choice of music for both the wedding ceremony and the reception.

The music you select for your wedding will help to create the right atmosphere for your big day. It is really crucial that you take time to select wedding music which best reflects your feelings, your personality and the theme of the wedding you want to create. After all you want your wedding to be remembered for the right reasons – not the fact that you allow the DJ to play D:Ream’s “Things Can Only Get Better” for your first dance!

Some of the things you might want to consider when choosing your wedding songs are as follows:

* Remember that you will need to select music for the wedding ceremony, the cocktail hour or pre-reception drinks party and the reception.

* If your wedding has a specific theme (for example medieval, beach, tropical, Asian or Italian) you should choose music to match.

* If you are selecting music for your first dance than really think carefully about your choice. Have a look at the lyrics for your chosen song and practice dancing to the beat of it with your partner to ensure its not too slow or fast for you both. Beware of choosing songs which are trendy and popular at the moment. Its more important that you choose a song which is meaningful to you both.

* When selecting music for your ceremony talk to your officiant. They might well have strict guidelines about which wedding songs can be used during your ceremony in their house of worship. Its important to discuss this with them at an early stage to agree which songs will be used at your wedding. Officiants could well have some recommendations they can make to you for songs too.

* You will want your guests to not only feel relaxed and enjoy themselves but additionally you might want them to feel included in your wedding day. Perhaps you could choose a specific song for a specific guest to make them feel special.

* A key piece of advice professional wedding planners give regarding choosing wedding music is to plan out an outline or plot for your wedding, as if it is a movie. This will mean that you know which key moments will require specific wedding music (e.g. walking down the aisle, father/daughter dance, the bouquet or garter toss) and which moments simply require background music (e.g. during the reception meal).

* Always ensure that you have given clear instructions to your live band, DJ or whoever else is responsible for your wedding music so that both they and you know what music is being played at what time during your wedding day.

To simplify the process for you of choosing the perfect soundtrack to your wedding day I have researched some of the most popular wedding song websites and have set out below a brief review of some of the best. Most of the websites I’ve recommended contain large libraries of wedding songs to choose from and some of them have broken the lists down into categories and sometimes even sub-categories, such as processional or ceremony music and then celebratory or reception music. You might also want to consider having a look at these websites to select music to include on your wedding video. Have a browse through the websites and have some fun!

OurWeddingSongs.com

This is a slick site with very nice graphics. It is easy to navigate and sets out in detail descriptions of each different type of song available for each different segment of your wedding day - from the ceremony to the reception, including bouquet toss songs, unity candle songs and even cake cutting songs. There seems to be a good amount of songs to choose from and they range from oldies to more recent chart-toppers. With each song suggested they include lyrics, which is great so that you can check that the wording of the song you choose for a specific part of your wedding is totally appropriate.

This website is set apart from the others by the fact that it gives you ratings out of 10 for each of the songs displayed within the different categories which members of the public have voted on. This is great as it tells you which are the most popular wedding songs, or you might prefer to think of them as the most common (meaning perhaps you should set yourself apart from everyone else and use something different!).

WedAlert.com

This website has a varied selection of categories and sub-categories to choose from. It features 1200 songs which are said to be the most popular wedding songs in North America.

Although it does not have lyrics to many songs you can listen to soundbites of a lot of the songs. By clicking on a certain song title within one of the categories Real One Player opens up and allows you to hear a 45 second sample of the song (only if you have speakers though!). Some people might prefer hearing the sample of the song rather than reading the lyrics as it can really help to remind you of what a song sounds like. Be warned though 45 seconds can sometimes not be long enough to help you decide whether a song is going to be appropriate for your first dance. This site does have links though telling you where you can buy the CD’s the songs are taken from.

This website has lots of good suggestions for songs you might like to play for different aspects of your wedding including father/daughter dance, mother/son dance etc. As well as listing contemporary and classical songs this site also has a well presented ethnic music selection with plenty of variety to inspire you with your choices. I think that this website gives great advice on how to choose your wedding music and how to organize timings for the music on your wedding day in order to create the right atmosphere.

WeddingMusicCentral.com

The wedding music library within this website is fantastic. There are a huge selection of popular wedding songs and lots of song suggestions within each category. Unfortunately only some of the listed songs have samples attached to them that you can listen to, but you will find that the most popular wedding songs do have sound clips available. A great feature of this site is the CD listening room. It sets out recommended wedding CD’s which you can select and then listen to taster songs from each CD. The site also has links on how to buy those CD’s.

Another reason to visit this website is that it has an invaluable guide on how to pick the soundtrack to your perfect wedding. There is a huge amount of well laid out information to help you select which songs you need and when you should play them at your wedding so that you can organize the music for the whole ceremony and reception. The expert planning section is fantastic and I think it will greatly assist you in making your music selections.

Look out for the article within this website on “How to avoid the 3 biggest wedding mistakes most couples make with wedding music” by Gloria Sklerov and Barbara Rothstein. This is a must read!

Wedj.com

This website says that its selection of wedding songs have been chosen by disc jockeys who have performed at weddings throughout North America. I think that this is brilliant because you know that the songs listed are authentically chosen by experts who are in the know as to which songs are most popular. This could be especially useful if you are planning on using an iPod at your wedding and handling the music selection yourself as it will give you an idea of which songs are appropriate for the different stages of your wedding. For example, by using the suggestions listed on this website you can gain ideas of which songs are great for getting people up onto the dancefloor, background music during the meal or even music for cutting your cake to.

Although there are not as many categories as the other websites I have reviewed above they have got a very full selection of music for the 4 categories that there are. As before, when you click on a link to a song Real One Player opens in another window and allows you to hear a 45 second snippet of each song.

This website also has numerous links to live bands who are available all over North America for wedding hire, which is very useful if you are thinking of having living music at your wedding. In conjunction with this, they have the facility on their website for you to listen to samples of popular wedding songs being played live by bands free of charge. This is a great way to get an idea of a band’s sound before you consider contacting them.

I hope that you’ve found my reviews useful. Good luck with selecting your wedding music!

Further Reading On Wedding Music and Songs:
20 Essential Wedding DJ Choosing the right DJ is crucial and my top tips should help you get it right.
Alanis Morissette Favours An iPod Over A Wedding DJ - How About Yourself? - How to save money by opting for an iPod.
Revealing Five Wedding Song Ideas 5 tips to selecting the best wedding songs you can.

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Four Wedding Blogs Reviewed
Date: May 17, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Site Reviews & Wedding Blogs

Yesterday I received a nice surge in traffic from a site called BridalWave.tv and this got me thinking that really I have limited ideas regarding the best wedding blogs on the internet. Ever since October 2005 I have kept myself to myself just trying to make Wedaholic.com a useful and fun resource for brides around the world – seems like I have been a bit blinkered. It may seem weird but the honest truth is that what with other things going on I haven’t really branched out to see who my friends and neighbours in the “wedosphere” are, so to speak.

In the beginning I wasn’t even sure I would be able to maintain the blog, in so much that you hear many stories of people that lose motivation after a few months. Thankfully that has never happened to me, I just seem to be addicted to weddings. I get a buzz from writing long in depth articles on wedding advice. For example, I’m particularly proud of this blog on Double Weddings and this one on using your iPod at a wedding instead of a DJ. Equally, I thoroughly enjoy writing articles about the latest celebrity weddings and reviews of wedding related films. My aim is to provide a entertaining mix of information for today’s bride. In fact even after the wedding I would like to think brides are still tuning in for some of the more amusing stories I post!

So my aim in this article is to walk you through some of the best wedding blogs I have found over the past day or two. Admittedly I could turn this walk into a marathon but initially I thought I would stick to a few that instantly make an impact which I have bookmarked to visit in the future.

So lets start with BridalWave.tv, the site that initially got me thinking about other wedding blogs!

BridalWave.tv

This is a wedding blog run by freelance journalist and writer Camilla Chafer. She posts daily and all in all she seems to be a very busy lady, writing for a whole host of other websites including the girl's guide to gadgets weblog Shinyshiny.tv.

Both sites are run by Shinymedia.tv and I was intrigued to find out exactly who was responsible for running this company. It seems from reading this page that they are a media company set up in August 2003 . To quote them directly, they are a “London-based pico-publisher” where BridalWave.tv is part of a very strong blog stable that includes other quality blogs like Trashionista.com/, Shoewawa.com and Catwalkqueen.tv.

So what does BridalWave.tv have to offer you?

Well it seems from a quick glance to offer an array of wedding related stories, many focused on the UK market where, like me, Camilla is based. At random I clicked on the “Attendants” link in the category listings and saw that many of the posts feature links to UK stores and sites, an interesting selection of names and brands – some I had heard of and many I hadn’t. This is great for brides, for example there is a review of “Absolutely Audrey” a shop that allows you to personalise your shoes with shoe clips for all occasions.

I could spend a whole day visiting all of the wedding ranges featured on this blog. Most posts are fairly short and to the point. The bottom line is that they are informative and definitely have something interesting to say. For example on the Keepsakes and Favours page any bride could easily while away a good hour during her lunch break surfing this page alone. Finally, before I move on to another blog please take time out to check out this - I just had to click on the category title “Yay or Nay” to find out exactly what it meant. It turns out that this is a funny review of the best and worst dresses on the market today, as Camilla puts it:

"Amongst all the beautiful gowns, a monster lurks. And not just one, there's lots and lots of these hideous creations just waiting to pounce on the poor unsuspecting bride."

She is dead right, there are some ghastly creations out there. Every Wednesday a different dress is posted on BridalWave.tv, and if your own dress looks similar to any of the ones featured you may want to think again! It’s definitely entertaining to review the comments section. In fact the “Yay or Nay section” is a feature of a few of the other Shiny Media blogs, for example check out TheBagLady.tv

Ok I have to move on. I thoroughly recommend you add BridalWave.tv to the list of blogs you read on a regular basis. It will really bring a smile to your face!

Moving on to WeddingBee.com!

On the right hand column of BridalWave.tv there is a heading called “Blogs We Read” and under it a list of other wedding blogs. (It reminds me I must set something up like this on Wedaholic myself, it just makes sense that a bride would want to jump from one wedding blog to the next.) Anyway my eye jumped to a blog called “Wedding Bee” and on arriving at the site I see that for Tuesday 16th May there are amazing 14 posts! I'm so amazed that I hit the previous button at the bottom of the page to see whether this was a one off or the norm. It is the norm. I can see myself spending a ton of time on this site! Time to put the kettle on!

Whilst reading the About page I see that Wedding Bee is authored many times a day by brides (and grooms) planning their weddings in New York. Of all the authors though a certain “Mrs Bee” seems to be the most prolific contributor to this site, so I had to find out more about her!

Its fun to read each of the author biographies and it is here that I find out that in fact Mrs Bee is actually Mrs Bee – this is her real name and she got wed back on the March 5th 2005. Sadly I can’t tell you too much more about her but fortunately some of the other authors are more forthcoming. For instance Mrs. Ladybug tells us at length about her two wedding proposals http://www.weddingbee.com/2005/12/05/the-real-proposal/ . In fact when I saw that her wedding actually happened not so long ago on 16th April this year I was intrigued to find out how the big day went. Like me you can read her whole story and relive every step. I love the photos , particularly the ones posted on 13th May and the ones of the “breakfast date”on the 4th May.

She says:

We did not take any Engagement photos. These were taken the morning of the wedding - our last “breakfast date” together before we got hitched. I knew we weren’t going to have any time to ourselves all day so this was an hour that we set aside just for us which I HIGHLY recommend you do. It could be anything.

Definitely a great idea!

I also discovered a page on WeddingBee.com that in future would be fun to have on Wedaholic, namely a page that tells the reader which articles are the most popular and who has actually been leaving the most comments.

Again you can spend a life time on this page!

In fact with Wedding Bee you have the opportunity to become a blogger on the site if you are getting married in Manhattan?

All in all there is a wealth of information on this blog - no wonder BridalWave.tv linked to this site. I particularly like the "Dear WeddingBee" posts where for example brides send in questions. For example,

"As her maid of honor, I am planning my friend’s bridal shower. I have never even attended a bridal shower, so I have no clue how to start."

You can check out Mrs Bee's great response here.

Where next?

Well both BridalWave.tv and WeddingBee.com recommend Manolobrides.com, so it makes sense to pop over and have a look.

The first thing that strikes me is that Manolo isn’t just interested in weddings, he has blogs relating to shoes, food and men. Secondly it isn’t that easy to find out exactly who Manolo is, as he states on his blog – "Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik"

Manolo himself likes to remain anonymous but his bridal blog is written by someone with the name “Never teh Bride”. Though this writer posts daily to Manolobrides.com it has been some time since she posted to her own personal blog.

As she puts it:

"The story of one woman's quest to stop being the bridesmaid, and to seize control of her inner matrimonial bliss."

Anyway lets cut to the chase - Manolobrides.com is an entertaining wedding blog, and from what I can see there is generally one post a day. The topics covered in recent days range from wedding cup cakes, how to get your own personalised wedding song, a wedding teddy gun that shoots small stuffed bears at your guests, great wedding films, advice on mother of the bride dresses and even working out for your wedding. There is definitely something for everyone!

Every day there seems to be an interesting post, so much so that I have added their feed to my Bloglines account. In fact I recommend all brides have a Bloglines account so that each morning they can easily review all the latest wedding blogs in one place without necessarily visiting each site. For instance, while you are in Bloglines be sure to add my feed.

Like the other blogs I have reviewed there is a list of recommended blog links in the right hand column - even more so with Manolo’s site. In fact when there is a list of nearly twenty blogs it really is tough working out which you should visit next. I personally look at the names and go on instinct. Scanning this list I was taken by the name "Here Comes the Blog" - it made me chuckle!

On arrival at this wedding blog, like at most blogs I visit, I try to find out a little bit about the people behind the site.

Jayne Leigh Hallock runs HereComestheBlog.com and is the main blog writer and message board moderator. She is also head writer for MyWeddingFavors.com and ElegantWeddingBands.com and has over 15 years of professional writing experience!

The blog also has five consultants, all featured on this page.

The five wedding consultants are:

Joyce Scardina Becker, wedding planning expert who runs EventsofDistinction.com and has had her work featured in TheKnot.com

Erica Goldstein, stationery and trend expert who runs PaperBride.com. Her work has also appeared on notable wedding sites such as The Wedding Channel.

Diana Kirschner, psychologist & love expert who has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America and NPR Radio and runs her own site OpeningLovesDoor.com

Tatiana Byron, responsible for running The Wedding Salon - a luxury wedding showcase.

Karin Sloan, a veteran wedding expert, founder of Let-me-tell-you.com

With all this expert opinion it shouldn't be surprising that this blog bursts with quality information. The posts don't seem to be regular, some can be over a week apart, but certainly you can see the content is professionally written. So as I don't miss a post I have added their feed to my Bloglines account.

So there you have it - four great wedding blogs:

Camilla's BridalWave.tv

Mrs Bee and the other New York brides' WeddingBee.com

Manolo's Manolobrides.com

Jayne's HereComesTheBlog.com

In time I am sure I will recommend many more wedding blogs. In addition I will also be shortly setting up a "Blogroll" in the right hand column of Wedaholic.com so that you always have a handy list of blogs which you can access.

If you are aware of a fun and entertaining wedding blog you believe I should know about, please do not hesitate to leave a comment so that I can review the site at a later stage.

More Blogs - Updated 3rd July 2006

Don't Be That Bride - A Wedding Blog Not To Be Missed!

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As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore.
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