bridal party, real wedding, wedding advice, Wedding Albums, wedding planning, wedding tips

How To Calm Your Nerves Before Giving Your Wedding Toast

Nerves are a normal part of the speaking process, but nerves can also make you a sour note in an otherwise lovely event if left unchecked. When delivering a wedding toast, it’s normal for your hands to shake, your throat to go dry and your pace to quicken, but you need to be able to overcome this response if you want these few minutes to be remembered for the right reasons.

Very few people feel at ease when speaking in front of others. In fact, the body actually goes into a mild form of fight or flight during stressful situations. You might suddenly feel cold or shaky, and you may even stumble a bit in your speech. The key to avoiding this is by not viewing the situation as stressful, and you can do this by practicing frequently beforehand.

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Start crafting your speech as early as possible. Create an outline immediately, and write notes about your speaking points. Over a few days, flesh out what stories you’d like to tell and any words you’d like to impart. Find out the length of your speech before you begin writing. Every page will take you roughly a minute, so keep the time in mind when you’re writing. If you aren’t sure what to write about, break your speech into three parts. Begin by introducing yourself and how you met your friends. This is an appropriate place to add a story. After that, focus on the couple. Talk about how they met each other and how you met them. Talk about their progression and what events led them to marriage. Finish by thanking the bride and groom and wishing them the best.

If you aren’t sure about the tone of the piece, ask around to find someone who has written a toast before. Ask them what they did to prepare. Don’t copy their methods, especially if they’re in the bridal party, but take their advice and adapt it to your own situation when you’re stuck. If you don’t know anyone who has given a wedding toast, think of people you know who have to speak often. These people may be in management or have some sort of position in the community like church leader or teacher. Ask them what they do to prepare for their speeches. If there’s a public speaker you admire, look up one of their speeches on YouTube, and pay attention to the way they deliver their speech.

Consider getting involved in an organization like Toastmasters. A driving force in leadership and communication, they can help you get on the right track and get comfortable with public speaking. While working with them, you’ll develop your confidence and learn about gauging audience feedback, how to maintain eye contact, how to adjust the pacing, tone and volume of your speaking, how to gesture effectively and how to deliver strong material.

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Once your speech is written, practice, practice, practice. Use any free time to go over your speech, even if it’s in the shower or on the way to work. Record yourself giving the speech, and speak along with it. Practice delivering your speech differently by adjusting your tone, including pauses or even adding natural elements like laughter. When you play it back, you’ll be able to gauge how well your speech is coming along and make adjustments where necessary.

For Other Great Tips on Giving the Perfect Wedding Toast: The Perfect Wedding Toast: A Beginner’s Guide

wedding advice, Wedding Albums, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding tips

A Complete 12-Month Wedding Planning Guide

Planning for your wedding is a stressful task. However, it can be very manageable if done ahead of time. Regardless of what season your wedding is taking place, most of the scheduling timeline is consistent. We have laid out the ultimate 12-month wedding planning guide to help keep you on track and relaxed throughout this very exciting process.

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Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

 

12 MONTHS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Establish a budget

This is an important first step because it impacts the rest of your planning. Be realistic about what you can afford. There’s nothing more stressful than starting a marriage off with financial trouble. Figure out an exact budget for your wedding that you can stand by.

  • Choose your date(s)

There are a lot of details you may not know about picking your wedding date. You may have an idea of your perfect date, but it is important to consider the implications of different seasons and locations before making any decisions. Come up with a few date options so that you can be flexible when picking your perfect venue.

  • Guestimate

Brainstorm an approximate guest count number. This doesn’t have to be exact, just a rough estimate.

  • Book your venue and caterer

Having a venue that you love is one of the most important parts of your wedding. Be sure to ask your wedding venue important questions that will determine if this is truly the location for you. Once you have that determined, research and interview wedding caterers.

  • Propose to your bridesmaids

Begin thinking of who you want as your bridesmaids, as well as all the fun ways of asking your favorite girls to be your bridesmaids. While the feelings of close family and friends are important, it is also essential that you pick only people that you genuinely want beside you through this big process.

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Hand Crafted Wedding Albums at Sensible Prices

 

10-11 MONTHS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Interview vendors

Research what aspects are most important in picking a photographer, DJ or band, baker and any other vendor you may be considering. Interview vendors with these things in mind and figure out which are the best fits for you and your fiancé.

  • Secure Your Wedding Album

As brides look back on their weddings, there’s one regret that is consistently brought up: losing their most loved wedding memories by not thinking ahead on how to preserve them for years to come. While many photographers will offer packages included wedding albums, Altar Albums will offer the exact same albums up to $800 cheaper.

  • Research wedding dress styles

Before you start going into stores, figure out the most important things to know about your dress fitting. Research different dress styles and crucial tips to know for the day of your dress shopping. When it comes to your wedding dress, it’s important to know what is out there so that you can pick the style that you feel best in. Create a collection of what you see.

  • Begin shopping for your dress

This is such a fun part of your wedding process that you should make sure to truly enjoy it. Take a small group of people you are close friends and family. Keep in mind that what you had pictured as your wedding dress may not end up being what fits you best… and that’s perfectly alright! Before you start shopping, you should have considered shapes, interesting dress details, and length… now it’s time to find the right combination for you.

  • Build your gift registry

Sit down with your fiancé to build your wedding registry. You’ll be happy you got this step done with early so that you have an answer at any point someone asks you.

  • Purchase wedding insurance

Many couples don’t know you can invest in wedding insurance to protect your deposits. Purchasing an insurance policy is a great protective measure to prepare for any emergency that may (but hopefully will not) occur.

  • Make hotel reservations

Surely you will have traveling guests for your wedding… you yourself may be traveling for it! Book hotel reservations far in advance so that there are absolutely no problems or worries when it comes to wedding accommodation.

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7- 9 MONTHS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Take Engagement Pictures

Your family and friends are dying to see a formal announcement with a beautiful (and professional) picture of you and your fiance. These will also be great to display in your future home, during your bridal shower, and your rehearsal dinner. Keep in mind that you’ll only be a “fiance” for so long, relish the moment! Also, this is a perfect opportunity to test out your wedding photographer before the fact to make sure you love their work!

  • “Save the date”

It’s time to sit down and create your “Save the date” letter. There are many directions you can take with your letters, whether that is simple and classic or creative and detailed. Keep in mind, you also have the wedding invitation to add your personal touch on.

  • Bridesmaids dresses.

Figure out what goes into picking the right bridesmaid dress and once you have made a final decision on the best dresses or dress style for your big day, notify your girls.

  • Book rental companies.

If it isn’t already taken care of through your wedding venue, this is the time to begin booking rental companies that will provide chairs, tables and any other items you’ll need for your big day.

  • Start planning your honeymoon.

We know. You’re just now planning your wedding! But if your honeymoon is taking place shortly after your wedding, you will want to start thinking about the best honeymoon destinations for you and the best timing for you and your fiancé.

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4-6 MONTHS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Wedding Invitations

Now is the time to create and order wedding invitations. It’s important to note that there is general wedding invitation etiquette so have an idea of what is expected and how you can create your wedding invitations to fit your style and include any important details.

  • Pick out wedding rings

You already have your engagement rings but now it’s time to switch out for wedding rings. Shop with your fiancé for the right rings for your style and your budget.

  • More honeymoon preparations

This is the time to start sorting honeymoon details. Don’t forget that like your wedding, you must have your honeymoon fit your budget. Research and purchase flights, book accommodation and if necessary, renew passports.

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3 MONTHS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Order your cake

Once you and your fiancé choose the right style of cake for you and a bakery that you like, order your cake so that it is sure to arrive on time.

  • Groom and groomsmen wear

Now is the time for the groom and groomsmen to rent or buy their formalwear. The most important thing when the groom picks out his tux or suit is that he can be distinguished from his groomsmen.

  • Bridal shower

If you haven’t already had one, this is a great time to plan and throw your bridal shower.

  • Wedding day transportation

If necessary, book your wedding day transportation. When choosing the exact hour, be sure to give yourself plenty of time in case things run a bit behind schedule.

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2 MONTHS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Send out the wedding invitations

By now, the invitations should have arrived and any necessary changes should have been made. Send out wedding invitations to all your guests.

  • Pick a hairstyle and try out makeup looks

There are so many beautiful bridal hairstyles you can sport on your big day. Research your options so you have an idea of what you may want. Additionally, try out different makeup styles to see what you feel best in.

  • Book your hair stylists and makeup artist

Once you’ve done some research on the styles you may be interested in, interview and book a hairstylist and makeup artists. Before making anything official, ask to look through photos of their work on past customers.

  • Start writing your vows

It won’t take you two months to write your vows, but you will definitely want the time to review it, edit it, and maybe even rewrite it. You may think of things you want to add or take out and will definitely want to research tips on delivering your wedding vows.

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ONE MONTH UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Final dress fitting

This is the time to have your final dress fitting. Double check for any last adjustments you might need to make. When going to your fitting, bring the undergarments, shoes, jewelry, a veil and any other accessory you are planning on wearing on your big day.

  • Confirm with your bridesmaids

Check with your bridal party that everyone has their dresses and shoes. It is important that your bridesmaids get their dresses with enough time to make any necessary adjustments that might come up.

  • Confirm with vendors

Call all of your vendors to confirm scheduling details. Make sure they have the correct contact information, location (give a specific address) and time.

  • Apply for a marriage license

So much joy and excitement comes with a wedding. With that, there are also benefits that come with being married. Make sure you are legally considered married after your wedding by applying for a marriage license through your local bureau.

  • Purchase gifts

Your wedding day is coming up soon and your family, bridal party, and fiancé have done so much to make sure it goes well. Show your gratitude with a nice, thoughtful gift for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and maybe even your partner.

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TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE WEDDING

The last two weeks of your wedding are considered crunch time. Although you have planned everything well so far, you will have a lot going on during this time. Consider creating a “Last Two Weeks checklist” with details on everything you have left to do before the big day. This checklist will include the following:

  • Finalize the RSVP list

By now, all of your wedding guests should have RSVP’d. Unfortunately, there will always be some that don’t. This is an appropriate time to approach guests that have not sent their RSVP and ask for a final answer. You need this information to continue on with your planning.

  • Photo shots

Think of any poses or particular photos you want to be captured and send a list of shots to the photographer and videographer.

  • Plan your seating chart

Once you have an accurate idea of who will be at your wedding, you can begin creating the reception seating chart. When doing so, keep in mind any poor fits that should not be placed near one another. There are ways of creating a setting that is mindful of divorced parents or family drama.

  • Final cuts

This is the time to get any last haircuts or colors before the big day. You want to leave plenty of time in case something goes wrong.

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ONE WEEK UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Final headcount

At this point, you should give your caterer a final headcount. This is important for meal preparation. Make sure to mention any dietary restrictions or anything you want to be included. This is the time to ask any important last-minute questions.

  • Place cards

Make or print place cards and table cards for the reception. Give them to your planning coordinator.

  • Final playlist

Create a list of songs that you want to be played while everyone is up and dancing and hand it over to the DJ or band. Include any songs that you don’t want to be played and more importantly, include whatever song you and your fiancé decided on for the first song.

  • Attend Bachelorette party

If your friends have planned a bachelorette party for you, this is generally when it will take place. Leave time for yourself to enjoy partying at whatever great party spot they chose for you without worrying about getting other things done.

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2-3 DAYS UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Reconfirm final details

Check up with all of your vendors to confirm details. At this point, there is no such thing as being overly prepared.

  • Prepare the dress

Have your wedding dress pressed and steamed. During this time, your groom should also have his final fitting.

  • Determine bridal party positions

Figure out in which order the bridal party will stand during the ceremony. In order to avoid any hurt feelings, find a logistical order such as by height, alphabetical order, or better yet—have your wedding coordinator organize the order for you.

ONE DAY UNTIL THE WEDDING

  • Rehearsal dinner

You’re one day away from your wedding… that means it’s time to rehearse the ceremony and host the rehearsal dinner. Since the dinner is casual and fun, you can invite close family, your bridal party, and any guests you are close with that traveled for your big day.

  • Pay

Get everything out of the way—prepare checks for any vendors you have pending payments with.

  • An emergency number

Provide your wedding coordinator and all vendors with an emergency phone number for the big day in case you can’t be reached for whatever reason.

  • Marriage license

Give your marriage license to your officiant to make things official.

THE DAY OF YOUR WEDDING!

On the big day, there is a wedding day timeline you can more or less expect to follow. Wrap up your year of planning with fun tasks and excitement.

  • Presents

Give the presents you bought or made to your parent(s), bridal party and significant other.

  • Wedding bands

Hand over your wedding bands to best man and the maid of honor to hold during the ceremony.

  • GET MARRIED!

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You worked so hard planning your big day but at the end of it all, the thing that matters most is that you are marrying the person you love. You will remember this day for the rest of your life. So, regardless of details and what goes according to or strays away from the plan, truly enjoy it.

Album Articles, Wedding Albums, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding tips

Wedding Albums: The Page by Page Breakdown

The wedding has passed (best day of your life!), you’re finally back from your dreamy honeymoon and now you have approximately a million different photo options that your photographer just sent over. Instead of procrastinating and letting them sit in your inbox, it’s time to put them to use! We know narrowing down your pictures can be daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a page-by-page outline of how to start forming your perfect wedding albums:

Set the Scene: 2 Pages

Perfecting wedding albums is about painting a picture. Much like wedding videography, you want to set the scene and tell your story from beginning to end. No, that does not mean that it needs to be chronological. However, the beginning of every story starts with location, venue, surroundings, etc. So that’s where we’ll begin. This is a perfect opportunity to have a panoramic picture spread across two pages.

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Getting Ready: 4-6 Pages

Since traditionally you don’t see your spouse in the getting ready process, this is something you should absolutely highlight in your album. Think of it as the calm before the storm. The intimate time you spent with friends and family that illustrates the excitement and preparation leading up to your “I do’s.”

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First Look, Prayer, Presents, Portraits: 6-8 pages

This is the time to include anything you and your spouse did before the wedding. Did you do a first look or a prayer? Include that! Did you exchange presents? Choose your favorite pictures of your expressions as you opened your present. Lastly, choose your favorite pictures of you and your spouse to be included as the featured portraits in your DIY wedding album.

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The Details: 2 Pages

On your wedding day, you will most likely not get the chance to appreciate all of the work you put into the details of your wedding day. From the veil to the shoes, the flowers to the centerpieces, intersperse the details of your wedding day throughout your wedding albums.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Family Photos: 4-6 Pages

Choose the candids along with the portraits for this section. You will appreciate looking back at these pictures for years to come.

If you are doing a parent album as a gift, we encourage you to personalize or expand this grouping to make it a wedding album specifically for them.

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Wedding Party and Friends: 4-6 Pages

Similar to the family photos, you don’t want to only include the portrait pictures. With friends and wedding party, you’ll want to be very selective. Think really long term in who you are featuring in your wedding albums. This is a keepsake for you, not them, so no need to feel bad about not including someone!

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Ceremony: 6-10 Pages

As the monumental moment of the entire day, your ceremony should be a highlight. Consider another panoramic shot of your “I do’s” along with pictures of the bride’s grand entrance, reactions, vows, the kiss, and the exit down the aisle. Whichever shots invoke a reaction in you are the ones that you want to include.

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Candids: 1-2 Pages

A common misconception about wedding albums is that they’re filled with either portraits or detail pictures. However, your wedding albums are meant to feature the emotion of the day. Include candid shots throughout all of the pages, but also try and dedicate at least 1-2 pages to genuine reactions, laughter, and joy.

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Cocktail Hour: 1-2 Pages

This is a time in your wedding that traditionally you aren’t a part of as you’re taking a lot of post-ceremony pictures. In painting the picture of the day, you won’t want to miss including the guests enjoying their time, and how stunning and fun your cocktail hour was.

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The Dances: 2-4 Pages

Showcase the intimate moments of your featured dances in this section. From the dip in your first dance song with your spouse to the soft tears of the mother-son or father-daughter dance, these are the shots you’ll want to be highlighted.

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Reception: 2-4 Pages

What’s a wedding without a fun party to go hand in hand? Think dancing, singing, laughing, and the ring bearer breaking it down on the dance floor.

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Toasts: 1-3 pages

While wedding albums can’t help you relisten to the toasts, they can bring back the emotions that you felt during the speeches. Was the maid of honor speech heartfelt and filled with tears? Did the best man make you laugh uncontrollably? Remind yourself of these feelings with the pictures that you choose.

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Extras for Your Wedding Albums: 6 Pages

Yes, we left a space for all the other pictures you loved but couldn’t fit into another section. Here’s where you can add the bouquet and garter toss, the cake cutting, or other traditions and favorites that you didn’t add earlier on.

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Send Off: 1-2 pages

Bid adieu to your wedding album with your final moment of the night. A grand exit, an intimate kiss or the getaway car. Choose the picture that will bring the entire album perfectly together.

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Now that you have the anatomy of creating your perfect wedding album, it’s time to finally start creating it! Altar Albums offers the best professional DIY wedding albums at affordable prices. Give our free software a test drive — and check out our current promotions:  Altar Albums Promotions Page

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blogging brides, bridal party, real wedding, wedding advice, Wedding Albums, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding tips

Altar Albums: Wedding Albums That Capture Your Love Story

Hey there! You may have known us in our previous life as BrideBox Wedding Albums. While our name as changed, our mission and our product have not. We are committed to capturing and celebrating your love at the altar and beyond.

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What Makes us Different From Other Wedding Albums?

Altar Albums brings quality wedding albums to you at an affordable price. With handcrafted binding, true lay-flat pages, and flush mounted photos on thick, sturdy pages, your memories will last for generations to come.

We’re just as done as you are with those finicky websites and less than ideal quality. With us, anyone can orchestrate their love story with a simple drag and drop software with over 200 pre-designed layouts. If you run into any issues, our customer service department is always online and ready to help!

For the quality of our albums, our prices are among the lowest available. For the price of one album from your photographer, you can get an Altar Album for yourself and parents.

Effortless design, affordable price, and all-star customer-service – the perfect recipe to make your perfect heirloom wedding album!

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Which Wedding Album is Right for me?

Altar Albums has three different options for you to choose from.

Lake – Starting at $99

Have you considered a boudoir shoot, a wedding day photo album as a gift, a guestbook or parent gift options? This is the perfect option for you. The perfect middle ground of a high-end wedding album and a simple photo book.

Completely customizable for wedding albums between 20-80 pages.

At a price only slightly more than a simple photo book, the Lake provides an affordable way to feature some of the most important moments of your life with professional quality and flare.

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Anza – Starting at $249

A beautiful high-end wedding album for any budget.

The Anza features the same exact page quality as our top of the line Marina album, but with cover options that make it a popularly priced alternative. The Anza’s cover options include either a traditional hard photo cover or eight animal-friendly faux leather colors.

Designable from 20 to 80 pages. Like our Marina album, the Anza’s pages feature thick, lay-flat, flush mount pages that are 10x thicker than photo book paper.

A terrific combination of craftsmanship and affordability, the Anza brings professional quality within everyone’s reach.

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Marina – Starting at $374

The highest quality longest lasting wedding album option that’s meant to last so your great-great-great-grandchildren (you get the point) will easily be able to view it like it’s brand new.

You have the biggest opportunity for cover types with this option: premium leather, printed metal or printed leather – the world is your oyster!

Marina pages are thick, lay-flat, flush mount featuring Fuji archival quality professional paper for phenomenal color and longevity. Designable up to 80 pages.

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All love stories begin with…

…two people who fall madly and deeply in love. Each with their own story, each with their own memories. Start reminiscing about your story today by using code LOVESTORY at checkout for an extra 20% off your wedding albums!