Post-Wedding Day Checklist

With tonssss of gorgeous weddings coming up over the next few months, we know that many of our brides and grooms will need a little bit of guidance on what exactly to do after their wedding day is over. It can be a bit overwhelming! You spend months and months planning and looking forward to the big day, and then you're still not done once it's over! That's where this checklist comes in. :) It fills you in on everything you need to accomplish after you get back from your honeymoon. Bookmark this one for later, Barn Brides! 

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When you're planning your wedding, it's kind of sad to think about what you need to do when your big day is over, but it's a pretty important subject! You may get the post-wedding blues (that's seriously a thing!), but by staying busy getting things done, you're sure to keep your mind off of the fact that you no longer get to spend everyday planning the best day of your life!

Future brides, bookmark this post for later! After your honeymoon is over, here's what you need to do ASAP. 

Mail thank you cards! I know they're time consuming, but it's something you've just gotta do. And do it as soon as you get home from your honeymoon. It's just the polite thing to do, y'all! If you're stuck on what to write, Google "thank you card etiquette." You're welcome. 

J. Millwood Photography , from  Kaleena + Spencer 's wedding at The Barn

J. Millwood Photography, from Kaleena + Spencer's wedding at The Barn

Return your marriage license. They have to be returned within a specific time frame, so get 'em in quick. It's not 100% official until you do this! 

Change your last name! This actually isn't as fun as it sounds. If you're taking your new husband's last name, you've got to go to the social security office, get a new license, and change your name with your bank, utility accounts, and pretty much every single account you have. But look at your fancy new last name! Totally worth it.

KMWarford Photography , from  Bethany + Jamie 's wedding at The Barn

KMWarford Photography, from Bethany + Jamie's wedding at The Barn

Have your dress cleaned and preserved. Don't be like me and wait a year to get those dirt stains out of the bottom of your dress! Spoiler alert: they're probably not gonna come out. Even if you don't end up with dirt or mud on your dress, you're probably gonna end up with baked beans on it. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything... ;) Take care of those stains and have a professional preserve your dress so it doesn't turn yellow years down the road. It's expensive, but it's worth it.  

Stephanie Parsley Photography , from  Jessica + Daniel 's wedding at The Barn

Preserve your flowers. Whether you have your entire bouquet preserved, press a few flowers in your bible, or put petals in a clear Christmas ornament, do it pronto, before your flowers get nasty! This is best to do before your honeymoon if you have time. 

Put away all the keepsakes from your wedding day. This includes your veil, jewelry, garter, guestbook and any other special details from your day that you want to hold onto. Put them all in a plastic storage tote so they're all together, or put a few on display in a shadow box. I've put some details from our wedding around our home, and seeing them everyday makes me happy! If you purchased things that you didn't use or don't care to keep, list them on Craigslist or Ebay. 

Danielle Davis Art/Photography , from  Ani + Nathan 's wedding at The Barn

Danielle Davis Art/Photography, from Ani + Nathan's wedding at The Barn

When you get your photos back, print them. Don't be like me and wait forever to print and frame your beautiful photos! Post them on Facebook, and then get busy printing, framing and making photo books or albums. I like the books on Shutterfly and Artifacts Uprising. They're fun and easy to make! 

Return any gifts that you don't want or need. If you got two of the same item, return one and get something from your registry that wasn't purchased. If you got a million towels but not enough cookware, feel free to trade some for something you need! 

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I hope this makes the days after your wedding and honeymoon a little more stress-free! It can be kind of an overwhelming time, but I know you'll rock it!

Tipping Your Vendors

Brides, here's a quick reminder about a super important topic: tipping your vendors! 

Something we get asked by many of our Barn Brides: should I tip my vendors? And if so, how much? In short, this is what we tell them: if you're happy with the services provided, by all means, tip! Here's a quick summary of who you should tip, how much and when (as well as a few photos from past weddings at The Barn that have nothing to do with tipping!). 

BnBauman Photography , from  Alyssa + Matt 's wedding at The Barn

BnBauman Photography, from Alyssa + Matt's wedding at The Barn

For your caterer, you should tip between 17 and 20 percent of your catering allowance. (If you're spending $1,000 on your catering, tip somewhere between $170 and $200.) Tip your servers and bartenders, as well. Wedding experts recommend tipping $20 to $25 per server or bartender.  Tipping your DJ or musician is also a good idea. Experts recommend tipping $20 to $25 per musician, or $50 to $100 for a DJ. At The Barn, we're happy to take care of these things for you, so you don't have to worry about it on your big day. You can give cash or a check to your planner on the day of your wedding, and they will pass it along. Or we can include your tip amounts on your final bill, so you won't have to think about it after that. Our job is to make your wedding day easy and completely stress-free!

Tryston Hines Photography , from  Breanna + Bryan 's wedding at The Barn

Tryston Hines Photography, from Breanna + Bryan's wedding at The Barn

Just as you would in a salon, tip your hair stylist and makeup artist 15 to 20 percent, depending on how satisfied you were with their service. The best time to tip: after they finish your hair or makeup! 

Another important person to tip: your officiant. Ministers make nothing (or practically nothing) when they officiate a wedding. You should be prepared to pay for their lodging or give them a nice tip. If your minister is from a specific church, consider making a donation to their church. For a nondenominational minister, a $50 to $100 tip is plenty. Many couples completely forget to tip their minister, but it's an absolute must!

Photos by Manda , from  Paige + Dorian 's wedding at The Barn

Photos by Manda, from Paige + Dorian's wedding at The Barn

Many of our brides choose to tip their wedding planner, or give them a nice gift. This isn't a necessity, but it sure is a nice gesture that lets our planners know how much you appreciated their hard work! When you've had time to chill out after your wedding and honeymoon, consider sending your wedding planner a tip or gift. These ladies work incredibly hard to make your day perfect, and if you ask me, they totally deserve to be shown some love!

Barn Brides, if you ever have questions about tipping, don't hesitate to ask our team! That's what we're here for. :)

What NOT To Do When Planning Your Wedding

We're kicking off the weekend with a sorta funny, but also super serious post from last year! Y'all may think these things are a joke, but we've actually seen these things happen! More than once. Eep. Don't do it!!! We're forever traumatized.

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I've written several posts on this blog about what to do to make your wedding even better, more memorable, and more fun for your guests. Today, let's talk about some ridiculous things that you should not do when planning your wedding. Y'all may think I am being funny with some of these... Nope. As insane as it is, this stuff actually happens! Don't make these mistakes while planning your big day. Just don't! 

(By the way, these photos have nothing to do with these don'ts... they're just pretty pictures from recent weddings at The Barn that I couldn't wait to share!) 

Pictures by Katie , from  Kelsey + Gueorgui 's wedding at The Barn

Pictures by Katie, from Kelsey + Gueorgui's wedding at The Barn

Don't invite strangers on Craigslist/Pope County Swap/whatever yard sale Facebook page people in your area use. We have actually seen a "Who wants to come to my wedding?" post on a Facebook yard sale page! Seriously, y'all, not only does this make you look desperate and sorta crazy, but it's also a quick way to get kidnapped/mugged/killed on your wedding day. 

Tryston Hines Photography , from  Katie + Alan 's wedding at The Barn

Tryston Hines Photography, from Katie + Alan's wedding at The Barn

Don't be that crazy bride on social media. Y'all know the one! She pins a ridiculous amount of wedding ideas on Pinterest each day (and has 10 boards devoted to wedding planning), she shares her wedding countdown on Instagram everyday, and she posts every. single. planning detail on Facebook. Sure, it's fine to post about the big things, like finding your venue or dress or sharing a milestone in your countdown. But don't be that girl who shares about ordering your cake, your catering menu, or every little detail that doesn't go as planned. 

Stephanie Parsley Photography , from  Mackenzie + Tyler 's wedding at The Barn

Don't spend so much time worrying about what you DON'T want to happen at your wedding that you forget to have fun and enjoy your big day. Don't be uptight. Not everything is going to go exactly as planned - during your planning process or on your wedding day - but you absolutely cannot let that ruin your happiest day ever. Don't flip out on people who don't return their RSVP cards, even though it's super annoying. Don't fight about trivial things like cake flavors. Concentrate on what's going right, like finding your perfect venue, scoring a great deal on a gorgeous wedding dress, and, helloooo! Marrying the love of your life. At the end of it all, if you're married and happy, everything is as it should be. 

Shingleur Photography , from  Sujey + Jeffrey 's wedding at The Barn

Shingleur Photography, from Sujey + Jeffrey's wedding at The Barn

Don't get on social media at your wedding or as soon as it's over. Be in the moment with your new husband! You can change your last name, check out all the photos tagged of you, or look at the photos under your hashtag on Instagram the day after your wedding... or even after your honeymoon. Give your spouse all your attention! Facebook can wait. And pleassseee don't be that couple who changes your Facebook status to "married" during your ceremony. Ugh.

I highly doubt any of our classy, wonderful couples at The Barn would make any of these mistakes, but hopefully someone who needed to hear this info will come across this post one day. ;)

xoxo,
Kelsi

Fun Ways to Entertain Kids at Your Wedding

Do you remember going to a wedding as a kid and being bored out of your mind?! They can be pretty lame for kids, especially if couples don't take some time to plan out a few things to keep them entertained. If you're choosing not to have kids at your wedding, that's fine! (This is an increasingly popular trend, and if you're unsure of how to politely exclude children from your wedding, here are a few tips.) However, if you're allowing kids to come to your ceremony and reception, put a little bit of effort into planning a few fun things to make sure they have a good time. You don't have to go overboard; a few simple things for them to do while their parents party with you and your new spouse are all you need to make sure they have some fun, too!

A Kids' Table
Set up a special table just for kids, with plenty of crayons, butcher paper instead of a tablecloth and some other fun things to keep them entertained during dinner. You could include a wedding-themed activity sheet, which doubles as a place mat. If you've seen the super popular "I do, I do" activity booklet on Pinterest, here's where you can download it! Wedding mad libs are a good idea, too... reading what your little guests wrote will be really funny for you and your new spouse after the party!

Disposable Cameras
It's no secret that kids love taking photos. They'll be endlessly amused by disposable cameras, and bonus points if you turn it into a scavenger hunt! Give them a list of things to photograph (some ideas: the bride and groom dancing/kissing/making their grand exit, the venue, someone playing a game, a specific person in the bridal party, etc.), and they're sure to have a great time. 

A Special Menu
Most kids aren't into lamb chops or anything that includes Brussels sprouts. They'll greatly appreciate it if you provide them with kid-friendly dinner options! Pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, sliders, and a fun dessert option, like build-your-own sundaes are all great ideas! 

A Kids-Only Area
Kids will feel extra special if you give them their own designated area to hang out in! This could be a tent or teepee, or just an area of your reception venue that's separate from the party. Turn on a movie for them, or set up some video game consoles... they'll love hanging out with the other kids at your reception!

Liz Chrisman Photography , from  Sasha + Nathan 's wedding at The Barn

Liz Chrisman Photography, from Sasha + Nathan's wedding at The Barn

Games on the Lawn
We're all about lawn games at The Barn, and we know first-hand that kids love them, too. Cornhole, ring toss, or board games are all a great idea. Plus, we have the fire pit on our lawn, which is the perfect place to toast a marshmallow and make a good ol' s'more. 

A Candy Buffet
Candy buffets are awesome for adults... can you imagine how mindblowingly fun one would be for little ones?! They'd have so much fun picking out candies and filling up their treat bag, and they would definitely talk about it for a long, long time. Pretty sure that's the best favor idea ever. :)

Salt & Sky Studios , from  Nikki + Scott 's wedding at The Barn

Salt & Sky Studios, from Nikki + Scott's wedding at The Barn

A Photo Booth
Again, this is something that adults enjoy just as much as kids. ;) Provide plenty of props and funny things to wear, and the kids at your reception will have the best time ever posing and acting silly in front of the camera!

Provide Childcare
This is more for the parents than the kids. If you plan to have several little ones at your wedding, hire a babysitter or two. They'll keep the kids entertained, and their parents will feel more relaxed knowing their kids are in good hands!

Meredith Melody Photography , from  Ashley + Ivan 's wedding at The Barn

Meredith Melody Photography, from Ashley + Ivan's wedding at The Barn

Let Them Join The Party
You definitely don't have to keep kids secluded in their own little area for the entire night. Kids love getting crazy on the dance floor just as much as the rest of us! Play a few kid-friendly songs ("Let It Go," anyone?) and schedule a kids-only dance... they'll be really into it. Bonus points if you provide glow sticks for them to jam out with! And be sure to give them a kid-friendly drink, like sparkling cider, for the toast!

If you decide to pick a few of these ideas to go with at your own wedding, your little guests will remember it as the best wedding ever!

Ways To Give Back On Your Wedding Day

There aren't many better ways to begin your lives together as a married couple than by doing something charitable. If you get a little bit creative, there are tons of ways to use your wedding day to give back to your favorite charities and to the less fortunate! We've been so blessed to work with many brides and grooms who are as kind as they are beautiful, and many of them have wanted to use their big days to do something philanthropic! Here are a few of our favorite ways to use your wedding day to give back:

Sterling Imageworks Photography , from Logan + Dusty's wedding

Sterling Imageworks Photography, from Logan + Dusty's wedding

Donate your flowers to a nursing home. Everyone loves getting flowers, and nursing home residents and staff could always use something to make their day brighter. This is actually something our team will do for you if you're a Barn Bride! 

Create a charitable registry. If your home is already well-stocked, ask your guests to make a donation to one of your favorite charities instead of purchasing a toaster or another household item that you don't really need. Check out The Good Beginning. Another option: create a universal registry on Amazon and add a link to your favorite charity's donation page. 

Make a donation to your favorite charity in place of favors, or choose favors that are purposeful - like flower seeds or tiny trees that are ready to be planted. As cute as they may be, favors can be kind of pointless. Your guests probably aren't going to keep a shot glass with your names on it forever. Making a donation in their names to your favorite charity will make a difference that will last far longer than a bag of personalized M&Ms! 

Do something charitable for your bachelor/bachelorette party. Okay, this one might be a stretch! Most of us wouldn't be willing to give up one final night of fun with our friends as a single person, so consider working a charitable event into the party! Volunteer at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen with your best buds before your wild night out... it'll be surprisingly fun, and you'll be less likely to regret it all in the morning! ;) 

Choose sustainable details. Recycled paper for your invitations. Locally grown, in-season food for your reception. In-season flowers. There are endless ways to go "green" with your wedding invitations, food, flowers and other details! 

Donate what's left over. Your food, flowers, centerpieces, even your dress can all be donated to the less fortunate after your big day!