8 Things Not To Forget On Your Wedding Day

Preparing for your wedding day can be a little bit cray cray. Luckily, if you're a Barn Bride, all of the details of your big day will be totally taken care of, so getting yourself ready for your wedding is all you've got to do! (Can you even imagine having to do the set-up, tear-down, floral designing, etc. on top of all of that?! I can't either... That's why an all-inclusive wedding venue is the only way to go, in my opinion!) Even if your venue is taking care of all the details, packing up for your wedding day can be stressful, especially if you're an out-of-town bride or you're leaving for your honeymoon immediately after your reception. Obviously you know you need to bring your dress, but what else?! We've put together a handy guide for commonly forgotten wedding day necessities that you absolutely should not forget to bring to your venue on the day of your wedding!

(Some of these photos have nothing to do with what I'm talking about... They're just eye candy!) 

1. An emergency kit. Bobby pins, a bleach pen, Tylenol, tampons, lint roller, hair spray, hair brush, any products you might need to touch up your makeup, tweezers, breath mints or gum, tissues, fashion tape, dental floss, sewing kit, scissors, bandaids, phone charger, and a corkscrew, just in case you need to open up a bottle of something to get rid of those pre-ceremony jitters. ;) I could go on and on with this list... If you think you might need it, bring it, just to be sure! The Barn actually provides our couples and bridal parties with a HUGE, amazing emergency kit in our bridal suite. Just one of the many perks of being a Barn Bride! We take care of our couples, y'all! 

2. Your accessories and the right lingerie. Remember to pack your bridal shoes, jewelry (including your wedding bands!), veil, garter and perfume. Most of these things will only be visible in photos, but things like shoes, garters and perfume always make for some of the prettiest detail shots! Also be sure to bring the correct lingerie to wear under your dress and what you will need to wear under your getaway outfit. Nothing would be more mortifying than having to wear the wrong bra or bright blue undies under your wedding dress! Yikes! 

3. Something old, new, borrowed and blue. Y'all, I totally forgot these items at my own wedding... oops. They may not be super important, but it's just a fun tradition, and your items will also make for fun photos! 

4. Marriage license. You're not official without it! ;) Also, you and your spouse, officiant and witnesses should really sign it on the day of your wedding... There are ten million things to take care of after your wedding day, and you don't want to miss the date by which you have to return your signed license. So get it taken care of on your wedding day! 

5. Something to wear when you leave your reception. It's dang near impossible to fit a big, fluffy wedding dress into a car. Plus, leaving your venue in a cute little white dress always makes for adorable photos! You'll be a lot more comfortable, and you'll also get to have an outfit change, which is sorta every bride's secret dream, right?! Also, if your dress is more on the complicated side, it might be a little difficult for your groom to get it off when you get to your destination... That's not ideal for your wedding night, if you get what I'm saying! If your dress is crazy, you miiiiight want to change before you go! 

6. Any details you're responsible for. Your guestbook, favors, unity ceremony, any photos used in your reception... Your wedding won't be the same without them! 

7. Everything you'll need for your honeymoon. Luggage, passports, plane tickets... If you're leaving for your honeymoon straight from your venue, double and TRIPLE check that you've got everything you'll need when you arrive at the airport and, ultimately, at your destination! 

8. Relax! This is perhaps the most important thing of all. Don't forget to relax! Enjoy your big day! Don't be stressed, and remember that as long as you're married to your love at the end of the day, everything went perfectly. :)

Etiquette for Wedding Guests

Let's talk about something that's kind of boring, yet extremely important: etiquette! We get a lot of questions about invitation etiquette and bar etiquette, but there's another etiquette topic that needs to be addressed. If you're attending an upcoming wedding and you need to brush up on your wedding guest etiquette, this post is for you! I understand that wedding etiquette is kind of tricky, especially because every couple, venue and wedding is different. Whether the wedding you attend ends up being totally relaxed or really fancy, here are a few good rules of thumb to follow! 

Stephanie Parsley Photography , from  Amber + Matt 's wedding at  The Barn . Notice that there are no cameras or phones being held up in this photo... Thumbs up to that! 

Stephanie Parsley Photography, from Amber + Matt's wedding at The Barn. Notice that there are no cameras or phones being held up in this photo... Thumbs up to that! 

Be respectful with your phone and/or camera. Unless the bride and groom are extremely laid-back, they probably don't want every single detail from their wedding posted on social media until their professional photographer posts them. Even if they don't specify that they're having an unplugged ceremony (which means that no cameras or phones are allowed during the ceremony or certain parts of the reception, like the first dance or cake cutting), you should stay out of the way if you're going to take photos. No one wants to see someone standing in the middle of the aisle taking photos during their reception, or a bunch of phones blocking the photographer's perfect shot during their first dance. Trust me. (Some couples create hashtags for their big day, which means that you're free to post photos on Facebook, Instagram or other social media and tag it with their hashtag. But it's always better to leave some things to the imagination! Don't post 500 photos from your friend or family member's big day... Leave that up to the photographer. ;)

Shingleur Photography , from  Cassie + Kyle 's wedding at The Barn. Kids having fun and behaving... this is what we like to see! ;)

Shingleur Photography, from Cassie + Kyle's wedding at The Barn. Kids having fun and behaving... this is what we like to see! ;)

Watch your kids! At The Barn, our team doesn't enforce this rule to be mean or uptight. I mean, have you seen this venue and our weddings?! The Barn and everything around it is beautiful, and every wedding and reception of ours is detailed and absolutely gorgeous. Please keep an eye on your kids... We want them to have a great time, too, but we also don't want a damper put on a couple's big day because something pretty got knocked over or destroyed! Sorry not sorry, y'all. 

Martin's Photography , from  Monica + Luis 's wedding at The Barn

Martin's Photography, from Monica + Luis's wedding at The Barn

Don't show up three hours early. This has seriously been a problem lately. Once again, we are not trying to be rude. But our team is still making every detail perfect three hours before a wedding begins, and the bride probably doesn't want you seeing her in her wedding dress before the ceremony! Our couples often schedule first looks for a couple of hours before the ceremony, and that's a very private time for them... Having an audience sort of ruins the moment! Not to mention, you're probably going to be bored, because our team is going to be too busy to make sure you're enjoying yourself! 

Melissa McCrotty Photography , from  Bayley + Lucas 's wedding at The Barn

Melissa McCrotty Photography, from Bayley + Lucas's wedding at The Barn

Please, please, please RSVP. Here's how most weddings work: you've got to get your final headcount to your venue and caterer at least a couple of weeks ahead of time to ensure that there are enough tables (complete with decor, of course), seating at the ceremony and reception, food and cocktails. Also, if you say you're coming, show up unless you absolutely can't! And if you say you're not coming, stick to that response unless you make sure the bride and groom are okay with it. Another thing: unless the bride and groom have specifically stated on your invitation that you can bring a plus one or your children, just don't! (If you're a bride or groom and you're not sure how to deal with guests who don't RSVP, don't worry, because I already wrote a post about that!) 

Danielle Davis Art/Photography , from  Emily + Blake 's wedding at The Barn

Danielle Davis Art/Photography, from Emily + Blake's wedding at The Barn

And just a few more common sense, self-explanatory rules that any good wedding guest should follow: Don't get obnoxiously drunk. Turn your phone on silent. Dress according to the invitationDon't talk to the bride and groom forever... they've got lots of other people to visit with! Never outshine the bride and groom. Stay out of the photographer's way... we know you want photos, but that's what the photographer is there for! Show up on time. Take your favor... the bride and groom have put time and effort into them. Don't wear white. Have a good time! 

Follow these rules, and you'll be the best wedding guest ever. :)

Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue + Tuesday Tunes

"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe..."

You want to know something kind of embarrassing? When I was planning my own wedding, I totally forgot to do the whole "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" thing. Who does that?! When you're packing for your wedding, that little tradition can be the last thing on your mind... but it's too fun and too cute to leave it out! I ended up saying my dress was my "something new," and on the day of my wedding, I thought to borrow a vintage blue ring from one of my bridesmaids for my somethings old, borrowed and blue. And a sixpence?! I definitely did not have one of those. It worked out just fine, but I really wish I had put more thought into those details! 

By the way, have you ever heard the meaning behind this tradition? Each item is supposed to bring luck to the bride, and many brides even wore a sixpence (a type of British money) in her shoe for extra luck! Here is what each item represents, according to the The Knot: "Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity." 

If you're looking for some ideas - whether classic or unique - for this tradition, here are some of my favorites!

Something Old

Classic: A family heirloom, like your grandmother's pearls, your mother's earrings, or a brooch that's been passed down through the generations

Unique: A vintage dress, veil or other accessories, or a photo of a loved one who's passed away in a locket on your bouquet

Something New

Classic: A gorgeous bridal gown or fancy accessories

Unique: A once-in-a-lifetime pair of shoes, or something monogrammed to show off your new initials

Something Borrowed

Classic: A beautiful piece of jewelry from someone close to you, like your aunt's super expensive bracelet that you've always wanted to wear, or a friend or family member's prettiest wedding details, like a veil or a fur stole

Unique: A handkerchief or piece of lace from your grandmother's wedding dress to wrap around your bouquet, or a fabulous clutch, which you could even rent from a website like Rent The Runway

Something Blue

Classic: Blue lingerie, blue shoes or a blue garter

Unique: A blue piece of clothing from someone special sewn into your dress, or if you're feeling extra bold, ask your maid of honor or flower girl to dye their hair blue (this has seriously happened... and it's pretty awesome!)

What would your picks be? Or if you're already married, what did you carry/wear for your somethings old, new, borrowed and blue?

Personalizing Your Wedding Ceremony

When it comes to the actual wedding ceremony, many couples use the exact same ceremony format - with the same vows and same readings, all in the same order. If tradition is your thing, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! There's a reason why the "traditional" ceremony things have become tradition - they are beautiful, timeless and meaningful. Many couples want their ceremony to be more unique and personalized, and we are totally all about that too! But it can be kind of tricky to know how to do just that, so here are a few suggestions! (Some of these are not new/unique, but I'm hoping this list will help out at least a few brides out there!)

Use special items in your ceremony decor. This could be photos of you and your new spouse lining the aisle or at your altar, a special altar built just for your big day (for example, Jessica + Daniel's altar was an arbor built by Jessica's dad, which they now have in their back yard at home), or decor items that tell your story

Write your own vows. This idea isn't exactly unique or new, but it's something that I think a lot of brides are afraid to do, either because they're not sure of what to say or because they feel like they have to use traditional wedding vows. There are about a billion alternatives to traditional vows online, or you can start from scratch and write your own. A little piece of advice: write whatever is on your heart. Even if you feel embarrassed to say those things in front of a crowd, your spouse will adore you for it. And your guests will probably cry their eyes out, too. ;) 

Ask your officiant to tell a story or two from your relationship. And that brings me to another point: choose someone important to both of you to officiate your ceremony. They'll make your ceremony even more special and meaningful. Ask them to tell a story from your relationship, like how you met, all about your first date, how you got engaged. Your guests may not know these stories already, and it'll be so special for you to hear them again on your big day! 

Walk down the aisle (or back down the aisle as husband and wife) to a meaningful song. Again, this isn't a new idea, but it can add so much personality to your wedding ceremony. Walking down the aisle to a song that is special to you and your new spouse will mean so much more to you than the same ol' wedding march everyone else walks down the aisle to.

Have a friend do a special reading or perform "your song." Do you and your fiance love a specific poem, Bible verse, book passage or song? Why not incorporate it into your ceremony? Ask a close friend or family member to read a poem, verse or passage, or if you're friends with someone who's musically inclined, ask them to perform a song you both love. 

Have your church's worship band/leader lead a few songs during your ceremony. Religion is very important to many of our couples, and we love it when they incorporate a time of worship into their ceremony. It's super special and says so much about a couple's beliefs and what's important to them. 

Do your own thing instead of a unity candle. I've talked about unity candle alternatives and how much I love them a few times on this blog! If a unity candle ceremony means nothing to you, choose something that does. A fun paint ceremony, a romantic time capsule to be opened on an anniversary, or a tree planting ceremony are all meaningful ideas!

Choose your bridal party carefully. Your bridal party plays a very important role during your ceremony; after all, they are the people standing beside you as you promise the rest of your life to the person you love. That's a big deal! You should include whoever you really want in your bridal party, and exclude anyone who doesn't belong (even if they used to be your best friend/they're your family member/you were in their wedding/whatever... don't include anyone because you think you have to). We wrote a post all about unique bridal parties

Honor your heritage by incorporating any special customs. At Kelsey + Gueorgui's wedding (their wedding was full of unique, personal details!), they asked some of their guests to take place in a ring warming ceremony, which is a Bulgarian wedding tradition. Several of their guests took Kelsey + Gueorgui's rings into their hands and said a quick prayer or blessing over them before the exchange of rings. Incredibly special! If you come from a unique background, definitely pick some traditional customs to use during your ceremony!

I hope this inspires you to make your wedding ceremony all about you! It's your big day... make the details of your ceremony as unique and personal as you'd like them to be!

How To Keep Your Guests Cool At Your Summer Wedding

While summer is a very popular time for a wedding, pulling off an awesome summer wedding can be tricky... especially if you live somewhere hot and humid, like Arkansas! You want your guests to be comfortable in the sweltering heat, and there are some seriously fun ways to make sure that happens!

The first way to keep your guests cool and comfortable, even on the hottest of days: don't schedule your wedding for the middle of the afternoon. An evening wedding will be much cooler, and since summer days are so long, you'll still have plenty of light. Here are some fun, creative ways to keep your guests from overheating!

Ceremony Necessities
Even if your ceremony isn't held during the middle of the afternoon, there's still a chance that your guests are going to be in the sun. Ideally, your wedding will be held in the shade, but if not, you can still help keep your guests cool. Nobody likes a sunburn, so think about providing something that will keep your guests from getting so much sun! A few fun ideas: parasols, fans, customized sunglasses, a water and lemonade station, and programs that double as fans. If your outdoor wedding is going to be in the sun, do your guests a favor and keep it on the shorter side! 

Andrew Arceri , from  Megan + Daniel 's wedding at The Barn

Andrew Arceri, from Megan + Daniel's wedding at The Barn

Practical Favors
I've written a couple posts about favors (here and here), so y'all already know I'm a big fan of favors that are both fun and practical. Get a little bit creative and come up with favors that are both cute, original and will keep your guests cool! Think: bottles of water, sunglasses (again), flip flops, or koozies to keep their drinks cold.

Cold Snacks & Drinks
The ultimate way to keep your guests cool is with cold snacks and drinks! Provide your guests with signature cocktails (with an awesome display), beer or sodas on ice (in a wheelbarrow or canoe), popsicles, ice cream (bonus points if it's mini), and it would be super awesome if you had an ice cream truck.