Your First Dance... Take Lessons or Wing it?💃🏻

So you're thinking about your first dance. You both know basically how to dance, well how to sway back and forth. But maybe you fear that it'll get boring for 4 minutes doing the ole back and forth sway. So you're thinking of taking dance lessons. 

My husband (fiancé at the time) and I decided last minute to take dance lessons. AKA I decided to take dance lessons and realized last minute that I wanted to do it. Our wedding song (I Choose You by Sara Bareilles) is not exactly a slow song. It has a beat that is difficult to dance to. So off to the dance studio we went. 

Yeah... about that...

Yeah... about that...

The instructor was nice, she was young and adorable. We decided to learn a choreographed dance for our song. So she taught us some basic dance steps, which I thought I'd be amazing at. WRONG. Of course, my husband was really great at it and I kept stumbling over my feet. Or forgetting what to do. Or counting to 10 when the counts were supposed to go to 6. Whoops.  

Although I was embarrassed to not be great at something, I was determined to practice and become really good at it. I'm also super competitive. Upon our second dance class I got better, still not amazing (or good), but hey, practice helps. I would ask my husband to go over the steps with me at home. I really wanted to get better and rock it!

Well we were a few days away from our third dance lesson (and only a month away from the wedding) and the studio called us saying our instructor was "sick until further notice" (um... Ok?) and we could start over with someone else. Who could take us only at like 11 at night. Wanting to dance really beautifully for our first dance, I considered it. But the thought of starting a new routine just weeks before our wedding just added to our stress. We decided not to continue and decided just to wing it at the wedding. I am a bit of a "planner" (see: control freak), but my stress level for the wedding was already at a high and I didn't want to add to it. So we wung it. (Is "wung" a word??)

In the end I'm glad we did our own thing. I thought swaying back and forth would be awkward and boring for 4 minutes. But I realized, who the hell cares? If people are bored, oh well! Too bad for them. I looked into my husband's eyes and we smiled, laughed, joked, hugged, kissed, and just enjoyed dancing together. It was very romantic and beautiful for us, and that's all that mattered. Instead of counting steps I was having fun and living in the moment. 

I don't have my professional pictures back yet but here's a cute picture that one of our friends took of our first dance.

I don't have my professional pictures back yet but here's a cute picture that one of our friends took of our first dance.

Hey, if you have plenty of time to learn a dance then that's great! I'm not saying to avoid it at all costs. It just didn't work for us, and if you find that it doesn't work for you that's OK too. If you can practice it so much that you don't have to think about it, then totally go for it. But it's not necessary. Just have fun and enjoy the moment. It's ok to be silly, it's ok for people to be bored. Just have the best time and enjoy your first dance as husband and wife 😍

EVERYTHING you Need to Know about Save the Dates

In my previous blog post, I talked about the different things to consider before mailing out your Save the Dates and mistakes to avoid. (I even revealed a few mistakes I made myself throughout the process!)

In this post, I will discuss:

  • Different types of Save the Dates to consider
  • Where to find good ones & how to get discounts on them
  • When you should send them out 
  • Using your Save the Dates to get people to actually visit your wedding website 
  • My honest answer to the question "If I Could Send them out Again, Would I?..."

Also, I'll include a picture of my actual Save the Date!

Different Types of Save the Dates to Consider

First, we had to determine what kind of Save the Dates we wanted. You can either get a postcard (probably the cheapest option unless it's square shaped*), a square/ rectangle printed invitation, or a magnet. It's also important to pay attention to the size of the invite. I bought one for our apartment warming party years ago and it was teeny tiny & definitely not what I pictured. It's really helpful a to take a ruler out and draw the dimensions on a piece of paper to give you a better visual of how large or small your invite will be.

*Helpful tip: I learned (the hard way) from our engagement party invitations that a square invitation costs more in postage. If the dimensions are exact, ex: 5 1/2 by 5 1/2, they're considered "odd-sized" and "non-machinable" and cost 21 cents in addition to the price of a normal stamp for each invitation. So, if you're buying the square invitation because it seems cheaper, it's typically not in the end.

We thought about it and decided we wanted to get magnets. They cost a little bit more, but they were worth it. One main reason being, that we put SO much information on our wedding website that it was important to us that guests could access that information at any time (without bugging us for the wedding website information continuously LOL!). I think most of us tend to misplace paper ones (guilty!) & people are less likely to lose them by just sticking the magnets on the fridge. We put the wedding website information right there on the Save the Date and encouraged guests to visit it. 

Where to Find them & How to Get Discounts

The sites I liked the most were Minted.com and WeddingPaperDivas.com.  We ended up going with Minted because the design we picked was more customizable there.

Keep an eye out for deals on RetailMeNot.com or google other coupon codes. I also signed up for emails from the companies I was interested in buying the Save the Dates from. They were sending me coupon codes weekly, and when I found the best deal I would jump on it and order them. This is also why it's good to give yourself extra time to order and receive them... to stalk out the best deal! You can always unsubscribe when you don't want the emails anymore.

When Should you Send Them Out?

Being recovering procrastinators, I am constantly trying to make sure George and I do things relatively early for the wedding. This way, if we shoot for early then we're more towards "on time" rather than doing it late.

If you're having a destination wedding it's best to send them out at least 10 months before, so people can properly plan & save for your wedding. If not, 6-9 months is a good rule of thumb. If your wedding is on a Friday or Sunday or in peak wedding season (May-October) it's probably best to send them out earlier than later. I believe we actually ended up sending our Save the Dates out about 7 1/2 months prior to our wedding which worked out great.

Like I've mentioned before, I've learned that a lot can change in 9 or 10 months. If you're going to send them out around that 9/10 month mark I suggest only sending Save the Dates to people you are 150% sure you want to invite & hold off on the plus ones you're on the fence about giving out.

Getting People to Actually go to your Wedding Website

We spend so much time on our wedding website. No, more like sooooooooooo much time. We loved the way it turned out and wanted guests to go see it. It had important information about the wedding, but it was also fun and cute. We wanted to get people as excited for the wedding as we were and the site was just the way to do it.

We put our wedding website URL on the Save the Date, but how were we going to get people to want to actually look at it?  

Ultimately, you have to think of your guests and what will motivate them to look. Most people will only be motivated to go check out your site if you get them involved, make it about them somehow, or if you reward them for looking. Channel your inner Mad (wo)Men & think how you could “market” to your “target population”.  What will give them that extra incentive to look?

Some ideas…

  • Say the first 20 people to comment on your online guest book will receive a reward. & be prepared to leave them something extra in their hotel welcome bags or send them a special letter thanking them.
  • Tell them to check out the pictures you have of friends and family on your site (implying they might be on your site - so they'll want to see) 
  • Have them vote on something small - such as the the "specialty cocktail of the night". Give them two choices and have them vote on it. OR, tell them you'd love to hear drink suggestions for you and your fiance's signature drinks. People love to feel involved and thought of.
  • Tell them to check the website to see if they’re featured as your special guest(s) of the week* (we actually did this)

*We chose this route for various reasons. First and foremost, we thought it would be a great way to honor our guests.  We also thought it would make people interact with the site more and for them to genuinely enjoy the website & learn about other guests. We featured one person, a couple, or a group of people that we knew would definitely be coming to the wedding and wrote a little sweet blurb about them each week (or we did a harmless “roast”). It definitely got people to view our site, and some still actually continue to check back to see if it’s their turn yet.  

Our Save the Date

Here's what ours ended up looking like! 

I blurred out our actual details and put some ideas of what to include in yours. What do you think? :)

*Another helpful tip- if you're going to include pictures on your Save the Dates, they have to be high resolution files or they'll look blurry and stretched. 

If I Could Send them out Again, Would I?...

So if I could do it again would I? Yes... I would. I just would be WAY more careful with who I sent them to and who we gave plus ones to, if I could do it over. 

A lot changes in a year and a half. Relationships change... friendships fade, new friendships grow. Situations change... jobs change, you move... things happen! Sending people a Save the Date pretty much locks them in to be invited to your wedding. So, if you know exactly who you want at your wedding with no question whatsoever then I would send them a Save the Date. However, if you're not sure about some people, or not sure if you want to invite them with guests, I would highly highly highly recommend not sending them out to them at this time. You could always make the final decision when you get closer to your big day and it’s time to send an actual invitation. 

Good luck & have fun with them. I would love to see how yours turned out! If you have any questions feel free to comment on my blog and I'll be glad to help.

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