Finances To Discuss Before Marriage

Your wedding day is sure to be full of bliss, excitement and love, but what comes after is just as, if not more, important to enjoy – your marriage. It’s obvious that the two of you are compatible to take this next step in your lives together and we want to make sure you’re set up for success.

Many couples fail to have the discussion of finances before marriage. Speaking openly about finances before and during your marriage will help you avoid the strain that this topic can put on relationships if handled poorly.  If you’re unsure of where to start, take a look at these vital things to discuss regarding your finances so your marriage can start off on the right foot.


Discuss any debt you each may have. Not knowing this information can impede future purchases, like a home or car. Some common forms of debt include student loans, mortgages, car payments and credit cards. These can all be fairly crippling to credit scores if the debt is not paid off in a timely manner. Rather than keep these problems in the dark, face these worries from the start so you can build trust as a couple moving forward. 

Buying A House

Oftentimes right before or immediately after a couple gets married, they buy a home to start their life in. It’s important to discuss who will be responsible for the mortgage and other bills. Similar to having debt, your individual finances will greatly affect the types of loans you are eligible for. Talk with a professional mortgage lender about your options and whether or not you qualify for things like first-time home buyer options that may have better terms for newlyweds. Then you will know exactly how much you can afford when leafing through houses for sale and ensure you’re not paying too much in the future. 

Merging Your Bank Accounts

Once you’re married, you will be considered one by the court of law. Therefore, this is the perfect time to discuss whether or not you will be merging your bank accounts. With a merged account, you can pay for general household expenses such as utilities, mortgage payments and groceries. Also, you can use it on things that you do together such as date nights or vacation. It’s fine to have a separate account where you manage your own spending on items that you personally want. Choose a financial institution that works for both of you as your accounts will have to be with the same bank or credit union. 

Discussing things like finances might seem like they could put a damper on your big day. In reality, handling this matter directly will actually lead to fewer financial conflicts down the road. Set you and your partner up for success from the get-go to ensure the delight of your wedding day continues into your marriage.

Tips For A Backyard Wedding

If you’re making plans to stroll down the aisle with that special someone, a backyard wedding is a terrific way to tie the knot, especially during these times. Below are just some of the benefits of having a backyard wedding and some planning tips if you decide it is for you.

Backyard Wedding Benefits

There are a lot of awesome benefits of getting married in your own outdoor space. A few include…

  • The ability to choose any wedding date and time
  • Saves money, since there are generally less guests (which in turn is less rentals, food, etc)
  • Pets can easily be a part of the celebration
  • It’s intimate and carries sentimental value
  • Can include numerous original personal touches

The Logistics

Thinking a backyard wedding could be for you? Start with the logistics. Realistically, how many guests can your backyard accommodate? Create an excel spreadsheet with your guest list and reassess if need be. Discuss finances and allocate responsibilities. Determine which vendors you can pass on due to the venue and which are essential to your celebration.

Find out if you need a special license to host an official ceremony in your private space. Consider purchasing wedding insurance just in case of the unfortunate event that a guest gets injured on your property. Furthermore, have a plan in place to remove any potential hazards from your yard. Also, consider your power sources and if they will be sufficient for the music, lighting, caterer and more. Additionally, assess your parking situation, notify your neighbors in advance and have a plan B in place.

Plan B 

There’s no way to  predict the weather, so its imperative to have a “Plan B” location in place. Whether that be a tent, indoor space on your property, or a completely different location. Having these safeguards in place will keep your nerves at bay and keep the celebrations going.


Although you have the ability to choose the day and time, be mindful of your guests and neighbors. Choose a start time that is convenient for your guests, especially if it is taking place on a weekday. Also, decide on an end time and stick to it as a courtesy to your neighbors. The after party can always take place at a nearby bar. Consider yard games and activities that can entertain guests while you’re busy taking wedding photos.

Theme & Décor 

Once you’ve addressed all of the logistics, the fun begins. Think of planning your outside wedding, in the same manner you’d do in every other venue. What will your theme be? What type of decor do you want? What special touches can you add? You’re probably already running on different DIY thoughts, which lead you to choose a backyard wedding in the first place. Below are some suggestions to inspire you even more. 

  • Hang outdoor string lights to create a warm, magical atmosphere
  • Complement the outdoors by using textured/ patterned tablecloths or runners
  • Use freshly cut flowers as table centerpieces
  • Embrace the space with sofas, chairs and other furniture
  • Laminate photos and string them together to display
  • Let the season and their colors influence the décor, flowers, attire and more

Photos by Katie Horseman Photography

What To Know About Virtual Dress Shopping

Weddings and the surrounding events will likely look different for quite some time. As couples now prepare for ultra-intimate — or even virtual – weddings, or are looking to purchase a wedding dress for late 2020 or 2021, virtual dress shopping provides a safe way to have that once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience. Here’s what you need to know…

1. Experience & Customer Service is Important 

Go with a shop that has experienced consultants. Narrowing down dresses is much easier when you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing and has a knack for pulling the right dresses.

2. Understand the Process 

When you call a shop to inquire about a virtual appointment, make sure you get details like how you will connect, how long a consultant will spend with you and how they will showcase the dresses they pull so you can see fit and details.

3. Ask About Next Steps 

As stores re-open, shopping will be altered dramatically. Ask the shop how they plan to handle selecting your final dress after shopping virtually, what precautions they’re taking and how your experience may be affected.

4. It may be different than you imagined, but still fun! 

Virtual dress shopping may not be what you envisioned, but it can still be a lot of fun for you and your wedding party. Talk with the bridal shop you choose and see if they’re able to include multiple family members or friends on the virtual experience. The more support you have, the more “real” the experience will feel.

virtual dress shopping at Gamberdellas

Grab a bottle of champagne and toast to crossing the dress off your list with ease. 

Mary Gamberdella, owner of Gamberdella in Towson, MD, has been serving brides for more than 40 years. Last year, Gamberdella’s massive renovation included technology upgrades with a special in-room camera and floor-to-ceiling TV screen so brides can shop virtually and include out-of-state bridesmaids and family members unable to travel while they shop for the perfect dress. Gamberdella recently launched its Get Bridal Ready campaign, a virtual shopping experience where brides can start the process online and finish in store.

To learn more visit: 

Photos Courtesy of Gamberdella

Shelby & Cole: 08.02.20 Real Wedding

Photographer: High Contrast Photography / Wedding Venue: Vandiver Inn / Dress and Suit by Calvin Klein 

Cole and I got engaged in September 2018, and agreed to have a longer engagement to make the wedding planning process less stressful. Then came COVID-19. Initially, I was not very concerned, but slowly our pre-wedding events were postponed. In mid-May, the time came to postpone our big June celebration.

Fortunately, my engagement ring had a matching
wedding band that we selected via text message…

Cole and I still wanted to get married and did not want to wait any longer. We asked our amazing venue, Vandiver Inn about having a private ceremony that weekend in June and scheduling the same weekend in 2021 to celebrate our wedding reception and first anniversary. With less than a week before our plans, I found out I had been exposed to COVID-19. I could not get a rapid test, so we postponed our private ceremony. Fortunately, I was negative. 

Shelby’s engagement ring and wedding band designed by Martin Flyer for Smyth Jewelers / Cole’s wedding band by Manly Bands

The time between our original June date to our August 2nd wedding day went by so slowly. I kept knocking on wood anytime I would discuss the wedding in fear of jinxing ourselves. I had another ‘crisis’ when the zipper of my dress broke and I had to find a new dress the week of the wedding. I scrambled into Macy’s and quickly came across a beautiful Calvin Klein dress that I ultimately wore. It coordinated well with Cole’s suit that he wore as a ‘brides-man’ in his sister’s wedding. Fortunately, my engagement ring had a matching wedding band that we selected via text message with Smyth Jewelers. 

Hair and Makeup by Lita at Swept, LLC

The morning of the ceremony I was surprised at how calm I was. By the time I walked down the aisle, I was thrilled! In attendance were my parents, my two brothers, Cole’s parents, and my matron of honor who is also married to our wedding officiant/friend. Other members of our family and wedding party were able to watch on Zoom. We selected to read the poem, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum because we met in college as aspiring teachers. Also, we both started our careers as kindergarten teachers. After we stated to each other the vows we had written, the ceremony was over and I felt a rush of relief! We continued our celebration nearby, at  MacGregor’s Restaurant in their private banquet room. It was a simple, but fun day nonetheless, and we look forward to continuing with our celebrations into 2021!

Written By: Shelby B.

Before Canceling, Consider If A Micro Wedding Is Right For You

COVID-19 has turned so many of our lives upside-down, from work-related changes to financial struggles. There is one part of life that doesn’t have to change, though. You can still marry the love of your life. Before canceling the big day, consider if a micro wedding, with just your spouse-to-be and a few beloved guests, is right for you.

1. Ideally, what would be your guest list size?

The idea of a micro wedding revolves around lowering your guest count to under 50 people. It brings your wedding back to an intimate celebration of your commitment surrounded with those closest to you. In larger weddings, you are splitting your time between your many guests and are lucky if you get a little more than a few words with each of them.

Micro weddings allow you to relax and spend true quality time with your smaller number of guests. Katie Horseman Photography.

2. Are you looking to lower your wedding budget?

The average cost of a wedding in the US is $33,900 — that’s some major sticker shock.

Micro weddings, on the other hand, are dramatically less expensive. By minimizing your guest list, you save money on nearly every part of the process. You and your spouse can put your money toward starting your lives together instead.

3. Would you consider non-traditional venues?

If you are searching for a Saturday evening date at a traditional wedding venue, your options will be somewhat limited. This is particularly true as 2020 brides shift their original wedding dates to the fall or into 2021. If you only need space for a few close friends or family members, on the other hand, the world is your oyster.

You’ll have your pick of romantic venues, unique locales, and beautiful backdrops.

Micro Weddings Combining Safety and Bliss

The uncertainty that comes from COVID-19 may throw us all for a loop.  Just know that as you look towards the near future, there will be options to have a wedding day you’ll love and cherish for the rest of your life.

Events by Yosira has simplified the wedding planning process by providing a micro wedding package in the Annapolis area. To learn more about the service  CLICK HERE.

Common Diet Mistakes to Avoid When Prepping For Your Wedding

Few life events are as exciting as your wedding. If you’re getting married soon, you naturally want the day to be perfect. For some people, that means losing weight. Dieting before your wedding is common and understandable. Just like wearing the wrong type of supportive footwear for a workout can ruin a fitness goal, you don’t want to sabotage your dieting efforts by making certain mistakes. The following are common diet mistakes that you need to guard against. 

Skipping Meals

Losing weight isn’t always easy. You need to  monitor how much you’re eating to ensure you don’t have too many calories in a day. Paying that much attention to your eating habits can seem intimidating. Thus, some people try to take a shortcut by skipping meals. Don’t make this mistake! Skipping a meal will make you crash, boosting your odds of overeating later in the day.

Not Hydrating

Many people assume dieting is all about what you don’t put in your body. However, it’s also important to consider what you are putting in your body. Specifically, you need to stay hydrated. Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day will help you stave off thirst. If you’re too thirsty, you might mistake the experience for hunger, causing you to eat more than you should.

Not Checking Nutrition Labels

It’s important to thoroughly check the nutrition labels of all groceries you buy. Too often, people don’t realize that supposedly healthful options such as juice or energy bars actually contain ingredients that will cause them to put on weight.

Not Controlling Portion Sizes

You should prioritize eating vegetables and similar nutritious foods when dieting. That said, just because you’re not snacking, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention to how much you’re eating. You lose weight when you consume fewer calories a day than you burn. If you eat too many calories, you won’t reach your goals.

Not Considering Your Environment

There are many reasons people struggle to lose weight. One of the most common is the simple fact that resisting the temptation to snack on your favorite treats is extremely difficult. That’s why dieting experts recommend making sure you don’t keep any of those foods in your house. You can’t cheat on your diet if you don’t have the option to.

Remember these points as you look forward to your wedding. It’s entirely possible to shed some weight for the big day. Doing so is easier when you don’t make these common mistakes.

Written by Clarissa Rivera

Wedding Checklist Before Your Big Day

Congratulations! After only seven days, you are going to be married. It’s time for the final countdown to one of the best days of your life. To help you navigate the last week of planning and make your final to-do lists, we have listed a few things to remember to do leading up to that big day. Check out our suggestions below to help you organize your personalized 7 day checklist. 

A Week Before Your Wedding

  • Confirm your guest list and finalize the seating plan with your venue coordinator
  • Communicate with all of your vendors to confirm their service/product for your wedding
  • Create a “shot list” for the photographer/videographer and send them your final day-of timeline
  • Finalize your song list for the DJ
  • If you will be making a speech, make the final edits and rehearse saying it aloud 
  • Begin teeth whitening  strips to brighten your smile

4-5 Days Before 

  • Write Thank You Cards and wrap gifts for your wedding party, parents and/or vendors. 
  • Create an “emergency kit” with wedding-day essentials

2-3 Days Before 

  • Ask the wedding party to do a final fitting to make sure they have all their attire & that it fits
  • Prepare payments for each vendor and give them to a reliable friend or a family member to pay for services on the day of the wedding
  • Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, massage, waxing, and spray tanning if you wish
  • Lay out your outfit for your rehearsal dinner and pack a bag for your wedding night

The Day Before 

  • Have a final meeting with your planner and/or venue coordinator and drop off seating cards and other decor items to the venue at that time
  • Have a rehearsal with you wedding party and coordinator early evening and enjoy a dinner together afterwards
  • Place all essential marriage ceremony documents into a large envelope and ask a trusted person to bring the envelope to the ceremony 
  • Take a relaxing bath with Epsom salt and calming essential oils such as lavender or chamomile

On Your Wedding Day

  • Wash your face with ice water to reduce puffiness 
  • Take 15 minutes to yourself to  calm your nerves and express gratitude for this cherished day
  • Assign a reliable member of the wedding party to keep  an eye on the time to keep the day on schedule
  • Have fun, roll with the punches and remember what this day is all about.
  • Take a minute to to look around and enjoy seeing all of your family and friends gathered to support and celebrate you and your new spouse

Again, these are just suggestions that you can include in your personalized 7 day wedding checklist. We hope the day is everything you’ve ever dreamed of and that you have a luxurious honeymoon planned. After your honeymoon, remember to confirm that your marriage certificate has been mailed and change your last name. 

Photos courtesy of perfect moment wedding photography studio.

BIO: Wedding photography expert Jeffrey Wang has his own wedding photography studio in Sydney Perfect Moment Photography. He helped hundreds of couples to capture their love stories and the raw emotions and spirit behinds the weddings. In his free time, he writes about love stories, venues and photography tips for known wedding blogs around the globe.

How To Pick A Scent Theme for Your Wedding

When the magic and surprise of an engagement comes to an end, it’s time to start the fun part: planning the wedding! As any bride or groom will tell you (regardless of whether or not they hired a wedding planner), there are seemingly thousands of decisions you need to make to ensure your wedding day is one for the books.

From seating charts to floral arrangements, first dance music to venue options, wedding bands to the perfect wedding dress, there’s any number of decisions to make. One of these choices is what to make your scent theme, a relatively new trend in wedding planning. Scentscaping includes creating an atmosphere through fragrance, usually a relaxing or calming one, that makes guests feel a certain way.

There are many ways to create a scentscape at a wedding, but the most popular (and easiest!) ways are with:

  1. Candles
  2. Essential oils
  3. Perfume + cologne
  4. Flowers
  5. Potpourri

For more information on how to have a wedding day no one will forget, check out this guide from FragranceX that will help you choose what to scentscape with, as well as some popular wedding scent themes and how to recreate them!

Wedding Scent Themes

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Simple Ways To Save On Your Way To I Do

For some people, the thought of planning their wedding can be overwhelming, especially if they are working with a limited budget. Weddings are meant to be happy occasions, celebrating love and the joining of two families. Avoid the worry and try out these easy ways to save, so your wedding is a time you can enjoy instead of being too stressed.

Combine & Consolidate When You Can

One useful money-saving tip to consider involves consolidating some of your print items that you may need for the day of your wedding. Many people have name cards printed for each guests’ spot at the tables in the reception hall. Another item some couples have made up is an itinerary listing all of the speakers and sections of the ceremony.

You could cut back on the number of prints you need by getting one large seating chart that has all the names and placements, or one large itinerary for everyone to view. Apply this idea whenever it might be possible to make one or fewer prints and you’ll cut back considerably on your spending. Photo below by Katie Horseman Photography. 

Ways To Minimize Wardrobe Costs

For better or for worse, weddings are becoming more and more of a production. There is more pressure to have each and every wedding-related event a picturesque celebration. Brides and guests alike spring for new outfits to mark the occasion. This can really add up for the bride. You’ll have your engagement party, your shower, your bachelorette, the rehearsal and potentially duplicate events for different areas of family and friends.

Take stock of the options you already have that could be hiding in the back of your closet, where most formal clothing tends to wait for their triumphant return. In the instance that you need to buy a few things to freshen up your options consider shopping second-hand. Optimize your time and energy by shopping at an online thrift store to find the styles and prices that are right for you.

Alternative Gifts

An ingenious gift alternative to consider giving your guests, is setting up your dessert station in a manner in which that allows people to easily take their favorite desserts home. Having dessert options is already a standard part of a wedding reception and a cost you will likely already be incurring.

By providing take-home bags or boxes for a relatively low cost, you can double-dip on the desserts and also make them the gift. By serving double duty dessert favors you also help to ensure you’re not stuck with too many leftovers and can help prevent food waste. Photo below by Katie Horseman Photography.