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DIY Child's Wedding Activity Giftbags

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Photograph by Jocelyn Filley Photography

Children make for some amazing photos at weddings. They are happy and carefree and usually adorably dressed to the nines. But come dinner time or even cocktail hour, they can get a little bored with the speeches and the eating and the dining table small talk. These DIY activity bags placed at their seats will surely keep them content and occupied.

Activity or coloring books are always a win/win since kids love to create and they are usually inexpensive. You can purchase different themed books at your local dollar store or you can print this adorable wedding-themed activity book from Lovely Indeed. You can include some blank pages for freehand drawing or even some tic-tac-toe. But children like things to have a goal, right? How about a little scavenger hunt? Martha Stewart has an adorable "I Spy" free download to keep your kiddos hunting around the reception. The first one to spy them all gets a free Shirley Temple or bag of candy. You can also create your own printable games customized to you and your beau or the venue location. Attach a small package of crayons to the printables and your kiddos will be entertained for sure. 

But what about the wee ones who maybe can't color just yet? Wikki Stix are the answer! A lot of high-end venues won't allow toys that could be potentially harmful to furniture and walls such as stickers or play doh. But wikki stix are a fun and mess-free toy that will allow the kids to be creative and build their own shapes. 

Other fun additions are mini games, puzzles and small toys. Package them up in a cute brown bag with some ribbon and the kids will be thrilled to find them at their seats. 

Don't have the time to put together your own bags? There are places like Kids Wedding Fun who will put together and ship kids bags for you. All you have to do is place them at their seats. 

Cheers to children at weddings! 

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Photograph by Christian Oth Studio
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Prepping for a Tented Backyard Wedding

This is it - your big day is finally only a month away and you are ecstatic knowing in only 30 days you will be marrying your best friend. And best of all, you'll be celebrating at a place that is near and dear to your heart. Having a tented wedding in a backyard has many perks - like you don't have a crazy venue fee to pay and at the end of the night, you can just stumble into a familiar home mere steps from the celebration. But if this is your first tented rodeo, then there are a few things you need to do to ensure that on tent installation day, it's all smooth sailing.

4 Weeks Away

If the tent location is a little wonky, then this is the time to call in those landscapers to level out the space. That gives you enough time to ensure that if the material you use to fill the space begins to level and sink, you have time to fix it. We can shim a full floor up to 5-6'', but anything over that makes for an unstable floor and if you aren't using a full floor, it's even more important to have the location relatively flat. Unstable tables lead to shaky tables and tipsy guests (and this is even before the open bar is up and running.)

Depino Photography Depino Photography

3 Weeks Away

If you're planning on landscaping the area around the tent, then this is the time to plant those flowers and bushes. The beauty of a Sperry is with our 10' eaves, your guests can still have a gorgeous view of the landscape from inside the tent. So take advantage of the natural frame created by Sperry poles and eaves and make your backyard a setting to remember. Planting bushes and flowers now gives them time to fill in a bit and if you have any duds, you have time to replace them.

Jennifer Skog Photography Jennifer Skog Photography

2 Weeks Away!

It's almost go time! And this is when things start to get crazy, but you can't forget the important steps that need to be taken with regards to the tent. Within 2 weeks of your wedding, your tent company should confirm with you the install date, estimated length of install, breakdown date and estimate length of breakdown. This will give you enough time to coordinate the drop-off, set-up, break-down and pick-up of all those gorgeous rentals. We can't break-down a tent when it is full of all those gorgeous linens and farm tables. If you aren't able to be on site for the installation, please make sure the tent company knows exactly where you want to tent to be on property. It's really difficult to move a tent that is already installed. If need be, create an aerial of the tent location or mark the space with those little lawn flags.

At this time, the tent company will call DigSafe in your area to be sure that there are no public lines where the tent is being installed. However, it is up to you to mark any private lines (septic, sprinklers, geothermal) with flags so that we don't break any lines upon installation. DigSafe generally doesn't set-up an exact appointment time, but a general span when they will be on-site. If your property is gated or difficult to enter, the tent company will coordinate with you so that entry is possible.

Mark Davidson Photographer Mark Davidson Photographer

Mark Davidson Photographer Mark Davidson Photographer

1 Week Away!!!

This is the most exciting time! Once the install time is coordinated, be sure to mow the lawn the morning of install (if you're using a full floor) to mitigate any damage to the lawn or the day before the drop-off of rentals if you are just using a tent. If there are any restrictions on accessing the property, please let the tent company know. That way we can map the best route in and out and can budget any extra time if needed. During installation, it's best to be on property. At the end of the installation, the crew leader will do a final inspection and speak with you to discuss any discrepancies you may find in the order.

Many cities and towns require tent permits to be pulled for safety reasons. We try to coordinate inspections while we are still on site so please be patient if we are walking the property with the inspector. This allows us to fix any issues that may arise. In some cases, inspections can't be scheduled, but, like DigSafe, general time windows are given. If the inspector arrives when we are not on property, please provide him/her access. All inspectors have our contact information so if for some reason a guideline or requirement isn't met, they can contact us directly so we can immediately rectify the issue. This can sometimes be a bit alarming for the home owner, especially if an inspector insinuates that an event cannot go forward due to a violation. Please don't panic or worry - in all our years we have had extensive experience with meeting these requirements and take every precaution to ensure a smooth inspection. And we have never had an event cancelled due to an inspection!

Mark Davidson Photographer Mark Davidson Photographer

The Big Day :)

Well, it's finally here. The day you have been preparing for over a year. And if you've hired a Sperry - you have nothing to worry about on the day of! One of our experienced crew leaders will arrive on-site a few hours before the event. Dressed in a polo and khakis, the Sperry On-Site will do a final inspection to ensure all lines are tight, sidewalls are rolled up, lights are properly working and that everything looks perfect. All you have to do is relax, take some photos and enjoy your big day. You did it! You hosted a tented wedding like a pro.

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30 Days Before the Wedding

30 Days Before The Wedding
Photograph by Brian Ambrose Photography

You're so close! A month before the wedding is when everything seems to kick into high gear and stress levels reach a maximum. There is a lot to do and there seems like not a lot of time to do it. Here's a quick reminder of things you should (and should not) do 30 days before you say I Do.

DO Write Your Vows

If you haven't done this already, now is the time. Don't wait until the last minute. These should be heartfelt and special and not rushed or written after a few glasses of bubbly. If possible, submit your vows to your JP before for approval. You can keep them a surprise from your future spouse, but your JP can make sure no one is running long or saying anything inappropriate.

DON'T Go Through Drastic Beauty Changes

You should drink a lot of water and maintain your normal beauty routine, but any drastic changes the month before can lead to some unwanted consequences. These photos will be with you for a lifetime so if you haven't ombre'd your tresses before, hold off for the honeymoon. Stay clear of do-it-yourself tanning and last minute facials and waxing. Waxing can lead to some terrible rashes and facials can often cause breakouts. Maintain your routine and you'll be your glowing self on your wedding day.

DO Finalize Your Timeline

Unless you have a wedding planner, you are the common thread throughout your vendors. You need to communicate with them when and where they need to be. Finalize your timeline and send it to all your vendors to confirm that they can be where you need them to be when you need them to be there. Having been both a vendor and a bride, I can't say how nice it is to have this document. If you don't hear from your vendors, give them a call to confirm. You don't need to be concerned with their whereabouts on the day of your wedding. 

DON'T Do it Alone

I know you want to make sure everyone has fun at your wedding, but it's ok to ask for help! I am 100% guilty of trying to do it all on my own, but I forget that some people want to help out. Designate simple tasks like bathroom baskets or checking the reception tables to responsible parties to keep things off your to-do list. The earlier you delegate the less stress you will feel. Promise. 

DO Enjoy!

Generally within a month or two of your wedding is when all the festivities truly begin. You will be showered with love from your friends and family and you should relax and enjoy and absorb all that happiness. This is a special time in your life and if you spend it stressing about every little detail, you won't enjoy all the love around you. 

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Photograph by Mark Davidson Photography
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Practice Makes Perfect

For some people standing in front of 20, 80 or even 200 people comes naturally. But for most, it can be terrifying to know that all those eyes are going to be on you and your fiance for nearly 48 hours. The best way to prepare is to practice practice practice! Here are a few things you should work into your workout and beauty routine to make sure you're ready for your big day.

Hair and Makeup

I know it can seem like a lot to shell out that much cash twice for hair and makeup, but wouldn't you rather iron out the kinks a month before your big day rather than hours before you walk down the aisle? This is helpful for your stylist too so that he/she knows exactly what you're looking for and can complete hair and makeup faster on your wedding day. More infrequently, but not unheard of, is that maybe you and your stylist just don't jive or their style is different or (and this has happened before) the stylist comes to the trial a bit inebriated. Time to book a new stylist. 

Tying Ties/Bowties

I learned to tie ties and bowties when I was a wedding planner. Before those days, I never had the need to, but you can't believe the amount of grooms and groomsmen that wake up to their wedding day and don't know how to property tie their neck jewelry. So you should probably have him practice this before the big day. Ties.com is an excellent resource for all things ties. The four-in-hand is the most common tie knot, but why not try something different? 

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Photograph by Nicole Taylor Photography

Walking in Heels

Whether you're walking down the aisle or walking around the reception hall, walking in heels can be a tricky task. Add on a gorgeous wedding dress, lack of eating and probably a few doses of anxiety and it can be even trickier especially if they're brand new. Wear your shoes around your house to break them in a bit and see where they may rub. If they're feeling tight, heat them up with a hot hair dryer and wear them around with a thick pair of socks. They will stretch to perfection - promise! 

Your Vows and Speeches

Even if you're not writing your own vows, practicing your vows beforehand will reduce some of those wedding day jitters. You'll find out if there are any tricky word transitions or perhaps you'll discover you suddenly have a lisp. Either way, it's always better to know before and work it out weeks before rather than when you're up at the alter. Also, you might find that the vows run way too long. 

Posing!

I know that in this selfie-obsessed culture you probably already know all of your best angles, but whole body shots by a professional photographer are a lot different than a selfie stick. Also there's no way your photographer is going to let you look at every shot and decide if you look good. So have your S.O. or best friend take some shots of you and see how you feel in front of the camera. Even better if you can schedule an engagement shoot with your photographer. But remember, just because there are shot lists on Pinterest, you don't have to take 4,000 photos on your wedding day. Sometimes the best shots are candid and real. 

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Photograph by Quinn Miller Photo + Design

Your First Dance

Dancing with your new husband in front of all of your guests is a beautiful and significant moment. But for those rare few (like me) who were born with two left feet and is marrying Fred Astaire, it is crucial that we practice our first dance unless he wants to drag me around the dance floor. And you should too! Grab his hand after dinner and sweep around your kitchen to try out your moves or sign up for some lessons. Dancing is fun and intimate so why not, right? 

Conversation Closers

Do you know that Queen Elizabeth holds your purse in different hands to signal her security that she is done with a conversation? Wouldn't you love to have someone swoop in and save you from your Aunt Nora droning on and on? Unfortunately, for us non-royals, we have to learn the art of the graceful conversation closer. Everyone is going to want to talk to you and say hello and as your guest, they deserve some of your time. But with a room full of loved ones, you're going to have to make the chats short and quick. Practice a few ways to end a conversation ("It was so lovely to see you, hopefully we'll see you on the dance floor!" or "Please excuse me, but I think <insert name> needs me.") Most guests will understand. 

Maintaining Your Look

You spend hundreds of dollars on your wedding day look and it's important to keep yourself fresh and beautiful all day long. Check with your seamstress and confirm how to bustle your dress and practice before the big day. Have your hairstylist throw in a few extra hairpins in case something falls out and have your maid of honor ready to tuck a loose curl into place. And always grab some extra lipstick to reapply after your first kiss! 

The Aisle

I know we all want to make a mad dash to our fiance the moment we see them, but a lot of people want to take photos and this is your time to soak it all in. Revel in it! Practice taking slow and deliberate steps. Count "one one thousand" "two one thousand" between each step. This is an awesome excuse if you're running late too - "Sorry honey, I'm practicing my aisle walk. I can't walk any faster."

Relax!

There is no doubt things will go wrong on the day of your wedding. No amount of planning can take into account every little thing that can go wrong and the best thing you can do is to relax. Practice taking deep breaths and remembering the purpose of the day - it isn't the centerpieces or the wedding programs or even the dress - it's that you are marrying your best friend. 

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Photograph by Brooke Allison Photo
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