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10 Tips to Plan Your Wedding in Style

10 Tips to Plan Your Wedding in Style

So, you’re engaged — congratulations! Now the only thing between you and happily ever after is planning the big day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different pieces of the wedding puzzle, but these tips will be sure to save you some stress!

1. Budget

In addition to setting an overall amount that you’re willing to spend on the wedding, you need to break the budget down so you know how much you can afford to spend on individual pieces like the reception or the venue. A good rule of thumb is to allot half of your budget to the reception and another 10 percent each for flowers, attire, music and entertainment, photographs, and invitations and gifts. Also, be sure to leave some leeway for extra expenses that could pop up unexpectedly along the way.

2. Organization

Whether you decide to use a wedding planning application, track everything through Google spreadsheets, or go old school and store your notes and plans together in one big binder, you need to keep track of everything you plan and store the information in one central location. This is good for your sake when you want to double check how many invitations you ordered or exactly when you told the caterers to show up, and it also means that you have proof of any agreements just in case.

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3. Schedule

Once you’ve figured out a budget and a method for tracking your expenses and plans, you’re ready to start laying out a timeline of events. Save yourself the headache of having too much to decide too close to the wedding by setting smaller deadlines along the way for things like hiring your caterer or booking the band.

4. Guests

When determining who to include on your guest list, prioritization is key. Create a list with most important family members and closest friends at the top and neighbors, coworkers, and other less crucial people at the bottom. Then cross names off starting at the bottom of the list until you’ve reached a comfortable number. And remember, often a quarter to a third of the guests you invite won’t be able to come anyway.

But don’t worry too much if the final number ends up a little higher than you were hoping — at least you can be happy knowing how many of your friends and family cared enough to make your big day a priority!

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5. Vendors

When it comes time to choose vendors, be sure you’re paying attention to the people you’re hiring, not just the product. If you find a caterer who cooks amazing food but who is totally unwilling to budge on small details, don’t hire them! You want people who you can trust to have your back and help make your wedding go smoothly.

6. Dress

If you’re like many brides, you’ve been imagining your wedding dress for ages. Don’t let that perfect image in your mind keep you from shopping around in reality, though. Try on a lot of dresses and visit a lot of stores. You never know what you’ll find — the perfect dress may end up being something totally different from what you were picturing initially.

7. Gifts

The gift registry is an important way to make sure your guests know what to get you so that you get things you actually want and need, but not everybody wants new kitchen appliances or household items. If that’s you — don’t worry! There are plenty of less traditional gift registries out there, from honeymoon funds to charitable donation plans. Search around a bit to make sure you find a way to get gifts that you’ll appreciate and that your guests will feel good about giving.

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8. Honeymoon

You want your honeymoon to be exciting, relaxing, and special, but with all of the wedding planning to take care of beforehand, you might feel overwhelmed trying to plan the honeymoon, too. One increasingly popular way to get around this problem is to postpone your honeymoon by a few months to give yourself time to recuperate and focus on the honeymoon itself. Definitely consider this option if your nerves or your finances are feeling the strain of wedding planning.

9. The Day-of

Even after all of the details you’ve taken care of in advance, from arranging vendors to booking hotel rooms to putting together gift bags, there are still a number of things you simply can’t take care of until the big day arrives. From doing your hair and makeup to greeting your guests, you’ll have your hands full from dawn ‘til dusk on your big day. To ensure that you have time for everything, schedule the whole day in advance and make sure to hand off any responsibilities you can to a trusted member of the wedding team.

10. Relax

Even if you’ve only just gotten engaged and haven’t really started the planning process, the mere thought of all the pieces you somehow have to put together to make this wedding happen could be getting to you. Don’t worry! Really, this is supposed to be a special day celebrating your happy union. Whenever the stress starts getting to you, focus on that and let the little details zoom back into perspective. No matter what, at the end of the big day you’ll be happily married and surrounded by friends and family.

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There are a million different ways to plan a wedding, from a tiny ceremony to a giant, fancy party to an exotic destination. When you’re planning yours, don’t feel like you have to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Stay true to what you want and that will make all of the effort way more fun and worthwhile.

Featured photo credit: fotomelia via fotomelia.com

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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