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AOC Wedding Series: The Reader

Welcome to the next installment of the AOC Wedding Series! In case you missed it, I’ve already covered the biggest wedding role of all (after the bride of course), the Maid of Honor. Now, I’ll be covering a role I believe to be totally underestimated, the reader! In my experience, when it comes to the actual day of the wedding, the reader is more challenging than the Maid of Honor – yes, I said it! As the reader, you have to battle nerves and emotions while actually speaking in front of the entire wedding party and guests. Do not make light of this key role!

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Photo by Angie Webb

I also want to acknowledge that my experience as a reader may be somewhat atypical and some of the following advice may not be applicable to all readers. Oftentimes, a reader is a cousin, brother/sister in-law, or someone who was not included in the wedding party that the bride and groom want to involve in the wedding in a special way. In my particular experience as a reader, the bride didn’t have a traditional wedding party, and much of my pre-wedding involvement consisted of duties often designated for bridesmaids. This is a great example of how every wedding is a unique and personal experience for those participating and attending. Now without further ado… the reader!


 

5 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Estimate Expenses, Create a Budget, & Start Saving

  • Here’s a list of some possible expenses you should plan for as the reader:
  1. The Bachelorette Party (see below for a breakdown of potential bachelorette expenses)
  2. Your Dress, Shoes, and Accessories for the Wedding (keep in mind, you may already have something in your closet that will suit the dress code for the big day!)
  3. Bridal Shower (see below for a breakdown of potential bridal shower expenses)
  4. Wedding Gift
  5. Transportation and Accommodations for the Wedding

 

4 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Mark Your Calendar for the Bachelorette Weekend

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  • Communicate your schedule to the Maid of Honor so that she can coordinate a day or weekend that works with everyone’s calendar – keep in mind this may require a trip to another city
  • Follow the reimbursement plan and repay the MOH
  • Be clear on the game plan for the weekend, and ask the MOH if you can help contribute to the festivities in any way

P.S. Don’t forget, the bachelorette party may include a lingerie shower!


3 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Begin Dress Shopping or Getting Alterations for Yourself

  • Some brides may want to help you select a dress that will coordinate with the colors and aesthetic of the wedding party, and others may leave it up to you – either way, don’t forget about shoes and accessories
  • If the bride wants to help you select a dress, you may need to get alterations
  • If you’re selecting a dress for yourself, be sure to communicate with the bride about your options

2 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Attend a Bridal Shower

  • You may be invited to attend a bridal shower, so head to the registry and get a gift – again, keep in mind this may require a trip to another city

1 MONTH BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Start Practicing Your Reading

  • Don’t put off familiarizing yourself with your reading – you don’t necessarily have to memorize the reading unless the bride specifically asked this of you
  • Address any words or points of inflection you’re stumbling on
  • Practice reading it out loud to a friend, family member, or significant other

DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING:

The Rehearsal

  • Be sure to have a few easy to read copies of your reading printed, packed, and ready for the rehearsal
  • Get clear on the point at which you’ll be reading in the ceremony – make note of what happens or what the officiant will say right before your big moment
  • Know how you will enter and exit

DAY OF THE WEDDING:

Practice + Drink Plenty of Water (and maybe a little champagne) + Breathe!

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Photo by Angie Webb

  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Be sure you and your plus one each have a copy of the reading in case of emergency
  • Keep yourself hydrated so that your voice and throat are clear (don’t forget, a little champagne never hurt to calm your nerves)
  • Breathe and speak slowly, deliberately, and confidently
  • Stand up with your girl and try not to cry – you got this!
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AOC Wedding Series: The Maid of Honor

6 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Estimate Expenses, Create a Budget, & Start Saving

  • Here’s a list of some possible expenses you should plan for as a MOH:
  1. Plane Ticket for Dress Shopping
  2. The Bachelorette Party (see below for a breakdown of potential bachelorette expenses)
  3. Your Dress, Shoes, and Accessories for the Wedding
  4. Bridal Shower (see below for a breakdown of potential bridal shower expenses)
  5. Wedding Gift
  6. Transportation and Accommodations for the Wedding

5 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Accompany the Bride Dress Shopping

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  • Coordinate a weekend to go dress shopping – keep in mind this may require a trip to another city
  • Keep the bride nourished and hydrated throughout the process
  • Take photos of the bride in the dresses from every angle so she can look back and analyze
  • Give honest feedback
  • Bring a simple surprise or souvenir to celebrate when she says YES to the dress

4 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Plan the Bachelorette Party

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  • Talk to the bride about her vision for the festivities
  • Communicate with the bridesmaids and bride to coordinate a day or weekend that works with everyone’s schedule – again, keep in mind this may require a trip to another city
  • Determine a budget and reimbursement plan that works for the bridesmaids
  • Research and book reservations for whatever is needed: a venue, hotel or housing accommodations, transportation, restaurants, spa day, etc.
  • Make a game plan for the celebration: think about meals, games, gift bags, decorations, activities, etc.

P.S. Don’t forget the bachelorette party can be a great time for a lingerie shower too!


3 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Begin Dress Shopping or Getting Alterations for Yourself

  • Some brides may select a dress for you, and others may select a color and allow you to select a style – either way, don’t forget about shoes and accessories
  • If the bride selects a dress for you, you may need to get alterations
  • If you’re selecting a dress for yourself, be sure to communicate with the bride and other bridesmaids about your options

2 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Host or Attend a Bridal Shower

Bodine Feather Wedding Shower

  • You may decide to host or co-host a bridal shower or you may just be asked to attend a bridal shower – and again, keep in mind this may require a trip to another city
  • If you’re hosting, be sure to coordinate a date and guest list with the bride and plan for a venue, food, drink, decorations, games, etc.
  • If you’re attending, head to the registry and get a gift

1 MONTH BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Help the Bride with the Details

Evan Tables

Photos by Angie Webb

  • This step may vary depending on the your location and the location of the bride and the wedding, but be sure to offer to help with any of the wedding details – you could easily communicate over email or video call to help the bride finalize things like floral arrangements, centerpieces, or her accessories for the big day

MONTH OF THE WEDDING:

Provide Emotional Support & Encouragement for the Bride

  • Plain and simple, check in regularly and ask: How are you doing, and what can I help with? Don’t forget that the bride is one of your best friends. After the wedding talk, remember to catch up about work or chat about your favorite reality TV show

WEEK OF THE WEDDING:

Write Your Toast for the Reception

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Photo by Angie Webb

  • Don’t put off your toast for the reception – lock this thing down and get it in your head so you can speak through the nerves and tears on the big day

DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING:

Be there for the Bride

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Photo by Angie Webb

  • Get your nails done, enjoy the rehearsal dinner, and get a good night’s sleep

DAY OF THE WEDDING:

Breathe! Take Care of the Bride & Any Hiccups that Arise

Bodine Feather Wedding Collage

Photos by Angie Webb

  • Keep the bride nourished and hydrated
  • Do something nurturing, restorative, and relaxing like a yoga class or massage if time permits
  • Accompany the bride to hair and makeup
  • Check in with the wedding planner, florist, caterer, etc. and be sure everything is going smoothly
  • If you can, field and address any hiccups before the bride finds out
  • Assist the bride in getting out of her clothes and into her dress
  • Be sure the bride looks her best in the photographs
  • Stand up with your girl and try not to cry
  • Head to the reception, toast the happy couple, and dance

 

If you’re a future Maid of Honor, download my Maid of Honor Checklist to help you prepare for your BFF’s big day!

AOC Wedding Series

Wedding season happens every spring, but the time to start preparing is now! I may not be quite like Jane from 27 Dresses, but I’ve been in my fair share of weddings and am ready to share the wealth of information I’ve learned so that you can make the most of your friend’s wedding celebration. This month, I’m finally launching the AOC Wedding Series!

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Photo by Angie Webb

How many save the dates have you already received for 2016? Which of your girlfriends has or may ask you to be part of her big day? Whether you’re going to be a Maid of Honor, a Bridesmaid, a Reader, or a role that falls in the “other” category, I’ve been there and done that! I’m going to help you tackle all of your wedding duties over the next several months. By the time spring rolls around, you’ll be ready to stand up and celebrate with your friend throughout all the festivities.

If you’re starting to panic about being part your best friend’s wedding, just take a step back and breathe! I’m going address each step of the process, including the top stressors of being in a wedding like budgeting for the big day. We’re about six months out from the peak of wedding season. Don’t worry, we’ve got time, and we’re going to do this together!

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Photo by Angie Webb

So, if you’re already fretting about your friend’s spring wedding, you’re in the right place. My first AOC Wedding Series post is going to address the biggest role of all (after the bride of course): the Maid of Honor. If you’ve been granted this esteemed (and somewhat intimidating) task, you will not want to miss the first installment of the AOC Wedding series. Calling all my future Maid of Honors – we got this! Stay tuned to AOC Blog – the next post in the AOC Wedding Series is for you!

Elizabeth and James Eyewear

If you’re looking for a little retail therapy this weekend but don’t want to leave your couch, head over to my go-to deal destination, Hautelook, for an awesome sale on Elizabeth and James eyewear. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean it’s not important to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays in winter months. SPF moisturizer, lip balm, and protective eyewear are equally essential even when it’s cold outside! An added bonus of sporting sunglasses in the cooler months is shielding your eyes from brutal winter winds. Plus, sunglasses are a quick, easy, and cute way to complete an outfit no matter what the season.

I test drove three unique pairs of Elizabeth and James sunglasses and couldn’t be more in love. They’re comfortable, flattering, and get the job done when it comes to truly protecting your eyes. All Elizabeth and James sunglasses offer 100% UV protection against UVA and UVB rays. Fashion truly meets function with this stylish eyewear!


ELIZABETH and JAMES – LEXINGTON SUNGLASSES

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The first pair I tried is the Elizabeth and James Lexington frame. These sunglasses are an interesting, fashion forward twist on the classic wayfarer style. The purple horn hue is both unique and neutral – a medium tone gray with a dusty purple tint. They’re ideal for a laid back, casual look, they flatter a variety of face shapes, and they pair well with any ensemble. Three reasons to buy the Lexington sunglasses!

Original price: $155, Hautelook price: $44.97


ELIZABETH and JAMES – MARION SUNGLASSES

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If you’re searching for the perfect everyday eyewear, look no further than the Elizabeth and James Marion frames. These classic black or tortoise glasses will instantly become your go-to eyewear. The Marion style is my all time favorite. They’re over-sized without being over-powering – ideal for any face type and size. With such a timeless shape and color, these frames are bound to become a staple of your eyewear collection for seasons to come.

Original price: $265, Hautelook price: $49.97


ELIZABETH and JAMES – LINDALL

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Step outside the box and back in time with the vintage-inspired Elizabeth and James Lindall frames. Round sunglasses are often an overlooked shape in today’s eyewear market. I took a fashion risk with these Lindall sunglasses and couldn’t be more pleased to add a new and unique style to my eyewear assortment. Unfortunately, this pink horn hue is not available in this Hautelook event, but I’m loving the gray ink color!

Original price: $185, Hautelook price: $49.97


Photographed by Angie Webb of Suburbanite Photography

Thank You

One year ago today I launched ARTicles of Clothing Blog. I can’t believe it.

A successful one-woman business is a myth. If I’ve learned one vital thing over the past year, it’s that you can’t do anything alone. As a blogger and freelancer, most days it’s just you and your computer. It can feel lonely and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be. The minute I started connecting with others, particularly fellow artists, entrepreneurs, and creative spirits, my work improved drastically. I could not have pressed forward day after day and continued to compose this blog without the support and contribution of many, and to those invaluable people, I want to say THANK YOU and CHEERS TO YOU!

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Photographed by Angie Webb of Suburbanite Photography on location at Osteria Mattone

Thank you to…

Jessica Camerata, My Style Vita and the Southern Blog Society

I met Jessica at a seminar at AmericasMart in January 2013. She was the first style blogger I connected with, and over coffee she told me one of the most important things an aspiring blogger can hear – you just need to sit down, and do it!

Angie Webb, Suburbanite Photography

Angie started a blog in college, and through it, I grew to know and love her. In the spring of 2013, Angie and I sat down over dinner to catch up and discuss my desire to establish my own blog. She gave me a great deal of advice and encouragement and, most importantly, a branding questionnaire that was vital to my creation of AOC. Since then, she has contributed to AOC as my primary photographer and an avid supporter.

Denise Posnak, MyBod Wellness

Over the years Denise has had many roles in my life – dance teacher, Pilates instructor, mentor, friend. Since venturing out as a freelancer and blogger, she has taught me about being an entrepreneur, helped me make meaningful connections in my industry, and always been there at the right time with a piece of advice, encouraging word, or relevant music video

Erica Bryan, Singer/Songwriter

When Erica reached out to me about working with her as a stylist, I could never have imagined what an impact she would have on me and my career. From the moment we partnered together, Erica became my advocate. I truly believe Erica and I are kindred spirits, placed in each others’ lives at this point in time for a specific purpose. Erica’s passion is contagious, and I’m continually inspired by her enthusiasm and commitment to her artistry.

Catie McWhirter, Salon Dm3, and Nikki Grant, Encore

Catie has been my hair stylist for the past five years and over that time has become a close friend. Earlier this year, Catie connected me to her longtime friend, Nikki, owner of an upscale boutique, Encore. I partnered with Encore for the first time for a feature on their spring 2014 look book, and since then, Nikki has continued to be a dedicated supporter of AOC. 

Tova Gelfond and the Eide Team, Eide Magazine

For years I’ve admired Eide for their dedication to narrative voice and carefully curated aesthetic. In June, they reached out to me about reviewing their summer issue, and I had the opportunity to interview the magazine’s founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, Tova Gelfond. Speaking with and learning from Tova and working with Eide is an undeniable milestone in my career and highlight of year one of AOC.

Jocelyn Negron, Must Love Sparkle

Jocelyn is the founder of Must Love Sparkle, a jewelry destination characterized by a unique aesthetic, exceptional quality, and attainable prices. She has a keen eye for buying and her own collection has a stunning design. Jocelyn has contributed jewelry for a personal photo shoot and for styling singer/songwriter Erica Bryan. Throughout our partnerships, Jocelyn has been a meaningful advocate AOC.

GaBrielle Pedriani, Look Sharp, Sconnie

GaBrielle was the first blogger I connected with in the Midwest. After visiting her blog, my perception of personal style bloggers completely shifted. Gabby defies the typical personal style blogger aesthetic ,and she’s a skilled writer. Although I only got to know her for a short time before she relocated to NYC, Gabby made a profound impact on me as a blogger and my Midwestern fashion experience. 

Pamela Wilson, Iona

Pamela has been key influence in my Midwestern fashion journey. Upon meeting Pamela at a fashion event, she immediately welcomed me into the local fashion community. I’ve learned a great deal from her approach to fashion and entrepreneurship, and I’ve made some invaluable connections through events hosted at her boutique.

Amsterdam Station, Alternative Rock Band

Amsterdam Station approached me this summer while in the process of re-branding. As part of creating their new look, they enlisted me as a stylist. The band has an invigorating energy that translated into our work together. Amsterdam Station not only furthered my styling career but also broke me into the world of styling men. 

Sonali Prabhu, So Narly

I connected with Sonali through mutual friends and was immediately impressed by her social media presence and following. Sonali is wise beyond her years and, in my opinion, represents the future of social media. She’s innovative, committed to her brand, and confident yet humble. While composing my first YouTube video, Sonali was a take charge director and brought a fun energy to the shoot. 

Ryan Pernice and Micki Kimberly, Osteria Mattone

Ryan and I went to high school together, and he’s now the owner of two successful restaurants in our hometown. I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot on location at his Italian restaurant, Osteria Mattone. A portion of the shoot was dedicated to today’s celebration, AOC’s one year birthday. Pastry chef and personal friend, Micki, composed a special dessert for the occasion: Budino Caramellato with Fior di Latte Gelato (yes, we ate it after the shoot, and yes, it was as good as it looks and sounds).

Midwest Style Bloggers, Community

I’ve connected with a number of the founders and members of the Midwest Style Bloggers at various events. They have welcomed me into the Midwest fashion community and have been invaluable to the growth of AOC.

My friends, family, and the AOC Blog Focus Group

Despite the fact that most of my friends and family are far more traditional and practical than I am, they have offered me unlimited love and support over the past year. I could not have launched this blog and continued to grow and improve it without the feedback of my Focus Group. I want to express my particular appreciation for the following people: My boyfriend, who has no interest in fashion whatsoever but has never failed to listen, lend a hand, or provide a second opinion; My mom, who has fueled my creativity from a young age by enrolling me in my first dance classes, buying me countless notebooks, and exposing me to art in various forms; My Kitty Kat, for serving as my co-stylist on my first photo shoot; and My Boo, for setting the foundation for my reader spotlight series.

YOU, My Readers

 I only make up 50% of this blog, the other 50% is YOU, my readers. Without your loyal readership, this blog would just be words and images floating around cyberspace. ARTicles of Clothing blog is both by you and for you.

CHEERS TO YOU ALL!