The Pressure for "Perfect"

Written with love, by Felicia Zammit-McMann

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on social media that read “Avoid these color mistakes.” Intrigued, I kept clicking to see what dreaded colors could never, ever be put together. I was actually surprised because many of the “mistakes” were actually quite nice. Then I got to thinking - If you like two or three colors, and you put them together, how can that be a mistake? Isn’t your wedding about you and what you like? I mean, really? Who’s judging? OK, OK, we’ve all done it, but I’m talking about really judging. What test are you trying to pass and who’s grading? Why are the colors a mistake? Who are they a mistake for? Not you, you’re the one who chose them.

So, then, as the weeks went on, I started noticing similar posts, all from various sources, but all with very declarative statements such as “THE MUST-HAVE…,” “TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO…,” “TRENDS YOU HAVE TO…,” “HAVE AN EPIC…,” “THE EXACT WAY TO…” Wow! Was my head spinning. I was getting nervous just looking at those posts and I don’t even have a wedding to plan anymore.

I know why such statements are made: On social media, it’s essential to grab the reader’s attention. Once you have their attention, they click through to the particular website, the website gets more clicks, and more clicks mean more advertisers, and more money you can charge advertisers. I totally get it.  

Brides, however, are a funny creature (and I can say this because I was one), and rings change a lot of things. What might not have mattered at all prior to being engaged can now be the center of your universe. I totally get that, too. Let’s face it: It’s hard not to let it be all consuming. It’s a big day, a big milestone, one of the most important, special, and photographed days of your life. Of course you want it to be perfect. These days, however, I get the feeling that sometimes weddings become a party to try to out-do someone else’s wedding. Do you get that sense, too, or is it just me? It can be very easy to get caught up by those statements if that’s your goal. 

My advice to all brides out there is this: If you plan a wedding with details that make you happy, that, by definition, is PERFECT. Planning a wedding is overwhelming as is without having to worry about what happens if you put two “wrong” colors together.  What will happen if you do? The only “must haves” are what you want and can afford to have. Trends are important to some, but what happens if you aren’t perfectly “on trend”? Your wedding will be “epic” regardless because it will be the best day of your life, AND the “exact” way to do anything is by doing it the way you want with no regrets!

Are you going to please everyone? No. Is there going to be someone who complains about something or tells you that you are doing something “wrong?” Of course. There always is. But that’s life … there are some of those people in every bunch.

Read everything you want about weddings, and learn from what you read. After all, bridal sources are here to help, and they ARE a great resource and are full of lots of tips, tricks, timelines and guides that really do make you life easier. Just remember that nothing bad will happen if you don’t follow all the rules, and make sure you understand what statements are being made and why. Go with your gut, follow your heart and you have nothing to worry about.

You Make My Wedding Go 'Round: Wedding DJ Blog Series, Part IV

Written with love, by Kurtis Cross, Professional Wedding DJ

As a veteran of the wedding industry, and more specifically as a professional DJ, I've seen a lot.  I've seen customs and traditions remain important, while new trends have emerged.  In this week's article, we'll take a look at the role a professional DJ at weddings, now and then, along with the related changes over the years.  While we look at the various changes, one thing remains the same, and likely always will:  Love is love!  It will remain hopeful and selfless.  How each couple celebrates this love, will continue to evolve.

"Music Starts ~ We Get Married ~ Everyone Parties!"

That's the core premise of each wedding day, and will likely never change.  What I've seen however, since 1986, is a fascinating yet methodical evolution in the wedding industry.  Here are my top five wedding industry changes from the past (nearly) 30 years.


What has changed?  I would say the greatest change I've seen, has been in technology.

1986 - When I began my professional DJ journey, crates of records were the norm.  It wasn't uncommon for a DJ to haul hundreds of records to a wedding reception, having his/her choice of songs for the music menu.  Big speakers were the norm, along with big gaudy equipment that required a cargo van to haul around.  Multiple trips back and forth from the van to the banquet hall were needed and you weren't getting through the night without a record skipping!  Speaking of records, keeping up with the latest music meant a trip to the record store to pick up the latest & hottest records.

Wedding DJ Blog Series // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

2014 - Today, while we still have cargo vans, the space is utilized, not only for our equipment, but for the back up equipment as well.  Records and tapes have turned into external hard drives whereby 100,000+ songs can travel to each event.  No need to plan every song on the menu, because with the advances in technology, every song is at my fingertips.  Requests are made easier...a laptop music search away.  Speakers are smaller, lighter and more powerful.  Back-up equipment is on-site versus non-existent in the 80's.  The emergence of digital files have allowed more creativity and flexibility in a DJs work.  Music can be manipulated on the fly, while the DJ has control over last minute changes with a series of clicks.  Music is as afar a way as the nearest WiFi connection with record stores now being online and accessible 24/7.  Additions such as monograms and uplighting are commonplace as well.

The Breakdown:  Changes in technology have certainly presented today's professional DJ with the opportunity to be more dynamic.  Equipment has become more mobile & compact.  Hot light bulbs in lighting have been replaced with LED fixtures that last (seemingly) forever.  With fewer technical issues, today's professional wedding DJ can be more of an asset to each couple.  This improves the overall experience for each couple.  If a song is forgotten or not in the DJ library, it can be downloaded in seconds and ready to play (almost) instantly!

Customs and Traditions

1986 - A standard wedding reception was the norm.  By standard I mean cocktails, grand entrance, first dance, dinner, traditions and then dance the night away.  The DJ would make few announcements and guests enjoyed the evening.  A bouquet and garter tradition were almost always the norm and cake was typically the dessert.

2014 - Now, traditions and customs have opened greatly in a variety of ways.  Your "standard" wedding celebration is now, whatever each couple wants.  You will still find a first dance, cake cutting and dancing.  In addition, however, you may find an anniversary dance, memorial candle, brother/sister dance and other more modern traditions.  While cake cutting is a formality, donuts, cupcakes, a dessert table or candy station are more regularly found.

The Breakdown:  The evolution of more customs and traditions have been a great way for each couple to make their wedding day, distinctly theirs.  Guests can be included to a greater degree and love is celebrated, not just between the couple.  Guests are more part of the wedding experience.  With customs and traditions being as relevant today as ever, the professional DJ can accommodate different cultures.  From American weddings to interfaith celebrations... Hindu weddings to African celebrations, it has been truly eye-opening and AWESOME to learn and grow as a professional wedding DJ, learning traditions & customs from different cultures.

Wedding DJ Blog Series // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner


1986 - I would say that 75% of all wedding celebrations in 1986 were held in a church social hall or hotel.  It was the simple and standard way to plan a wedding day.  You knew what you were getting and it was an absolute science.  Not much to think about for the reception!  Destination weddings were non-existent.

2014 - What a difference time makes!  Hotels, banquet halls, mansions, historic homes, wineries, plantations and more, have now become the backdrop of choice.  Couples truly want a unique experience, now more than ever.  In a quick count of my weddings in 2013, 50% of the receptions were held in "non-traditional" locations, 25% were held in "traditional locations and 25% were destination weddings. 

The Breakdown:  I truly embrace the trend of choosing a non- traditional location.  I believe that this allows each couple to craft the most important day of their life, in a fashion that suits them best.  When you look back on your wedding day, the photos will reflect your great choice in location.  While a hotel or banquet hall certainly serves the purpose, a non-traditional location offers attributes that you will not find in your standard reception location.  Couples have chosen to often take advantage of nature, their personal interests and a creative approach to planning their reception.


1986 - You could almost bank on a core set of songs (let's say 50%) being played at each wedding reception.  Most couples stuck to a "standard" playlist where everyone knew just about each song.  Not much wiggle room as the DJ was responsible for just about every song selection.  In many instances, wedding DJs chose the first dance song along with songs for the Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances.  Often, a couple's music choices were based solely on what the DJ had in his/her music library.  Any special songs that a DJ did not have would often be brought to the DJ on the day of the wedding, mailed in from a family member overseas or simply not a part of the music program.

2014 - Couples have so many more choices these days.  It's wonderful!  Each wedding celebration is unique in musical selections.  A professional DJ has access to music from around the world and can accommodate just about any request.  Couples have chosen to be more involved in the music program, again, making their wedding celebration distinctly them.  A family member from another part of the world may suggest a few songs to the bride and groom and the DJ can access those songs to be used at the reception.  The days of "standard" music selections are gone and each wedding celebration is a unique experience for the couple and their guests. 

The Breakdown:  Music variety makes a wedding celebration unique.  This is another fabulous part of the evolution of the wedding DJ.  We can accommodate more requests, and access to music now allows us to custom craft an experience that each couple can truly be a part of.

The Role Of A Wedding DJ

Wedding DJ Blog Series // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

1986 - Not much was expected of a wedding DJ in the 80's.  Your to-do list was: show up, set-up, play music, break down.  Along the way, if you could have a microphone and announce the bride and groom, that would be great. 

2014 - Today, a DJ takes on many roles.  Read Part II of The Overwhelmed Bride's Wedding DJ Blog Series for a closer look at the role(s) a professional DJ takes on.  In short, each couple should expect their professional DJ to lead their day in a manner that represents the hours of communication and planning between that couple and their DJ.  The DJ must be professional, dressed well, articulate, welcoming of guest requests and able to wear the many hats that make for the perfect wedding celebration.  Today's couple and their wedding reception take on the look closer to a production than the 1986 wedding reception that was relatively bland compared to today.  It must be more dynamic, involved, unique and inclusive of all guests. 

The Breakdown:  Today's wedding celebration is heavily influenced by choice a couple makes in their wedding DJ.  As this role has emerged for professional DJs, we've had the opportunity to evolve, learn and become more of an asset to ourselves and each couple.

As a professional wedding DJ, I am thrilled by the emergence of technology and how it has shaped our industry.  In the "early" days, it was more likely that a couple would book their wedding and leave the details up to the DJ.   Now, more than ever, I am able to be a true DJ entertainer for each couple, by coordinating their details, being the MC for their day and by working closely with other vendors to produce a day that is truly memorable for all the right reasons.  Most importantly, I enjoy establishing rapport with each couple, whereby I can get to know them and call on my experience to help them realize the day of their dreams.

Wedding DJ Blog Series...featuring Kurtis Cross, Professional Wedding DJ

Wedding DJ Blog Series - The Overwhelmed Bride // Bridal Lifestyle + Wedding Blog

Follow us over the next four weeks as we take a deeper look into the life of a professional wedding DJ, with the help of professional wedding DJ, Kurtis Cross. We will start with what you need to look for and avoid as a bride, as you begin your search for the perfect DJ, head through the planning process and what a DJ does to prepare for your wedding. Finally, we will end with the wedding day and all that he or she does on your big day in order to ensure your day is even more spectacular than imagined!

Thanksgiving Dinner 101: Diving into your first Thanksgiving meal!

Written with love, by Sarah-Elizabeth Labelle


There comes a moment in every woman's life where she is faced with her first Thanksgiving as a budding cook. It could be in a tiny apartment with a less than perfect dinner table, it could be helping your mother in her kitchen as a family tradition carries forth, or it could be slaving over your very first pie for the in-laws. You could be in your first home together this year, or celebrating your last year as just the two of you. Thanksgiving takes on numerous roles in our lives, but one thing is for sure, it centers around the food we make and love to eat.

It's your turn to shine this year, it's your turn to slap your husband's hand as he sneaks a taste of the gravy and to smile over your guests enjoying their food. So set the table, pick out those Autumn inspired table cloths we all adore, and roll up those sleeves! This Thanksgiving you'll impress all of your guests with how amazing your food is and they don't even have to know how easy it was!


1.      Ham (half of a ham feeds roughly 5 people)

2.      1 cup of brown sugar

3.      1/4 cup of maple syrup

4.      1/4 water

5.      1 cup of diced carrots

6.      Five or six strips of bacon

7.      2 cups of potatoes

8.      1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

9.      10-12 asparagus stalks

10.  1 tablespoon of olive oil

11.  1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper


Gravy Ingredients

 1.      1 cup of left over water from potatoes

2.      1/2 cup of chicken (or beef) stock

3.      1 teaspoon of flour

Healthy, Quick, and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe // The Overwhelmed Bride Bridal Lifestyle + Wedding Blog


1.      Pre set your oven to 450F

2.      Start with peeling and chopping your potatoes for boiling and then set aside

3.      In a separate bowl mix 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of maple syrup (honey will also work) and 1/4 water

4.      Chop up 1 cup of carrots

5.      Lay ham inside of an oven safe dish and add bacon to the top in a weave-like pattern. This not only keeps the moisture inside of the ham but it infuses more taste.

6.      Add the carrots to the oven safe dish and pour the maple mixture over everything

7.      Place in ham in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes

8.      While the ham begins to cook, more prep can be done. At this point you can clean your asparagus and lay them on a baking sheet to dry off

9.      Drizzle the asparagus in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper then set aside.

10.  Once the 15 minutes has expired turn the oven temperature down to 350F and set another timer for 45 minutes

11.  At this point you can add your chopped potatoes to a pot and start to boil those as well as work on any side bread you'd like to add to your meal

12.  In the last 15 minutes of cooking time put the asparagus on the baking tray into the oven

Healthy, Quick, and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe // The Overwhelmed Bride Bridal Lifestyle + Wedding Blog

13.  Once the potatoes are done boiling, add some milk, butter and a touch of garlic powder while you mash them for a fluffier texture

14.  Take out the ham and place on a serving dish, add the carrots and drizzle the maple mixture on top of the ham

15.  Lastly remove the asparagus from the oven and serve

16.  Don't forget to make the men do the dishes!

Gravy Directions

1.      Take 1 cup of left over water from potatoes and mix in 1/2 cup of chicken (or beef) stock

2.      Next slowly whisk in 1 teaspoon of flour until the mixture is thick

3.      Serve  

Healthy, Quick, and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe // The Overwhelmed Bride Bridal Lifestyle + Wedding Blog

The Naked Cake - Wedding Inspiration

It seems that the naked cake trend has taken the wedding industry by storm! These cakes truly show that what's on the inside is what truly matters, and we love that about them! The natural beauty of the cakes gives off a great feeling on your big day and on top of that, they are absolutely stunning! Celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie and HIlary Duff, have chosen the naked cake for their big day and as time goes on, we see more and more brides following the suit.

The naked cake is a work of art that can really tie together your wedding theme and there are so many options to choose from. So we want to hear from you! What do you think of this popular trend? Comment below!

Milk Bar

Milk Bar

Sara Elizabeth Cakes & Sweets

Sara Elizabeth Cakes & Sweets

Jamberry Nail Wrap GIVEAWAY

It's that exciting time again, a GIVEAWAY with Jamberry Nails! And here is how it works:

1. "Enter to Win" at the form below.

2. We will reply with your entry number.

3. Get your family and friends to VOTE for you by commenting on this post with your entry number!

You will have until Friday October 24th @ midnight PST to get your votes in! Only one vote per email address will count

The Prizes

- Application Kit

- Mini Heater

- $25 Gift Card (so you can pick out your designs!)

Jamberry Nails GIVEAWAY // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

Enter to Win

Name *


Contestant #1: January Beulah Sale (Wedding Date: 2.19.15)

Contestant #2: Jessica Gipson (Wedding Date: 1.3.15)

Contestant #3: Heather Mortell (Wedding Date: 7.4.15)

Contestant #4: Cyndi Cruz (Wedding Date: 10.25.14)

Contestant #5: Brittany Hayward (Wedding Date: 2.2.15)

Contestant #6: Amanda Hooper (Wedding Date: 6.6.15)

Contestant #7: Morgan Detrick (Wedding Date: 5.16.14)

Contestant #8: Jael Redding (Wedding Date: 12.31.14)

Contestant #9: Erin Kessler (Wedding Date: 10.31.15)

Contestant #10: Ashley Hartl (Wedding Date: 8.27.16)

Contestant #11: Madeline Kempff (Wedding Date: 9.22.17)

Book Review: "Hitched In A Hurry"

I had the pleasure of "meeting" a fellow author on Instagram and had the opportunity to do a book first one ever! Both authors within the wedding industry, we thought it would be fun to read each others' work, as they go hand-in-hand with each other. And it's always fun to meet new people with similar interests :)

So I went to the gym, sat on the bike, and began my journey into "Hitched in a Hurry."

Hitched in a Hurry Book Review // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

It was a LONG gym trip, maybe one of the longest ever, but I just couldn't stop reading! So I kept on biking and kept on reading until I had completed the book, taking notes on my nifty iPhone, of course.

And then it came time for me to begin writing a book review. I'm sitting here writing away and I am already on the fourth paragraph, and haven't even said a word about the book! Yes, I'm procrastinating. And it's not because I don't know what to say, but because 1) I have too much to say and 2) I honestly don't even know how a book review works!

And so, I am going to make up my own format of a book review, whether it's right or wrong, and tell you everything I loved about "Hitched in a Hurry." Honestly, there wasn't anything I didn't like, but there were some fantastic characteristics and information in there that really stood out to me, and really meshed with what The Overwhelmed Bride is all about. So here it goes (finally)...wish me luck!

What makes "Hitched in a Hurry" so fantastic is that there is so much information in there, and yet, I didn't feel even the slightest bit overwhelmed. You know those handy dandy wedding planning binders you get all excited to buy and use? Those are the definition of overwhelming, and this book is exactly the opposite, which was fantastic! I was able to read it in one sitting, and it acts as a very precise guide that I can always refer back to...of course, if I was a bride.

Hitched in a Hurry Book Review // The Overwjelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

Karley (who is the author of the book...yes, that's her on the right), includes information on what gifts to register for, timelines for planning, ceremony ideas (and not the boring ones you read all of the time), detailed questions you NEED to ask your vendors, gift ideas for the bridal part, your parents, and even your spouse (ones they'll actually love!), how to order your ceremony, a wedding program template, and even information on how to change your name after the wedding and finally my favorite, the Bridezilla Barometer.

And in addition to all of this needed information, throughout the book, she includes the stories of real life couples and personal experiences while planning her own wedding. You're not alone and it's been done before! Now that's some great inspiration if you're every feeling overwhelmed!

Isn't that fantastic? I'll answer that for you. Yes, it is. And all of that is somehow squeezed into a 115-page book! I honestly don't know how she did it, but it's all in here at just the right quantity. Perfection.

So onto a couple of my favorite topics that Karley discusses.


Your Vision

In order to make this work, you need to have a vision of what your wedding day will be BEFORE you begin planning. Loving anything and everything you see isn't going to get you anywhere. "You'll need the following in your bad of tricks: a clear vision for your Big Day, the ability to make quick decisions under pressure, and serious planning know-how." (16)

"It's just a dress"

Not only does this work for your dress, but for every decision you are going to be making while planning your wedding. "Yes, it will commonly be referred to as the Gown of All Gowns...but you've seen your mother's wedding portraits, right? Chances are, you wouldn't wear her dress today without some serious sleeve de-puffing and the removal of at least half of those lacy layers. Her dress wasn't magical, and yours won't be sprinkled with fairy dust either. So lose the stress and say goodbye to all that pressure to find something 'perfect'" (32)

Choosing for YOU

"He's the one who told me I couldn't get it wrong no matter what decision I made..." (47-48) You're going to see thousands of images that you love all over Pinterest. And that love will continue even after you've made important wedding decisions. You're going to choose the dress you love and then see one the next day that you may love even more. You're going to finalize your centerpieces and then see a design that is more "in" the following week. But what's done is done. You loved it when you chose it, so you'll still love it on your wedding day. And in the great words of Karley, "Regret, intruder that is, slips into your bubble of happiness and poisons your joy....Was that final sale?...And, just like you said "yes" to your fiance, make the decision to forsake all others." (33)

Pre-Marital Counseling

Whether you're religious or not, pre-martical counseling is a MUST. You wouldn't build your Ikea furniture without the directions, so how are you going to start your marriage with no guidance? You're not. This is new to you, and you're going to have no clue what to do or what to expect. So do yourself a favor and book at least a session. And if you aren't convinced, start reading at page 87 (or just start from the beginning and you'll get there) and Karley will give you plenty of reasons to see a pre-marital counselor. No sneak peeks on this one!

Save or Splurge?

We're all on a limited budget, and there are some items that may not be worth the money, despite popular belief. And this list is extremely important. While Karley gives her take on the list (a fantastic list, if I may say so myself), save on what you personally don't care about and splurge on what is most important to you! Check it out on page 76 :)


And my personal favorite, the "whatever" attitude. "A zen-like state of mind that allows a Hitched in a Hurry bride to stay cool under pressure." 37) Use this not only in the midst of the craziness, but throughout life. Not everything is the end of the world!

While I have about a page more of notes on the things that I absolutely LOVED about "Hitched in a Hurry", I am going to stop there and just make you read it yourself. Whether you have a 2-month engagement or 2-year engagement, "Hitched In A Hurry" is truly a must-read. I promise...and I don't lie.

But I will leave you with one last thought...

What is a successful wedding in your eyes? "The ceremony can easily become a worship service of material things,"" (99, Taylor) and that is just not what a wedding is all about. It is about the marriage, not the event.

"A little give. A little take. And a whole lot of remembering what the Big Day is all about: marrying the guy you love." (44)

Click the book to purchase a copy!

Tips to Staying Fit...even on your honeymoon

Written with love, by Jaime Innis

Welp, the time has come and gone – just like that. It’s crazy to see your months of planning happen right before your eyes and be gone the very next day. You end up thriving on the memories, the music, the people, and the food. You replay the magical night over and over in your head so you won’t forget one single detail.

Crazy, right? Let me tell you, it is worth every single headache, stress, and hours spent of your time. I want to relive my wedding day. The entire day was even more perfect than I could have ever imagined.

...Fast-forward to the honeymoon, and the wedding bliss continues. All of the hard work I put into fitting into my dress with sculpted muscles truly paid off. It’s now time to keep active and have time for indulgences as well. A honeymoon only happens once so it must be enjoyed.

Tips to Staying Fit on Your Honeymoon // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

So here is some of the best fitness advice I can offer you for during your honeymoon, wherever the world takes you!

Tips to Staying Fit on Your Honeymoon // The Overwhelmed Bride Wedding Blog + Southern California Wedding Planner

1.      Always carry an empty water bottle with you so that you stay hydrated. Keep it empty if you are flying because you cannot take more than 3 ounces with you on the flight. This will also help you save some money instead of paying for overpriced water.

2.      Bring your Nike’s...even if you don’t plan on being active, having the tennis shoes handy might encourage you to be a little more active.

3.      Pack healthy snacks because you'll save money and your waistline.

Examples: unsalted nuts, protein bars with at least 10g protein, apples, bananas, Shakeology, individual packets of nut butter, etc.


4.      Check ahead of time to see what fitness facilities are offered at your hotel. A lot of hotels offer fitness rooms or strength training equipment at no additional cost.

5.      Take the stairs when given the option instead of an elevator or escalator. These steps add up!




Until next time my friends, be well.