How to Simplify the Wedding Guest List

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Start With Percentages

After you determine the venue and the number of guests you can afford, assign 50 percent of that number to the bride and groom and 25 percent to each set of parents (or, with multiple sets of parents, 25 percent to each side altogether). If your parents are paying for the wedding, you may want to give them a higher percentage. If it turns out that one of you doesn’t need all your allotted spots, you can redistribute them to whoever has requested more.

Give Parents Their Number Early

To save embarrassment later, give them specific guidelines as soon as possible―before they start making phone calls inviting friends and family.

Create Tiers

Once you have written out a draft of your complete list, place each guest into a relationship category. The first tier consists of essential family members (grandparents, siblings, uncles, first cousins); the second is close friends and extended family (second cousins); the third is colleagues and other friends. When you know how many guests you can afford, start cutting the list from the bottom tier up. You’ll save potential hurt feelings by eliminating entire groups of people (say coworkers or your book club), rather than inviting just a few. That said, if someone’s truly important to you, of course you should ask him.

Do the One-Year Test

If you’re not sure whether to invite someone, “Ask yourself, ‘Have I seen or spoken to this person in the last year?’” If the answer is no, odds are that you can keep them off your must-have list.

Selectively Offer Invites With Guests

One thing that often trips up brides is whether to give ‘plus guest’ on the invitation. A solution is to do so only when you have socialized with the couple. If someone asks if he or she can bring a guest, diplomatically tell them that this is how you made the difficult decision; that there will be a lot of other singles going without partners; and that, for budget reasons, you had to eliminate a lot of family and colleagues, which should make them feel special that they themselves were invited.

Consider Having a Small Wedding

Perhaps the easiest way to offending people while keeping your numbers manageable, is to keep your wedding day to family and close friends only. Then, when you’re back from your honeymoon, have a large cocktail party and invite everyone.

However you decide to do it, remember this is about you and your fiancé. The bottom line is that you will be married to your best friend.

Happy Planning!

Hugs Always,

Diana

Engaged? Now What? Here’s what you can expect in the next coming weeks….

                 I came across this via Facebook recently. I think it is very helpful, sound advice. Hope you find it helpful too….Enjoy!

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He finally popped the question! You’re high on love and can’t stop looking at that brand-new sparkly ring. Then the calls start: Everyone wants to know the date, what the bridesmaids are going to wear, and where you’re registered. Suddenly, you’ve gone from heartfelt proposal to fever-pitched negotiations (read: fights) about the wedding guest list, china patterns, and whether you’ll offer one reception entree or two.

Stop the Insanity

Moms are often the first to start asking questions. “The first thing my mother-in-law wanted to know when we announced our engagement was what kind of dress she should shop for,” remembers Rebecca Menkens, a newlywed marketing director in Charleston, South Carolina. “And my fiance’s grandmother wouldn’t stop asking us about the date. She told us to hurry because her calendar was filling up already.”

Sound familiar? It’s easy to let people stress you out during the “newly engaged” phase. Don’t let them, warns Myrna Ruskin, a marriage stress specialist in New York City. “You’re probably bombarded with questions from all sides,” Ruskin says. “If people keep pressuring you about the date, don’t be intimidated. Instead, say, ‘Once we come off our cloud, you’ll be the first to know the wedding date.’ Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to bask in your new status and enjoy those first few weeks free from planning pressure.”

Treasure this time and revel in your excitement — you’ll have plenty of planning headaches to worry about later.

Your moms may not be too happy that you’ve decided to abandon (their word) the wedding plans while you feel out your new commitment. “Some moms are very understanding and laid back, and others will be totally on top of the bride in particular,” Ruskin says. “It’s important that you respectfully ask your moms to back off for a couple of weeks. Most parents will get the message, even though they can’t wait to start helping you plan.”

Get Crackin’

When the time is right, one of you — usually the bride — will get the itch to start planning (some wedding reception venues are booked a year in advance, so don’t linger in your just-asked glow for too long). “Often the bride is motivated before the groom because he feels like he’s already done enough work for the moment — he planned the proposal!” Ruskin explains. Not to worry, she says: “It’s not that he isn’t excited about the wedding, he just has to refuel and absorb what’s happened.”

Before you open the floor to family input, sit down with your spouse-to-be and privately discuss your wedding priorities. “Maybe you both always wanted an outdoor wedding on a mountaintop,” Ruskin says. “Find out what’s non-negotiable.” Also, talk about how much you want your families involved in the planning and what specific tasks you will ask them to oversee.

The First To-Do

If they haven’t yet met, this is a good time to introduce both sets of parents. Traditionally, the groom’s parents call on the bride’s (if they live far away, the groom’s mother might call the bride’s mother or send a note). If the groom’s parents are divorced (or vice versa) the bride’s parents might first extend an invitation to the parent who raised the groom, and then meet the other parent.

Finally, to get you two pumped up about this colossal project, tackle some tasks together and split the rest fairly. For example, you’ll want to choose ceremony and reception locations as a team. From there it’s easiest to assign responsibilities by interest: Perhaps the bride can focus on invitations, flowers, and a string quartet for the ceremony (not to mention her gown and attendant dresses). The groom may dig planning the honeymoon, choosing a menu and music for the reception, or researching kitchen appliances for the bridal registry. Resolve to make planning as fun as possible.

The moral of this story? Don’t let the logistics and people involved in your big day ruin your newly engaged bliss! Treasure this time and revel in your excitement — you’ll have plenty of planning headaches to worry about later.

ImageHugs to All!

Diana <3

 Article Credit: The Knot

Written By: Lambeth Hochwald

Trust Your Vendors

ImageOk so I know I have come across a bride feeling this way, heck I think I may have been this bride a lifetime ago! I still remember looking through the phone book(yes I was a bride back in the olden-molded days!) and thinking, “Oh my gosh…I’m just getting started and I’m already overwhelmed”.

Now fast forward 15 years and boy has this industry changed! So many more choices and a million ways to go about the whole thing! There’s Pinterest, for the ambitious DIY‘er, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Weddingbee, Bridal magazines online wedding mags, Facebook, Twitter….AHHHH!!

Well, there is a way to simplify things a bit. In the short time that I have been doing wedding planning I have seen this overwhelmed bride and groom. I would like to offer some tips to help you feel like you are the one under control, not the industry controlling YOU! ImageThis is the first step in the process of remaining in control. As a wedding planner, this really helps us to be able to help you stay on track. Everybody has a budget, and everybody has priorities as to where you would like to invest your money and time. The first place I tell my brides to go is: Cost Of Wedding. This is by far one of the best tools during those initial planning stages. It helps me and I use it quite frequently. This website allows you to see all of the usual items that makes up a wedding. From average costs of caterers to the ribbons in your flower girl’s hair. It is a bit of a tedious list but it is extremely necessary to you as you decide which of those items are important to you! It asks you to put in your zip code and a few other questions, then a new screen pops up and voila….There will be a detailed list of items, with average pricing from amateur vendors to well-seasoned vendors. It is fairly accurate. It bases the pricing on 124-150 guests. I highly recommend doing this before you get started!

ImageNow, I don’t want to come across snotty or rude, but in my experience hiring a friend or relative to be a part of your wedding vendors can turn out, well let’s just say, no bueno. Here’s an example that I can share with you. During this past season I had a bride hire me as their “day Of”.  She decided to hire her bridesmaids’ ex-boyfiend to be her DJ. Stop me if you’ve heard this one already…

I never saw a contract because he didn’t have one(Yikes), he does weddings and has “experience” “does this all of the time”. No website, no reviews…blah, blah, blah…

I managed to meet with him for the Rehearsal(After he missed our other scheduled meeting) to go over with him where he was going to be, items that he will need, etc. We went over music and I gave him itineraries via email so he would have them(actually did this about a week and a half prior to wedding). On wedding day he calls and says he’s going to be late and that he doesn’t have the first dance song, which tells me that the bride did not share this list with him and discuss any details prior to(even though I asked the bride multiple times to do this), and that this guy is doing this all LAST MINUTE!!! GAHHH!

It pretty much went down hill from there, from getting the processional song wrong, to having to download the first song from our iPhones and using the venues’ system to play it. It was a nightmare! I told myself if I am given the opportunity to share what I have learned with my couples that I would make sure that when hiring a vendor they MUST be a professional. preferably one that has experience and a trackable record on Wedding Wire or The Knot, etc. CONTRACTS are a MUST! You don’t need to find out that these vendors are unprepared or unprofessional on your wedding day! A wedding planner can only do so much, and we have no control over these types of situations. We can only suggest to you what we know works!

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This is very important! When sitting down and meeting with potential vendors, it is so important to have a good rapport with them. Especially with your wedding planner! She/he must be able to listen, contribute, and ‘get you’ and your vision. You may like them, and maybe they meet your budget requirements, but if they aren’t  getting what you’re saying, meaning you are repeating yourself over and over again, then maybe you need to move on. Always go with your initial gut feeling! You will be working with your wedding planner fairly close; whether you’re using them for a few months prior to your wedding or for the whole thing! It is an on-going relationship that you should feel confident and relieved that you’ve hired them. Also, your photographer. They will be with you the whole day plus for engagement/save-the-date photos and many times beyond your wedding! The last you need is to feel like you can’t wait to be done taking pictures because they are annoying you or you’re just not clicking. That will reflect on your pictures, and when you look at your images you will associate it with negativity. Caterers too, they should be resourceful, good problem solvers and accommodating to your needs. Budget is a huge factor so prioritizing is a very important step during the initial planning stages. This will help know where you are more apt to splurging or pinching your money! All in all, you should be happy about your investment, after all, it’s your wedding day right?

ImageFinally, after you have determined your budget, made your list of priorities, make sure you hire a wedding planner. Even the most ambitious, DIY’ers can benefit from having someone who has been there multiple times to make sure every detail is worked out…AHEAD OF TIME! They will make sure all of the final planning is taken care of, and that everyone one is well-informed on how your wedding day will go down. The planner is well worth the investment and will give you the peace of mind that you and your finance, family and friends deserves! They should all be a part of the celebration, not part of the working staff. Enjoy the planning process and trust your vendors. You can’t go wrong! Ready to get started? Call us TODAY for your complimentary consultation over coffee or a glass of wine. We love a good love story!

Hugs Always,

Diana

A Midsummer Eve Wedding…Re-Blog

 

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Taken from August 24, 2013 wedding. Photographer, Alicia Clifford, of Alicia Clifford Photo Art

 

 

A Midsummer Eve Wedding…Re-Blog

I wanted to share this with everyone. Alicia Clifford of Alicia Clifford Photo Art did such an amazing job on this that I wanted to share this with you. We were blessed enough to work together on this wedding, and we are pretty darn happy with the way it turned out, and I think you will be too! Please take the time to view and read her blog post. Make sure you leave a nice note…she deserves the credit ;)

Hugs,

Diana

A Walk Down Wedding History

I am always amazed to see how creative this industry is and how much it has evolved. So I thought it would be fun to blog about the evolution of weddings. Sit back, look, read and enjoy how this tradition has changed and how it still is the most celebrated tradition in our american culture.

                                                                                                        The Roaring 20′s

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During the roaring 20′s more and more brides began seeking professionals to organize their weddings. They looked to churches to hold their ceremony and reception instead of their homes and backyards. They traded in their sewing machines and hired dressmakers or purchased ready-to-wear dresses.  Many stores began to offer a whole section of merchandise devoted to the bride and her big day. Around the same time, catered weddings and engraved invitations became less of a luxury for only the very rich and more of a standard that all brides should aspire to. Wedding photographers also became a key part of the wedding proceedings and often scripted the entire progression of the wedding with their photograph cues. Cakes, flowers arrangements were now being contracted out.

This turning of wedding preparations to the professionals created an interesting side effect of uniformity in American weddings. By the 1950s, when a white wedding was the ultimate dream for an affluent, middle class bride, the American wedding was a cookie-cutter production that could easily be replicated for another bride by the professionals who had created it.

                                                                                                         The 1960′s & 1970′s

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I know I’m aging myself here…but I so loved this couple. Our favorite “Angel” and The 6 Million Dollar Man!

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As america weathered the social whirlwind of the 1960′s, the traditional american wedding lagged somewhat behind. It would not be until the 1970′s that the desire for diversity and uniqueness which had been a hallmark of the 1960′s would enter the american wedding.  Brides rejected the “cookie-cutter” standards of the 1050′s. Couples began to opt for more unique ceremonies and wedding attire. More and more weddings began to move out of churches and the idea of, “Destination Weddings” was born.

                                                                                                                      The 80′s

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Weddings in the 80′s began to become more and more elaborate, dreamlike with the idea of the perfect wedding….thanks to the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. The lavish beauty of the royal wedding immediately brought traditional, ceremonial weddings back into style. Every bride dreamed of replicating Princess Di on her wedding day, and no expense would be spared for the big moment. Weddings in the 1980s and 1990s continued to build on this idea.

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Weddings in the twenty-first century are no different. Today couples spend an average of $20,000(give or take a few thousand) on a wedding. Nearly all details are taken care of by the professionals. Indeed, American weddings have come a long way from the simple, homespun ceremonies of the nation’s early years to the elaborate celebrations of the modern era.

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane, and that perhaps some of these “old” become some of your “new”. Happy planning!

(Hugs),

Diana

Design your wedding cake, and eat it too!

Nothing is quite as monumental as a wedding cake. Its a way to express the bride and grooms personality as well as provide a delightful snack for wedding guests. Some may think a “cake is a cake,” it doesn’t matter what it looks like, however this is not usually the case when it comes to someones big day. In today’s world of social media and ingenious sites such as Pinterest, ideas for wedding cakes are pretty much never ending. I believe the correct term should be “If you can dream it, it can be baked!” It just completely amazes me every time I search wedding cakes, its like looking at art. I just wanted to take a little time to write a post about wedding cakes, while also sharing some cool designs I’ve discovered. Just warning you, I will be using lots of pictures in this post, and it could possibly make you hungry looking at all these delicious cakes. I hope you enjoy!!

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First kind of wedding cakes I want to show is a category I like to call “Country Chic,” there is a lot of country inspired design elements while also having a very sophisticated and classy look to them. I think with today’s popular theme of country weddings, these type of cakes are in high demand. However, these cakes are not only seen with a cowboy boot wearing wedding party, they fit in great with all wedding atmospheres. These cake designs would all go well with fall weddings, because of the color scheme and overall appearance.


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I noticed cakes with the theme of tree bark and logs is a popular design when it comes to “country chic” cakes. I found many variations of these designs when searching cakes and I found my self really liking all of them. There is just something about nature and cake that really catches my eye. Then again, what doesn’t catch my eye that involves cake! ;)

I posted a few of the tree bark style cakes, there was so many more that I loved but I don’t think I would have room to fit all of them.

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These were two of my favorite cakes in this category,  I really love the elegance they have as well of producing the kind of woodsy feel.

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I also came across a couple other country styled cakes. We all have our own definition of country, some interpret it differently than others. I just had to post these cakes when I saw them! I think they are in a category of their own, but nonetheless just as special to the bride as groom as any other wedding cake.

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I can think of numerous men who would love having camouflage as a part of their wedding. Some of them are more overpowering than others, but I most definitely think its possible to achieve anyone’s dream wedding cake. These camo cakes would sure leave a strong first expression. Some may think a camo cake would make a better grooms cake than an overall wedding cake which brings me to me next cake category, “his and hers.”

His and hers cakes are a great way to combine both the bride and grooms personality as well as letting both express themselves. These cakes are sometimes combined into one or two separate cakes, but always great to look at. Like all men and women, we have a difference of opinion when it comes to just about everything. A “his and hers” cake gives each what they really want.

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Most of the his and hers cakes I saw usually had some type of obvious separation between the two. Some are simply separated with the theme of bride and groom as others were separated with the theme of dirt or “manly things,” and clean, “girly things.” I think these types of cakes are great because it lets both participate in the design and have impact on the final result. Think of all of the one-of-a-kind cakes that can be made by using his and hers, the possibilities are endless.

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Vintage themed weddings are very popular in today’s bridal world, which ultimately means vintage cakes are becoming an often occurrence as well. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a vintage style cake because they are always so beautiful and timeless and such a pleasure to look at. Vintage cakes make such a great centerpiece for weddings, or you could say vintage is “the icing on the cake.” ;)

Once again I’ve only posted a couple of my favorite vintage cakes. Its so overwhelming looking at cakes I want to post them all, not to mention eat them all!!

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Vintage cakes often include a lot of intricate work including lace, flowers, pearls and broaches. A couple of these cakes made me do a double take because it looks like actual real jewelry and flowers. These cakes are absolutely amazing, taking days and hours to design which many include hand painted artwork made with edible ink. It seems like sometimes it would be hard to cut into one of these beautiful pieces of art, but then I’m like…. its cake of course I would eat it!! ;)

Last but definitely not least is a theme of cake that is new to me. They are known as “naked cakes” and instead of being covered with frosting the sides are open to reveal the inside of the cake. I’ve found that these type of wedding cakes are often decorated with flowers or fruit and express a different kind of look. These cakes could easily be used in a country chic or vintage wedding as well as with a more simple elegant wedding too.

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I posted a lot of these “naked cakes” because, well look how cool they are. With a design like this you can go in so many different directions. I love how you can see all the yummy goodness in each cake. I am a very visual person, so being able to see all the good things inside a cake make me that much more excited to eat it. I’m just thinking of all the sweet treats I could incorporate into one of these cakes, not to mention all the great decorative pieces I could pair with it.

Cakes will always be an important aspect of a wedding, however the ideas and designs of them will forever be changing. No matter what the final outcome of your wedding cake is, it will always be a memory you will never forget. “Bon Appetit!” :)

 

Bridal Boot Camp

A brides to-do list can become rather long with an agenda consisting of finding a caterer, renting a venue, inviting guests and so on. We must not forget the most important matter on the list, finding the perfect wedding dress. Its likely a bride might shed some tears on her big day.  However tearing up because her dress is too tight is not the kind of crying any bride wants to experience. Wedding planning is stressful in itself, the last thing a bride wants to worry about is her weight. If any of you women are like me, with stress comes stress eating. Cupcakes and candy are not exactly the food group fit for a wedding dress.

I’m here to give a little insight on how easy it can be to accomplish the wedding body we all dream about.  I say its easy, but by easy I mean it takes hard work and some sweating (okay probably a lot of sweating). I call it “Bridal Boot Camp,” and what’s a better stress reliever than a good workout :)

Before you can walk down the aisle in shiny stilettos, workout sneakers will become your shoe of choice.  If you stick with it you it will be proud when the day comes, and then you can trade in dumbbells for your bouquet.

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The first plan of action is go to your local gym and sign up for a membership. Most gyms require a contract, some with the commitment of six months to a year. Some brides may not want the commitment of a contract, but if you really think about it your about to commit to a lifetime of marriage. A little gym membership shouldn’t scare ya. ;) Its been said it takes only 21 days to form a new habit.  If you can stick with a workout plan for a term of three weeks you most likely will be putting that six month contract into good use , and after the wedding as well.

Tahoma Athletic Club has locations in Lake Tapps and Maple Valley, making a short commute to many brides in the pierce county area. Once you have a membership with Tahoma you are free to use all the equipment available, as well as the option to participate in a variety of fitness classes, most being free of charge. Classes are offered everyday of the week, with multiple time slots. This allows you to pick what classes work best with your schedule. Classes vary from Zumba, cycling , strength and conditioning, core workouts as well as classes that focus on stretching for those days after a tough workout.

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    Tahoma also offers a new workout class called TRX. Every member receives one free TRX trial class.This is a class that requires an extra fee. Members can purchase a TRX punch card, which at the moment are on sale with the price of, $150 for ten classes. TRX is a suspension training exercise in which you use your body weight to build strength, flexibility and target stubborn body areas such as your core. This is the perfect workout to become a stronger more toned image of yourself. TRX will help you turn heads while walking down the aisle. Nothing like toned arms to make a wedding dress look even more beautiful!

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Tahoma Athletic Club, like many gyms, offers one-on-one personal training sessions. These sessions can become expensive fast, as the average rate is about $60 a session lasting an hour long. If you’re anything like me (as I mentioned before I love my sweets) sometimes desperate times leads to desperate measures, and spending the money for a one-on-one trainer can be one of them. Any bride will most definitely get their moneys’ worth by choosing to have a personal trainer.  A trainer will push you further, train you harder, and most importantly help you succeed in meeting your fitness and body weight goals. An added bonus also being ,any of the workouts a trainer teaches you can be repeated on your own time with the use of gym equipment. Sessions can also be split between two people, splitting the cost. For instance maybe the husband to be also wants to loose a couple pounds before the big day. This is the perfect opportunity to workout together. It also may help having someone to share the soreness when getting out of bed the next morning! This could be a great time to bring up the idea of a couples massage. ;)

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Crossfit is a workout that will guarantee to bring results, giving smiles to every bride on their wedding dress. Crossfit is a high intensity strength and conditioning workout that combines weightlifting, body weight, sprinting and gymnastics. Workouts are usually 30 minutes or less, which demands an all out physical exertion. The workout of the day (known as the WOD) vary everyday. The WOD consists of a combination of jumping rope, Olympic weightlifting, tire flips, rope climb, burpees, pull ups, push ups, box jumps and several other intense movements. Crossfit may not be suitable for every bride, its a good match up for brides who have an open mind and the motivation to commit to it without stopping. This is not a workout for someone who has never been super physically active before. It requires extreme endurance as well as physical determination. If you stick with it, Crossfit will not only get you in perfect wedding dress physique, but the best shape of your life.

I am a current member at Sumner Crossfit and from experience I need to warn you one thing about Crossfit, its highly addictive! What’s a better addiction than working out? :)  However, like all addictions they come with a price. Sumner Crossfit is $95 for a monthly unlimited membership for the first person, and $75 for each additional. Again this could be another workout great for a bride and groom. Sumner Crossfit also offers a punch card which is $75 for five visits, however the unlimited monthly membership will be cheaper in long term perspective.

These photos capture brides who have not only fallen in love with their future husbands but the love of Crossfit as well.  (Who wouldn’t want arms and shoulders like these brides?)

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Since Crossfit is very intense and sometimes intimating, Sumner Crossfit also offers an alternative workout called the Body Camp Challenge, or in this case “Bridal Bootcamp.” This Bridal Bootcamp is a four week nutrition and fitness program designed to give any bride the motivation they need for a healthier (and thinner) future. The program includes five small group workouts a week, full nutritional guide and food guide developed for results, as well as pre and post program body composition analysis. The trainers at Sumner Crossfit will help you every step of the way, turning your fitness goals into a reality. Each four week program costs $195 per person, and every month a new challenge starts. Brides can choose to participate in more than one camp, starting a new one as soon as they finish a 4 week session. Every completed program is rewarded with weight loss, and ultimately that much closer to your dream wedding body.

Here are a couple before and after pictures of actual Sumner Crossfit Body Camp Challengers. This Could be You!

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Although I’ve only mentioned a few workouts to aide in the success of a happy bride, there are other workouts and programs that can help you gain a more positive self image. Just remember that as long as you get up and do something it counts. There is a workout routine out there for every bride, the only way you will find it is to go out and explore. :)

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