Archive | January 2014

Bridal Guide: 101 Best Wedding Budget Tips

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Don’t break the bank! Follow our guide to all things financially savvy.

1. Create a comparison chart to track what’s included in the price for each venue you’re considering. One company may not include linens and the cake, for example, while another company does.

2. Many public spaces, like parks or the local village green, may be available to rent at a low fee. However, if the space is not equipped to handle events, you’ll have to rent everything from napkins to tables and chairs. Make sure you come out ahead!

3. Choose an unusual venue, such as an aquarium, a zoo, a gallery or an historical site. Site fees are not high and you’ll save on decor because the venue already supplies ambience. But the same caveat goes as for public spaces: Figure in what you’ll have to spend on rentals.

4. Hold your ceremony and your reception in the same place. You’ll save yourselves multiple site fees as well as transportation from one location to the other.

5. If you belong to a community organization or to the military, you may have access, at low cost, to a venue belonging to them.

6. Don’t forget your alma mater—these usually rent for a few hundred dollars.

7. Depending on your venue, you may not need to decorate extensively. If you marry outdoors at a winery, for example, there’s not much you’ll need to add to the gorgeous vineyard backdrop.

8. Rent a vacation home. Even if the owners charge you a week’s worth of rent for the day, it may still be equal to or less than renting a traditional reception venue.

9. If a family member has a scenic property, find out if you can hold your wedding there. One couple held their wedding on the Wyoming ranch where the groom had grown up. Unique and cost-conscious!

10. If you’re a city-dweller, leave town for your wedding. One Boston bride saved more than $50 per person by holding her wedding in Burlington, Vermont.

11. For a garden wedding, look into renting an historic mansion; many of these have gardens that are included in the deal. You may find, as did one couple, that the mansion they rented had no time limit, and the fee was less than half a hall rental.

12. Look for reception packages. Holding your event at a venue that provides catering and food-service items will save you quite a bit of money on rentals.

13. Save on your rehearsal dinner site by throwing a backyard barbecue or a picnic in a local park—both of which will cost you less than a dinner in a restaurant. (These may be more fun too!)

14. Accept a post-wedding brunch at a relative’s home as a wedding gift. You may find that in lieu of a gift, a friend or relative will be thrilled to host this event in their home.

15. Trim the length of your reception. Even doing three hours instead of four or five will save you money. Trust us, everyone will enjoy themselves just as much.

16. Determine early on what you can spend and stick to it. One rule of thumb: Food, beverage and venue should come to half of your budget.

17. Most venues charge a premium for Saturday night. Hold your reception on a Thursday, Friday or Sunday night. An afternoon wedding will cost less than an evening one, as will a Sunday brunch.

18. Consider the season— you’re likely to get a better price for a venue in January than you would for the same spot in June.

19. What about a destination wedding? Because the guest list will be smaller, a wedding away may cost less than a traditional event held in your hometown.

20. Think small. Check into bed and breakfast venues in your area and place firm limits on your guest list.

21. When you’re deciding between an indoor or outdoor space, figure in the cost of a tent rental—if it rains, a tent is worth every penny.

Source: http://www.bridalguide.com/planning/wedding-budget/101-best-wedding-budget-tips

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10 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Vendors

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Take Recommendations Lightly

A friend’s good word goes far, but there is no one caterer, band, or florist perfect for everyone. Compatibility is key: Do you have the same taste and temperament as the advice-giver? If not , proceed with caution. And never use all of the same vendors that a friend did — it can leave your wedding feeling like a repeat.

Let Your Passions Drive Your Priorities

Arm yourself and your fiancé with notebooks, and spend a week recording anything you encounter that grabs you, whether it’s a color on a sign, a song on the radio, or a dessert at a restaurant. Then compare notes. Does food dominate your list? Did he jot down only song titles? You’ll see on paper what matters, so you can budget for the most important.

Create a Guest List That Reflects Real Life

When you’re narrowing down the invites, think about your present (and future) relationships rather than the past. Is this someone you want in your life in 20 years? If so, invite that person. The others are negotiable.

Chat with Recent Clients

Once you’ve edited the list of potential vendors, ask to talk to a few of the couples they’ve worked with in the past year. It doesn’t matter if a bride 10 years ago loved someone; their staff and resources have likely changed since then.

Note Your First Impressions

Be aware of how potential vendors deal with your initial contact: How do they react, how quickly do they respond, and how do they conduct themselves? If a band tells you to come to a wedding to check them out, it ’s a hint that they may invite strangers to your event, so make sure they understand that your day is for invitees only.

See Beyond Your Own Style

Look for a diverse portfolio when you’re hiring any vendor. You want to see a body of work with a consistent level of quality — not a one-trick pony who can only do, say, boho. You might not like a Glee-centric birthday party, but if the work can still wow you, imagine what the vendor could do with a theme you love.

Know When Familiarity is a Good Fit

In some cases, a vendor having an existing relationship with a venue can be a big plus. They’ll already know about any shortcomings — like if the space needs a generator or is challenging to load into — and how to work around them. Alternatively, if you’re having doubts about your vendor, you can ask the venue manager about her experience with them. Questions about how they treat people behind the scenes and if they handle stress well can tell you a lot. With a photographer, though, the first time at a location can be charmed. Someone who’s seeing a space with fresh eyes may bring more spontaneity than a lensman who’s already shot the same backdrop for 10 other couples.

Hire People Who Accept Your Budget

Whether you’re in for $9,000 or $9 million, find a team that will creatively rise to the occasion. The best will be able to suggest savvy budget-trimming swaps. So if you’re asking for pricey peonies when they’re out of season, a resourceful florist might suggest lush, fully opened garden roses instead.

Look For a Team Player

You want to collaborate with someone who will listen and create an event that isn’t just beautiful but reflects you two as a couple. For instance, skip a barn wedding with cowboy boots if neither of you has ever ridden a horse. When your future children look at your wedding album and ask, “Why did you get that cake?” you’ll be able to say, “Your dad and I used to go to this great restaurant and…” The right vendor will create moments where your guests think, “This is so Jane and John!”

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

When you’re not happy with a vendor, wait until you can articulate your concerns in a non-emotional way. Express the problem, and then ask for a solution. Depending on how they react, it may make sense to part ways. If you have a contract, you’ll likely have to pay a fee, but it may be worth it to move on to someone who’s a better fit.

15 Secrets from a Wedding Planner (Better Homes & Gardens)

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15 Secrets from a Wedding Planner (Better Homes & Gardens)

The Wedding Planning Cycle

According to Victoria Canada, of Victoria Canada Weddings and Events, brides typically go through five phases over the course of the engagement.

Phase One: ENGAGED! You buy every magazine out there and become overwhelmed with the prospect of all the colors, ideas, and other choices.

Phase Two: The planning process starts. It’s fun! Your friends and family are interested. Strangers in line at the grocery store know you’re getting married and before they leave the checkout they know your colors and number of bridesmaids. The whole world is happy for you!

Phase Three: Anarchy in the ranks. Why does your mother think hydrangeas aren’t appropriate? Why do your bridesmaids think they can pick out their dresses?

Phase Four: The wedding wall. “I have plenty of time, the wedding is months away.” You believe things will all work out, you just need a break from the planning for a couple of weeks.

Phase Five: “Oh my gosh! The wedding is almost here!” You panic that there’s not enough time to individually hand-stamp all the cocktail napkins or make all the favors! Help!

The following tips tips from, Victoria Canada, can keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

Remember What’s Important

Your fiance, family, and friends. Focus on why you’re getting married. You’ve found the love of your life and the wedding is a celebration of you both. That being said, you want it to reflect your fabulous style and taste, so the next tips are for you.

Set a Budget

Budgeting isn’t romantic, but you want to start your marriage off on the right foot — not buried in credit card debt. Create a realistic budget, then find that one item you want to splurge on — flowers, photography, or some Hi-Def Videography.

Think Outside the Box, but Be Practical

Out-of-the-ordinary locations can be undiscovered jewels. Just remember some of the hidden planning that can be involved. For example, with an outdoor venue what happens if it rains? Is there power available? What are the noise restrictions?

Be a Girl Scout

Their adorable motto holds true to weddings: BE PREPARED! Make a little box of the necessities you will need on the wedding day: fashion tape, a needle and thread, deodorant, safety pins, bobby pins (all colors), a pen and paper, flip flops, and extra cash and checks — just in case.

Put Pen to Paper

Just like any other bill, all of your vendor contracts should have due dates with the amount due. Write them on your calendar and mail them a couple of days early. Many contracts become void if payment is not received on time. You signed the contract, so it is your responsibility to make sure they receive it in a timely manner.

Toast Before the Wedding

If you’re not getting married in a church and you’d like a relaxed feeling at your wedding ceremony, serve your guests champagne BEFORE you dazzle them walking down the aisle. If you would rather go the nonalcoholic route, try lemonade, ice tea, coffee, or hot chocolate if it’s a bit chilly. It really makes a statement.

Be Nice! Really Nice!

As a wedding planner, I’ve seen it all. I’ve had clients who constantly call on my only day off (or on Christmas or Mother’s Day); they get a little obsessive and start to worry me a bit. Remember to treat your vendors with respect. If you treat them like you hired them for their services, they will give you exactly what you paid for. But if you go out of your way to send a thank-you during the planning process, vendors appreciate it and will give you the above-and-beyond treatment when it comes to your big day. I have had photographers stay an hour later than contracted for free, because they just loved the couple.

Don’t Make Up “Filler” Jobs

Okay, here is another gem. Your cousin — you know, the one you see once every five years — doesn’t want to stand at the guest book and watch people sign all day. Let Cousin Mary enjoy the ceremony and maybe catch the eye of a cute usher!

An Inventive Guest Registrar

A great way to involve your guests is to have a Wish Jar. Guests write you a wish that you open and read on your first anniversary. This is more heartfelt than a name in a book. All you need is a jar, paper, a sign explaining what to do, and plenty of pens. It’s a great way to keep guests entertained during cocktail hour. Dress up a table with some flowers and a candle and you’re set.

Avoid a Seating Disaster

If you’re having a wedding without assigned tables you need to have 5 percent extra seating available. Not all of your guests will sit in perfect little pairs or all of the single people together. So if you have a wedding of 200 people, you’ll want to have enough seating for 210. This buffer will save you some headaches.

Put Your Money Where It Counts

I just attended an event that had beautiful table linens and bare chairs. By bare, I mean the standard banquet chair. For a more complete look, skip pricey linens and order the less expensive linens and chair covers.

Keep Your Guests Sustained

A new trend, and one of my favorite tips, is the late- night buffet. Most of the older folks will leave after the cake, but the young kids will surely appreciate having to avoid hitting the drive-thru on the way home from the reception. Why not serve them some comfort food? Try chimichangas and tacos or sliders and onion rings, or French fries. The younger crowd will rush this table!

Don’t Forget to Tip

Tip vendors that have gone above and beyond. If you met with the band every month for a year or asked your wedding planner to revise your itinerary 11 times and they did it with a smile, a tip may be in order. If it’s in their contract to revise the itinerary 11 times, or to meet with you once a month, think again. On wedding day if you don’t have a wedding planner to hand out the tips, put them in envelopes, write the vendor’s name on the outside (for example — Jodi, Band), and give them to a sober and responsible family member.

All About Organization

Number the back of your reply cards in pencil before you send them out and correspond them to the guest list. This will make it easier to figure out who’s coming to the wedding if people forget to put their name on the reply card.

Never Assume — Put It in Writing!

Never assume the groomsmen will be on time to the photos. You’ll need to tell all involved when to arrive dressed and ready for photos. Make sure you allow some time if someone is running late. For example, if you are starting photos at 5:00, tell them to arrive at the church at 4:40. Oh, and don’t let the cat out of the bag that this is not the “real” time.

Transend the Traditional: Unconventional Registry Ideas

ReBlog: Transend the Traditional: Unconventional Registry Ideas

How many other brides out there only registered at the conventional retail stores for their wedding? I wish I would have gone a more unconventional route in the beginning, but it’s never too late to give your guests other gifting options!

Here are 10 unconventional registry ideas I found while giving my registration page on a website a nice uplift!

1. Honeyfund – Register for all things related to your honeymoon…Things like a romantic dinner, surf lessons, activities in the area. Let your guests feel like they are contributing to your amazing honeymoon experience. They can also contribute money to the flight, hotel/resort accommodations, shopping, etc.

2. Ask each guest to bring something memorable like a book or movie they love. Have them sign it and add it to your collection.

3. Register at Home Depot! They have a registry too! Have your guests contribute to remodeling a new home or building that deck you always wanted. Or you can register at Down Payment Dreamsand guests can contribute to your future dream home!

4. Card Avenue lets you sign up for gift cards! That way, your guests know exactly what you want.

5. Don’t forget about Simple Registry where you can register for anything.

6. My Registry lets you register from any store on the internet comprised into one easy location.

7. Guests can create their own wine specifically for you through Bottlenotes!

8. Etsy has such unique and amazing things! I actually got part of my bridal thank you gifts and my wedding favors from Etsy (exact details will be in a later post)! They have a registry too!

9. Want to give back to the community? The I Do Foundation allows couples to create a charity that allows guests to contribute to a charitable and great cause (secure online donations directly to the charity)!

10. Spa certificates!! Set up a link on your wedding website for Spa Finder or allow guests to book a spa or massage for you and your partner at your honeymoon resort!

Good luck beauties!

Romance Bride

Courtesy of http://www.Sassychicagobrides.com