Bride’s Biggest Budget Buster…

I’m always looking to help my clients save money without sacrificing style. Getting the biggest bang for your buck on wedding day comes by combining the ceremony and the reception. Not only is it easier on your guests (particularly if they are mostly from out of town), but it can save a bride BIG bucks! Most venues are prepared to handle both the ceremony and reception for your big day. Here’s a quick list of how this simple, convenient decision can save you some real money!

*Floral decor can be reused for both the ceremony and reception

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*Transportation costs reduced for both you and your groom, as well as your guests

*Shortened time frame for photographers, videographers, and event planners with fewer travel expenses.

*Avoid the rental fee of a church, or other location for the ceremony

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*Uplighting and staging can also be reused for both the ceremony and reception

 

(Reblogged From Circle City Designers)

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Happy Maids and Gents = Happy Bride

Today, I have some advice on how to keep your bridesmaids and guymaids happy and you’re relationships with them in peak condition throughout your wedding planning process. First things first, remember that these are the women and men that you love and cherish the most. So much so, that you have asked them to stand next to you on what is the most important day of your life. Keep that in mind as you progress through the months leading up to your wedding. You don’t want to lose your besties by turning in to an unhinged Bridezilla.

 

Trust me, nothing positive will resort from Bridezilla antics.      Source:  http://marryingananti-bride.blogspot.com/2012/09/sooo-what-is-anti-bride.html

Trust me, nothing positive will resort from Bridezilla antics. Source:http://marryingananti-bride.blogspot.com/2012/09/sooo-what-is-anti-bride.html

Next, consider the body type of ALL of your bridal party when choosing what they will wear.  If you have petite or plus size maids, pick a style that will flatter everyone. No one should have to crash diet or wear sky high heels just to work an outfit. This too goes back to rule number one.Second, keep the finances of each of your attendants in mind when choosing your bridesmaid’s and guymaid’s attire. If you have one person who could realistically afford a $400 dress/suit and another who can only afford to spend $200 or less, don’t make the one with the smaller budget feel insecure, misunderstood, and feeling like he or she has to get a part time job just to pay for being in your wedding. What to do? Either choose a more affordable dress or pay the difference. Remember rule number one: these are the most important people to you, treat them with love and respect.

Fourth, when planning events such as the bridal shower and bachelorette parties, keep the budgets and beliefs of your maids and gents in mind. That trip to Vegas could conflict with religious beliefs or be unattainable due to finances. Trust me, you can have a great bachelorette party keeping it local and affordable and by everyone present keeping their clothes on. If you and your maids can do the weekend in Vegas, then by all means drop some dollars in the slot for me!

Finally, be respectful of your maids’ and gents’ time. Give yourself a good old fashioned reality check when it comes to your expectations of your crew. Expecting them to attend each and every wedding related event from dress shopping, making favors, to parties is incredibly selfish and unrealistic. They have lives too and you have to keep in mind that they have to work, take care of their kids, pay bills, etc. and that your only expectation should be for them to attend the rehearsal the day before the wedding, purchase their outfits, and stand next to you at the wedding. That’s all that should be asked and expected of them.

Don’t be like this real bride who sent this letter (that has since gone viral) to her bridal party:

“To my lovely Bridesmaid: [Names removed to protect the brideslaves]

As you all know I picked 10 wonderful ladies to stand by my side, share and make happen my special day to Jake. Each of you individually have a reason and a special place in my heart of why I picked you to be a bridesmaid. We have set our date for Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Vail, Colorado. That seems far away but it really isn’t, the earlier the planning the better. You may have already knew that my wonderful sister L— will be the Maid of Honor, she’s in charge under me. Also my lovely mom will be a big help as well. L— has a big role in throwing me a bridal shower and bachelorette party, of course all of you guys do but at the end of the day shes the go to person and makes it happen+Doe.

You all have a big roll in this wedding, so before we continue I’m going to be setting some ground rules and its very important you read and think about everything through before you accept this honor to be a bridesmaid. If you guys email anything I would also like you to put L— in the CC. Not all the bridesmaid need to be CC’d unless its coming from me or L—, if it something everyone needs to see then well do it. We set the date to August 31, 2013 if that’s a problem we need to know NOW. Also by the end of the week we will be setting dates for the engagement party, bridal show and bachelorette party.

Our wedding party is really the most important people at the wedding besides my self and Jake so we want every single one of our bridesmaid and grooms at our parties, I have 10 not 8 where two couldn’t make it so if you already know you cant make one of the parties then we have to find someone else, not to be harsh in the slightest it would sadden me and of course you’ll still be invited to our wedding, engagement ect. But it’s different if your not in the wedding party and couldn’t make it. We’ll give everyone well advance dates for the parties and it will always fall on a weekend. The wedding as I stated will be in Vail the engagement party will either be in NY or CT and the bachelorette party will be in Vegas, cliche yeaa but I’ve never been.

A few girls live out of town so if there is going to be a problem with coming to either one then I need to know now because after this week I don’t want to be surprised. I would like everyone to send me any dates they are going away or planning to go away after February so if your going away in January I don’t care. I want any dates from February to the day of our wedding in August, that way we know not to plan something when your away. But after this week the dates are set in stone. Also if money is tight and you cant afford to contribute to say the bachelorette party or wont be able to afford a dress etc then L— and Myself don’t have time to deal with that, I’m sorry. This includes flights as well, everyone knows the states where the parties are going to be held so if you wont be able to afford a flight then that means you cant make a party which ultimately means I cant have you as a bridesmaid. Obviously we’ll get the best deals and were not gonna books flights for $1000 and shit that’s why were doing this in advance, that goes for bridesmaids dresses as well everything will be affordable but if you think by affordable its going to be a $25 forever 21 dress then your going to the wrong wedding.

If your out of state though don’t think you have to fly in for all fittings, that we will work with you, find stores in your town, get measurements..you don’t have to worry about that. Also if you accept this honor another thing is that you need to be available, I’m not going to harass you with wedding stuff every hour of everyday but if its something important and it takes you a week even 2-3 days to get back to me seeeee ya! I don’t have time to wait around for responses, everyone has their phone on them, it shouldn’t take you more than a day to get back to me, even if your out of the country, check your email!

Furthermore, Ever since I could remember I have dreamed about this day all my life. I want to share it with the people that are most important to me. You only get one time to plan your dream wedding and I couldn’t pick a more amazing group of girls to make that dream come true! So please, what’s stated above think about it all and by Wednesday I need to know if everyone is 100% in, and what I have asked about sending me dates if your gonna be away between Feb-Aug ill need that on Wednesday. If you don’t think you’ll be able to attend one party but can make the rest of them I’m sorry but I’ll have to take you out as a bridesmaid and put you as a guest. If you want to get back to me before Wednesday, that’s fine. Really think about everything I’ve said. This is really going to be the most epic wedding ever so I hope you girls can share this special day with us!

Love,”

Read more: http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2012/10/this-bridezillas-letter-to-her-potential-bridesmaids-is-sad-terrifying/#ixzz2I1Xnn8rF

Really? That is one big mess of crazy and I would hope that her bridesmaids stood up to her.

So, with that said, how about some affordable bridesmaids dresses for under $150?! For your guymaids, rental suits and tuxes are typically under $150, but here are some great accessories under $50 so your guys can spice up those cookie cutter rentals.

Bridesmaid Dresses under $150

Men's Ties "Guymaids" under $50

Little Borrowed Dress

Ladies, ever been jealous of men and their tux rentals? I know I have! Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve found absolutely stunning bridesmaids dresses available in the first online wedding boutique to offer bridesmaid dresser for rent, Little Borrowed Dress!  From the moment I set eyes upon the gorgeous gowns in the Little Borrowed Dress collection, I was smitten.

These beauties are 100% silk and come in a range of colors (order your free fabric swatch here) sure to work with any palette!  The stylish silhouettes flatter all figures and have built-in adjustment points to ensure a perfect fit.  And best of all? Rental prices start at just $50!

It’s $50 for knee-length, $75 for floor-length, plus a $5 insurance fee.
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So how does it work: Browse their website, littleborroweddress.com, and pick the style, size and color you want and then reserve the date. Not sure what size you are? They’ll send you two options. When the wedding’s over just pop it back in the mail in the pre-addressed and stamped envelope that came with your dress.

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You can follow Little Borrowed Dress on Pinterest…. just click HERE.

New Year, New Bridal Shows

So that most popular time of year to get engaged has just passed so many new girls have a sparkly ring on their left hand and now they are ready to start planning their big day.

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Here’s a look at some of the upcoming bridal shows across South Carolina! MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!

 

CHARLESTON:

* Sunday, January 13th – The Charleston Bridal Show – The Marriott Hotel (Lockwood Blvd) – Noon until 5pm

* Sunday, February 17th – Southern Bridal Show – Charleston Area Convention Center – Noon until 5pm

* Sunday, August 18th – Southern Bridal Show – Charleston area Convention Center – Noon until 5pm

 

COLUMBIA:

* Sunday, January 6th – WNOK Bridal Expo – Columbia Metro Convention Center – 1pm until 5pm

* Sunday, February 24th – St. Andrews Woman’s Club Bridal Showcase – State Fair Grounds – Noon until 5pm

* Sunday, July 21st – 2013 Summer Carolina Bridal Showcase – Columbia Metro Convention Center – 1pm until 5pm

* Sunday, September 22nd –2013 Fall Carolina Bridal Showcase – Columbia Metro Convention Center – 1pm until 5pm

 

MYRTLE BEACH/FLORENCE:

* Sunday, January 6th – BRAVO! Bridal Expo – Florence Civic Center

 

UPSTATE:

* Saturday, January 5th – Weddings With Style – Hyatt Downtown Greenville – 10am until 3pm

* Saturday, January 19th – Anderson Wedding Festival – Anderson Civic Center – 10am until 3pm

* Saturday, January 26th – Spartanburg Wedding Festival- Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium – 10am until 3pm

* Saturday, February 9th – TD Wedding Festival – TD Convention Center, Greenville – 10am until 3pm

“Off-Season” Weddings

As we near the end of the year and the beginning of another, seems like wedding season is finally slowing down. October has defiantly become the new “it” season to get married. Last month alone, I personally know about 14 people who got married. That’s a lot more than the people I know who got married back in May.

So with that being said, is there an “off-season” for weddings? I believe so, but it depends on the area. During the holidays, I believe you find fewer people saying “I Do” as this time of year so many of us are in the hustle and bustle between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Here in South Carolina, busy season is March-June and then September-November. Clearly, that’s when the weather is the best here. Up north, I can tell you it’s very much the opposite. So let’s say that YES, wedding seasons do indeed exist for each market. And now on to part 2 of this discussion, what you really want to know…

Do “off season” discounts exist?

This is a tough one. It’s not quite as definitive as a season being determined by the weather and time of year. From my experience, it just totally depends on the person you’re dealing with. It also depends on the TYPE of vendor you’re dealing with. A photographer or a service-based professional may be less likely to offer an “off season” discount because they’re doing the same amount of work no matter when and where your wedding takes place. On the other hand, a venue or someone providing a rental product might be more apt to give a discount because of the “off season”. (I think it’s safe to say that these statements also apply to the whole Friday wedding discount thing.)

As a wedding coordinator, my own answer in regards to giving an off season discount? That would be a big fat NO. Because service is service. A wedding is a wedding (YOUR wedding at that!) and I’m not going to work any differently just because I don’t have a wedding every weekend of that month. Yes, I know the argument of, “Oh well if they don’t have anything booked, they want to make money don’t they?” But the reality is that wedding professionals know that there are busy seasons and slow seasons. And if they’re experienced professionals, they plan and prepare for that. Most actually take their family vacations, attend conferences, or work on personal projects during “off season”.

Whenever speaking in terms of money for weddings, I always like to put things in context of another “normal” situation (Since for some strange reason weddings are often seen as being “outside” of normal situations).

If you decided to go to the movies on a weeknight and it’s empty, do you ask for a discount on your ticket or concession stand food? 

Probably not, right? So in all honesty, why would it be okay to do that for your wedding?

I’m sure some of you have experienced special discounts for “off season”- I’m not saying they don’t exist. I’m just saying don’t count on it. Don’t choose a wedding date just because it’s during what is said to be the “off season”. Choose your date because that’s when you want- and if it happens to be during off season, then I guess you’ll get to test the theory!

At The Center…

wedding centerpiece ideas A centerpiece may be the focal point on a table but it does not have to be too extreme or cost you the earth. Many brides have created something special with a few flowers and a mason jar. Just because you choose something that is DIY or looks DIY does not mean you have to do it yourself, it could however land up saving you a lot of money at the end of the day if you did.

7 tips on how to have/make a fabulous centerpiece on a DIY budget.

1. Buy some of the items yourself. If you choose to have a glass jar or book in the centerpiece ask the decor company if you can supply your own and get a discount on the centerpieces for doing so. If you are doing the centerpiece yourself buy books from a second-hand store or use some of your own. Buy the glass jars and jugs directly from the supplier if you can.

2. Be aware of things when you shop or page through magazines.
You will often find the item you are looking for, for cheaper when shopping around or reading the captions below the images in bridal magazines. You might even find an idea that is similar and equally beautiful but is less effort and less expensive.

3. When doing a centerpiece yourself ALWAYS go straight to suppliers or factory stores first. Smaller stores have to put a further mark-up on products, which might be convenient but it will be more expensive. You will also be exposed to a wider range of items at the supplier.

4. Choose flowers that are in season or buy fresh bunches. Buy bunches of fresh flowers from your local flower shop and arranging those in jars or vases. This will save you a fortune.  When you find a bunch you like be sure to take a photo,  and ask if it will be available at the time of your wedding.

5. Practice makes perfect. If you plan on doing it yourself, the flower arranging can be a bit tricky so practice as many times as you need to. Don’t get frustrated as having something on the table you designed or created from scratch will be worthwhile. It gives your wedding that extra personal touch. Take photos so that the day before the wedding the person arranging it for you knows exactly how you want it arranged.

6. A little bit of ribbon and lace can go a long way. Spice things up with some ribbon, twine or lace to give your centerpiece that finished look. If you’ve chosen a colourful or vintage tin then you might want to skip the ribbon or lace, see what works and go with it.

7. Make sure to place your table number on or close to your centerpiece. If your table number is fairly plain this will bring it to life and complement the centerpiece.

Have a look at the lovely images below for inspiration and centerpiece ideas.

Centerpiece book pastel shades wedding

Image credit: The High Life Suite

Table setting centerpiece with books and mason jarsImage credit: Fanantique

Elegant vintage centerpiece tin

Image credit: Heart Love Weddings

Centerpiece and table setting Rustic

Image credit: Miss to Missus

White flower centerpiece in silver vase

Image credit: Tipsy Bride

Yellow modern centerpiece

Wine bottle centerpiece rustic

Image credit: My Wedding

Wine bottle centerpiece table number

Image credit:  Martha Stewart

Modern colourful flower centerpiece

Image credit: Brides

Colourful Vintage centerpiece DIY

Image credit: Sour Cherry

Rustic vintage colourful tin centerpiece

Image credit: Martha Stewart

Modern rustic vintage centerpiece

Image credit: Aileen Tran

Vintage rustic bowl centerpiece

Rustic wood centerpiece DIY

Image credit: HWTM

Please click on Hwtm link to see the full tutorial.

Rustic flower wood centerpiece

Image credit: One Wed

Colourful flower centerpiece wood

Image credit: Brides

DIY Jar centerpiece

Image credit: Heather Spriggs

Centerpiece birdcage vintage

Image credit: Sawdust and Cream

Vintage jar centerpiece

Image credit: Ruffled Blog

White flower wood rustic centerpiece

Rustic colourful centerpiece

Image credit: Bravo Bride

White jug centerpiece vintageImage credit: Knots and Kisses

Milk jug centerpiece vintage rustic

Image credit: Rock My Wedding

Colourful flowers and jar centerpiece

Image credit: Elizabeth Anne Designs

Blue Mason jar centerpiece

Image credit: Magnet Street

Centerpiece purple books and jarImage credit: Celebration

So many pretty ideas to choose from! Remember to never underestimate your creativity when creating a centerpiece.

 

Blog Inspired by TOAST

Insight Into Vendor Pricing

Today, I thought I would just provide some clarification and insight into things regarding vendor pricing that I never knew about or understood when I was a bride…

Pricing: This is the big thing, because I don’t care how much money you have, you want to get the best price on everything. I thought it when I was a bride and I’ve heard many other people voice the same- “Why is everything SO expensive for a wedding?” Simply put- weddings are people’s jobs. It’s their livelihood and what puts food on the table. Prices that you are given are what the vendor has decided they need to charge to make a living- not all of the money that you pay vendors goes into their bank accounts to stay forever. That being said, vendors’ prices can vary because of QUALITY. It could be the quality of flowers, the quality of chivari chairs, the quality of equipment, or the quality of the service you’re getting.

Service fees: “Why the heck do they need an extra fee? That’s ridiculous.” A service fee covers costs for vendors. If they have any employees, that pays them. It covers any extra costs and materials for your wedding- like floral foam for your centerpieces, or tape to tape down electrical cords for your DJ. It’s there so you’re not being nickel and dimed for every little thing– because ultimately that wastes your time and the vendor’s time.

 

Delivery: Simply put, it covers gas for a vehicle to get to your wedding and deliver everything. If a truck or van needs to be rented, the delivery price covers that as well.

 

Tax: If you are getting anything that is an “object” you have to be taxed. Flowers, rentals, linens- the rule of thumb for me is if you can hold it, it’s taxed. (A service like planning is not taxed, because it’s all just paying for time.) You go to the store and buy anything- food, a dress, shoes- and you know that it’s not going to be exactly the same price that’s listed on the price tag. Unfortunately that’s how it is with everything, weddings included.

I could go on and on, but these are the general things that I myself had no clue about. I hope I was able to clear some things up for some of you! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂

Just Engaged?

Labor Day has passed, autumn is almost upon us ….which means it’s the start of “engagement season”! (Yes, we have a term for it.) I don’t know about you, but my Facebook page is starting to blow up with engagement announcements! I absolutely love newly engaged couples because there is SO much love and excitement around getting engaged!

But then soon after that excitement wears off, you’re hit with the reality of the fact that you have to plan a wedding– something that you most likely have no clue about, right?! Sure, you’ve been in a wedding or two, or maybe one of your close friends recently got married, but things are different when it’s YOUR wedding! And if you’re anything like me, you have NO idea where to start. Well, don’t fret, because I am here to help you out! I have compiled the 10 things you need to do first to get started with your wedding planning.


1. Set a budget

You shouldn’t be doing anything before sit down and talk about & decide on a budget. Sit down with your parents, family members, or just the two of you, figure out who is contributing, how much they can contribute, and what your total budget will be Then you can move on to #2!

 2. Choose 2-3 possible dates

To be safe, choose 2-3 possible dates to have your wedding. Think of the time of year, the weather, work schedules/vacation time, holidays, and yes, even football season (or whatever sport your fiance/family is crazy about). Then choose your #1 preferred date, and have a #2 and #3 available in case your preferred date isn’t available. This is extremely important because venues book up fast…some even book up to a year and half in advance!

 3. Start your guest list

Of course you want to invite everyone you know to your wedding. But here’s my warning for you: the more people you have, the more you have to spend. (This is why you do your budget first.)

Example: You want to have 200 guests. Your budget is $20,000. This means that you will have $100 per guest. 

So as you see, starting your guest list and knowing your estimated maximum guest count early is super imporant! And keep in mind that guest counts usually go down by the time your wedding day comes around- and believe me… it’ll get really easy to cut the people you haven’t talked to in forever from the guest list.

Here are some ideas on how to control your guest list… or use this flow chart…

 4. Decide on your wedding’s style & colors

Vintage, modern, classic, eclectic, handmade, rustic… there are SO many styles out there! The beauty of “wedding styles” is that they also coincide with decor and details, and so knowing from the beginning will help you later on.  No need to design your whole wedding right now though- just know the general look and feel of how you want your wedding to be.  It’s also a good time to decide on what colors you may want to have incorporated into your big day… Once you know that, it’ll be easier to move on to #5… 

 5. Decide on your venue

So all of the first 4 steps can essentially be done all in one sitting. That’s easy, right? Well once you have all of those decisions made, you can start researching and visiting venues. When you’re researching and you find a venue that you like, I highly recommend contacting them and asking if they have any of your possible dates available. If they do, then go ahead and schedule a time to tour the venue. Give yourself a few (1 to 3 max) weeks to tour all of your possibilities (depending on how long you have before your wedding date of course), crunch numbers, envision your wedding there (or not), and then book your venue! Once you have your venue booked (meaning deposit made and contract signed), your date is secured… you are just steps away from getting MARRIED!

6. Research

First and foremost, if you didn’t already hire a wedding planner during the first 5 steps…I strongly suggest you consider one….They will be able to give you great recommendations and save you time & frustration!

Vendors:

Researching potential vendors is HUGE. There are so many great wedding professionals out there now, and you want time to be able to choose the right ones for you. You definitely don’t want to be rushed, but at the same time, time is of the essence. (If you don’t have a wedding planner, go to here’s what you need to know when hiring your vendors.)

When you’re researching, be sure to check out the vendor’s portfolio, bio, pricing info (if they have it available) and their blog. Feel free to do research on every single type of vendor you need, but the ones that are crucial and book up quickly are the photographer, florist, and caterer (if applicable).

Moving on, the next steps are going to pertain to these 3 things. [After you’ve completed the following steps for the previously mentioned vendors, then you’ll move on to your entertainment, event decor, rentals, invitations, videographer and cake. And then you’ll go on to hair and makeup, transportation, tux rentals, favors, and any extras.]

Part 2 of Research is…

WEDDING DRESS!

Yes, it’s in caps because it’s *that* exciting! Isn’t it pretty much the very first thing you wanted to do- look at wedding dresses?! I mean, come on, who doesn’t like wedding dresses? 😉 But in all seriousness, you want to be sure that you research the types of dresses you like and the stores that carry them.

7. Inquire With and Interview Vendors

So by now you’ve done your research and you know what vendors you like. Now it’s time to contact the vendor, find out if they’re available for your date, ask about pricing/cost (if you want to), and schedule a consultation. I recommend meeting with up to three of each type of vendor, one if you already absolutely love them and they sell you right away, two if you’re pretty set but want to know other options, and three if you’re not sure. It just really depends on you, your decision making skills, and your taste. 🙂

8. Hire Your Vendors

Of course the next step is to make your pick & hire one of those vendors that you’ve met and fallen in love with. After your consultations, try to let vendors know your decision a week or two from when they provide you with an estimate/proposal. And then hooray! You’re one step closer to your wedding day! Important note: Once you’ve hired someone, please let the other vendors that you met with know that you won’t be going with them. I know it sucks to do it and yes, you might feel awkward, but it has to be done- they have to know! A nice, simple email will suffice.

9: WEDDING DRESS!

Alright, so you have some of your vendors booked… now it’s time to take a break and go wedding dress shopping! I don’t think this needs much explanation.

10: Design & Detail Inspiration

Remember back in the first 5 steps when I had you decide on your wedding style? Well with the second round of vendors you will meet with next (florals, decor, invitations, rentals, cake) you’ll need to have a good idea of what you want your wedding to be like, so it’s time to focus on design and details! What do you want your wedding to look like? Design is more of a general term, and details is more of the specifics (and where your personality can really shine through too!). This too is something that requires lots of research… which in the wedding world we like to call INSPIRATION! 🙂 I’m sure many of you have probably already started saving photos of things that you like and are Pinning away for your dream wedding. After all, this big, beautiful wedding world here on the internet does almost solely revolve around design and details! But you want to make sure that you have enough inspiration to be able to accurately convey to your potential vendors what it is you want for your wedding. And then in the same breath, you don’t want to have too much inspiration either!

Don’t forget to bring your inspiration with you to your consultations! You can probably even just pull up your Pinterest boards in your meetings- which I think is absolutely amazing.

Once you get to the last step for your first set of vendors, then move on to the next set! Wedding planning is like a roller coaster- you’ll go really fast at full-speed, then you’ll slow down, and then you’ll speed up again. Yes it’s normal, and it’s okay to have a lull in planning. Basically that roller coaster ride just keeps going until you get married. 😉

Say “I Do” To These Things, Too

Everyone knows that weddings cost a fortune (regardless of your efforts to save), but there are certain things in your wedding you absolutely cannot skimp on! Set your budget, assuming you have one, around these three things. They are, arguably, the most important.

1. Photographer and Videographer

Here are just a few reasons why:

• A great photographer can anticipate what will happen next. You’ll never miss great moment in your wedding because your photographer wasn’t prepared.

Reason: They are very experienced and know good and well when something special is going to happen.

• A top-notch photographer can make an ordinary photo into something extraordinary.

Reason: The experience of photographing many brides has shaped their ability to understand what the bride is looking for. They are able to create the perfect photo you had in mind, and more.

• Hiring a friend can be scary! In other words, avoid hiring them!

Reason: Sometimes, the photos don’t turn out as you had imagined and there is some animosity between you and your friend. Who needs the extra stress? You just got married and had an amazing honeymoon and then come home to the real world and find out that your friend didn’t produce the photos you dreamed of. No one wants the confrontation or the elephant in the room when you go hang out with your girlfriends.

• Once it’s over, it’s over! You want to capture these moments forever!

Reason: You only have the photos and videos to relive the moment. With good photography and video work, you can look forward to sharing this moment with your friends and family who couldn’t make your ceremony, or even your children when they start asking questions about your wedding. It goes without saying that photos are fantastic keepsakes, but video will give you an immersive experience. Videographers can capture the true feeling of love in the air. Remember, a picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words!

2. Gifts

I know this isn’t one many people think about – that’s why I included it! When I say “gifts,” I am talking about gifts you might give to one another’s parents, as well as gifts you might offer the bridal party and groom’s party. Traditionally, in most American weddings that is, the bride’s parents will be paying for your special day. Don’t you think you should that deserves a gesture of gratitude?
• In 2011, the average cost of a wedding was $27,000 (excluding the honeymoon). Thanks mom and dad!

Reason: On top of paying a small fortune for the wedding, it’s tradition that parents give the bride and groom a gift. If you ask me, the wedding is a present in itself! With that in mind, it’s important to share how much you appreciate your parent’s hard work, financial support, and their willingness to take the time to give you the wedding you have always dreamed of.
• Bridesmaids and groomsmen give up time out of their busy lives to make your day special by attending all of your showers and parties, as well as the wedding itself. And a lot of the time they pay for their own dresses, tuxes/suits, shoes, and lodging. Thanks ladies and gents!

Reason: Of course they wouldn’t miss it for the world, but I’m sure they would be grateful if you showed your appreciation with a little somethin’ somethin’! Acknowledge that you’re aware of their support and that you recognize the sacrifices they may have made in order to make your day something special.

Courtesy: Photos By J.Kay

3. Your Unique Style

I’ve always heard the saying, “the marriage is for the couple and the wedding is for the parents.” Well, lucky for you, that’s not the case anymore.

• The wedding is not about pleasing your family or your guests! It’s about you!

Reason: Of course you want everyone to love it just as much as you and your bride/groom-to-be, but don’t forget this is a celebration for you! I know, I can’t say the word “you” enough. Now keep in mind, I’m not talking about becoming the infamous and dreadful bride-zilla. But, I encourage you to stay true to your style, whether it’s out of the ordinary or completely by the book! There are many ways to incorporate your style in your wedding.

 

Oh, one last thing: Problem with the folks? No problem.
• If you want to keep it simple but your mom wants an extravagant celebration and throws in the phrase, “it’s my money, shouldn’t I get a say?”

Try this: Split the cost of the wedding 3 ways. This is a new idea that consists of the bride and groom, bride’s family, and grooms family splitting the cost of the wedding three ways. Many couples have started using this strategy because they feel like it’s fairer to everyone. Plus, mom and pop don’t get to chime in quite as much. After all, it isn’t all your folk’s money anymore, is it?

With these things in mind your dream wedding isn’t out of reach. I promise you won’t regret saying “I do” to these things, too.

Reference: Two Birds, One Stone

Wedding 101: Finding Your Vendors

Something that I had a really hard time with when planning my wedding was finding quality vendors. How was I to know that they were good to work with and what their work was like? We all know that Google is great, but sometimes it doesn’t always return the best search results when searching for something in particular. And so, I thought I would share some tips for finding vendors, as well as a few sites.

Tips:

* Location: You don’t have to look within the city your wedding is taking place in. If your wedding is in your small hometown but you live in a larger city, you can choose a vendor in your larger city. Some vendors have different travel policies, but usually if it’s 1 to 2 hours away, it’s no big deal to them. The key is to have vendors that you LOVE, not vendors that you’ve settled on because they were the only ones available.

* Reviews: You want to see past client reviews on the vendor. Use Wedding Wire or some other reviewing site, and if there isn’t anything online, ASK. Ask on forums like Weddingbee, or ask other vendors you have booked.  They can usually give you some feedback, and if all of that fails, ask the vendor to give you a list of past clients that would vouch for his or her work.

* Friends and Family: Talk to your friends and family about their vendors that they had. This can go one of two ways. You could have loved their wedding and check out their vendors, or you could have hated their wedding and know not to check out their vendors. And keep in mind that just because your sister-in-law loved her photographer, it doesn’t mean that you will too.

 * Meet:  You want to LOVE your vendors, so make sure you meet them before hiring. Meet a couple of vendors if you need to. Keep in mind to look at their work and make sure their style suits you and your wedding too. Don’t let their personality overpower your decision- if you really liked their personality, but your gut feeling says their style won’t fit your wedding, go with that feeling.

Around the Web:

Site Directories are awesome. Some are free, some are paid, and some are based on client recommendations. More and more blogs and wedding sites are getting better and better vendor directories, which I love to see! Here are some of the sites that have directories providing some great vendors:

WeddingWire: Wedding Wire is the greatest. Previous clients are able to review their vendors on a scale of 1 to 5, and you can read these reviews to get an idea for what their past clients think of them. You can also see their website and a portfolio of their work. It’s a great place to go when searching for vendors!

Style Me Pretty Little Black Book: I know what you’re thinking- vendors on the SMP Little Black Book are going to be too expensive for your wedding. That’s what I thought too. But now that I’m in the industry, I can tell you that Little Black Book members are most likely NOT too pricey for your wedding. All LBB vendors are preapproved and hand-selected by the SMP crew, so you know that you’re going to have a great experience. And a cool thing is that you can view a vendor’s portfolio on the LBB too.

Wedding Chicks Vendor Directory: Along with having a great blog, Wedding Chicks has a great growing vendor directory. You can’t see a vendor’s portfolio, but if you follow the Wedding Chicks blog, you may see a post or two or million from the vendors in their directory.

EAD Vendor Guide: The Elizabeth Anne Designs Vendor Guide is awesome too. Vendors are listed by category, and then divided up according to the state. The EAD vendors are approved by the site, so it’s a pretty select list.

BestWeddingSites Vendors: Another great location-based vendor directory, starting with the state, and then more concise with vendor type.

Of course, I also have a list of vendors to love, so just ask me for a copy if you are interested.

Even I still use these resources when finding vendors that I haven’t already worked with, or when a bride comes to me with a particular vendor in mind. And if you have another great resource for finding vendors, please share, and I’ll add it to this list! More than anything, no matter how much planning you do, the majority of your wedding is going to be reflected by your vendors, and of course you want them to be great! So definitely search for your vendors and do your research on them. And if you don’t have time to do that…hire a wedding planner, and they can do the searching for you! 🙂