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Weddings are expensive! If your budget is becoming a nightmare, there are a few ways to trim the costs without sacrificing your dreams or the comfort of your guests.
Wedding cakes can be a ridiculous expense, especially for large guest lists or if you have your heart set on an extravagant design. Renting a display cake is a popular option that could cut at least a couple hundred dollars from your budget without foregoing the perfect cake. Other couples save by ordering a small cake with an elegant design, as well as a less costly sheet cake for serving.
Your wedding gown is often the easiest place to overspend - but also one of the easiest areas to trim costs. Take the time to shop around. Bridal discount stores, eBay, and similar locations will sometimes have your dream dress available for a fraction of the retail price!
Food usually consumes the biggest portion of your budget. Consider finger foods or desserts instead of a sit-down meal. Backyard barbecues are a great way to save if you want to feed your guests a full menu.
Greenery is much less expensive than blooms. Decorate with ferns and foliage and save the colorful blossoms for your bouquet.
There are several ways to cut the costs of your invitations. Besides shopping around for the best price, opt for RSVP postcards to eliminate an extra envelope as well as postage. You can also consider eliminating the liner and avoiding enclosure cards.
Wedding venues and vendors tend to cost the most on Saturday evenings and holidays. Hold your event in the afternoon, on Friday night, or on a Sunday afternoon. Try to avoid major holidays if you want to trim your budget.
Search around for free venues for your ceremony and reception. Outdoor events are often free and you'll save on plants and flowers as well!
Especially if your guest list is large, wedding favors can add up quickly. Look for DIY favors that can be assembled quickly and inexpensively without losing sentiment or consider making a charitable donation in honor of your guests.
Hiring a DJ or band for your reception can cost several hundred dollars. Many brides load up their iPod and rent speakers instead, usually trimming their budget by $200 to $300.
Friends, coworkers, and family members often have a wealth of hidden talents - or may have friends that do! If your cousin takes amazing photos and has a professional camera, would she give you a great deal on your photography? Enlist the help of your bridesmaids to do your makeup and hair or ask a coworker to manage the videography. New businesses are also ideal places to turn to for discounts that can cut your wedding budget.
Many brides-to-be want to break away from the traditional approach with their weddings. After all, a wedding is one of the most important days in your life and you want it to be special and one-of-a-kind. If you plan on having a unique wedding, here are some interesting first dance ideas that you might enjoy.
Photo by Meg Smith
Learn a Dance
Imagine the look on your guests’ faces as you and your brand new husband step out onto the floor and perform a perfectly choreographed number! Not only will this be charming and entertaining for your guests, but it will be something you and your husband can cherish forever. Simply choose a great dance video and learn the dance to a particular song. If you and your husband are talented dancers, you can choreograph the moves yourself! Just a few songs that may fit in nicely with this first dance idea are:‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ by Queen ‘Fever’ by Peggy Lee ‘It Had to Be You’ by Frank Sinatra
Let the Crowd Join In
If you’re one of those brides-to-be who doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention for too long, perhaps you can invite everyone to join you and your new husband for your first dance. This is a charming twist to the traditional first dance and your guests will love being part of something so romantic. There are some really great songs that would be perfect for a group first dance as well, such as:The Glory of Love’ by Jimmy Durante ‘Everything I Do’ by Bryan Adams ‘A Groovy Kind of Love’ (covered my many artists)
Try Exploring Different Cultures
Rather than having a traditional first dance, why not shake things up a bit with ideas borrowed from different cultures? For instance, in Spain, it’s a tradition to perform the sequidillas manchega, a dance in which the guests take turns dancing with the bride.
While traditionally, gifts of money are given as each guest takes their turn, you can ask that guests write their wishes for the bride and groom on paper and hand those to the bride. With a little help from your DJ with the directions for the dance, this can be a charming change from tradition. Learn about other customary dances as well; perhaps one of them will appeal to you.
The first dance is considered a very special time of the wedding ceremony. It can be even more special if you use your own creativity to come up with a unique and fun idea!\
View more First Dance Song Ideas »
With the modern bride-to-be, the wedding registry is very important. For the guests, it takes the guesswork out of purchasing a wedding gift that you and your husband will treasure. For you, it's an easier way of organizing the things you need and keeps you from receiving duplicate gifts or gifts you just don't want. It's a wonderful addition to add to your wedding and once you have listed everything you need, perform a wedding registry check in.
If you've purchased anything since you created your bridal registry, it's important to remove those gifts so you won't receive a duplicate. Don't feel guilty, though, if you have purchased a more casual china set and your registry still contains a formal one. Many brides ask for two sets or two types of items - and chances are, they will be a useful addition to your home. Simply make sure that nothing is listed twice and that the list is updated.
There is a good possibility that you will need to add a few items when you do a wedding registry check in. It's easy to forget items the first time around and you've probably remembered them since then. A few of the items that many brides-to-be forget include:
- Area Rugs
- Casserole Dishes
- Bake Ware
- Decorative Items
As you remember things you didn't include, create a list. This way, when you perform your wedding registry check in, you can place those items on the registry.
When you do a wedding registry check in, you will likely see that some of your guests have purchased gifts. Do a check to ensure that there are still gifts in all different price ranges so your guests can have a selection of what to purchase. This will allow guests with a smaller budget to purchase items and guests with a larger budget to find something nice as well.
If you notice that many of the lower-price range items are being purchased and that there are few left, you may want to add more so that your guests can choose the gift that fits their budget. The same thing goes for higher priced items.
Your wedding registry will be a life saver as you and your soon-to-be groom start your marriage together. Be sure that your wedding registry check in covers the points above and you will be fine!
As you begin planning your wedding, you will probably create a wedding budget to allocate funds for different areas of your ceremony. This is a great idea, but sometimes in the course of planning it can be easy to lose track or forget about that budget. By sticking with your budget, you can create a beautiful wedding without going into debt. Here are 5 budget no-no’s you should keep in mind.
1. Going over Budget
It’s extremely important that you don’t go over budget in one area of your wedding unless you can afford to take funds away from another area to replace it. For instance, let’s say you decide on a more expensive tuxedo for your groom-to-be, which will put you over budget. Before purchasing, determine where you can take the extra money from. If you had money left from another area of your budget or your décor, favors or something else ended up costing less than you had planned – then you might be able to get away with it.
2. Don’t Leave Yourself without a Cushion
As you allocate funds to different areas of your wedding, make sure you leave a little bit of cushion to pay for unexpected items. You may need to have your dress altered; you may end up paying setup and breakdown fees for the DJ or other unexpected costs may arise. Leaving a percentage of your budget for ‘cushion’ and anticipating these little surprises will help you stick to your budget amount.
3. Don’t Use Credit Cards to Pay
If possible, don’t use credit cards to pay for any part of your wedding purchases. As you’re planning and purchasing for your wedding, it can be easy to get suckered into using the plastic. By paying with checks or cash, you will save money on your wedding because you will not have to pay interest. Similarly, it can be easy to leave the balances on your credit cards and only pay the minimum amounts to free up cash. If you do this, you could end up paying thousands more dollars for your wedding than you had originally planned.
4. Don’t Under-Budget
One common mistake brides-to-be make is under-budgeting, especially when it comes to the food for the ceremony. Remember that your reception will probably use up about 40 to 50% of your entire wedding budget and you don’t want to be stuck without enough food for all of your guests. Be sure to allocate a proper amount of money to each category so you’re not left with a minor catastrophe.
5. Don’t Budget Above Your Means
In a perfect world, every woman would have unlimited funds to plan her wedding with. However, most of us don’t have that luxury. If you know the expensive crab and lobster hors d’oeuvres will put you over budget, purchase the smoked salmon and cream cheese hors d’oeuvres instead. Purchasing within your means may be difficult when all the wedding luxuries in the world are staring you in the face, but it will be well worth it when you come in under budget or right on target. If you want to splurge on certain items, purchase the less expensive items in another category.
The last thing you want to do is put yourself in debt for your wedding, so sticking to your budget and avoiding these budget no no’s will help you stay above water.
As you're pulling every small detail together in order to ensure that your wedding day is perfect, it can be easy to feel as though you're forgetting something. The last thing you want is to start your ‘walk down the aisle' and then suddenly remember that you forgot to confirm this or you forgot to pay for that. By making sure you tie up loose ends, your wedding day will be complete, beautiful and cherished.
Some of the most common things forgotten by brides-to-be are:
Payments and Confirmations
If you don't confirm with the photographer that he or she will be attending the wedding, he or she may assume that you've found another photographer. The same goes for your DJ, the band and other people who are crucial to the success of your wedding. Writing your confirmations down in a wedding planner notebook can help you remember what needs to be confirmed and what is already set - allowing you to tie up loose ends when it comes to payments and confirmations.
It's so important to have individuals that are willing to help you perform necessary tasks at your wedding. You may have several bridesmaids, groomsmen, friends or family members who are willing to hand out favors, help decorate, greet guests as they enter, handle the wedding gifts and other important tasks - but if you don't let them know who will be doing what, they can easily get confused. No one will be quite sure what they're supposed to do and this can make for an unorganized and messy wedding day. Be sure to tie up loose ends by delegating tasks well in advance and confirm with each ‘helper' what their role is and how important it is to you.
Forgetting Necessary Items on the Special Day
Another important thing to remember as you tie up loose ends is that you will probably need several things throughout the course of your wedding day. You'd be surprised what some stressed and excited brides will forget. Below you will find some of the most common forgotten things on the big day:
- The wedding rings.
- An emergency kit including stain lifter, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush, lipstick, cash, etc.
- Sunscreen or insect repellant for an outdoor wedding.
- Cards or pages containing vows.
- The wedding shoes.
- Transportation for the bride and groom.
Take some time before the wedding to tie up loose ends and make sure everything is in place for the most important day of your life.
As the soon-to-be bride, you will look spectacular at your wedding! Your groom will be very handsome, the bridesmaids will sparkle and the guests will don their best garments to celebrate the occasion. In the midst of all this, your reception décor should be equally as gorgeous and should set the mood for a wonderful celebration. If you’re not sure what reception décor to choose, here are 3 great tips to help you make a decision.
Photo by Allison Davis Photography
1. Consider Your Wedding Theme
Many brides-to-be plan the reception décor with the wedding theme in mind. This can be a great way to save money on the decorations. Simply enlist the help of a bridesmaid or family member to move some of your décor pieces to the reception after the wedding. For instance, flower arrangements can be moved as well as centerpieces and other décor.
Choosing reception décor which matches your wedding theme will also keep your wedding day consistent and beautiful. For a beach-themed wedding, try centerpieces featuring seashells, candles, nautical decorations and more. By considering the wedding theme, you will make it much easier to decide on reception décor.
2. Think about Your Reception Location
Another great inspiration that will help you choose the reception décor is thinking about your reception location. If it will take place in a formal hall, you may want to plan for flowers, centerpieces, linens and other traditional reception décor.
However, a reception taking place in a beautiful garden is often planned a bit differently. You already have a breath-taking backdrop, so there will be less to plan. Mini potted plants in groups of three or five would make beautiful centerpieces for the tables, and traditional linens wouldn’t be necessary. Take pictures of your reception location well in advance so you can determine what areas need decoration and what supplies you will need.
3. What Do YOU Want?
Although you’re sure to check out the latest trends in reception décor and which celebrities are choosing what – it’s important to think about what you want. As the bride-to-be, no one’s opinion matters more than yours. If you prefer a Cinderella theme, choose that; if you would rather have a rustic or garden style reception with natural décor, choose that!
You want to feel completely comfortable and happy with your reception décor choices, so flip through magazines, browse through pictures online and get some great inspiration for your décor. In the end, choose the reception décor that you love and chances are your guests, friends and family will love it as well.
Months and months of stressful planning are finally culminating into the biggest event of your lifetime. You've spent hours on the tiniest of details to make sure your wedding is absolutely perfect. But if you don't take the time to prepare yourself, all that planning goes right out the window - a stressed out, upset bride is usually the main ingredient for a wedding disaster.
Photo by Shannon Cronin Photography
The Day Before
You gave yourself months, possibly years, to plan and prepare for your wedding. It makes sense that you need to start a little early to prepare yourself for the big day too. Most brides hold their rehearsal the evening before the wedding. Try to have all the loose ends tied up before the rehearsal and use the dinner as an opportunity to relax and unwind.
Get home early and take some time for yourself. I know it will be hard to sleep with all the excitement, but you want to look and feel your best the next day - and you don't want to crash as soon as you check in to your honeymoon suite! Drink a cup of tea, do yoga, crochet, or play a video game to get your mind off the wedding and relax. A bubble bath or warm shower may be helpful too.
Before you crawl into bed for the night, gather everything you need for the wedding day. Put out your undergarments, take out your gown, and set your luggage by the door if you haven't already. Remember to set your alarm clock to allow plenty of time tomorrow and allot at least 8 hours for sleeping.
The Day Of
Even if you don't normally, eat breakfast today. You're going to have a busy day and may not have a chance to eat a complete meal until you arrive at your honeymoon destination - and hungry brides are not always the happiest! Go with something light but high in protein, avoiding sugars as much as possible. Yogurt, cheese toast, a bagel with cream cheese, or an apple with peanut butter would be great choices. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and energized, but beware of untimely bathroom urges.
Take out your wedding day schedule and make sure you're not forgetting anything. Note the time of your hair and makeup appointment; make sure you have everything you need - clothing, emergency supplies, accessories, shoes, etc.; and handle any last-minute details that may have been overlooked. Play some music, chat with friends, or do some stretching to help ease your nerves and remember to give yourself plenty of time to get to the ceremony location.
The most important thing to remember the day of your wedding is to relax, enjoy, and have fun. It's your special day so be sure to take care of yourself, especially the day of!
When you’re planning a wedding, there are a ton of things you have to deal with! From choosing the perfect dress to determining which people to invite, ordering invitations and booking entertainment, caterers, etc – it’s no surprise that brides get a little stressed out. However, stress is a dangerous thing to deal with and can lead to many health and emotional issues – and you don’t want that right before your wedding! Here are 5 simple stress reducers to help you plan your wedding stress-free.
Not only is exercise an amazing stress reducer, but it also helps you look wonderful! When you feel stressed out, overwhelmed or ready to rip out your hair – try jumping rope or walking very quickly. You can relieve your stress and stay in shape all at the same time!
2. Deep Breathing
It’s truly amazing what deep breathing can do for you. Taking a step back and spending a few minutes really breathing can relieve stress and center you so that you feel calm and collected. Breathe in as slowly as you can until your lungs are full – then release the breaths, taking just as much time as you did to breathe in. Repeat this about ten times, feeling yourself growing calmer with each breath. That’s it – a few breaths and you’re good to go!
3. Create a Comfort Zone
During all the chaos and hustle of wedding planning, you can sometimes feel as if you will explode at any second. Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes and create a comfort zone. Where would you rather be? See yourself there, alone – whether it’s a quiet park full of flowers or a breezy sea shore. Smell the fragrances, hear the noises and feel yourself touching things in your comfort zone. Each time you feel stressed out, close your eyes and conjure up this comfort zone.
4. Do Some Performing
When you’ve had enough, find a room with a stereo to lock yourself in. Choose a very upbeat song and scream the lyrics of the song. Feel the tension draining out of you with the words of the song. The neighbors may think you’ve completely lost it, but you will feel much better when the song is over.
5. Create Something
Art is a great way to express yourself and let go of tension and stress. Try different types of art to see which makes you feel better. Whether you paint, draw, scrapbook or something similar, you will probably notice how it calms and relaxes you. This is a much-needed thing in the middle of wedding planning.
Stress is not only frustrating to us mentally and emotionally but it can be physically damaging as well. Trying these 5 simple stress reducers while you’re planning your wedding can help keep you calm, cool and collected.
Get these crafty, cost-cutting wedding tips from Mindy Weiss' must-read The Wedding Book!
Obviously, there are as many ways to scrimp as there are to break the bank. But the key to a great wedding is knowing where to spend and where to save. Here are the ten best ways to keep the bills down without compromising the integrity of the event:
1. Trim the guest list. Your cost per head is your biggest expense.
2. Choose a gorgeous setting. Whether it's a conservatory or a Tudor ballroom, you'll save a bundle on decorations.
3. Skip the off-site location and go with a reception site (a hotel, club, or restaurant) that comes with tables, chairs, flatware, and staff. Tents and other rentals add up to a substantial expense.
4. Start the wedding earlier in the day. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or heavy hors d'oeuvres cost less than dinner, and earlier in the day, people drink less, lowering your liquor costs.
5. Limit the alcoholic offerings to wine, beer, and a signature cocktail. Also consider sangria or punch as a festive but cost-effective alternative to mixed drinks.
6. Move the wedding from Saturday to Sunday; if you need to bring down the price even more, move it to a weekday. Vendors lower their fees for days that are less in demand.
7. Eliminate the champagne toast. Most of the bubbly will be thrown out anyway. Have guests toast with whatever they're drinking at the time.
8. Instead of a band, hire a great deejay or use an iPod.
9. Opt for an inexpensive printing method on your invitations. Use design cleverly and you can get a great effect with offset printing, for a fraction of the price of letterpress or engraving.
10. Skip favors. Write a personal note instead.
Images courtesy: Union Photography
Your wedding cake will be the star of the reception and the centerpiece of many, many photographs – no wonder so much importance is placed on choosing the right one! There’s much more to the perfect cake than the number of tiers and the topper though – imagine the guests’ disappointment when the most gorgeous wedding cake they’ve seen is also the most horrible tasting!
Photo by Punam Bean Photography
Thankfully, most bakers that specialize in wedding cakes offer cake testing to assure you that your cake will taste as good as it looks. Before you head out to the local bakeries for an all-day cake sampling adventure, there are a few tips that will make your decision easier without wasting valuable time.
What Would You Like?
It’s good to rely on the expertise of a wedding cake creator –but if you have no idea what type of cake you want, the baker can’t be much help. Before you visit the bakery, have a general idea of your dream cake. Do you want a traditional tiered wedding cake or something contemporary? Is there a particular style you really like or don’t like? This sort of input will help the baker suggest the perfect cake.
Round One - Choosing a Baker
Save yourself some footwork by narrowing down the number of bakeries you visit. Search the internet for wedding cake designers in your area. Some will have websites where you can gather most of the information you need aside from tasting. Others may require a phone call before you decide to make an appointment. Ask your friends and family for recommendations as well – word of mouth is usually the most reliable form of advertising.
Visit cake shops that:Create the style of cake you have in mind. Allow you to browse photos of cakes they’ve designed. Offer samples of various frostings and cakes to help you choose the best flavor. Bake the cake fresh just before the wedding rather than freezing beforehand.
Round Two - Choosing a Baker
Make appointments with three or four of your favorite cake designers. Browse their portfolios and listen to their ideas for your special day. Taste different types of cakes and icings available and discuss the best flavors for your location – some frostings may begin to melt if your reception is outdoors. Finally, discuss prices, options, and payment policies before heading home to make your final decision.
Round Three – The Final Decision
You’ve met with the bakers and have a good idea of what each can offer for your wedding cake. You’ll also want to consider your budget and eliminate any designers that are not realistic. If you’re still having trouble making a decision – whether it’s the type of cake or the baker to create it – schedule one more visit to test the cakes once again.
Bringing along the groom-to-be or your maid of honor can be a big help in choosing the best flavors. Some bakeries offer a test cake, a smaller version of the cake you’re considering, to help your decision. Choose a cake that’s moist with a flavor that will appeal to most of your guests, without overlooking the style you’ve been dreaming about.