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With the raging costs of catered food and professional guidance that comes with a hefty price, planning a DIY wedding might not be such a bad idea. However, before you make the commitment to handle all of the details (no matter how large or small) on your own, you should consider the following components that go into planning a DIY wedding.
Photo courtesy of Port Charlotte Florist
DIY Wedding MakeupPros: You've been doing your makeup all of these years and it just doesn’t seem right to pay someone else to brush on the bronzer and create pouty lips. DIY wedding makeup allows you to take all the time you want dabbling in various color combinations and techniques. Cons: Yeah, you've been doing your makeup all along, but you can't quite recall the last time you actually got a compliment on your lip liner and eye shadow skills. Since your wedding is one of the most important days in your life – you may want every detail professionally in place.
DIY Wedding FlowersPros: With a few rolls of wire, twine, bold-colored ribbons, Baby's Breath, and fresh blooms, you will soon travel down a road filled with creativity. Many DIY wedding books highlight various methods of accomplishing beautiful centerpieces and floral arrangements for your reception. This adventure also makes a fun project for friends and families that wish to help out. View ideas for DIY Wedding Flowers » Cons: Making centerpieces and filling vases with long-stemmed roses for your reception are not the only tasks that call for handling flowers. If you aren’t ready to create your bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, and other necessary items, you may want to ask for the assistance of a professional florist.
DIY Wedding Reception FoodPros: A bride planning an intimate gathering of family and friends will benefit the most from DIY wedding food. Preparing hors d'oeuvres, the main course, sides, and dessert for a small number of people usually winds up much cheaper than hiring catering services. Lucky brides don’t even have to lift a finger in some cases when family members offer to handle this task. Cons: Will you honestly be able to feed a guest list consisting of 200 people? Catering your own event may also mean enlisting the help of relatives or succumbing to a potluck dinner affair. While some couples can entertain guests with an outdoor BBQ, are you prepared to keep in line with your wedding theme if you provide DIY wedding food?
DIY Wedding MusicPros: Is it really necessary to hire a DJ or subject loved ones to a cheesy band? Take complete control of the music played at your DIY wedding by utilizing a collection of pre-made CDs or an iPod with an endless playlist. Cons: However, this means someone will have to periodically check in on the music and sound system. Also, there is the business of requesting songs – it will take a little bit of shuffling to satisfy such wishes.
Settling down to create a guest list for your wedding can cause a great deal of headaches, especially when trying to narrow down a final headcount in order to stay within your budget. Besides making sure you've invited the most important players in your life, there are other factors to take into consideration, such as plus ones and children. Should you make concessions and invite plus ones and children?
Plus Ones at Your Wedding – Pros and Cons
While the spouses of married invitees are automatically included on a wedding guest list, the individuals that you wish to attend who haven’t found the love of their life yet may want to bring a date or friend along. However, when you’re calculating the overall cost to include plus ones in your wedding plans, it may not serve your best interests. So, how will you keep your single guests feeling comfortable? Consider the following pros and cons of inviting plus ones to your wedding:Pros: Weddings are full of couples who are either reminiscing their own nuptials or looking forward to their own when they attend a wedding. As paired guests settle into their assigned seats, others (who have come alone) feel left out. Allowing plus ones to attend your wedding will keep your single guests happy, chatty, and within a comfort zone – unless of course…they are looking to mingle with another single guest. Cons: If you allow plus ones to attend your wedding, you could end up seeing roommates, best friends, and the guy your sister just met strolling into your reception. Bottom line – you could wind up seeing an assortment of unfamiliar faces that you're ultimately paying to attend.
Children at Your Wedding – Pros and Cons
When it comes to children at your wedding, you have to keep in mind that some parents will not leave their little ones behind. However, this is your special day and if you don’t want the pitter-patter of little feet, unscripted outbursts, and distractions at the ceremony – most parents usually understand a request to leave the kiddies at home. The pros and cons of such a decision include:Pros: Letting children attend your wedding will make parents on your guest list pretty happy. They get a chance to spend quality time with their little one during a special occasion. It also gives them an excuse to whip out the attire that transforms their kids into princes and princesses. Having children at your wedding also means that you'll benefit from the angelic faces that make unforgettable ring bearer and flower girl moments. Cons: With sleepy eyes, gyrating adults at an evening reception, and inappropriate musical tunes, a child at your wedding probably isn’t the best idea. A wedding taking place in a small, intimate setting will also seem claustrophobic to a child that isn’t used to being around a lot of strangers. At your wedding ceremony, a crying fit can erupt at any moment, possibly interrupting the exchange of your vows.
Photo by Jennifer Domenick of Love Life Images
The wedding cake is certainly the star attraction when it comes to sweets at a reception, but it doesn’t mean you can't serve other desserts at the same time. From dainty cupcake pyramids to mini-dessert buffets, a wealth of sugary treats is available to accompany your dream wedding cake. A few suggestions include:
1) Common Desserts with a Twist
Taking well-known desserts and transforming them into creative delicacies is a grand way to pamper your guests. Why don’t you select a couple of your favorite desserts, and add a special twist, such as:Spicing up crème brulee with a mocha flavoring Drenching unforgettable tiramisu with chocolate gouache Serving marscapone cheese tarts with fresh whipped cream Substituting ice cream for gelato or fresh-fruit sorbet
2) Cheesecake with Flair
Since this is your wedding, you probably want desserts with a bit of flair. Cheesecake is a popular dish, often drenched in strawberries with a dab of whipped cream. However, thanks to establishments, such as the Cheesecake Factory, you no longer have to settle for the same ol' flavors. Today, a wedding can trade in this strawberry-topped confection for the likes of pineapple, key lime, cookies and cream, orange cream, and Kahlua options.
3) Cultural Delights
If you have planned a wedding theme centered on a specific culture, there's no better time than now to whip out the German apple strudel, Danish dough ring cake, flan, Italian cookies, or sweet potato pie cups. If the bride and groom come from different backgrounds, it's exciting for guests to sample desserts from other cultures. I've seen some couples create adorable 'his' and 'hers' dessert buffets – situated side-by-side.
Photo by This Modern Romance
4) Desserts as Mini-Appetizers
While a large slice of apple pie sounds nice, it can also spoil the appetites of your guests. However, if you serve mini-sizes of your favorite desserts – you can keep their palates smiling with enough room for the main course and wedding cake at the end. Bite-sized delights may include: brownie bites with white chocolate sauce; mini ice cream sandwiches; chocolate balls; lemon tarts; and praline bites.
5) Dessert Drinks
Sometimes, desserts for weddings don’t have to include an item that you can sink your teeth into, but instead a treat that you sip, slurp, and guzzle. Coffee drinks as desserts may offer a spiked treat for adults with the addition of Kahlua, Irish cream, crème de menthe, and Frangelico. For under-age guests, consider smoothies, root beer floats, and milkshakes – which often turn out a hit with all ages.
While it is customary for the parents of the groom to host a rehearsal dinner for the married couple-to-be, anyone can step up to the plate for this event, including the beaming duo themselves. From choosing a suitable location and requesting a special menu, what would you like to see at your rehearsal dinner – an event that lets you get more acquainted with the in-laws, share laughs with the wedding party, and express your gratitude for support. A couple of rehearsal dinner ideas are found below:
Photo by: Atelier Pictures
What is a Rehearsal Dinner Anyway?
For some brides in the beginning stages of wedding planning, a rehearsal dinner is the last thing on her mind. She's worried about picking out the right cake flavor and hiring a wedding photographer. However, following the wedding rehearsal, a gathering of family and friends often takes place the night before the actual wedding is scheduled to take place. Keep in mind that this is not a requirement. There is no set-in-stone rule that says you have to share a meal with the wedding party before your big night. It is on the other hand, a nice way of saying thanks and getting to know everyone a little better.
A Rehearsal Dinner: What to Expect
Eating is not the only thing that takes place during a rehearsal dinner. The bride and groom will thank their loved ones and toast their families, as well as the wedding party. Informal toasts are also passed along at this time. It's not uncommon to see a 'mini roast' of the bride and groom, where silly stories and embarrassing memories are retold. Depending on the location, activities, games, and icebreakers take place. Some families join in on some sort of activity, such as shoot darts or play a friendly game of poker. Sometimes, bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts are given out.
Location & Decor
A rehearsal dinner can take place in the backyard of Mom's house or in the reception room of a four-star restaurant. Some families gather for a cozy picnic or BBQ in the park. Depending on the location, the rehearsal dinner could highlight the theme of the wedding or play off of your honeymoon destination. If allowed, a slideshow of memories adds a special touch. Parents may opt to bring in photos of the bride and groom from their childhood days.
If you are planning a rehearsal dinner in the comforts of your own home, consider the following suggestions for making this mini-celebration a success:
• Mixed drinks and 'virgin' alternatives
• Champagne punch
• Appetizer platters
• Entertainment: music and board games
• Disposable cameras
A nice little chunk of your wedding costs will go into satisfying your flower budget, as there are reception centerpieces to keep in mind, bridal bouquets to settle on, and ceremony décor to select. When sitting down to calculate your wedding budget, it's important not to forget all of the events and accessories of your wedding that require fresh blooms. As your mind begins to wonder if an important flower necessity has been overlooked, take a deep breath and consider the following:
Floral Design by Bows & Arrows, Photo by n.Barrett Photography
While the bridal bouquet is something that doesn’t slip the mind of a frantic bride, there are instances where the bridesmaids, flower girl basket, and maid/matron of honor bouquets have gone forgotten. Plus, what will you toss to the clamoring gaggle of single ladies looking for their next shot at love if you don’t order a bridal throw away bouquet.
A boutonniere is a floral decoration that men wear at special occasions. Typically, a single flower or bud is placed in their buttonhole of the lapel on a suit or tuxedo. A bride must order boutonnieres for the groom, best man, ushers, ring bearer, father of the bride and groom, and grandfathers.
At the wedding, the mother of the bride and groom, as well as grandmothers will wear a corsage – a collection of flowers placed on the wrist, shoulder or waist of a woman.
Photo by Blueberry Photography
Ceremony Flowers »
Depending on the location of your wedding ceremony, figure in decorations into your flower budget that includes selections for the main altar, aisle, aisle runners, or pews.
Reception Flowers »
Your flower budget should include floral centerpieces to liven up the head table, individual guest tables, gift table, buffet table, and bar. Flowers are also used to decorate seating cards. In some cases, fresh flowers are needed for the wedding cake.
Photo by Apryl Ann, Floral Design by Bows & Arrows
At the rehearsal dinner, flowers are used to create centerpieces that decorate the table that your wedding party will gather for a relaxing evening before the real festivities begin.
Don’t forget to add into your flower budget any floral accessories needed for wedding attire, including headpieces for flower girls. Some brides may even choose to wear a crown of flowers in her hair, especially if she's planning on a wedding with a tropical theme or one that takes place on a beach.
Let's face it – flowers are seasonal and when you want a June bloom in the middle of the wintertime, you're going to have to pay a hefty price or find a suitable alternative. With the help of cutting-edge commercial growing techniques, it is possible to enjoy a white tulip in December. However, no matter how much advancement has been made, there are times when requesting seasonal flowers outside of their peak growing period will not fit into your plans. I think it's time for a little lesson on seasonal flowers, don't you?
Knowing the best time of year for seasonal flowers can save a great deal of frustration when it comes time to choose your bridal bouquet or narrow down choices for your reception flowers. Luckily, a number of flowers possess a longer season or provide year-round choices. Just keep in mind that the price of seasonal wedding flowers is always lowest. They also ensure the best quality when purchased within their normal flowering season. Year-round flowers to keep in mind include:Roses Orchids Tropical blooms Lilies Anthuriums Gerberas (gerbera daisies)
Photo by Jen Huang Photography; Flowers by The Nouveau Romantics
Seasonal Flowers: Summer
The summertime brings a multitude of seasonal flowers that a bride may select. This is your chance to browse blue delphiniums, gladioli, and columbine (aquilegia). Look for irises that appear in late spring and continue growing throughout the summer. Roses are quite popular this time of the year with a variety of shades – ready for the bridal bouquet of your dreams. Summer themes work well with a mixed bouquet containing roses. Additional summer seasonal flowers for weddings include snapdragons, cockscomb, and nigella (often called Love-in-a-mist).
Seasonal Flowers: Spring
Tulips and fragrant hyacinths never looked better than in the springtime. These seasonal flowers are popular choices for weddings, alongside the large petals of pink peonies. Adding a hint of yellow to a bridal bouquet is the forsythia, which looks quite nice surrounded by Lily of the Valley. You should also keep in mind that the perfumed delight and delicate nature of Lily of the Valley carries a very short season – around April and May. They are also the most expensive of seasonal flowers for weddings.
Seasonal Flowers: Autumn
The autumn bride looking for seasonal flowers may take advantage of fiery oranges, bright yellows, and deep reds. Ranunculus usually makes an appearance – the genus of plants that includes the buttercup. A centerpiece utilizing Chinese lantern fruits (Physalis) can create a rather appealing display. To create eye-catching bridal bouquets and interesting centerpieces, consider the intriguing shape of the dahlia.
Photo by n.Barrett Photography, Floral Design by Bows & Arrows
Seasonal Flowers: Winter
Don't worry about not finding an assortment of seasonal flowers for a wedding set for the wintertime. For instance, cymbidium orchids are available all year round. Tropical flowers also bring flashes of color to weddings surrounded by snow. For the bride planning a Christmas wedding theme, consider dotting reception tables with amaryllis and holly. When adding finishing touches, consider red dogwood or the calm of pussywillow stems. Other wintertime blooms include red roses, carnations, calla lilies, poinsettias, and evergreens.
From monogrammed bags to personalized lockets, it's probably impossible to pour all the gratitude and love you feel in just one bridesmaid gift, but you'll have to pick something out and hopefully it will say more than just 'thank you.' With a bit of luck, some of the suggestions below will set you off on the right path towards selecting something memorable and appropriate for your bridesmaid gifts.
Photo: Jeff Loves Jessica
Traditional Bridesmaid Gifts
If you'd like to keep in line with traditional bridesmaid gifts, perhaps you'd like to concentrate on providing the lovely ladies in your life with jewelry for your wedding day. Matching necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even tiaras make great keepsakes. What about an engraved gift? Think silver jewelry boxes, lighters, flasks, toasting glasses, and key chains.
Bridesmaid Gifts on a Budget
When planning a wedding on a budget, you can still give sentimental bridesmaid gifts to your attending ladies. Never underestimate the power of an attractive gift bag. Helping out with a wedding takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. Don't you think your bridesmaids deserve a little relaxation? Create a goodie bag filled with scented candles, bubble bath, lotion, bath beads, and other soothing treats. What about the memories? And, when you're on a really tight budget, a box of chocolates is always a sweet way to say that you appreciate their presence at your wedding.
Luxury Bridesmaid Gifts
If you've really been a Bridezilla throughout the process of planning your wedding, then maybe you need to spring for bridesmaid gifts that truly pamper. Treat your bridesmaids to a day spa treatment. Purchase a beautiful cashmere sweater. Send your bridesmaids to a luxury hotel for one night, preferably one with a Jacuzzi. Perhaps, your bridesmaids have been neglecting their own better halves in order to help you plan your wedding, treat them both to a dinner for two at a ritzy restaurant. Silk nighties or pajamas are also quite special for the bridesmaids in your life.
Other Ideas for Bridesmaid Gifts
When looking for more ideas for bridesmaid gifts, allow your creativity to run wild. Consider their individual personalities and what would bring a smile to their faces. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Additional suggestions include:Cooking lessons with a master chef Free yoga sessions Handmade pottery Day of horseback riding Rock climbing adventure Scuba diving lessons MP3 player or iPod Tickets to a sporting event or concert Leather photo albums
See more ideas: Bow Gifts for Bridesmaids and Monogrammed Bridesmaid Gifts
Your wedding photos will be something you will cherish for the rest of your life. Whether it’s a picture of you and the groom holding hands or a close-up of your wedding cake, each time you see them you will relive the special feelings and emotions of your wedding day. This is why it’s so important to hire a great wedding photographer.
Consider the following questions to ask your photographer to ensure that you will get the kinds of photos you want:
1. What is your personal style or do you specialize in a particular style?
You want to know that your photographer and your desires are on the same page. If you want natural, beautiful shots and your photographer specializes in planned, orchestrated shots, you may not be happy with the results. Find out what his or her specialty is and how they plan to take the shots for your wedding.
2. Can I see samples of previous wedding photos you’ve done?
It’s very important to see samples of previous wedding photos from your potential photographer. This way, you can see the quality of the photos and how well the photographer captured the magic of the day. If you don’t like the looks of the sample wedding photos, perhaps you should interview another photographer.
3. Have you taken pictures at my wedding location before?
If your photographer is a good one, there is a chance he or she has taken photos at your wedding venue for another couple in the past. This is quite helpful, since the photographer will have a good idea of the lighting and setup of the location.
4. What sort of cameras will you be using?
Even if you have no idea what kinds of cameras a photographer is supposed to use, asking the question will give you an idea of the experience and knowledge of the photographer. If you want to make sure he or she is using appropriate equipment to meet your needs, look the cameras up later.
5. Can other individuals take pictures as well?
Some photographers ask that no one else take pictures because the flashes can interrupt the professional pictures. It may also distract the subjects of the photos and mess up the professional pictures. Be sure to ask this question so you can time the photo taking of your guests or yourself.
6. How soon after the wedding will the prints be available and will I receive negatives?
It’s important to know the cost of the photos, how soon they will be ready for you and whether or not you will receive the negatives. If you will, does the photographer charge you an extra fee for this?
By ensuring that you have good questions to ask your photographer, you can be sure that your wedding photos will be gorgeous, creating the perfect memento of your big day.
Photo by Union Photography
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Your reception is a beautiful chance for both you and your brand new spouse to entertain your loved ones as a married couple. From drinks and refreshments to dancing and toasts, the reception is often a favorite time for everyone; it’s more relaxed than the ceremony and couples have the chance to interact with their guests. This etiquette guide will help ensure that things go smoothly for your reception.
Photo by William Innes Photography, Venue: Hartley Botanica
The Reception Toasts
Typically, the reception toasts give the wedding party a chance to wish the couple well and reminisce about special memories – from the couples’ childhoods or when they met each other.
The bride’s father usually starts the toast, since the groom’s father typically takes the role of host. The bride’s dad may recall sentimental or humorous memories from his little girl’s life and either way, the guests are sure to be brought to laughter or tears. After the bride’s father, the groom will say a few words. He may thank guests for attending and talk a bit about his new wife before the best man shares his two cents.
This toast usually brings laughter and a few sidelong glances from the nervous couple.
It’s important that the best man refrain from bringing up past relationships of the groom’s, or anything that would truly embarrass or upset the happy couple.
Most best men are aware of this little unspoken rule – but you may have to warn yours! After the best man speaks, the maid of honor will offer her blessings and the happy couple may want to thank their guests again for attending.
The Reception Music
The reception music will set the tone for the first dance, the father and daughter dance, the cocktail hour and more. It’s important that the music is not only representative of the bride and groom – but that it doesn’t offend anyone attending. Consider your guest list before creating your music list and remember that your reception music must be enjoyed by people in a range of different age groups and with different personalities.
If children will be attending, be sure that the music is child-friendly. Remember also your parents and grandparents before playing anything they would consider disrespectful or rude. If you keep everyone in mind, you can select reception music that will be enjoyed by all.
The Reception ‘Mingling’
If you and your soon-to-be spouse will not have a receiving line for your reception, you should be sure to speak with each guest at least once. If you’re going to have a large reception with a lot of guests, you should consider the receiving line. Trying to make sure you have spoken to everyone throughout the night can be difficult – especially if more than 100 guests will be attending.
Consider which avenue will allow you to at least say hello to every single guest which attends your wedding. This can be an exhausting task, but the possibility of someone’s feelings getting hurt is too great when you speak to only some guests attending your reception.
The Reception Gifts
If you would like to open your gifts in front of your guests – wonderful! However, there is no etiquette rule which states that you must. Before deciding whether to do this, consider a few things. Will guests who did not bring a gift feel embarrassed? Also, if you will be hosting a very large ceremony with a lot of gifts, will the gift-opening take up the entire reception?
If the reception will be an intimate one with only family and a few close friends, opening the gifts in front of guests will be easier. Just be sure to display the same excitement for each gift and never allude to the fact that you don’t like a guest’s gift.
By following this handy etiquette guide, your reception will go very smoothly and everyone (including you) should have a wonderful time!
For most couples, the wedding ceremony, reception, and honeymoon create three of the biggest pieces of the matrimonial pie. When calculating your honeymoon budget, you'll be planning on much more than a hotel room and rental car. When you approach your honeymoon budget, consider the following factors:
Before the Honeymoon
Your honeymoon destination will play an important role regarding the costs associated with newlywed bliss. If you're traveling out of the country, passport fees can run you into the hundreds. Expediting the process will cost you an extra $60 per each passport. If you use a travel agent to book your honeymoon, make room for their fees. Many couples book online to save on the cost of travel arrangements. If you own a pet, make an allowance for kennel fees if you don’t have a sitter. Childcare will also cost, even if a relative has graciously stepped up to the plate to help. Additional fees include new clothes for your trip, guidebooks, maps, and travelers' cheque fees.
Most couples on a honeymoon choose to fly the friendly skies to their destination. Calculate the amount that two round-trip airline tickets will cost. Will you rent a car during your stay? Booking online with a website (like Travelocity) will help save you money. They will often ask if you'd like to purchase extra insurance for your rental car. It's suggested to comply. Also, don’t let a glitch in rules and regulations ruin your honeymoon. Research your destination's policy on international driver's licenses – you may need to pay for one. Other honeymoon transportation costs include train tickets, gas, tolls, and taxi fare.
Once again, booking your hotel accommodations online will save a great deal of money. In some cases, the flight and hotel are offered as a package deal for a real money-saving treat. Jot down the amount that a package room deal for the honeymoon suite or any other lodging selection will cost for the number of days you are planning on celebrating the aftermath of your wedding. Don't forget to include anticipated tipping of the valet and bellhop. For cruise passengers, don’t forget to add in the cost of tipping staff, port charges, and tours of local sights.
What honeymoon is complete if you don’t plan on sampling local eats about town? For the number of days during your stay, estimate the costs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t forget to make allowances for nights out (alcoholic beverages) and snacks. Include a bit of cash for tipping staff when eating out.
Activities and Entertainment
A honeymoon should be full of relaxation, cuddling, and fun. Activities and entertainment help elevate your overall experience. Wherever you wind up for your honeymoon, I bet you'll venture outside of your hotel room at least a couple of times. Local attractions are a draw for honeymooning couples who love taking photos of themselves floating on Venice waters or visiting the State Hermitage Museum in Russia. However, these sightseeing adventures come with a price. Set aside money in your budget for:Tours Admission fees to local attractions Activity charges (like golfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving) Equipment rental (like surfboard, skis, and mopeds) Gambling, when applicable Nightlife (drinks, comedy clubs, and cover charges)