Wedding Budget Strategies

Wedding Budget Strategies

 

Time is of the essence after getting engaged. That is, unless you plan on hiring someone to take care of all the details i.e. a wedding planner, which by the way runs on an average of $2,500 to $4,000. To help guide you, here are 5 ways to help maximize your wedding budget strategy.

1) Prioritize – Right away, you will want to prioritize your most important aspects of the wedding to your fiancé and you. Will the groom just die if you do not have a Hummer limo? Or, are photos more important to you? They do last a lifetime!

2) In-season / Off-season – Having your wedding during the most popular wedding months are a key indicator that your costs will reflect this as well. A wedding budget strategy here is important because you don’t want to be blind sided by the cost of a venue during certain times of the year.

3) Day of the Week- Saturdays typically tend to be the most popular day to host a wedding. However, many vendors will give deep discounts for choosing a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. If you really like a venue, but the Saturday prices are too steep, consider having the event on an “off” day.

4) Limit Guest List- This might not make you the most favored person, but friends and family whom understand that budget is a big factor should understand. Be choosy about whom you invite. Don’t feel obligated to invite people that aren’t very important to you or you have lost touch with. Just because you were invited to your friend from college’s wedding five years ago does not mean you must invite her to your event.

5) Location, Location, Location – Your location definitely impacts tax, gratuity, and other factors. If you choose a ritzy hotel in the city versus a banquet hall in a rural area you are likely to pay less just because of location alone. Take into consideration that these places also may charge for parking, valet, etc. There are many decisions to consider and finding what is most important is the best way to help figure out where to splurge and where to be conservative.

 

Wedding budget strategies aren’t hard but they do require work on your part. Just take it one step at a time and breathe!

Wedding Organization

Tips & Tricks for Wedding Organization
Planning a wedding is arguably one big, long test of organization and time management. Staying on top of things is KEY, or the whole process can get really overwhelming and out of hand if you aren’t keeping track of everything.
Here are our tips for staying organized while planning your wedding:
1. Get yourself a binder and some dividers, and make your own wedding organizer. Fill it as you go with inspiration photos, vendor contracts, business cards, and anything else you get that you need to keep track of.
2. Do most of your communication through email so there is written documentation of everything. You can print it out and put it in your binder.
3. Find a calendaring system that works for you. Whether it be a planner or on your Smartphone calendar, keep this with you at all times!
4. Have an individual document (either on the computer or on paper) to track wedding financials.
  • Each group contributing to the wedding financially (if you have multiple parties paying), showing their total contribution, anything they have paid so far, and the balance left over
  • Each vendor showing total cost, amount paid, balance,and whether there are any refundable deposits (e.g., our venue has one)
  • Miscellaneous money-related items to take note of (e.g., amount of cash needed on hand the dayof the wedding for vendor tips)
5. This may sound silly, but having a planner and binder won’t do you any good unless you actually USE it. Wedding organization in the form of binders are great but you need to be sure to keep updating them. So make sure to keep them handy and that way you won’t miss a meeting or (worse) a payment!
Follow these tips and you get to feel the sweet relief of knowing all your wedding organization is under control and at your fingertips anytime.

Hiring Vendors

The How-To’s of Hiring Vendors

 

How do you hire vendors? How do you know which match is right for you or who to trust? Where do you go for advice? First of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed, frustrated or
confused. It’s not like you plan a wedding every day! This is all probably brand new to you, so be patient with yourself.
Do Your Homework. When hiring vendors you’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a wedding professional if you do a little background homework first. Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been married. Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available. Get an idea of what you like and don’t like. Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource. This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.
Meet With Them. An in-person meeting is the best way to interview a potential wedding vendor. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism. If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.
Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions when hiring vendors! Make sure you get clear, specific answers to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep asking questions until you completely understand. If a wedding vendor has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the one for you. The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to help you make the best choices for
your wedding.
Here are 8 questions to ask when hiring vendors and/or your potential wedding professionals:
How many weddings do you do per year? How much experience do you have?
How much do you cost?
How much is the deposit?
What specifically is included in that cost?
What happens if I cancel? What happens if you cancel?
Do you use a contract?
Are there any additional fees?
Do you carry liability insurance?
Listen. Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen. Watch the vendor’s body language. Are they confident and comfortable with their response? Do they look and sound nervous? Do you get a “funny feeling” about them? Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their verbal responses; if your gut tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
Check References. Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not represent the “average” wedding performance. Videos are edited for the optimum presentation. But real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake.
When hiring vendors for your wedding it’s important you feel good about them. They’ll provide great service and you’ll get the wedding day of your dreams!

The Second Time Around

The Second Time Around
Is this your second time around on the marriage thing? Not that long ago, popular thought dictated that second weddings should not be elaborate, formal or extravagant; rather, one should aim for smaller, quieter and more intimate. Today however, more than 30 percent of today’s weddings are second weddings and decidedly more commonplace. The focus is on celebrating two people who have found each other, discovering love again and embarking on a new beginning. In truth, celebrations can be as elaborate or as intimate as we desire,without fearing social stigma.
Announcing your engagement is supposed to be fun! When planning your second wedding, one of your major concerns will be the effect it has on your children, if involved. They should be the first to know of your decision to remarry. After all, you will be uniting two families, and two sets of children will naturally experience stress.
Your parents should be informed next, followed by your ex, if you have joint custody. Your ex may be an asset when it comes to reassuring your children about their role in the new family. The second time around can be tricky but hopefully everyone has moved on and is happy for you.
Tips:
  • Don’t wear engagement rings from the past. Once you begin planning and announcing the news, all signs of former loves should disappear.
  • If hosting your engagement party, do not expect gifts. We don’t host gift giving events for ourselves.
  • Whom to Invite? When planning your special event, realize that you can invite anyone you want to your wedding. You may want to avoid inviting former in-laws and ex-spouses, even if you’re on good terms. It could be socially awkward.

 

For a couple entering into a second marriage, wedding plans aren’t necessarily less elaborate. Many brides and grooms pull out all the stops for their second‘I do’s. If you are planning a second wedding, here are some things to keep in mind:
  • If you want to wear a traditional white wedding gown, go for it. The‘no white’rule has been abolished.
  • Registering for gifts is perfectly acceptable. If you already have all the household items you need, consider setting up a honeymoon registry.
  • If you are divorced and want to have a church wedding, check with the cleric well before your wedding date to make sure the church permits second weddings. If you get turned away, try a nondenominational minister.
  • Consider a destination wedding. They are a popular option for second weddings.
  • If you have kids, involve them. This is a great way to prevent them from feeling alienated and to help them get excited about your nuptials.

The Second time around in marriage can be a great new beginning for you and your groom!

Wedding Stress

Wedding Stress
Wedding stress can come in various forms but how you deal with it can make it easier or harder to bear. You will experience ebbs and flows of the wedding process. And, stress will definitely be a five letter word you will experience. You will have so many details that consume your life, it can be quite stressful. However, it’s important to“not sweat the small stuff.”
It sounds a lot easier than it is. From bad etiquette to breached contracts to drama in your wedding party….it’s possible you may experience all or some of these situations. I could say grin and bear it, but that will only make you want to tear your hair out. There are some ways that you can unwind and naturally have some breathing room.
1. Assign roles and responsibilities to family members and bridal party

Everyone could use a little help here and there. Know your limits. If you don’t think you can handle a certain task, do not be afraid to ask your family and or bridesmaids. That is what they are there for. Remember when you asked them to stand by you on your wedding day? Well, they don’t just get to wear a pretty dress and smile. They should get their hands a little dirty too. They may not know you need help and you can’t assume someone will ask you. Don’t be a martyr.

2. Make sure to have fun
You’re getting married! You’re not planning a funeral. This is supposed to be a happy time filled with wonderful memories not nervous breakdowns and tears. Plan regular dates with your mate, and don’t forget your friends! A wine night with girlfriends or a fun night out of dancing may just be the remedy!
3. Do not let it consume your life
Don’t be obsessed with your wedding planning such that you only eat, sleep and breathe“the big day.”Remember you still have yourself, friends, and families to mingle with. Spend a day or two each month to hang out with your friends! Set aside every Friday to have a date with your prince and don’t talk about your wedding planning. Just like good old days. Free to chat about anything, except your wedding.
4. Exercise often and regularly
Not only will this help with toning up for your day, but also give you some“me time”and clear your head. There are many benefits to being physically fit both mentally and physically.

Technology and Weddings

Technology & Weddings
Technology and weddings can go hand in hand! Why not incorporate technology into your wedding? Technology is ingrained in our everyday lives from Skype, text, apps, hashtags, and smartphones.
From a live broadcast feed of your ceremony on Skype to displaying your vows on a screen whilst reading them from your iphone, these are just some of the ways people have gone about using these tools to enhance their special moment. You could save up to $360 using technology!
1) Use your Phone
Technology and weddings can mean lots of phone use. On these phones are wedding websites and apps. Brides are using these devices more than you think. 69% of brides have a personal wedding website, 58% of brides are using their smartphones to take and share wedding-related pictures. 1 in 5 brides use a mobile app to plan, shop, or register for their wedding.
2) Guests Capture & Share Video
Video just isn’t for the wedding day anymore. Brides are having a blast making fun of the silly things they’ve said and done during their wedding planning. Over 25% of videos are captures on Smartphones. Save$1,400 by asking your guests to record and send you the videos to create a DIY wedding story. Storymixmakes it easy with a mobile app, HD camera rentals, and custom editing services.
3) Reception Fun
Have access to a big projection screen or a big white wall? Instead of using it for a slideshow, use it for epic video game fun that most people can’t get at home on their small screens. Replace the game with your favorites like Rock Band or Wii Play, and you’ll have a reception activity that will have guests forming a line.
4) Social Media
This isn’t the first time cell phones have been at the altar. You’ve probably seen a YouTube video or two where a bride or groom whips out their cell phone to update their Facebook status or post a tweet. Have you ever seen it as a part of the ceremony, though? Before the groom is allowed to kiss his bride, they must update their Facebook statuses. Cool or cheesy? Maybe you’re not into having mobile technology used that way during a wedding—we can understand that.
But what if mobile technology could allow people, that otherwise couldn’t, be a part of your wedding? As we mentioned, not all guests can make it for your big day,so what if you could bring them to the wedding through FaceTime? As mentioned earlier, consider how to incorporate technology into your wedding planning process. Such a method can allow for consistency in information sharing and time management. Take a moment to give it a try and see how this affects your planning.

Unwanted Guests

Guests You Don’t Want to Invite…But Should
There will always be those unwanted guests that you are obligated to invite to the wedding. If you are receiving financial assistance from your parents or future in-laws- expect this situation to pop up, maybe more than once. However, there are just some people you will have to learn to accept are coming to your wedding even if you aren’t thrilled about the concept. There are five exceptions to the rule that you should (re)consider when sending out those invites. They include:
1) Your Debbie Downer Friend
She’s anti-social, and worse a wedding hater. Sure, you can love her regardless, but will she be so welcoming and open to the L-O-V-E concept on YOUR big day? Well, let’s hope so! If you are considering inviting the wedding basher, sit down with her prior to the event and feel out her mood as to how she feels about coming to your special day. We hope she will put her own feelings aside about marriage and come support you in your decision of marrying the man of your dreams.
2) Your Boss
I’m sure they have heard every little detail of your big day, and it doesn’t seem right to NOT invite them. I even bet you’ve probably done a bit of online perusing for your wedding in general on work time. And, I’m sure they are very aware of this. It’s a traditional concept to invite your boss, but the people you spend the most time with are your coworkers and boss they should be included if your guest list allows for the people. After all, this is the person that decides your salary and PTO!
3) Your Parent’s Best Friends Forever
Sure, you’ve known Mr. and Mrs. So and So for years and years, but do you really want them at your wedding? This is one of those sticky situations because I’m sure your parents have probably attended their daughters or son’s weddings. Think of it this way, I’m sure you’re parents feel like they would have a fun time with them and they will be generous to you in their gift-giving.
4) Extended Cousins
If you have a ginormous family, consider having some hard and fast rules about the guest list-“No second cousins under the age of 18” or “No second cousins at all.” Some of these little details will help keep the list short and sweet and your sanity! However, let’s say you have a very close second cousin to you that is your age range, and you are very close with her. Well, she makes the cut off, right? You don’t have to explain yourself, but if people question you at least you have rules in place!
5) Mr. Slick Rick
The last unwanted guest you should consider inviting includes you fiance’s “interesting” friends. This can include the Casanova who will hit on anything with a pulse. This guy seems to be funny and endearing when you all are out in a group setting; however, it does not seem too appealing at your wedding. Prior to the event you can respectfully ask your husband-to-be if he’d have a word with his friend and ask him to be on his best behavior.
There’s no right or wrong guest list and unwanted guests can make the wedding awkward. But also keep in mind this is your day and no matter how they try to undermine it, all eyes are on you and your groom!

Wedding Theme

How Important is a Wedding Theme?
To answer the question in the title; in one world- very, very important! The theme of your wedding pretty much dictates a lot of your day. It’s based on what type of couple you truly are–traditional versus non-traditional. Choosing a preppy theme versus a Halloween party versus a British theme will set the tone for the entire day.
When searching for wedding ideas and wedding inspiration, you’ll be faced with seemingly endless options.Having a wedding theme, however, will allow you to edit out things that don’t work. Most people don’t see a need for a wedding theme. Of course, the theme for any wedding is “marriage.” However, when all the little planning details start to come together, you should have some cohesion to everything.
Themes are meant to be carried out throughout everything in your wedding from your invites to your linens. Are you rustic chic or modern and cutting edge? Blurring the line is fine, but setting the tone also sets the tone for your guests. You would not want your friends and family to show up to an event dressed inappropriately or not having some kind of expectations when they walk into the event.
As mentioned above, if you were to choose a Halloween themed wedding and you wanted your guests to dress up in costumes that expectation needs to be vocalized. Do not ever assume that your guests will just know to dress like Superman or on the other hand, for a black tie event. It is in your best interest to be clear about expectations. If you find that you cannot figure out the theme of your wedding, go peruse wedding websites such as Style Me Pretty, Engaged& Inspired and others to find some styles that suit your taste. Understanding your likes and dislikes is the first of many choices you are faced with.

Muslim Wedding

Muslim Wedding Traditions
Muslim couples plan weddings which reflect their unique cultural backgrounds. Muslim marriages throughout North America often reflect the diversity of the Muslim population. In the United States, only about 19 percent of Muslims are African American or Anglo American. The rest are immigrants or people with family ties to the Arabworld, South Asia, Iran, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and other regions in the world.
If you are celebrating a traditional Muslim wedding, chances are you will want to incorporate the following into your big day. This includes the marriage contract, a divine injunction, and the marriage banquet to seal the deal.
Al-Nikah: the Islamic Marriage Ceremony
Marriage is a solemn and sacred social contract between the bride and groom. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. In this contract, any terms and conditions seen fit by both the bride and groom are made apart. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract is then announced publicly.
Mahr
Following the contract signing, the marriage-gift (Mahr) is presented as a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract. Mahr is a token commitment of the husband’s responsibility and may be paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself.
The Marriage Banquet (Walima)
After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and
friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are
invited to the marriage feasts. It is not unheard of to have hundreds of people at a Muslim wedding.
Muslim weddings are viewed as social events that are not to be missed! Family, friends, and acquaintances are invited to celebrate the newlywed’s new life together as man and wife.

Church Shopping

Church Shopping
Church shopping can be as easy as your home church but sometimes it’s harder to find the right place for your ceremony! You might have always imagined yourself walking down the aisle of your hometown church since you were a little girl. However, your fiancé might not feel the same way. There are some things to consider before choosing the right church for your wedding nuptials. Such as, does your church allow for photographers or videographers? If not, that might be a huge part that you’re missing out on.
Who just wants to watch the reception of their wedding day? Sure, it sounds fun, but the wedding ceremony is important! Or, if they do allow these vendors in the church premises, are they confined to a certain spot or do they have free reign to move about the ceremony to capture the best shots? Wedding Décor such as aisle runners, flowers, bows, signs, etc are extras entirely left up to the church ifthey are allowed or not. Do you dream of walking down
the aisle with the white aisle runner rolled out sprinkled with an array of beautiful rose petals? Some churches don’t allow that. Make sure you ask the question.
When church shopping you also need to check on prices of the church. Often times, churches refer to this as your“donation.” Consider yourdonation paying for the church to keep it air-conditioned, well-groomed and maintained, the musicians and cantors paid, and so on. Some churches often ask for $1,000 to cover these fees. Also, you may be asked to partake in religious classes which also cost money and are mandatory.
Ask your church if you are allowed to bring in your own minister or a visiting pastor. Remember the example
from above? Well, your hometown church might not suit your fiancé and you, but bringing the pastor, priest, or presiding religious officiant is the next best option! Make sure there is a solid contract written up that covers insurance, medical accidents, etc. What if your klutzy brother trips and busts his face open on the marble floor while making his entrance to the church. Expect the unexpected bride-to-be!
By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to choose the right church for you and your fiancé.