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Wedding Budget

Wedding Budget
Here are more wedding budget tips for you! Remember, your wedding day is just ONE DAY but you could be paying for it for many days after. It should be beautiful, memorable, and most of all suit your style and taste. However, brides (and grooms) can go overboard if not kept within budget. To continue on
with our wedding budget strategies, here are five ways to keep you in check.
1) Wedding Attire
Would your groom feel more comfortable in a custom suit versus a tux? He could end up paying less and will have a suit to last him a lifetime(or at least until his waist band expands!) Do you require your wedding dress to be couture, or would you consider buying a dress off a site such as Pre-owned wedding dresses. Many people sell their dresses, veils, shoes, and other accessories after the big day because they feel like they could help out another bride-on-a-budget and could probably use the cash too!
2) Flowers & Other Décor
Some brides opt to use alternatives to fresh flowers for a unique twist on wedding décor. You can find great options through rental companies such as candelabras, votives, frames,vases with floating candles, and much more. However, let’s say you do want to use flowers in your wedding – using silk flowers gives you the same result, but also won’t wilt or die on you. Some flowers are very fragile
and cannot withstand harsh elements. You could end up saving a lot of loot if you choose silk versus fresh flowers in centerpieces.
3) Invites
In this modern day and age, a majority of people have access to the Internet, smartphones, etc.
Some couples will opt to go paper-free for their wedding and send their invites online using such services like Evite. Sending things electronically also means you do not have to pay for postage!
4) Music
DJs and bands can cost a fortune. With iTunes and other music sources, people can opt to create their own party list and simply press play. If you think you might miss out on the lasers, fog, and up lighting your reception hall may have this option as an up charge. Otherwise, there are vendors who simply offer services such as this and give good deals.
5) Pictures / Video
Pictures last a lifetime. However, they can sometimes be on the pricey side. If you have a friend whom is an amateur photographer, ask if they would be willing to photograph your wedding. Other small business photography businesses tend to give better discounts rather than the“cookie cutter”big-name companies. Sometimes you can negotiate and strike up a deal!
We hope these tips give you a better idea on how to prioritize, strategize, and budget your big day. Wedding budget doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan a head a few steps.

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!

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!

Resolutions to Common Wedding Woes

Planning a wedding can be the most magical time in your life, but it can also create the greatest conflicts. It’s common to face disagreements and disappointments during the process. Here are a few helpful resolutions for some of the most common wedding arguments:

Problem: He doesn’t care about the wedding details.

Resolution: Task your man with specific tasks related to the wedding that might be of interest to him. To get your groom involved, ask him to plan the honeymoon, help with a reception playlist, or sample food from the caterer. By delineating specific responsibilities, he’s less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to start helping.

Problem: You hate each other’s attendants.

Resolution: You may not agree with your fiance’s choice of best man, or he might go crazy at the thought of spending so much time with your maid of honor, but the important thing is to be supportive and understanding of each other’s decision. The wedding is a huge moment in both of your lives and it’s imperative that you surround yourself with the people that mean the most to you as individuals. If serious issues arise, talk to your partner about your concerns so they can be addressed before the wedding day.

Problem: He thinks you’re being a wedding-obsessed bridezilla.

Resolution: The truth of the matter is, if he’s accusing you of bridezilla behavior, you might just be guilty. Set aside time for the two of you where the wedding is off-limits. No conversations, no magazines, no color swatches. Make time to be together and enjoy one another’s company without the stress of the wedding hanging over your heads.

Problem: His guest list is too long and/or includes people you don’t care for.

Resolution: If the guest list is too long and you’re concerned about finances, have an honest conversation. Work together on trimming guests for both of your lists, or set a specific number of guests that you’re each allowed to invite, taking into consideration the size of your families. If there are people on the list that you wish not to be included, offer an explanation, but make sure your reasons are valid. Don’t be persuaded by old grudges or petty jealousies by the presence of an old flame or former friend.

Problem: He doesn’t agree with how the money is being spent.

Resolution: Have a budget meeting. Sit down and discuss the various expenditures associated with the wedding and how you both feel the finances would best be divided. If he wants more cash in the honeymoon fund and you’re holding out for a designer dress, figure out other areas to compromise and cut costs so you can both be happy with the outcome.

Wedding Favors 101

Most brides provide wedding guests with favors as a token of appreciation and love. While wedding favors aren’t an absolute necessity, they are a nice gesture to thank family and friends for joining you on your big day. Here are few basics of finding the perfect wedding favors…

Budget:

Set a budget for the overall expense of favors and then determine how simple or elaborate they’ll be based on the number of guests in attendance.

You can save major cash by purchasing favors in bulk, especially through an online retailer.

Cut costs by giving one favor to each couple instead of individuals.

Make favors perform double duty as place cards or centerpieces.

Depending on the number of guests, why not try making homemade favors to save cash?

Made-from-scratch sweets or a hand-painted gift can make a fabulous favor without breaking the bank.

Time:

When selecting a favor, be sure to plan for assembly time. If you’re planning to give out boxes or bags of treats, remember they’ll need to be packaged at some point, and if they contain perishable foods, you’ll have to assemble them in the days before the wedding.

Save time by selecting a favor that requires little to no work, like prepackaged gifts that can be laid out at each guest’s seat.

Be sure that everyone receives a favor by selecting a time and place for their distribution.

Set favors on each plate, create a favor station by the exit with an easy-to-read sign, or task waiters or ushers with the responsibility of distributing favors as guests arrive or leave the reception.

Eliminate your job altogether by requiring guests to assemble their own favors. Set up a cutesy candy stand with bags or boxes for guests to grab their own sweet treats.

Presentation:

Like every other aspect of your wedding, presentation is everything. Package favors in cute or interesting ways that complements the wedding theme and décor. Online retailers and craft stores sell everything from colored bags to craft boxes and ribbon to create a fun and stylish wrapped favor.

Choose favors in the same color or theme as your wedding. For a holiday affair, pass out Christmas ornaments or frosted gingerbread men, while a jar of jam or basket of fruit is perfect for a rustic outdoor gathering.

Spruce up any item with a personalized tag tied to the top including your names and wedding date, expressions of your thanks, or a meaningful quote.

The arrangement of favors can be artful in their own right—stack them together to create chic centerpieces, hang them from a fabric-covered corkboard, or add a splash of color to place settings by centering them on dinner plates.

5 Tips for Planning a Bachelor Party

As the best man or groomsmen, you have a huge responsibility: planning the bachelor party. The bachelor party is considered the last night of freedom because it is traditionally held the night before the wedding. However, today, the bachelor party is more about celebrating your relationship with groom and the adventure he is about to take. Here are a few tips for planning one of the most exciting nights (or days) of the groom’s life.

Be Picky About the Date

Traditionally, the bachelor party was the night before the wedding, but this is less common today. While it is okay to do a little celebrating before the big day, you don’t everyone to be tired and hung over the day of the wedding. You also have to consider the dates of other wedding events such the shower and rehearsal dinner. Be sure to check the date with the bride and groom, and don’t be afraid of planning it a few weeks or more before the wedding.

Think Outside the Box

On TV, the bachelor typically consists of drinking and half naked girls. This doesn’t have to be the case, unless it is what the groom wants. There are plenty of fun activities and cool places to host a bachelor party. Don’t be afraid to do something unusual. Those are usually the best parties.

Always Remember the Groom

The bachelor is all about the groom. If he has special requests, try to accommodate them. If he says he absolutely does not want to go to a strip club, respect that. Also, consider his interests and dreams. Is there something he’s always wanted to do but has never had the chance? Does he have a hobby that would be a fun activity? The goal is to plan an event that will be fun and memorable for the groom.

Don’t Forget to Talk about Money

You need to have the money talk with the groom, groomsmen and potentially the guests as soon as possible. You don’t want anyone to be surprised the day of. Discuss who is responsible for paying for what as well as how much everyone is comfortable spending. When you plan the bachelor party, be sure to keep the budget and payment arrangement in mind.

Have Fun

No matter what, have fun. Plans don’t always work out, but a bachelor party is what you make of it. If you want it to be a night to remember, make it one. Now, go celebrate the groom!

5 Unusual Places to Find a Wedding Dress

Wedding gowns can range in cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars. While some brides have no problem spending a lot of money on a dress, other brides don’t have the funds or desire to buy an expensive gown. For those brides on a budget, there are options that can save you money. Here are five unusual places you can find a wedding dress.

Online

Online stores are a great place to find deals. Prices are often lower because it costs the business less money to operate. You can also find used dresses online. A good place to begin your search is Ebay. There you can find both new and used gowns.

Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops

Since bridal gowns are only worn once, they are typically in good shape after the wedding day. It will require some searching, but you might be able to find a pretty dress at a thrift store or consignment shop. To make it your own, you can add embellishments and make alternations.

Dry Cleaners

Most dry cleaners have a rack of items that were never picked up. To purchase, you typically have to pay the cleaning cost, which is usually $8-$20. Occasionally, brides will take their dress to get cleaned but forget to pick it up.

Friends and Family

Most relatives and close friends would be more than happy to let you wear their dress. After all, it is simply sitting in a closet or attic anyway. This is a great way to honor someone who is important to you. If they are willing to let you, you can add embellishments or make alternations to make the dress your own.

Department Stores

Most brides turn to bridal stores to shop for their dress, but who says you have to wear a “bridal” gown. You can find beautiful dresses in normal clothing stores. If you want to spruce up a simple dress, you can add embellishments.

We’d love to know, would you ever consider purchasing your wedding dress from one of these unusual places?

How to Help Wedding Guests Save Money on Hotel Rooms

Whether you have a lot of out of town guests, are hosting a destination wedding or just have guests who don’t want to drive after the reception, many of your wedding guests may ask your advice on reserving a hotel room. Most likely, they will ask you where to book a room as well how to save money at local hotels. A 2007 report done by Smith Travel Research revealed that the average U.S. hotel room price is now over $100 per night, so many guests may be concerned about cost. However, don’t get discouraged. According to Daniel from ChicagoHotels.org, there are two easy ways your out of town guests can save money on a hotel room.

Consider Business Hotels

According to Daniel, hotels that cater to business guests often offer discounts on the weekends. This is because their main clientele only need rooms during the week. It is a basic example of supply and demand. During the week, prices are higher because demand is higher. However, on the weekends, prices are lower because demand is lower. To find a hotel that typically caters to business travelers, simply do a little online research and make a few phone calls to local hotels. You may want to make a list of hotels in your area that typically cater to business professionals and then share this information with your wedding guests.

Wait Until the Last Minute

It is common knowledge that waiting until the last minute is the best way to score great travel deals. This applies to everything from hotel rooms to flights. This is because companies lose money if they do not fill up their hotel rooms or plane seats, so they are willing to offer steep discounts to fill up those seats at the last minute. The downside to this approach is risking the possibility of not being to get a hotel room or flight that meshes with your wedding schedule. Avoid this tactic if you are planning a wedding on a holiday weekend. Travel arrangements are best made in advance for busy weekends. However, this may be a good option for local guests who don’t want to drive home after the wedding because they can always make other arrangements if they have trouble finding a room.

While you can share helpful information with your wedding guests, you are not responsible for booking the rooms for them. Give them the information they need to make an informed decision that fits with their personal finances; then let them handle the rest. After all, you are planning a wedding!

Pre-Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

As the wedding day draws closer, there are so many tasks to oversee and arrangements to make, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. Prevent wedding day disaster by avoiding these major pre-wedding mistakes:

1. Ignoring the Budget: As difficult and often annoying as it is to plan (and stick to) the wedding budget, it’s absolutely imperative. When you and your spouse start your new life as husband and wife, you don’t want to be buried under mounds of debt. There are a vast number of online resources, smart phone apps, and books/magazines that will help you compile a reasonable and specific budget. Take advantage of these resources to ensure that you can have the wedding of your dreams and still afford to eat afterwards.

2. Inviting Too Many Guests: The pressure to include more guests than you originally planned for can be significant, but you have to stand your ground. Be sure that you don’t invite more guests than you have the capacity to host at the wedding or reception site. Talk to the coordinators at both venues about the maximum number of guests each facility will hold and plan accordingly. Don’t assume that X amount of people will turn down the invitation. If all else fails, you can send out a second round of invitations to guests you’re on the fence about once you receive RSVPs from guests who can’t attend. Reception Seating Guide

3. Ordering Dresses Too Late: If you’re planning on having your wedding or bridesmaids dresses custom-made, you’ll need to leave at least six months for the designer to complete the task. If you’re purchasing from a bridal store, you’ll still need to allow time for the dresses to be ordered, shipped, and altered. Trash The Dress Store Your Dress

4. Forgetting To Book Hotel Rooms: If you have a large number of out-of-town guests joining you for the wedding, you need to reserve a block of hotel rooms in advance. It’s most convenient to have all wedding guests staying at 1-2 hotels, near the wedding site, for transportation. Although it can be challenging to estimate the number of guests that will be traveling in for the wedding, it’s imperative that you book the hotel rooms well in advance. Most hotels will give you a special rate for your guests and will allow you to cancel rooms within a few days/weeks of the ceremony. Be sure to include hotel information in the wedding invitation or save-the-date mailing.

5. Screwing Up The Marriage License: Every state and county has different laws and rules about marriage licenses so do your research ahead of time to ensure that your wedding will be legal. For example, in Illinois there is a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and marriage licenses are only good for 60 days from the date they’re issued. So make sure you plan to apply for your marriage license more than one day, but less than 61 days before your nuptials.

6. Trying a New Diet or Beauty Regimen: While you clearly want to look your best on your wedding day, go about it a healthy way. There’s nothing wrong with eating right and working out to drop some unwanted pounds, but don’t try any last-minute, extreme dieting plans before the wedding. And definitely steer clear of any new beauty regimens in the immediate days before the ceremony. Crazy diets and new beauty treatments can have adverse effects that can leave you looking splotchy, sunburned, sick, or broken out. Bridal Beauty Kit

Honeymoon Planning

The wedding is over, the stress has been lifted, and you’re officially someone’s spouse. What better way to celebrate than a relaxing vacation? In all the hype and anxiety of planning a wedding, it’s easy to forget that your hard work will be rewarded with a honeymoon! Consider it the light at the end of the sometimes arduous wedding planning tunnel. Here are a couple of helpful tips to plan a successful and fun honeymoon getaway:

Set a budget: By now, you should be used to figuring out a budget. Your honeymoon is a vital part of the wedding festivities so don’t forget to factor in the cost ahead of time.
Choose a Destination: Once you’ve established a budget, you can determine where you’re heading. Three-week tour of Europe or long weekend at a nearby resort? Brainstorm with your spouse-to-be about vacation spots you’d love to visit together. Consider returning to a place that has special value to you as a couple or choose a new place to explore together.
Make Arrangements: As the wedding day draws near, you don’t want the hassle of making last-minute vacation plans. Purchase plane tickets, get passports, and book your hotel well ahead of time so there’s no added stress shortly before the wedding. Plus, as an added bonus, you can often save serious cash by booking months ahead of time or watching for Internet specials.
Add Extras: If you and your spouse want to embark on excursions or tours during your honeymoon, book them ahead of time. You can often find deals online if you book in advance. Set aside an afternoon or evening to research the adventurous, romantic, or fun options available near your honeymoon hotel. Sign up for snorkeling, register for a wine tour, make reservations for a couples massage, or purchase tickets to a concert or play months in advance.
Research: Take time to research the best restaurants, shopping, landmarks, and attractions in the area where you’ll be staying. If your hotel has a concierge, they can typically recommend local favorites, but it pays to do a little research on your own to find noteworthy spots you might otherwise miss altogether.
Shop: Make a packing list of anything you might need for your vacation (new swimsuits, camera, shoes, apparel, luggage, etc) and plan a shopping trip. This is, after all, the only honeymoon you’ll ever take (hopefully) so splurge on a new dress/suit, swimsuit, or hiking gear. Whatever you need to make your trip a success, purchase ahead of time.

Pack: This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you do it well in advance of the wedding. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to pack for a week or longer the day before your wedding when you’re dealing with parties, brunches, the rehearsal, and welcoming out of town guests. Try to pack the majority of your suitcase the week before the wedding, leaving room for last-minute additions like toiletries. You’ll be grateful that the task is completed in those precious, busy days leading up to the wedding.

Other helpful tips:

  • Don’t book your outgoing flight too early in the morning the day after the wedding. It’s going to be a late night and you’ll thank yourself later for allowing a few extra hours to sleep in, visit with friends/family, and/or enjoy brunch.
  • Pack the camera! Don’t forget the camera to document your first vacation as a married couple.
  • If you book the tickets with the bride’s new last name, make sure you bring a copy of the marriage license to the airport. Typically, it’s easier to use maiden names on all reservations and avoid the hassle altogether.