Bride or not, finding chic outfit choices at amazing prices is ALWAYS an appealing headline. Here are our picks for great resources when it comes to summer dressing for the Guest and Bride that will make you and your wedding budget very, very happy for years ( or seasons) to come.
Old Navy: If you are a big blog reader, you know that pairing affordable items from Old Navy with your closet staples is a no-brainer especially for summer. And when they rolled out their summer dress collection full of crisp whites perfect for pre-wedding events, we just about fell over. Whether you are packing maxi dresses for your Honeymoon or simple white minis, they have you covered. Plus, their online summer sales are no joke. Most days of the week you can checkout with a code for 35% off your entire order!
Loft: Best known for their smart wear-to-work pieces, Loft is upping their game for incredibly priced summer wear. Thanks in part to their partnership with the ultra chi line, Lou& Grey, their fun skirts, jumpsuits, and crazy chic beachwear will take your from rehearsal to sipping cocktails oceanside for your Honeymoon.
Chicwish: A newbie, but a goodie. Chicwish has also become a major name in blogger favorites. Mostly because of their CRAZY good prices and trendy pieces. Full midi skirts in fun florals, and bright prints for wedding guests, they have pretty much every aspect covered. For lace detail that would cost you hundreds at Neiman Marcus, Chicwish lets you explore trends that are within budget and gives you options for all of your upcoming events. Join their email list and get 25% off your order too!
When setting a wedding date, couples tend to automatically begin by looking at Saturday afternoons. While there are certainly many advantages to having a Saturday wedding, an alternative that has become increasingly popular is the Friday wedding.
If you decide to have your wedding on a Friday, you’ll reap several rewards: both financial and otherwise. You’ll save time, you’ll probably save a significant amount of money, and you’ll find that your guests may appreciate having a Saturday free to spend time with you and the other guests they know.
Before discounting this option for the sake of tradition, consider the following five benefits of hosting your wedding on a Friday.
Maximize Your Dollar
For Friday weddings, the majority of banquet facilities, photographers, video producers, musicians/entertainers, and limousine services are much more willing to negotiate in order to reach a price that suits your budget. Vendors tend to see Friday as a bonus day, a time when they can earn income. Savings on these services can really add up, making this option a great way to save money without having to sacrifice the quality of your wedding.
On a Friday, you’ll probably have your wedding in the evening, which means that the ceremony is followed immediately by dinner. This means that you will avoid the extra cost and hassle of a one-to-two-hour interim reception or cocktail party. Having the ceremony and reception back to back may ensure more people at the church ceremony.
Friday wedding ceremonies offer the opportunity of creating a dramatic, romantic ambiance that starkly contrasts that of a bright spring afternoon. If you’ve dreamed of a candlelit wedding ceremony, dancing under the stars, or elegant evening gowns for your bridesmaids, a Friday wedding might be for you. If you live in a particularly warm climate, an evening ceremony can also help your guests to escape the uncomfortable heat and sun.
Time with Guests
When out-of-town guests come in for a Saturday wedding, they usually have to leave early the next day in order to make it back for work and school on Monday. With a Friday wedding, you have the option to take the whole day on Saturday to spend with out-of-town friends and family. Though it is probably less convenient for guests to come in to town for a Friday wedding, they may welcome the opportunity to take a long weekend and make a mini-vacation out of your special occasion.
As with all aspects of wedding planning, it’s important to remember to consider a variety of options and to think outside the box before making final decisions. As long as your wedding party and out-of-town guests don’t mind taking a little extra time off, the benefits of a Friday wedding might just outweigh those of the traditional Saturday afternoon!
Bang for your Buck: Bridesmaids Dresses
No matter what any bride says there is a universal truth about bridesmaid’s dresses: you’ll only wear the dress once. “You’ll wear it again, right?” the bride asks, perhaps to make they feel better about asking you to shell out hundreds of dollars for it. Nope, you won’t. You’ll never wear that floor length, one-shouldered aubergine satin dress with the weird unflattering ruffles ever again.
It seemed like a lost cause, just part of the deal of being a bridesmaid–suck it up and buy the ugly dress, right? Wrong. Enter Rent the Runway and Little Borrowed Dress, maids can opt to rent a dress for the big day versus getting stuck with a frock they truly are not in love with.
Rent the Runway Weddings, an expansion of Rent the Runway, and a beacon of hope for future bridesmaids everywhere. Rent the Runway Weddings launched in 2011. It focuses on bridesmaids dresses. Badgley Mischka, Robert Rodriguez and Nicole Miller have designed bridesmaid collections that come in up to four styles in up to four seasonal colors exclusively for the site. Whereas Rent the Runway only allows users to rent dresses for a few days at a time, Rent the Runway Weddings offers 8-day rental periods. But the best part? The price. A Badgley Mischka bridesmaid dress averages at over $300. At Rent the Runway Weddings it’s $65.
Little Borrowed Dress does not have the big names like RTR does, but has very cute and simple options for your girls. With LBD, every style we carry was specifically designed to fit and flatter a variety of shapes and sizes. They are determined to design the ultimate bridesmaid dresses, so we use multiple fit models with varied body types to ensure the dresses will fit with no alterations required! Lastly, if you would like to try on before committing to the rental, that’s OK too. Why have an ill-fitting dress the day of the big day and a bridesmaid breakdown.
Say Yes to Engagement Ring Insurance
Bling, bling you got the ring. YAY! Well, I’m sure that pretty piece of jewelry was no small price. You have home owners or renter’s insurance as well as car insurance; so why wouldn’t you insure such a valuable asset that you will be wearing for rest of your life?
When considering a policy here are some pointers to ask potential policy providers:
- If you travel often, you will want to purchase worldwide wedding ring coverage that only a jewelry policy can provide.
- Is the ring covered if you lose it accidentally, or only if it’s stolen?
- How will the company replace the ring — with a check? Or will they require you to purchase a replacement through a specified jeweler?
- What if it’s a vintage ring or other unique piece? How will the quality and size of your diamond — and that of a replacement if needed — be documented?
- Is the ring insured to full cost or a fraction of it?
- How will you need to prove the ring vanished if you make a claim?
If you only remember one thing, make sure to read the fine print: A good policy will cover every potentially ring-threatening situation from theft to damage to accidentally dropping it in the garbage disposal.
The cost of gold and other precious metals are soaring. On average, ring insurance typically costs $1 to $2 for every $100 it would cost to replace per year (depending on where you live and the size of your rock of course), but be sure to shop around for the policy that best fits your needs, and remember to ask about deductible costs in case your ring actually does have to be replaced or repaired.
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 and plan accordingly.
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?
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.
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. Please stay tuned for Part Two of Wedding Budget Strategies for the last five ways to help save you some moolah!
7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid
Even the smartest, most on-top-of-things couple can make mistakes during wedding planning. Here are the things you should keep an eye on before saying I do.
1. Budget, what budget?
If you have started planning your wedding, you know it can cost a lot of money. Many excited brides start booking wedding professionals and making purchases without having a real budget, and then they’re shocked to discover they’ve spent all of their money (or their parents’ money) and still don’t have half the things they need. Planning a wedding is serious business. Make a wedding budget and keep track of your expenses.
2. Ordering the bridesmaid or wedding dress too late
If you are not going to buy your wedding dress “off the rack,” then you need to place your gown order six to eight months prior to your wedding. Most gowns are made to order. If you wait too long before your wedding date to make your selection, you may risk the gown not arriving on time. Bridesmaid dresses should also be decided upon during the same time period, but only after your gown has been selected. You want to make sure your ladies have enough time to get measured and find accessories.
3. Booking hotel rooms too late
Reserve rooms as early as possible for your out of town guests. Begin your research up to a year in advance, and make sure your block is booked at the eight-month mark. Be sure to include hotel information in your save-the-date cards or invitations.
4. Inviting too many wedding guests
Make sure your guest list and your reception site capacity match up numbers-wise. You can’t invite 500 people assuming only 350 will accept. Analyze your guest list from the get-go, assume 80% will respond yes, and limit your guest list accordingly.
5. Not hiring wedding professionals.
Would you have a friend fix a plumbing problem? Of course not. You would want a professional plumber to come in and do the job right. Same goes for your wedding. You want professionals who do this for a living – wedding photographers, DJs, videographers, florists, wedding coordinators, etc. They have the experience and skills to help you have the wedding of your dreams. There are wedding professionals that fit every style and budget. Rely on them to keep you stress-free.
6. Rain or shine? Don’t ignore weather warnings.
Brides marrying outdoors often test fate and just wish for the best when it comes to bad weather. Always have a backup plan, or else you may not have a place to marry at all — or your guests (and you) may be in misery at the hands of Mother Nature. A hurricane, flashflood, or gale force winds may visit on your wedding day; make sure you have an interior alternative or a tent as a back-up location.
7. Forgetting to focus on what’s important.
Keep in mind that you are getting married and starting a life together, not just planning a wedding. Brides, be good to your grooms. And grooms, be good to your brides! Some tension between the two of you (and among members of your family) is inevitable due to the sticky topics that weddings stir up, but don’t ever let things get out of control. Remember why you decided to take this leap in the first place!
5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding
As I’m sure you have quickly realized – weddings are not cheap. The best way you can keep costs down is by 1) eloping or 2) having a destination wedding. Why are destination weddings a growing trend?
1. Virtually Stress-Free
Pop in the classic movie “Father of the Bride”, and you’ll soon understand why destination weddings are so popular. They are almost guaranteed to be simpler (and faster!) to plan than a traditional wedding and reception.
If you’re not getting married at a resort, you can hire a stateside wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings or start early and do it yourself. Either way, you won’t have to plan a reception, and won’t that be a relief?!
2. No Drama, Mama
The second reason destination weddings rule? No scene-stealing family drama. Dread having to see your horrible Aunt Rose with the bad breath, or your Uncle Rob with the napoleon complex in tow with fifteen screaming kids? If you don’t want your dream wedding turning into big affair filled of barely-remembered relatives and nodding acquaintances, a destination wedding can a tactful way to dissuade them from attending.
3. Cost Effective
The affordability of a destination wedding has many couples speeding off to the airport faster than you can say “I do.” For instance, a couple can fly to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, get married, and stay for a deluxe week long honeymoon for a few thousand dollars, including lodging, meals, drinks, and airfare. Compare that with your average 150-guest wedding costing about $22,000 — which can easily skyrocket to more than $40,000+ in big cities — plus a few extra thousand for a honeymoon. To ease the financial burden, many couples opt to travel to a place where they can get married, have a honeymoon, and still have some money left over to start their new lives together.
4. You Call The Shots
While formal weddings hold meaning for many couples, linking them to the traditions of their ancestors and culture, others want the experience to be unique, with a ceremony and location that reflect their true colors. The world is your altar. You make the rules! Feel free to wear a sundress or shorts (even a bikini!), go barefoot, carry fern fronds, hire a ukulele band, and toast your love alone on your balcony at sunset. If you can dream it, you can do it.
5. You’re Already on your Honeymoon!
The best thing about a destination wedding is that you can combine a honeymoon vacation with the actual ceremony itself. Still want that tropical wedding on the beach? Many resorts offer wedding/honeymoon packages, where you get married, have the reception, and enjoy your honeymoon right at the same resort. This is particularly true in popular honeymoon destinations, such as Thailand and Hawaii.
At a typical wedding, you’re on the run, meeting and greeting. Destination weddings are on vacation time. You’re usually required to arrive a few days early to fill out the paperwork, so by the time your wedding rolls around, you’ve had two to three days of fun with your sweetie, family, and friends. How often do you have the opportunity to spend no-rush quality playtime with dear, far-flung friends? This is your chance.
Establishing a wedding budget you can stick to is one of the biggest challenges of getting married in today’s world. Your budget will determine decisions for every detail from the venue, dress, food, etc. First thing first, is sit with your fiancé and determine what is feasible without sacrificing your current quality of life.
Image via The Examiner
Things to consider: Will your wedding be paid for by your parents? Are your fiancé and you solely responsible for paying? Have you saved any money to put towards this event?How many people are you considering inviting to your big day?
These sample questions should be addressed early on in the planning process. Who will be paying for wedding festivities is the foundation when planning. There are traditional and cultural circumstances to consider. However, every family is different, and thinks differently about money. It is very important to make these decisions together as a joint family rather than assume that under the archaic thought that the bride’s parents will cover everything.
There are many tools and calculators out there to help guide you. Otherwise, Excel and some basic math skills work just fine too! Some tips to consider when figuring out your budget:
1) What are the most important aspects to the two of you? Are you foodies? Must you have a 10 piece band rather than a DJ? We recommend you splurge on the most important items to the two of you, and save money in other aspects.
2) Consider incidentals into your budget such as postage for the invitations. Also, remember to add in gratuity, sales tax, parking, and tips, where applicable. If you don’t adhere to your budget, you could end up spending a lot more for all the “incidentals.” Stay posted for some guidelines on tipping in the near future!
3) Brides on a budget look to DIY projects to make customized additions to the event. From making your grandma’s homemade jam as a favor to creating your own invites if you have a knack for graphic design, there are ways to save money by doing it yourself.
4) Finally, remember to have fun! This is supposed to happen once in a lifetime. You want to make sure this is a special time of your life. Sure, there will be stress and some hiccups along the way, but that’s life. Ride with it!
In closing, pay close attention to both fixed and variable costs. Variable costs are contingent on how many wedding guests you have and fixed costs you will have to pay regardless of the size of the guest list. Managing costs means paying attention to both, but recognizing that you will get the biggest impact by lowering variable costs, since they are multiplied by the number of guests and adds up quickly.
Wedding Guest List Tips
The wedding budget will dictate how many people you can invite to your big day. It is important to lay out an estimate for a sense of framework. Creating a rough idea can really be complete chaos. Should you invite your closest friend from work? Are your younger cousins under 18 invited if you weren’t considering inviting children? Are your parents closest friends allowed to come? I can almost guarantee that these questions WILL come up.
Here are five tips to stick with when creating your rough draft of the guest list:
1) Invite people who are important to your fiancé and you
Remember this day is about the two of you- not your mother-in-law playing out her fantasies of having a do-over of her wedding day. This is a special day and in that day you should surround yourself with the people who are the most near and dear to you. If that means inviting your third cousin on your Dad’s side because you two are very close, but not your cousin on your Mom’s side- then so be it.
2) Don’t let your parents or in-laws dictate your entire guest list (even if they are footing some or most of the bill)
In continuation of the statement above, remember this day is about the couple getting married. Even if your in-laws and parents are assisting with paying for the wedding that does not give them free reign to go buck wild and invite their long-lost coworker. Respectfully tell them that they cannot invite people without checking with either of you first.
3) Create “A Team” and “B Team” lists
If your wedding venue requires a minimum food and beverage amount it helps to have a back-up list of people so you can hit the minimum. Let’s say you want 200 people to attend. On average, statistics say that 10 to 20 percent of guests do not show. If you are counting on 200 people, it’s nice to have a back-up list to work from.
4) Divvy the list evenly between both sides
This should be self-explanatory. It’s not exactly fair if you have 124 people on your list, and your fiancé only has 76.
5) Skip your co-workers. If you don’t hang with your colleagues outside of the office, leave them off the list. If you can though, invite your boss or assistant.
My rule of thumb is if you have worked anywhere less than one year, you can disregard the rule about your boss or assistant.
This is isn’t the last time you will look or revise your list, but it’s a start. Hopefully these five tips will save you your sanity!