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The guest list

A wedding is a wonderful affair but you’re footing the bill for everyone you invite. The guest list is important but when you are on a budget it can be hard to know who makes the list! We know you want everyone to share the big day. So, we have 5 ways to cut the guest down so you aren’t overwhelmed.

  1. The first thing you will do to cut your guest list is no kids. Most people will not be offended if you ask that your wedding is kid free. They understand that your big day is a formal affair. Kids can be a great, lively addition to any party but they can also be rude and unpredictable. Kids on the guest list should be limited to only the ones in the wedding party like the ring bearer and flower girl.
  2. The second way to cut the guest list is no plus-ones. If you know you are inviting a lot of single friends you don’t need to also invite whoever they are dating. The exceptions are if they are in a long term relationship or engaged. If they are married and you haven’t met their significant other you need to extend an invitation as well. One way to eliminate confusion is to just state how many seats you have reserved for your friends/family. If the number doesn’t add up to a plus-one then they know they are not invited.

3. The third way to cut the guest list is to not invite co-workers. Unless you are very friendly and close to your co-workers there is no obligation to invite them. If you do decide to invite them to the wedding it’s best to keep the work talk to a minimum.

4. The fourth way of cutting the guest list is to eliminate people you don’t know. You want everyone to share the big day but your parents and in-laws would like to invite but you have no connection with. There’s no shame in saying to them you don’t feel comfortable inviting and paying for people whom you have no interaction with.

5. The final way to cut the guest list is to get over the exes! We know you might be on friendly terms with your ex or your fiance is on great terms with his ex but lets skip any drama that might ensue. Let’s be honest you and your exes might all have friends in common as well. You should avoid any potential chaos by not putting exes on the list!

No matter who you put on the guest list just remember it is entirely your decision. You get to decide who comes and who doesn’t on your wedding day!

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!
Engagement Announcement Ideas

Engagement Announcement Ideas

Engagement Announcement Ideas:

When it’s time to announce your engagement, you’ll want to start with those people closest to you — parents, siblings, and grandparents. If this is a second marriage for either party and there are children from the first marriage, they, and most often the former spouse, should be the first to know.

Phone Date

The most intimate and immediate way to tell your family and closest friends is by telephone, but it may not be practical to call everyone else. If you have out-of-town friends with whom you often share the details of your lives via e-mail, then it’s perfectly acceptable to announce your engagement to them this way. Be aware, though, that some people prefer to hear big news over the phone, so if there is even the slightest possibility that someone you know will be offended, put him or her on your “to-call” list.

Change your Facebook Status

Oh, Facebook — we love it and hate it. And I understand the impulse to announce your happy moment on Facebook — you want to celebrate and you also want to announce the news without making 765 phone calls. But for the record, please let me say: THERE’S A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO ANNOUNCE ON FACEBOOK THAT YOU’RE GETTING HITCHED. So please, simply change your relationship status to “engaged” and be done with it.

Engagement Announcement Ideas

Publish an Announcement in Your Local Newspaper

Start off by calling to ask if they have any guidelines, deadlines, fees, or regulations about announcements. See if they accept pictures, if that’s something that interests you, and ask if pictures must be black & white or color. (Make sure you put your name on the back, and include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the photo can be returned to you.).

If they don’t give you strict guidelines, follow etiquette’s lead: Typically, announcements include information on the two of you, including career and education credentials, and your parent’s names. If your parents live in a different town, you should also include their hometowns. There’s no need to include the wedding date, and some purposefully omit it, as they don’t want to be targeted by burglars who will thus know when they’ll be out of the house. You might choose to say instead something like “A fall wedding is planned,” which helps diffuse the millions of “So, when’s the wedding” questions you inevitably get.

Engagement Announcement IdeasYes, you’re on a high…they’re elated…but are they coming to the wedding? It’s way too soon to tell!

It’s extremely rude, but many people ask if they’re invited to the wedding when an engagement is announced. Simply say something along the lines of not being sure if you’re having a traditional wedding, eloping or what! Slough it off and go into the proposal story instead. Deflect! Deflect! Deflect!

Wedding Budget Strategies

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 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?

Wedding Budget StrategiesChicago Hummer Limo

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.

Wedding Budget StrategiesJill Thomas Photography

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.

Wedding Budget Strategies

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.

Wedding Budget StrategiesOlivia Leigh Photography at The Newberry Library

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

7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

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.

7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

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.

7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoidvia Wedding Dress Blog

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.

7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

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.

7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

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.

7 Wedding Mistakes to AvoidThe Smitten Bride – Personal Wedding Coordination

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 Wedding Mistakes to AvoidLoudbyte Cinematography

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!

7 Wedding Mistakes to AvoidYazy Jo Photography

Lizzie Post

7 Wedding Tips From Lizzie Post

wedding eLizzie Post, the granddaughter of the famed etiquette queen, Emily Post, was recently featured on Style me Pretty with a few choice tips for brides and grooms on the rules of wedded bliss.  While so many of those old rules have been thrown out the window and modern couples are encouraged to be themselves and use their big day as an expression of their couple’s style, being gracious and polite absolutely NEVER goes out of style. We like the idea of keeping some of these key tips in mind and always embodying the utmost in manners especially during such an important time in your life.  Here is the roundup of our favorite money-saving and money savvy tips for the ultra modern bride! Enjoy!

 

1. It’s not polite to ask for cash, so subtly hint. Parents and the bridal party can spread the word too.

2. No. 1 rule of budgeting: start with the wedding guest list. An intimate gathering is a chic way to stay on budget.

3. It’s OKto reward yourself! When making those big vendor payments, try and choose a credit card instead of a check and earn cash back.

4. Tactfully negotiate with vendors through prioritization. An experienced vendor can stretch the budget if he/she knows what matters most to you.

5. Wedding Vendors are integral to your day, so always be kind, thank them for their help and services, and make prompt payments. Set up mobile alerts to ensure you don’t forget outstanding invoices.

6. Locally source your wedding. It’s eco-friendly and budget-friendly, while ensuring that your meal, wine and flowers are as fresh as possible.

7. With the average cost of a new wedding gown between $1,000-1,800, it’s perfectly acceptable and sensible to rent, borrow or purchase a pre-owned wedding dress.

 

HazeltonHazelton Photography

Getting Started

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now, what are you are supposed to do? The wedding planning has officially begun, but deciding where to start can be overwhelming. Here are 7 big things to consider in order to get the wedding plans started…

Choosing Your Wedding Date: How long of an engagement period do you want? What time of year do you want to say “I do?” Are there any major family events, vacations, or milestones already on the calendar that you’ll need to avoid? Ask yourself these questions as you begin considering what day you’d like to have your wedding. Setting a date is probably the most important decision you’ll make as it will determine what venues are available and how the season will influence your style, color, and flower choices.

Dress: It’s never too early to begin shopping for a wedding dress! Choosing the right gown takes a lot of time and patience so get started early to ensure you have ample time to have a dress ordered, shipped, and tailored. Custom wedding gowns take even longer than purchasing a dress off the rack, so begin scheduling appointments with designers and boutiques to guarantee you’ll have the perfect dress.

Style: Do you want a cozy, rustic affair or something elegant and glamorous? Start collecting ideas from bridal magazines and websites to determine your wedding style. Deciding what you want early on will save you the stress and cost that comes from changing your mind along the way.

Size: It’s never too early to begin working on a wedding guest list. Put together a preliminary idea of invitees to gauge just how large or small your wedding will be. The number of guests affects everything from the venue size to the catering costs, so be sure to get a ballpark figure before you start making any major decisions.

Attendants: How large do you want your bridal party to be? Do you want an intimate gathering of immediate family or a large parade of cousins, coworkers, and friends? Talk to your fiancé about the ideal size of the wedding party before you begin asking friends to be bridesmaids. Once you settle on a number, go ahead and ask your guys and gals to make sure they can save the date.

Budget: There’s nothing less fun than setting a wedding budget, but it’s a crucial responsibility that should be attended to as soon as possible. Figuring out how much money you have to work with will help direct your wedding plans and determine how elaborate or simplistic the day’s festivities will be.

Photos: Celebrate your engagement with a photo shoot! Wedding photographers often offer packages that include an engagement session, providing you with great prints to capture this exciting season of life. As an added bonus, engagement photos can be used for save-the-date cards, wedding announcements, or invitations.

 

The Herrington Inn

Selecting a Venue: Questions to Consider

Choosing the venue for your wedding ceremony and reception is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the wedding planning process. Not only does the location set the vibe for the entire wedding, it will also influence the date of your nuptials, the size of your wedding, and the decorative theme of the day. As a result, you should choose a venue carefully. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you set out to select the perfect setting for your I Do’s…

Home or Away? First and foremost, you have to settle on a city before you can choose a venue. Do you plan to get married in your hometown, your current city of residence, or do you want to plan a destination wedding?

Indoor or Outdoor? When you picture your magical day, are you dancing the night away under a canopy of stars or twirling around a marble dance floor under the dim glow of a chandelier? Are you beachside and barefoot or cozy and covered? Choosing between an indoor or outdoor wedding will instantly edit your options for possible rentals.

Large or Small? Is your heart set on an intimate gathering of close friends and family or a massive party of merry well-wishers? Before even considering a venue, think about whether your guests would even fit inside or if the size of the place would make your close-knit nuptials feel sparse and empty. Put together a rough idea of a guest list before previewing venues to ensure that you’re only considering places that are properly sized.

Ceremony, Reception, or Both? Choosing a locale that can accommodate your wedding ceremony and reception often saves time and money, but it can also eliminate several locations you might love. Figure out what’s most important to you before settling on a decision. Did you always dream of getting married in your family church? Do you envision yourself driving away from the ceremony with a lavish send-off? Or would you prefer to get the party started right away just a few steps from the ceremony? Whatever your desires, it’s important to know how you plan to use a venue before you start considering one.

Formal or Casual? When you picture your wedding day, is it all luxury and sophistication or comfort and charm? If you’ve got your heart set on fancy formality, scope out hotel ballrooms, lavish country clubs and resorts, or opulent historic homes. For a more relaxed atmosphere, consider local gardens or parks, a private residence, or an unexpected interactive locale, such as a museum, zoo, or art gallery.

Wedding Guest List Planning

Assembling the guest list is one of the most challenging tasks of the wedding, but it’s also one of the most important. The number of guests you invite will determine the wedding budget, scope, cost, and size of your nuptials. It can also fuel a lot of unnecessary arguments. Here are a few surefire ways to narrow down the guest list and avoid family drama:

Set a Number: First things first, you’ve got to decide how large or small you want your wedding to be. If cost is a major factor, you’re going to need to narrow down the guest list to save money on catering, facilities, and wedding favors. If the budget is of no concern, you have free rein to decide what matters most to you: a small, intimate ceremony or a lavish, giant party. Determine a ballpark figure of how many guests to invite so you have a reasonable starting point.

Divvy Up the Seats: When it comes to your wedding day, you and the groom aren’t the only ones with a say. The wedding is an important day for your parents and in-laws, as well, which means they deserve the opportunity to invite guests that are important to them. The easiest way to satisfy everyone and avoid conflict is to set an equal number of guests that each family is allowed to invite. How they choose to select those guests is up to them but don’t let anyone bully you into giving up more invites than you feel is reasonable. You may want to use an online seating chart tool.

Give Yourself Leeway: Not every single person that receives an invitation is going to attend the wedding. On average, 10-20% of your guest list won’t be able to make it. This percentage increases if one or both sides of the family live in another city/state than the wedding. With that said, don’t freak out if your final guest list is a tad higher than expected. Not every single person will RSVP ‘yes.’

Get Organized: Compile an Excel spreadsheet with names and addresses for everyone on the guest list, whether they’re being invited by you, the groom, your parents, or in-laws. Keeping all of the information in one place will help you stay on top of the exact number of invitees and will make your job of addressing the invitations that much easier. This online guest list tool can also make things easier.

Revise and Rework: Once you’ve come up with an initial guest list, give yourself a few days and then go through it with a red pen. If the guest list is too large, you have to trim it down. Consider excluding young children or limiting which single guests are permitted a ‘plus one.’ If you don’t know or like a person, or haven’t spoken to them in years, nix them.

Create a B-List: If you’ve edited as much as possible and your list is still too large, divide guests into two groups: essentials and non-essentials. Send out invitations to the first group (the people that you’re the closest to) and wait for the RSVPs to come rolling in. As you receive regrets from the first round of guests, begin sending out invitations to the second list.