Beautiful Weddings on a Budget

We all dream of the perfect wedding.  Yet after meeting with vendors and researching the cost of every detail, your ideal setting may seem a little daunting. Don’t lose hope. Here are a few ways you can plan the perfect wedding while eliminating some major added expenses.

  1. Trim the guest list. This is an important tip to remember, you don’t have to include everyone you know. Prioritize an “A List” first and then add friends, distant relatives, or co-workers until you reach your limit. Leaving children off your guest list is an easy way to keep your guest count low.
  2. DIY what you can. Or ask friends and family who can. If you have a baker in the family, recruit them to make your wedding cake. If you know someone who has an eye for beautiful floral arrangements, let them take over. Lastly, load up on the card stock and create your own special wedding invitations. The DIY possibilities are endless.
  3. Schedule your ceremony between meal times. If you get married in the afternoon or late morning, it is easier to get away with serving heavy hors d’oeuvres and appetizers to your guests. Serving a full meal can double or triple your food costs.
  4. Get married at home. Beautiful backyard weddings are cozy and intimate. They also offer more flexibility when choosing your date. You can be as formal or casual as you like, and you never have to follow the guidelines of a rented venue.
  5. Choose your dress carefully. Brides in expensive wedding gowns are just as beautiful as those with a humbler selection. If you know someone who is willing to let you borrow their gown, say yes if it is the right fit!
  6. Have a friend DJ or set up a playlist ahead of time. Plan a list of songs ahead of time that you would like to hear at your reception and let it roll. However, do ask a friend to MC. You may want someone to announce your arrival to the party. The first introduction as husband and wife is joyful to everyone.
  7. Stock your bar. This is the time to shop for cases of wine, beer, liquor and mixers. If the cost gets too high, cash bars are always a great alternative.
  8. Ask for help. This can be a daunting task, but if you have parents or relatives who are willing to help with wedding costs, be grateful and say “Yes!”
  9. Plan well. A longer engagement can give you time to put money aside for wedding expenses. This also gives you an opportunity to recruit help and shop vendor prices.
  10. Budget thoroughly. This is the most important way to keep your cost low. Create a detailed list of everything you want for your wedding and add a maximum dollar amount beside each item.

If you plan well, you will find many benefits to planning a wedding on a budget. You may even find added funds to indulge on your honeymoon!

Planning an At-Home Wedding Reception

If you are planning to tie the knot and celebrate in the comfort of your own home, this endeavor may not be as easy as you think.  But, if your dream is to have an intimate backyard wedding, here are some things to consider.

Maximize Your Space:
  1. First, know how many guests you can comfortably accommodate and plan accordingly.
  2. If you do not have a large enough area for a sit-down meal, set high tables with stools in a variety of rooms and allow guests to roam freely.
  3. Remove furniture and make room to dance. This will help preserve your favorite couch and allow more room to celebrate! Be sure to leave some seating space for guests who need a break, or want to sit and mingle.
  4. Set aside an area for children to play. Include a few games or toys to keep the little ones entertained too!
  5. Rent a restroom trailer, especially if you are hosting outdoors. This will help minimize indoor foot traffic.
  6. Don’t forget Plan B! If you are using the great outdoors, use a tent to eliminate sun exposure or light rain.  But, also prepare enough space inside just in case.
  7. Define your boundaries by locking doors to any rooms you want to keep private.
Get Help:
  1. Use a wedding coordinator to help with the planning. A professional can offer a fresh perspective for making the best use of space, as well as guiding you in food selection, music, and other important details.
  2. Hire a caterer. You have an important job as the bride and the host, so don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on food preparation too.
  3. Hire a cleaning service, before and after the event. This is another important task you don’t want to take on alone.
  4. Hire a handy man to help fix leaky faucets, shaky railings, or anything else you don’t want to interfere.
Consider Parking:

Warn your neighbors that you are hosting a large party, especially if guests will be parking on the street.  You can also ask a local business if you can use or rent their parking lot.  It is worthwhile to hire an attendant to help guide your guests and prevent blocked driveways, mailboxes, crosswalks, etc.

Legalities:

Depending on the size of your wedding, there may be additional insurance or permits you are required to purchase before your event.  Check city, county, and neighborhood restrictions far enough in advance to assure you have the right documentation in place.  You don’t want your wedding reception cut short because of a legal formality.

 

If you are willing to host the party on your special day, make sure you prepare early to avoid getting overwhelmed.  If handled properly, you can create lasting memories in your very own intimate space!

Wedding Should and Should Not DIY Guide

We get it, you’re on a budget and wedding bills stack up before you can even say, “YES!”  There are many helpful resources that can assist with various DIY wedding projects.  Nevertheless, certain items should be left for the professionals.

Go For It!

  • Unique Décor: Many brides are using unique signage to add personal flare to their wedding reception.  In addition, oversize photos and personalized décor that represent the happy couple is a great way to show individuality!
  • Invitations: Choosing to create your own wedding invitations is a fun and less costly method of asking your loved ones to join the festivities.  You can customize with inserts, backgrounds, fonts, photos or anything else that represents the two of you. There are plenty of online resources to help you get started, or simply pull out the cardstock and glue!
  • Party Favors: Create a goody bag for your guests that represents your home town, your favorite hobby, or how you and the groom met! Adding a note to share the story helps to share its special meaning.  
  • Entertainment: Surprise your guests with a flash mob or a special dance previously choreographed between you and the groom.  You can also tell an unexpected funny story, or share a sentimental video of you as individuals and a couple.  The sky is the limit for unique entertainment on your special day!

Leave it Up to the Professionals:

  • Photography: Photographers use certain equipment and knowledge that best captures the most formal and informal moments of your wedding and reception. A wedding photographer can move throughout all the special moments will take the time to sort through hundreds of photos then professionally edit your favorites. With the help of a professional, you can create the book to help reminisce. But attempting this endeavor on your own can become a disaster, and something you may even regret! 
  • Music:  DJ’s and wedding bands understand how to put together the right music to liven up a party and are experts on crowd entertainment.  They can slow things down or liven up the party at just the right moment.  Plus, they know which crowd pleasers will pull your guests onto the dance floor at just the right moment!  A professional will also spend time helping you to select a perfect playlist for the reception and work with the sound equipment to create a perfect atmosphere.  This is not something that can be done well on your own.  You should be dancing instead!
  • Food:  So maybe your Mom is the best cook you know, but a professional is better suited to feed the masses.  Cooking for large groups can be overwhelming and timing is everything.  Professional caterers have the right equipment to organize large quantities of food, to transport it efficiently, and keep it at the right temperature.  Plus, it takes more than one person to pull this off well. Most caterers have a staff available to assist!
  • Flowers: Creating your own flower arrangements and bouquets may seem like an easy task; but if not done correctly they can fall apart or look cheap. A professional florist understands how best to blend varieties and colors, as well as keeping the flowers fresh.  They can help you with selection and style best suited for your day. 

DIY wedding projects can be fun and a great way to spend extra time with your friends and family.  But try not to overwhelm yourself for the sake of saving a few extra dollars.  Leave the heavy loads to the hands of professionals, and use your extra time with the groom!

Unique Gifts for Wedding Guests

Your wedding will be unforgettable for you – make it unforgettable your guests too! Give them something unique to remember this one-of-a-kind evening with you.

Here are a few creative and personalized ideas for unique gifts for your wedding guests.

Tote Bag

Rather than placing items in a traditional gift bag, create personalized wedding tote bags! This will especially come in handy for out of town guests who could use a little something extra to carry items to your wedding festivities. You could also send a tote in advance as a unique “save the date.” Reusable bags are becoming more popular in our eco-friendly generation, so this will be a popular gift that also shows your love!

Edible Place Settings

Whether you are having a seated dinner with place cards, or simply numbering tables, make it edible! Use cake pops or candy bars with a personalized wrapper will add some extra sweetness to the atmosphere. If your guests are too full of wedding cake, they can take these treats home to share after you have tied the knot!

Souvenir Cups

Another way you can add a personalized touch is with a souvenir cup. You can create an array of regular drinking cups, personalized wine cups, champagne flutes, or beer mugs with your names and the wedding date. Your guests can also take these home, which will create less clean up when the party is over!

Flash Mob

This idea you can’t exactly take home, but personalize your wedding with a surprise flash mob! This is the ultimate way to show uniqueness at your reception. At an unexpected time you and your groom, along with certain family and friends, can storm the hall with a choreographed dance that will surely entertain your guests. Be sure to add your own dance style and don’t forget to capture it on video!

Your wedding is a time to let your true individuality shine. Creating personalized items your guests can keep is an extra way to make your uniqueness shine through.

Picking the Right Flowers for Your Winter Wedding

Winter weddings are becoming more popular these days, opening a window of bold, beautiful and colorful ideas! Flowers are a classic way to accent wintery hues along with helping to create a romantically warm atmosphere. Whether you have the support of a professional florist, or plan to create a unique DIY bouquet, here are some lovely winter floral tips to get you started.

 

Seasonal Colors

First, keep the season in mind and know your theme. Are you creating a winter wonderland or tying the knot in a Christmas motif? Winter hues in deep and rich colors can beautifully accent your ensemble and fill the room with vibrancy. When fashioning any floral arrangement, allow one bold color to be the focal point and tie in a few accents. Steer away from incorporating too much color, especially in the bridal bouquet – simple is better in keeping your key shade color prominent.

Popular holiday themed wedding colors include red, green, silver and gold. If you are planning a different winter melody – winter white, ivory, deep blues, and purples are also very stylish.

Types of Flowers

Similar to color selections, it is best to choose seasonal flowers to form your arrangements. They will look healthy and you won’t pay a premium. Poinsettias are perfect decorations and centerpieces, but for the bridal bouquet here are some popular winter flower options:

  • Roses
  • Carnations
  • Tulips
  • Gardenias
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Orchids
  • LiliesTo add texture to a bouquet try: freesia, holly, rosemary, and baby’s breath.
Accents

Accents are essential for adding flare to your floral arrangements. Lit candles look beautiful in the middle of decorative flower table arrangement and decor, plus they add extra warmth. Shimmery ribbons and bows, or velvet wraps are beautiful seasonal accents.

Consider including hearts or popberries to help your arrangement burst – the more they sparkle the better! Stay away from over accessorizing; you don’t want your flowers to take away from you.

 

Selecting your flowers is a very exciting part of planning your wedding and choosing just the right colors and types to fit your winter wedding theme will help your special day look and feel just perfect!

Top 6 Hottest Honeymoon Destinations

Your wedding is almost here and you’ll soon be newlyweds – time to plan your honeymoon! But, what are the best destinations for you and your spouse?   We researched the hottest honeymoon destinations and here are some of our favorites.

Hawaii

(www.YourRVLifestyle)

This Island of Hawaii has plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy. While you are there, go ahead and party at a luau with professional hula dancers, have dinner by the ocean, and even catch a glimpse of some amazing wildlife! Hawaii is one of the few places you can swim with a sea turtle or book a snorkeling trip in crystal clear water near spellbinding coral reef. Maui also houses some of the top luxury oceanfront resorts in America that include golf, hiking, secluded beaches, amazing waterfalls, and spa services.

Paris

(en.ParisInfo.com)

Some know Paris as the City of Lights. This beautiful city has plenty of culture, ancient architecture, and breathtaking museums. You can visit the Eiffel Tower, catch the Moulin Rouge dinner show, and browse through the gardens on a Versailles Palace tour. Not to mention, the delectable cuisine Paris has to offer. You can enjoy the magnificence of the city sitting on a café patio or feast at one of its famous bistros. Paris also has a large variety of luxury hotels with services and tours to help you navigate your way through the city and see everything it has to offer!

Venice

(en.TurisMovenezia.it)

Venice is known for its amazing Grand Canal with water taxis that transport you from place to place, and it is very romantic! Venice is the place to be for authentic Italian cuisine paired with some of the finest wines in the world aged from local, handpicked grapes. It is filled with ancient architecture, music, artwork, and gorgeous scenery. Not to mention, the hotels are beautiful and the service is known to be outstanding!

Fiji

(www.Fiji.Travel)

Honeymooners from everywhere have picked Fiji as their favorite destination. There are many small islands to choose from, and there is guaranteed to be something for everyone. Upon arrival, you just might be serenaded with live music, and you may even leave singing a few island songs yourself! Fiji has stunning beaches and clear water for snorkeling and scuba diving, surfing, and water sports. But the best part, virtually no crime. Natives to Fiji are respectful to their guests and you can rest easily knowing you and your luggage are safe! The mild climate and ocean breeze of Fiji is welcoming to all.

Virgin Islands

(http://www.visitusvi.com/)

The Virgin Islands is another destination with breathtaking beaches. The waters are calm, making it a fantastic place for swimmers, and there is plenty of shade underneath the large and beautiful palm trees. The mild climate keeps the evening temperatures at a comfortable 70 degrees complimented with a mild ocean breeze. The Virgin Islands are easy for travel and known to be affordable. It holds welcoming resorts and hotels, plenty of shopping and all the amenities you will find from home.

St. Martin – St. Maarten

(www.StMartinIsland.org)

Visiting St. Martin gives you the better of two cultures. This beautiful island is divided between its French and Dutch natives. You can travel freely to each side and soak in the finest Caribbean cuisine and arts from both sides. St. Martin is known as a “friendly island” and they encourage you to hop on a boat to indulge in a variety of water activities. Or, sit on the white sand beaches and rent a private romantic villa for you and your new husband! Shopping in St. Martin is notable, especially if you are interested in jewelry or perfumes at a discount.

 

Relax on the beach or see the city lights? Choosing your honeymoon destination will be one of the most exciting challenges you’ll share!

Gift Ideas for Your Officiant

It’s becoming increasingly popular to say thank you to your officiant by giving them a special gift. After all, you give bridesmaids, groomsmen, and parent’s gifts and the officiant is the one actually marrying you.

When choosing an appropriate gift, here are some ideas to consider:

Bottle of Wine

No matter what the occasion, a bottle of wine is always a kind gesture of breaking bread and finding common ground. By giving your officiant a bottle of wine you’re gesturing for them to celebrate in honor of your marriage (just be sure to check if they are a teetotaler!).

Money

Many officiants prefer the basics of cash or a flexible gift card. It may seem a little cliché or insincere, but it is a universal gift your officiant would be grateful for. Consider pairing it with a small token gift to add a more personal touch.

Fountain Pen

Officiants do business the same way everyone else does! A quality fountain pen is a very considerate gift acknowledging their line of work. Fountain pens are great gifts too since everyone will want a quality writing utensil when it comes to signing important documents (like a marriage license!).

Engraved Journal

If you are very familiar with your officiant and want to give a more personal gift, an engraved journal offers a variety of uses while still remaining intimate. This allows for your officiant to have their own keepsake in memory of your special day (pair with a fountain pen for an added bonus!).

With all of the hustle and bustle going on with your wedding, giving a simple gift to your officiant is a very courteous thing to do. Remember, the gift does not have to be expensive, just considerate. A small token of your appreciation goes a long way for someone so important in your wedding ceremony!

 

 

How to Trim Down Your Guest List Without Upsetting People

A wedding is meant as a celebration for your friends and family to join in on your celebration of love. However, that does not necessarily mean you want to invite your parents’ coworkers, college roommate’s new boyfriend, or old acquaintances who happened to invite you to their wedding 10 years ago. Sometimes, you just have to say “no” to the extra guests. This can be due to exceptional costs or even just preferring a smaller wedding.

Here are some tips on how to trim down your guest list without any hard feelings.

  • Have a Destination Wedding

Destination weddings surprisingly may end up being cheaper than domestic weddings, usually because guests pay for their own flights and boarding. Since not everyone is willing to pay for a vacation to attend a wedding, it cuts out a lot of people who aren’t super close to you. As an added bonus, destination weddings offer a lifetime of memories with some of your closest friends and family!

  • Not Everyone Should Be Allowed to Bring a Plus-One

Even if you don’t plan on having a small wedding, plus-ones add up spatially and financially. So it isn’t always feasible to allow everyone to bring a guest of his or her choice. To handle this issue, create separate invitations with different RSVP responses for those you wish to not invite a guest. That way they won’t have the option of marking “plus-one” or not.

  • Only Allow Children in the Wedding Party to Be at the Reception

Kids cost just as much as adults when it comes to the reception. It’s perfectly okay not to include them as long as you let your guests know that in advance so they can make other arrangements.

  • Invite Only Current and Consistent Friends

Just because you’re friends on Facebook does not mean you’re good friends in real life. When it comes to inviting people to your wedding, you should obviously invite your best friends as well as more recent friends you see often. When it comes to older friends, invite them if you keep in touch with them throughout the years.

Good rule of thumb is to consider whether they will be offended if you don’t invite them to your wedding, and vice versa if you would feel offended if they didn’t invite you to theirs’. You may also consider if the non-invitation will seriously impact your relationship.

  • Co-Workers Don’t Need to Be Invited

Just because you see them Monday through Friday, doesn’t mean they deserve an invitation. Unless you are actually friends with your co-workers and spend time with them outside of work, it is okay to skip the invitation.

We understand you want your wedding to run as smoothly as possible but you shouldn’t include those you feel obligated to invite. You should only Include your special friends and family to help you celebrate!

The Perfect DIY Candy Bar for Your Wedding

One of the most fun wedding trends these days is a Candy Bar at your reception! Adults and kids alike will be love having their favorites sweet treats for dessert. Candy Bars are completely customizable based on your own wedding theme and tastes. Best of all they’re even easy to make! Below are our tips on creating the perfect Candy Bar for your wedding.

Theme Correlation

DIY Candy Bars can look professionally made when they are properly incorporated into the theme of your wedding. They should be as much fun to look at as they are to eat. Make sure to correlate the various colors of your wedding with the different candies you are providing. Don’t forget to have some fun with it as well! If you have a nautical theme for your wedding go ahead and add some candied sharks, or have plenty of candied flowers if you’re theme is floral!

Display Cases

As mentioned before, your candy bar should be visually appealing to tie in with the rest of your décor. In doing this, glass vases of various heights should be used to display your delicious treats. These can be found at your local craft stores and even be decorated using ribbons and other decorative pieces that are a part of your theme. Using the different sized vases and jars – either create a mountainous or valley sort of look to create an attractive looking display that no guest can ignore.

candy-bar

Candy Variety

One of the most important pieces of your amazing Candy Bar is the actual candy! The type of candy you provide should be tailored to your guests’ tastes and interests, while still incorporating your theme. Having a mix of sweet and savory, chewy and crunchy candies will certainly guarantee that everyone will be anxious to dig in.

Candy Bars are meant to be fun and enjoyed by everyone. By incorporating them into your dessert table, they make your reception that much sweeter. Remember that a DIY Candy Bar can look professionally made by following our simple tips, enjoy!

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Date

Choosing the perfect wedding date is essential to planning your wedding. Your wedding date helps coordinate themes, venue locations, and of course your pictures! Obviously the perfect wedding date is different for everyone depending on their own preferences and lives, but follow our helpful tips in determining the perfect wedding date for you!

Consider the Weather

Do you prefer a sunshine-filled day for your wedding or are you hoping for a bit of snow? Some brides prefer spring or fall time for coordinating colors within their themes. Typically, warmer months are more popular for hosting weddings but if you don’t mind the possibility of a slight chill go for a spring or fall wedding date! Keep in mind that the weather can also affect your out-of-town guests.

Think About Your Theme

If you are planning a nautical theme wedding it may be more relatable to the summer months, or even a Winter Wonderland themed wedding obviously wouldn’t go over too well in summer. Or even if you are planning to use more pastel, bright, or warm tones in your color palette – they may be easier to find during the spring and summer months.

Which Day of the Week

Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? Saturdays allow people from out of town to come in Friday night and take off Sunday morning. Sundays seem to be very formal and allow people to enjoy themselves at your wedding while still not having to take much time away from their busy schedules. However, Fridays, which are somewhat less common for wedding dates, tend to really work well for destination weddings or weddings with a lot of out-of-town guests. This is because people come in from out of town for the Friday wedding and usually end up staying the whole weekend since they are already in this new location.

Pricing

The costs of a wedding vary from couple to couple, and do play a significant role in the entire wedding planning process. If you have a small budget for your wedding it is probably best to use an off-season date to save on venue costs. Keep in mind how close your wedding date is to a holiday as well, as guests flying in may have to pay a premium for flying during peak holiday season.

These are just some factors to keep in mind when choosing the perfect wedding date. But everyone has a different idea of what they believe to be the “perfect” wedding date. So regardless of the date you choose, you will find a way to make your wedding completely your own!