I hear way to much that grooms hate engagements, brides begin wishing they were shorter and dad’s can’t wait for the day after the wedding. This is supposed to be a happy time. Why is it so stressful? There could be a lot of reasons. Budgets, family members, time-frame, distance.
A big part of why I became a wedding planner was to take the stress out of the process and keep it a happy time. For those brides I may not get to work directly with, here’s the best advice I can give. It’s not rocket science.
Be flexible and go in with an open-mind. Just like the wedding day, nothing will go exactly as planned for your engagement. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You may have dreamed of peonies for your bouquet but just realized they are way outside your budget. Or found out the color you wanted is discontinued, or your bridemaids’ dresses won’t come in in time, or your photographer is booked. But don’t let it derail you when it comes. All of these situations have happened. In all cases the girls found something they were just as happy with if not more so. But if only one option will make you happy, not having it work out will leave you devastated. What if a few options worked? Then there is no room for complete and utter disappointment. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t go for the things you have always wanted for your wedding day. Just go in with a few ideas rather than a must-have plan.
Remember Bride Wars? Both brides wanted the same venue and only one day was available. Neither budged. And they both ended up fighting on the floor on their wedding day!
Economic crisis or not, weddings aren’t slowing down any time soon. Brides are just having to get more creative to get the most out of their shrinking budget. I’m probably a bad wedding planner for saying this but I didn’t start Southern Fete because I’m obsessed with weddings or think it’s the one day you should really get everything you wanted. Nope, I started because I wanted brides to have the wedding of their dreams AND the marriage. No one wants to start their marriage in the red so it’s important to me to make that happen for them.
Here are just a few tips to get the biggest bang for your buck:
1. My number one rule for cutting the budget is trimming the guest list. Many couples are now opting for smaller weddings not only for the intimate setting it provides but because each guest can cost on average $30 a piece. The same principle applies to trimming the wedding party. One bridesmaid and groomsmen can cost over $100 between flowers and gifts. You don’t have to sacrifice a best friend to the fire for this. Just keep obligatory bridemaids to a minimum. Ask yourself, “Who will I be friends with ten years from now?”
2. DIY, DIY, DIY. Whether it’s favors, programs, flowers, decor, doing-it-yourself will save you money, but not time. Make sure that is one resource you have plenty of before undergoing a big project.
3. Skip the letterpress and save the trees. Letterpress invitations are nice but not necessary. A new generation of invitations have begun without letterpress or inner envelopes. Designs are more playful and modern. And luckily for brides, creating a wedding Web site with all direction, hotel and registry info can save money by keeping the number of inserts in your invitation like reception cards and RSVP’s to a minimum. You can even have guest RSVP through the site. If you are determined to have many inserts have us handle it. After going with several brides to check out invitations, many were so overwhelmed by the prices that they didn’t return to look for months. My partner and I created Butterscotch Press to provide those brides with affordable invitations.
4. Forgo the top shelf. Cutting out a full bar and serving only beer and wine will save tons of money. If you still want to serve something different without providing a full bar consider a signature drink that represents the couple.
5. Less is more. Your bouquet doesn’t have to be the size of a small garden. Having 8 peonies instead of 12 can add to big savings considering the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets. Consider adding filler flowers to create the look without breaking the bank.
6. Be yourself. If you don’t want to where a veil don’t wear a veil just because you think you have to. If you hate cake, opt for cupcakes, cannolis, pies or other sweets. Knowing the rules is important so you know which one’s you are willing to break.
7. Research, ask or hire someone who will. For most brides, this is their first experience hiring a rental company or florist. Researching the most affordable flower for fall or the catering company in town will help you avoid costly mistakes, or hire a wedding planner who can guide you through the process. I love showing brides unexpected ways to save money.
How are you tightening the purse strings?
Picking your first dance song can sometimes fall to the wayside with all the other details that have to be taken care of. But this is your first dance as a husband and wife. You’re going to want to enjoy all 3:30 minutes of it! (And so will your guest.) If you are looking for something fresh and modern (don’t worry there will always be a place for Etta James) here were several favorites. Some of them are a bit faster than their traditional counterparts but I figured a few of you have some fast moves you’ve been waiting to show off. Enjoy!
You are the Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
We Belong Together – Gavin Degraw
Look After You – The Fray
Be Mine – David Gray
This Kind of Love – Sister Hazel
Love Remains the Same – Gavin Rossdale
And if you really want to make an exit, crank up “Two Tickets to Paradise” by Eddie Money as you head off for the honeymoon.
It’s Cyber Monday!! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.
Black Friday may be the day to hit the mall for sales but Monday is the day to hit the couch…and save. Knock out some of that wedding to-do list with plenty of savings online. Here were a few of my favorite finds:
If you have been eyeing any of the bridesmaid dresses at J. Crew today is the day to take a closer look! Regularly priced dresses of $250 are as low as $129. Just one more thing you, and your bridesmaids, will be thankful for!
Paper lantern store is offering 15% off all purchases
Plum Party is offering 25% off all purchases
For Your Party has free shipping for purchases over $100
And in case you still have more shopping in you, head over to Victoria Secret to pick something for the wedding night or a new swim suit for the honeymoon! VS is offering 20% off your entire purchase.