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Engaged? - Wedding Planning To Dos

Engaged? Excited? Now comes the tricky part, with so many things to do before your big day, what are you supposed to do first and what can be pushed to the back burner? Don’t get overwhelmed – here are the first nine things you need to do after you get engaged.

SET A TIMETABLE
How long do you plan on your engagement being? This depends on a couple of factors: your ideal wedding date, and how much time you will need to prepare. A typical engagement lasts anywhere from six months to a year and a half or more. If you get engaged during the holiday season, but have always dreamed of a summer wedding you need to assess your planning and see if it is reasonable to get married the following year, or if you should wait for a year and a half before getting married. Don’t make yourself wedding-crazy, and keep in mind that many of the best vendors and reception sites book up to a year or more in advance, so it might be a possibility that your wedding gets pushed back if you have your heart set on a specific location.

ENVISION THE STYLEwedding_planning
The style of your wedding is going to be most pronounced in the location you choose; whether it is an exquisite ballroom or an intimate backyard reception. Discuss with your fiancé what style you both want and where you want the wedding to be held (where you currently live, where you grew up, etc). Then you can start visiting venues to see if they would be appropriate for your special day.

SET YOUR BUDGET
In the end, unfortunately it is dollars, not dreams, which set your budget, and as a result your style and size of wedding. What affects the price tag?
FORMALITY: The more formal your reception, the more expensive the wedding usually costs. This is
because you need to match the site, food, and décor to the overall upscale tone.
DATE & TIME: Saturdays, summer months, and evenings tend to be the most costly times to have a
reception.
LOCATION: If you have your wedding in a city then you are more likely to pay more than if you have        
it in a smaller town.

DETERMINE A DATE
Choosing a wedding date can be one of the toughest decisions when it comes to planning your wedding. There are a few things you should consider when selecting a date: How much time will you need to prepare? Do any of your loved ones have a conflicting graduation, vacation, or pregnancy due date? If your heart is set on a particular place, caterer, band, or photographer, then the availability might be limited and can play a large role in the date selection.

ANNOUNCE YOUR ENGAGEMENT
Although this may not be everyone’s style, some people like to put an announcement of their engagement in their local paper, alumni magazine, or somewhere else. To do so, find out the name of the appropriate editor or department and ask for the writer’s guidelines or a standardized form, if one is available. Also, make sure to inquire if there is a publication fee.

CHOOSE YOUR ATTENDANTS
It is time to honour your closest friends and family by picking your wedding party. Remember, the earlier you ask, the sooner they will be able to help you plan your beautiful day. Having trouble deciding who to ask? Keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their hard earned money and donate their time to help plan your day and make it a great success. Be considerate and kind by informing everyone about all your plans, showing them a good time, and making sure they know how much you appreciate them.

MAKE A GUEST LIST
To build your guest list you need to consider a number of things. If you have a particular ceremony or reception site in mind you are going to be limited on how many guests you can invite to accommodate comfortably. You need to ask yourself if you would rather have one-on-one time with each guest or to throw a-once-in-a-lifetime party for all your friends and family. Remember, more guests means a bigger bill too – as catering costs are generally calculated by a per-head basis. So, in addition to location, your budget will have a big influence on the size of your guest list.

CONSIDER A CONSULTANT
If you are a super-busy couple, hire a full-time wedding consultant to help you prepare for your big day; they do everything from the announcement to the honeymoon. Don’t need a consultant full-time? You can hire them part-time to create a wedding blueprint for you – this will set you off in the right direction. Another option is the day-of coordinator who will make sure everything runs smoothly on your wedding day.

START GOWN SHOPPING
It’s never too early to begin gown shopping; you probably have one envisioned from when you were a little girl. Start by figuring our which style would look best on your body. Learn the lingo before you step into a dress shop. Read up on silhouettes, necklines, trains, and hues that might flatter you. Seasons also affect the dress you pick. If you are getting married in the summer stick with lightweight material like chiffon, linen, or organza, but in the winter try brocade, faux furs, and velvet. Satin, silk, and tulle are perfect year-round.

 

Luckily, there are some things that can wait until the final couple of months, sometimes even the last couple of weeks, before the wedding to worry about. Here are five things that you do not need to feel guilty about putting off.

GETTING A MARRIAGE LICENSE
If you live in the USA, most states do not require more than 24 hour wedding period for a marriage license to be valid, so there is no rush in getting one. A week or two before the ceremony is more than enough time.

RENTING FORMAL WEAR
Groomsmen, ushers, and even the groom are lucky because unlike the bride and bridesmaids they can take a bit of time when acquiring their attire. They don’t need to worry about renting or buying their suits or tuxes until about three months before the ceremony. Groomsmen, if renting, usually don’t even need to pick up their outfits until the week of the wedding.

ORDERING YOUR WEDDING BANDS
Yes, you don’t need to rush out and order your wedding bands – you can actually wait until four or five months before the ceremony. You want to make sure you have enough time to get them sized in case they don’t fit when they arrive at the jewelers.

APPOINTING ALL YOUR ATTENDANTS
While you can decide your wedding party pretty early in the process, attendants who are less involved in the pre-wedding prep do not need to be chosen for awhile. You can wait until a week or two before the wedding to appoint ushers and other ceremony helpers.

FINALIZING THE SEATING CHART
You can leave getting the seating chart to the reception site manager until a few weeks before the wedding – therefore, it is another item that does not need to be dealt with immediately.

 

Wedding Dates – Some to Avoid, Some to Consider

HOLIDAY WEEKENDS

American Holiday Weekends:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (always a Monday) – Monday January 18, 2010
Presidents’ Day (always a Monday) – Monday February 15, 2010
Memorial Day (always a Monday) – Monday May 31, 2010
Independence Day – Sunday July 4, 2010
Labour Day (always a Monday) – Monday September 6, 2010
Columbus Day (always a Monday) – Monday October 11, 2010
Thanksgiving (always a Thursday) – Thursday November 25, 2010
New Year’s Eve – Friday December 31, 2010

Canadian Holiday Weekends:
Victoria Day (always a Monday) – Monday May 24, 2010
Canada Day – Thursday July 1, 2010
Civic Holiday (always a Monday) – Monday August 2, 2010
Labour Day (always a Monday) – Monday September 6, 2010
Thanksgiving (always a Monday) – Monday October 11, 2010
New Year’s Eve – Friday December 31, 2010

RELGIOUS AND CULTURAL HOLIDAYS

Palm Sunday – Sunday March 28, 2010
Easter Sunday – Sunday April 4, 2010
Passover (Begins at sunset the night before) – Tuesday March 30, 2010
Tisha B’Av (Begins at sunset the night before) – Tuesday July 20, 2010
Rosh Hashanah – Begins at sunset on Wednesday September 8, 2010 and lasts until nightfall on Friday September 10, 2010
Yom Kippur (Begins at sunset the night before) – Saturday September 18, 2010
Hanukkah (Begins at sunset the night before) – Thursday December 2, 2010
Christmas – Saturday December 25, 2010
Kwanzaa – Beings Sunday December 26, 2010 through Saturday January 1, 2011

 

NOTABLE HOLIDAYS

April Fool’s Day – Thursday April 1, 2010
Mother’s Day (always a Sunday) – Sunday May 9, 2010
Father’s Day (always a Sunday) – Sunday June 20, 2010
Halloween – Sunday October 31, 2010

 

 

Source: The Knot

 

Wedding Budget: Little Ways to Save Big

With the cost of weddings on the rise – and the average American wedding costing approximately $27,000 – you probably want to know some quick and easy ways to save money when planning your big day. You are able to save a lot of money if you do not have the traditional image of a wedding as part of your plan. For instance, you can cut the showy formalities like bridesmaids dresses (your friends will most likely thank you) and even corsages. A backyard reception can be just as fun – and more intimate – than one in a restaurant or banquet hall, where the space will cost you. Try balancing the kind of wedding you envision with the kind of honeymoon you want. You can have a small, backyard wedding which will equal more money left for a lavish honeymoon; or a large extravagant wedding with a weekend away at a bed-and-breakfast. Saving for a house? Postpone the honeymoon – go away in a year and celebrate your first wedding anniversary instead.

To avoid post-marital bankruptcy, check out the following list of suggestions for keeping costs down. Decide what is crucial, what is alluring, and what is superfluous.

INVITATIONS
Find a good printer. The invitation is one of the first things that your guests will see that is connected to your wedding – but it is not the most important part of your wedding. It should be nice, but do not go overboard; people are going to remember your wedding day, not what your invitation looked like.
Do-it-yourself. DIY invites are becoming very popular. Sometimes the most creative projects cost the least to make.

FAVOURS
Fun and memorable, not fancy. Favours are meant to be parting gifts; they do not need to be extravagant purchases. Something edible is always appreciated, and it is affordable.

RECEPTION VENUES
Be flexible. Consider being flexible with the time or day – this will help you save some money. Saturday night is the most sought-after time to wed, and as a result, reception halls have jacked up their prices. If you can swing your reception for a Friday night, Saturday morning or afternoon, or Sunday, you will not only save money, but you may also have a larger selection of dates.
Do not overlook the obvious. If you are having a less traditional reception, and your guest list isn’t too long, you can think about having your reception in more familiar, cozy places. Is your cousin’s backyard perfect for a barbeque? Does a friend own a small restaurant? How about the local park in your neighbourhood?

TRANSPORTATION
Something borrowed. Wedding transportation is always a great area to save. Have a friend with a nice car? See if they will lend it to you for the day – it’ll save you lots of money instead of having to rent a Bentley or horse-drawn carriage.

FLOWERS
Wholesale, fresh flowers. By buying wholesale flowers you are able to save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars – plus you get the opportunity to design and create your arrangements and bouquets exactly how you want them.

CATERING
Consider dinner alternatives. Along with the menu, discuss the cost of service (and tipping), liquor, the wedding cake, overtime, and insurance when you meet prospective vendors. Also, a bunch, luncheon, or appetizer reception will probably cost less than a formal sit-down dinner. Or you could try serving dinner buffet or family-style. Both options, in many cases, will save you money and could allow you to showcase a family members cooking style if they feel up to it.

MUSIC
DJ’s vs. live bands. DJ’s tend to be less money than live bands. If you really want to save money in this area, and you are having a more intimate reception, rent speakers to plug into a high-quality stereo. You can have fun switching back and forth between his and her playlists.

PHOTO & VIDEO
Just record the ceremony. Taping only the ceremony, instead of the reception too, will save you some money. Do not skimp on a photographer though; you’ll want photo memories of your special day.

 

   

Wedding Budget – How to Save on Your Wedding Costs

The cost of weddings is on the rise. The average American wedding costs approximately $27,000; don’t panic! The first thing you need to do is create your wedding budget. Although sticking to your budget is even more important once you have established it. There may be some instances where an item goes over budget, but this should be an exception, not the rule. If you find you are going over budget on an item, then try to redistribute your funds in other areas of the budget to balance it back to your original total. This may seem extreme, and even a bit obsessive, but it is important to maintain control of your budget before things become unmanageable (and out of your price range). You do not want to end up with significant debt after your wedding.

Usually when planning your wedding you have others who are helping you foot some of the bills – parents, relatives, siblings, or friends. It is important for everyone to be involved in the budgeting; having an open conversation will allow everyone to voice their opinions and concerns before purchases are made and binding contracts are signed. This step is important because it makes everyone aware of the budgetary restrictions so they understand the ramifications of overspending on one aspect of the wedding.

Once the budget has been discussed and a consensus has been reached regarding the amount of money available you can start assigning percentages to each portion of the budget. This may include, but is not limited to: the food at the reception, the food at the cocktail hour, the cocktails at cocktail hour, centerpieces for the reception, flowers at the ceremony, transportation for the bridal party, the bride and grooms’ wedding attire, flowers for the bridal party, a photographer, and a DJ or band. For example, you may decide you are going to spend 35% of your budget on food and a much smaller percentage on centerpieces for the reception.

When you are creating your budget make sure to prioritize. Figure out which elements of the budget will be the items to receive the largest percentages of funding. The bride and the groom should pick the two most important things to them about their day and from there create the most important elements. For example, the bride’s most important things for the wedding may be her dress and the flowers, while the groom may believe the most important things for the wedding are the music and the food – from that you can figure out where to spend your money and where to pinch your pennies. Understanding the priorities of the couple will help everyone involved with the wedding planning to see which items they should plan on splurging on and which items they might want to comparison shop for in order to find an inexpensive alternative.

Before you begin buying, ordering or booking anything though you should put your budget aside for a few days and begin shopping around – simply finding out prices, comparison shopping. After a few days, everyone can meet again to review the budget. This gives everyone a few days to think about what they have decided on based on the pricing they have found and determine if the budget is feasible or needs to be modified. During this time you may discover that you have underestimated or overestimated on one or more areas of your budget – you will be able to make modifications before having purchased anything.

The importance of establishing a budget for a wedding cannot be underestimated. If you fail to set a budget or do not adhere to it you may find yourself in serious financial trouble. The Knot proposed a $10K wedding budget – couples from across the USA were able to successfully adhere to their budget, and all of them actually spent less than the $10,000. In New York City, weddings average around $50,000, but this bride and groom were able to plan a beautiful Central Park wedding for $9,726.38 (taxes included). Read these success stories for more tips and check out the 30 Ways to $ave Big for Your Wedding.

 

Source: Just Weddings

 

Cutting Wedding Costs – 30 Simple Ways to Save Big on Your Wedding

Tough times call for practicality; cut the costs on these items and save big on your wedding day. We figured since we sell wholesale flowers, which can save you hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of dollars that we should show you where else you can pinch your pennies when it comes to budgeting your wedding. Your wedding is meant to be a special and memorable day, but taking some of these suggestions you won’t lose any of the sparkle that you desire.

Peach bouquet

Reception
1. Cut the guest list. By cutting your guest list you can slash your catering costs drastically, as well as save on invitations and even the number of centerpieces since you won’t need as many tables.

2. If you have your wedding in the off-season (generally the winter) then you have the potential to save thousands of dollars. Rental facilities usually charge more in the on-season since people are competing for venue space.

3. Hold your reception and ceremony in the same location. This will cut travel time for any vendors you may have who are to be paid by the hour.

4. Host your wedding on a day besides Saturday. Saturday’s are usually the most expensive day to rent a wedding facility.

5. Have bigger tables so you need few tablecloths and centerpieces – plus your guests will get to socialize with more people this way at dinner.

6. Think ahead! Shop in the off season for extra décor you may need. You can get black vases on sale after Halloween and pink ones after Valentine’s Day.

Flowers
7. Shop wholesale (obviously)!

8. Swap out costly flowers. Did you know that peonies can be five times more expensive than roses?

9. Stick to just one or two kind of flowers.

10. Use more greenery – it can add an element of class to your arrangements.

11. Include non-floral items too, like candles.

Food and Drink
12. Serve entrée duets.

13. Skip the main course – serve appetizers and drinks instead. Try something different; people like finger foods! Plus it gives people a great way to mix and mingle while munching on their tasty treats.

14. Offer beer, wine, and a signature cocktail instead of an entire free bar.

15. Serve comfort foods like barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, and corn. It’s something different to make your wedding unique, but it’s also fun and cheaper.

16. Skip the champagne toast.

Cake
17. Instead of ordering a big expensive cake, order a one-or-two tiered one. Simply supplement the cake with a large sheet cake that can be kept hidden in the kitchen and served to guests.

18. Keep the add-ons simple.Lavender Bouquet 1

19. Use fresh flowers on your cake, not sugar ones.

20. Reuse the ceremony flowers for the cake table.

21. Skip exotic fillings in your cake like guava and mango.

Stationary and Favours
22. Get single-page invites to save on postage.

23. Instead of giving a favour out to each individual guest, give them out to couples instead.

24. Or, even make your cake the favour.

25. Have your favours double as escort cards.

26. Email your save-the-date card instead of mailing it (this helps the environment too!).

27. Make your own menu cards, escort cards, and wedding favour packaging.

Photo, Video and Music
28. If there is a photographer you love, but you cannot afford see if they have an associate shooter who will photograph your wedding for less.

29. Opt for a smaller band.

30. Hire a band or DJ who can play both the ceremony and the reception.

Sure, there are probably things you don’t want to skip when it comes to your wedding day – but hopefully some of these suggestions can sprout ideas in your brain for how you might want to modify your big day and, in turn, satisfy your budget.

Source: The Knot

   

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