Friday, April 10, 2009

The little things count

You would not believe how easy it is to make your guests feel welcome. There is no better way to do this than welcome bags for out-of-town guests. Find gift bags which match your wedding colors. The inexpensive route.....go to the dollar store. You would be surprised at the great selection of gift bags they have. Next, I suggest going to our local visitor's center and collecting maps and/or points of interest flyers for your area. In most cases they will gladly provide these items for free. After that, fill your bags with useful items. The picture above shows a schedule and water bottle set I created for wedding. While the water bottles may seem pricey, them were not. (Sam club water, lime green paper fabric, purple linen paper and a silver sticker from the dollar store.)

Schedules for guests are perfect, especially for weddings which are an all weekend event. We used more of the purple linen paper, silver stickers and used regular lime green printer paper from Staples. This couple hosted a beer and wings night the Thursday before the wedding. Then a Men's outing / golf tournament on Friday while the ladies had a luncheon and day of beauty and shopping. The rehearsal dinner that evening. The shuttle schedule to the wedding from the hotel was included for the Saturday afternoon wedding. And a family brunch on Sunday.

Other items to include in your bags: snacks, a thank you card or card of welcome from the bride, groom and family, toiletry items not provided by the hotel, etc. All of this will help the guests feel welcome and special.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Not your everyday shoes

These shoes happen to be the ones I wore for my own nuptials. However there is a new trend in bridal shoes that I absolutely LOVE!!!! Brides are opting for shoes that are unique and/or have color. Let your shoes selection represent your personal style. This is yet another opportunity for you to add some flare to your wedding.

For a beach and/or beach wedding you could try these.

Step on the wild side with these Ralph Lauren shoes under your dress.

If you are thinking pink and sassy, you might go for something like these.

Some brides even go for blue heels, like this pair from Ben Walk

On more of the traditional side, this pair of Jimmy Choos are great as well.

Need something blue? Why not wear blue shoes.... Like this pair from David's Bridal.

Some brides are going for the metallic look. Like with this pair from Nine West.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bottoms Up!

Whether you are serving spirits or not............ a signature drink can bring an element of uniqueness to any wedding. Trust me, guests get excited over things like this. If you are having a dry wedding, server a signature punch made with sparkling water, through in some sliced fruit or an umbrella and let the party begin. If you are serving adult beverages a signature drink can add flair to you beer and wine selection. It also can reduce your costs rather than having a full bar. A few of my favorites are from a Bride magazine article. Don't be afraid to ask your reception site if they offer signature drinks within the package or if you may bring your own.

Whatever the case maybe, enjoy it! Trust me, the last wedding I did, the bride and groom served mango martinis and the guests could not stop talking about how wonderful they were. Cheers!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Real Weddings - Stuart and Keeley

Location: The Metropolitan Club (Alpharetta, GA)
Photography: AKM Photography
Event planning and decor: Wickersham Events (Columbia, SC)
Cake: Lulu's Bakery of Alpharentta (not pictured but oh so yummy!)

There two sperate center pieces, to other a unique look.

The flowers chosen were silks. Mainly tulips and callalyllies.

Throw-away bouquet

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Location, Location, Location

I found this fabulous photo on The Knot's Real Weddings: Heather & Jamie in Naples, FL. I wish I could take credit for this amazing decor, but I cannot. I am on a business trip and forgot the camera and jump drive at home.

Location is not only important in real estate, but can be critical in event planning, especially a wedding. Take your time when looking and find a place where you get the most ambience for your money. The wrong location combined with the wrong décor can kill the perfect event.

The Knot has a great article 17 ways to spruce up your Site. Today we are going to cover the issue with ceilings. You might think, “NO one ever looks at the ceiling”…..Oh, but they do. Plus ceiling décor is a great way to make an over sized space seem cozy and/or elegant. Another option is to create taller table arrangements.

I am currently planning a wedding for a youth minister and they have chosen to have the reception at the church. This is a great choice for them, it not only fits budget wise, but reflects who they are as a couple. From a planning aspect, what makes for a good warehouse church ceiling does NOT make for a breath-taking reception. The bride-to-be and I have been toying with ideas. She brought an amazing picture of an art deco chandelier. While renting a chandelier of this magnitude would sky rocket their budget, after studying the photo, I realized how easy it will be to fabricate. We are also going to use inexpensive fabric and possibily a few white Christmas lights to transform this modern warehouse church into a reception of Pride and Prejudice (Bride’s favor book and movie) elegance.

Here are a few photos to inspire you. The picture below are all from The Knot’s Real weddings and are not my creations.

Friday, January 30, 2009

No kind deed goes without notice

FAVORS Some people may say that if your budget is tight to skip the favors, I disagree. Your favors need not cost a lot of money, but they are expected and your guests will appreciate the gesture.

Some of the best favors I have made, seen or receieved, made a statement.

They might reflect the season you get married: Tulip bulbs for an early Spring wedding; Paper parasols at a summer beach wedding; candied apples for fall; and oraments for a winter wedding.

You can purchase your favors or made them yourself. (homemade candles, soaps, or candies)

Try personalizing your favors to reflect where the two of you met, your interests, whatever. (Starbucks cards and a small bag of coffee beans.)

Just remember presentation is everything.

Make your guests feel as if they are part of something special, becuase they are.

Everyone loves a gift.

Made it fun for everyone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The "B" word............

Budgets aren’t the most exciting things in life, but they are critical in planning your wedding. Whether you are planning this by yourself or will hire a wedding planner/ coordinator, your budget is one of the keys to a successful event. That is not to say that unless you have tens of thousands of dollars, you wedding will stink. Albeit, your budget really sets the rules of your wedding. If you plan to have 200 guests, a budget of $2000 will NOT cut it.

I attended a wedding where the bride and groom paid for everything themselves. Their wedding was very cute and reflected them to a tee, however their location was too large for the 50 people in attendance. They had planned for 200 guests on a $500 budget. With proper planning the money spent on the large location could have gone to another location to accommodate a wedding of their size and felt cozier. The end result was the same (They were married and are still happily married, however, years later the bride has a few regrets about the day.) With better planning and mastering their budget, she could have had the wedding of her dreams.

The other thing to consider is WHO is footing the bill. If your parents are paying, your partner’s parents are paying, the two of you are paying or it all falls somewhere in between.

One wedding I planned the bride’s parents and bride paid for everything except the future in-laws paid for the rehearsal dinner. (This is the traditional route.) Everyone agreed on 100 to 150 guests. After crunching numbers the parents offered around five thousand and the bride was grateful for their help and said she would make up the rest. I knew based on the research I had done that some locations cost five thousand just to walk in the door, nothing included.
As an only child, the bride knew there were huge expectations from the rest of the family that her wedding would be a HUGE event. She agreed to disagree with her parents for the time being. The MOB (mother of the bride) came along to several possible locations. After about four, she and the FOB reconsidered and increased their offer. They realized with what they had in mind, five thousand dollars was not going to work.

Be flexible with what you have in mind for your weeding and the amount of money to be spent. A lot will change…things will be cut, while others will be added. Just take a lot of deep breaths and go with the flow. Also note: Anyone who is coughing up some cash will also have an opinion about your wedding.

You’re a budget should include, but not limited to:
CEREMONY Officiant fee, church, synagogue or mosque fee, ceremony accessories, marriage license fee. This should be about 3% of your total budget.
RECEPTION Food and service, beverages and bartender, cake, décor (other than flowers), lighting and site and/or rental fees. This should be around 48% of your total budget.
ATTIRE Gown, veil, shoes, purse, lingerie, jewelry, tux or suit, hair and makeup. This should be 11% of your total budget.
STATIONARY Announcements, save-the-dates, invitations, inserts, programs, thank-you notes, calligraphy, postage. This should be 3% of the total.
FLOWERS Bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, ceremony and site flowers, canopy cake topper.
MUSIC ceremony musicians, cocktail-hour musicians, reception band or DJ, sound system rental. This should be 8% of your budget.
PHOTO Photographer, engagement photos, videographer, wedding cameras, prints, cds, rights, and albums. Should be about 8% of the total.
RINGS his and Hers engraving. Most budgets say this should be 3% of the total and should included in the overall budget. My vote is NO! Keep this cost in mind, but it does not HAVE to be included.
TRANSPORTATION Limo or car rental, guest shuttle, parking. Roughly 1% of your budget.
GIFTS Favors, bridesmaid gifts, groomsmen and usher gifts, parents gifts, amenity and welcome bags or baskets. About 4% of your budget.
EMERENCY FUND Budget about 5% extra for extra that come up. Tips, taxes, etc. Trust me these things will pop up.
CONSULTANT this is normally 10-15% of your budget. OTHER pre-wedding hotel room, bridal suite, pre- and post-wedding parties (bridesmaid’s luncheon, rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch), and honeymoon.

We will discuss each of these items in detail and ways to save for each in a later blog. There are also many books about wedding budgeting.