Cutting Wedding Expenses

You’re about to have the wedding of your dreams. It doesn’t come cheap. After all, no expense should be spared for the perfect white dress and shoes, the matching platinum rings, the gala reception, the flower arrangements, videos and photographs, the wedding giveaways, and even the 6-tiered wedding cake. Unfortunately, your pocket book is becoming alarmingly lighter by the minute. So in order to spend for the things you really want, you’ll have to think about cutting back on the things you only kind of want.

Think Twice and Cut Back

Indeed, cutting back on your wedding expenses seems like a good idea. But like all good ideas, it’s easier said than done. Being a bride, you want everything to be perfect no matter what the cost is. All reason flies out the window – and for good reason.

If you stop, take a deep breath, and put things in perspective, however, you’ll realize that this isn’t a good way to do things. After all, though your wedding might not be like any other day, it’s still just one day. You don’t want to spend your entire savings for just this one day and end up with hardly any money to start your life together as a couple. That’s not a good way to start a marriage, and it definitely doesn’t put you on the road to happily-ever-after.

Cut Where Nobody Notices

The average bride can indeed be unreasonable when it comes to her wedding. But that doesn’t mean you should be, even if you can get away with it. Though you may not want to spare any expense on your dress or the reception, you can cut back on minor things, like the wedding giveaways, table centrepieces, or even cheap groomsmen gifts.

Don’t feel bad about getting cheap groomsmen gifts. Your groomsmen are a handful of your and your fiancees closest family and friends. They’ll definitely understand why you’re giving them cheap groomsmen gifts. In fact, they might even expect it.

Cheap Can Be Chic

Breathe easy. Cheap groomsmen gifts aren’t as bad as you think. Just because they’re cheap, doesn’t mean they’re tacky. You can put your genius to good use by picking cheap groomsmen gifts that are still tasteful and elegant.

Simplicity is the key. Contrary to what you may think, men aren’t that hard to please. You can find many sophisticated items as cheap groomsmen gifts. Consider cufflinks, liquor flasks, cigarette lighters, and wallets. They’re functional, and with your impeccable taste, you’re sure to find elegant sophistication under $50.

With that taken care of, you can then spare no expense for your dream wedding dress with the excellent beadwork. The money you saved from buying cheap groomsmen gifts can be used to purchase more flowers or add more desserts for your guests. You can probably even add another tier on your cake. Indeed, by cutting back on some of your wedding expenses, you’ll be able to splurge on the things that really matter ñ and have more than enough left over to live happily ever after.

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Hiring Wedding Professionals

1-5 One of the most challenging things about getting married is finding and hiring the wedding vendors.  However large or small their roles may be, they will have a significant impact in the overall outcome of your wedding day. Because of this, it is imperative to take your time and follow some very simple steps to ensure you are hiring quality and reputable wedding professionals that you can trust. As you will soon discover, there is really no shortage of wedding vendors in any given category. The goal is finding the professional that is right for you, not only with product, service and price, but with personality as well. The search for wedding day vendors can begin in a number of places. Knowing where to look and what to look for will assist you in your search. The following are suggestions as to where you may begin the search for your vendors. Bridal Shows The greatest value in bridal shows is the opportunity to meet with a large number of wedding vendors and view many products at one time, in one location. There are many categories of vendors represented at the shows, making it an invaluable tool for doing research and for gathering wedding-related information. When you find vendors you particularly interested in, make a note of it and call soon after the show to book a personal one on one appointment. Ceremony and Reception Location The locations you select for your wedding day are quite familiar with particular vendors, and usually have a preferred vendor list. The vendors on this list have worked at that site many times before and are familiar with the logistics and rules of the location. Friends and Family You will usually get honest no nonsense answers and opinions regarding products and services when you ask married friends and family members (even co-workers) about their own weddings. Ask them about their vendors, the services they used, what they liked and didn’t like, would they hire them again, etc.? The Internet The Internet is an easy access, easy to use, anytime resource. You can find a wealth of vendors on the web. Checking out a vendor’s web site can give you a good idea of pricing, packages, and type of work they do before making a personal appointment. Local Bridal Magazines Using local wedding magazines and directories can at first seem overwhelming, as there are a large number of advertisements in these publications. You can, however, find excellent vendors in the magazines, but it will take some calling around to acquaint yourself with these vendors. Wedding Planners/Consultants Wedding consultants have several pre-established relationships with local vendors. If you are working with a consultant, she should be able to provide you with preferred vendor list. However, if you are not working with a consultant, you can still benefit from this knowledge, as most consultants will share their preferred vendor list with you for a fee. Conclusion Once you have made your final decisions, you must get a written contract. Call the vendor to confirm the details and ask for a contract to be sent to you. A contract is the best way of ensuring you and the vendor understand what is expected, as it should outline specifics such as dates, times, names, and types of services/products provided. It will also spell out payment plans, refund and cancellation policies. It behooves (I always wanted to use that in a sentence) you to read and understand the contract. Do not assume you have secured a vendor for your wedding day until you have a contract that is signed by you and the vendor. And finally remember, part of getting the most from a vendor’s service is also being a good client and providing the vendors with the payments and other requested information in a timely manner. We would love to hear your thoughts . Please comment below, stop by and check out and follow us on twitter @weddingdj1 #wedding #weddingdj #weddingblogger  

Wedding Gift Ideas

So you’ve got a wedding coming up…Well aside from picking up a something to wear, you will also be needing a gift. Fortunately, getting a wedding present can be a relatively easy and even fun experience.†

Here are a few wedding gift ideas to help jog your mind and memory.

The first option is to see if the couple has set up a ‘wedding gift registry’.†These days, the registry may be online and many online retailers offer set up a gift registry for couples to increase transactions.  If there is a registry, you could simply pick a gift from here and buy that which is, of course, one of the easiest possible options.  This also has an additional advantage that you probably won’t be getting them a gift that someone else has already gotten them, because once you pick a gift from the registry, it is marked off as bought, for the other guests to see.

Another option is cold hard cash. While this may not be the most deeply thoughtful gift, it is damn practical and new couples have to be practical. Keep in mind the newlyweds are probably trying to save up for a mortgage on a home, a car, furnishings, or even to pay off debts and student loans.  The bottom line is, cash is very helpful.

If you want to personalize a cash gift, be sure to put some thought into presenting the cash well. Maybe you could spend some time finding a hilarious gift card, with a nice picture and/or picture frame.  You could even make your own card with something about the couple if you are close to them.  There are many online services for making custom gift cards, and you can probably find funny or romantic quotes on the internet to use to personalize the card.

And lastly, there is the option of choosing your own unique gift. On our 100 gift ideas page you can  may find something, but here are a 5 wedding gift ideas that might help:

1. Charter the couple a private sailboat for a day
2. A weekend house rental
3. A membership to monthly or quarterly wine club
4. A hot air ballooning trip
5. Some fancy new computer or electronic equipment for their home.

Getting the couple a unique gift can have its rewards. It stands out in their mind and may help to cement a friendship.  Buying them a great experience like a romantic getaway house rental can be a great gift and very thoughtful and classy.  Depending on how much you plan to spend, you could even plan for a bottle of wine or champagne to be waiting for them when they arrive.

In my opinion, the only kind of gifts you probably want to avoid are plain old gifts like a cuisinart (unless it is specifically listed in their gift registry).†Gifts like a cuisinart are pretty unimaginative, bordering on flat out dull, and young couples will probably have an excess of semi-useless kitchen clutter after their wedding.†

If the couple is dear to you, don’t contribute to the pile of semi-useful, not-very-thoughtful gifts that clutter their living area in the months after the wedding.Take a few extra minutes and think up something cool.†Even if it isn’t their favourite thing, they’ll probably appreciate your effort at getting something unique.

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Unity Candles Ideas

If you are planning a wedding and plan to have a unity candle as part of the ceremony, you might want to think outside the box.

Traditionally, the unity candle involves three candles. The bride has one, the groom the other, and their two lighted candles light the third candle. This is done to represent the coming together of the two people to make one unit. In some alternate methods, family members are invited to participate in the unity candle lighting, often the mothers of the bride and groom, or other close members of the family. Each family then lights a candle, and together they light the unity candle to symbolize of the coming together of the families.

Now, there are a few twists you can add to this fairly conventional aspect of a wedding ceremony. You can provide each guest with an unlit candle when they arrive at the ceremony. After the couple lights the unity candle, they can ask the guests to move to the front of the church (or wherever the ceremony is being held) and light their candles with the lighted unity candle. This can take a bit of time and might be best with a smaller guest list. But it is a meaningful way to not only get your guests involved in the ceremony itself, but also symbolize the union of family and friends with the marriage.

If there is a large guest list and it would be a prohibitive waste of time to do a candle lighting involving everyone at the ceremony, some brides and grooms like to bring the unity candle to the reception. Light the candle again and provide each guest with a small votive candle (the candle holder will be on the tables at individual table settings). As guests come into the reception area or hall, they can light their votive and take it to their table to place into the votive holder. This small votive candle can double as a wedding favor, particularly if you decorate or enhance a plain votive candleholder in some way to coordinate with your wedding.

Of course, you can forget having a unity candle at the ceremony altogether. Many brides these days are trying to reduce the length of the ceremony and spend more time planning the reception. In that light, some choose to do away with a unity candle altogether. You can certainly do this, or you can cut it out of the ceremony and make it part of the reception.

To do this, you can use the votive candle option suggested above, or you can simply incorporate the unity candle lighting into the reception activities themselves. For example, you might choose a quiet moment in the reception to have a lighting of the unity candle. It might be during a short prayer prior to the serving of the meal, or right before the cake is cut. In this case, the unity candle can then be used as decoration on the cake table. As the bride and groom cut the cake and pieces are served to guests, the candle can also serve as a reminder of the couple’s new bond and that the bond is shared with all the guests as well.

Although having a unity candle at the wedding or reception isn’t necessary, it is certainly an option that many brides and grooms opt to include. But it’s important to remember that as with so much surrounding wedding planning there are ways to make it unique and interesting and special to the couple getting married.

North American Wedding Practices

Living in North America makes one feel free – free to do anything, free to live, free to love, free from traditions.  While this is true, there are still many practices done during wedding that renders this memorable event with a distinct American touch.  Here are some:

Starting from the engagement, people can think of unique ways to personalize their wedding.  As there really isn’t any engagement tradition, the more unique the marriage proposal is done, the better.

For most wedding preparations, the engaged couple visits their parents to inform them of their recent engagement.

At times, the engaged couple hosts an engagement party.  The engagement party costs less than a wedding reception since most of the time, the menu will only include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  Therefore, if the couple is on a tight budget, they can just invite more guests to the engagement party if they plan to limit the number of guests during the wedding.

Most wedding preparations have a bridal shower given by the maid of honor and the bridesmaids.  The groom may also have a bachelor party the night before the wedding but he has to be careful not to drink too much.

Wedding invitations should include response cards to quickly inform the couple whether the person has accepted or declined the invitation.  The wedding invitations should also be sent within four to six weeks before the event.

Usually, there is a rehearsal dinner in which the wedding party and guests came from far places to be present at the wedding attend.  It was practiced that parents pay for this dinner.

A bridal luncheon may be hosted for the bride’s attendants during the wedding day.  However, time constraints may not permit this to be part of the schedule for the wedding day.  Likewise, the groom may also host a groom’s dinner for his groomsmen.

Interestingly, even if the couple is not very religious, they still prefer a religious ceremony.  However, this may pose a problem since people of different faiths and religious backgrounds get married to each other.

Even if there are few people who believe in bad luck, some couples still make sure that the groom does not see his bride until she starts waking on the aisle.

It is still practiced that the groom and his groomsmen enter the church through a side door.  The bride will then walk down the aisle with her father.  In some cases when both her father and stepfather brought up the bride, she may ask them both to escort her.

During a formal reception, there is usually a bridal table where the couple and the attendants sit.  Also, food and drinks should be served as the guests appear at the reception.

Before, gift giving used to depend on what the guest will feel useful for the couple.  Now, it is better to register for gifts so the guests will know what to bring that the couple will need.  Monetary gifts are always helpful.

Upon receiving an engagement or wedding gift, it is better to send a thank you note apart from saying “thank you” to the giver.  This should be sent within two weeks upon receipt of the gift.  Make a personalized thank you note, instead of using an impersonal generic thank you note.

These are just some North American practices during weddings.  Whether one chooses to this or prefers to have a very different wedding, what’s more important is that American’s still believe in the wedding vow, “For better or worse, ’til death do us part.”

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Wedding Music

North American weddings have come a long way over the years. In a society that is made up of people from so many different cultures, lifestyles, religions, and backgrounds, it is no surprise that the traditions in the wedding ceremony are as vastly different as well. Wedding music is no exception. From the ceremony itself to the party atmosphere of the reception, the wedding music sets the tone for the event.

Traditional Wedding Music

At most weddings we can expect to hear selections that have come to be known as traditional wedding music. Titles like Ave Maria, the Minuet from Don Giovanni, and, of course, The Bridal Chorus and The Wedding March have long been the standard music for a wedding. Particularly religious ceremonies may include hymns like Amazing Grace and a Jewish wedding almost always includes a hora danced to a medley of tunes like Hava Nagila, and Siman Tov U Mazeltov.

The traditional wedding music holds a special place in our hearts and many think that a wedding ceremony is incomplete without it. The couple must decide whether or not to use traditional wedding music in the ceremony, as well as how much of it to use. If this part of the wedding tradition is important to you, then traditional wedding music is the way to go.

Modern Wedding Music

Often couples will forgo the traditional wedding music selections and instead include modern or popular music in the wedding ceremony. This practice is so common that some titles are becoming traditional wedding song selections themselves. It is not unusual to hear When a Man Loves a Woman, Always and Forever, or  Marry Me sung, performed, or played at weddings today. Often more modern titles like these will appear in a ceremony along with the more traditional wedding music.

Avant-Garde Wedding Music

As people’s attitudes change and varying forms of wedding ceremonies take place, the choice of wedding music often changes right along with them. Occasionally couples will choose music for their wedding that reflects the stark difference in their personalities and makes a unique and bold statement. While your wedding ceremony is primarily for the couple getting married, it is important to remember that it is an event attended by your family members as well. While you may wish to make an impression on your guests with your choice of music, you should still be cautious not to offend your respective grandmothers. As such, a selection by an artist like Marilyn Manson may never be appropriate for a wedding ceremony. This does not mean that your wedding music choices are restricted to traditional classics or sappy love songs. Just take into account these are memories for you and your guest that you would fondly like to reflect on decades from now… Just Saying .

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So You Want To Plan A Bridal Shower ?

Historically, brides have been showered with love and gifts on their bridal shower party. Although the maid of honour normally organizes the bridal shower, showers can be organized by anyone close to the bride. To be more politically correct, couples may decide to opt for a couple shower. It is the same concept as a bridal shower, but it is not exclusive to female friends and family. A couple shower enables friends and family to celebrate both bride and groom. Whether it’s a bridal shower or a couple shower, planning the event takes considerable effort. So, read on to learn some fun and helpful bridal shower planning tips.

Planning the shower is the responsibility of the honour attendant or honour attendants. It is quite possible for the bride to choose more than one honour attendant. So, it is quite possible that planning the shower would be a team effort. If there is only one maid of honour, she shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from the other bridesmaids, friends, and family.

Hint. Several people involved in the planning process can help, but it can also create conflict.

Choosing the right date for the bridal shower is of paramount importance. There is no rule about how much time before the wedding a shower needs to take place. It can take place several months or a couple of weeks prior the wedding day. Often, bridal showers are planned in the form of a surprise party. Regardless of the date of the shower, guest should be notified well in advance. Make sure that the date doesn’t conflict with holidays or other events that would prevent the guests from attending the party.

A bridal shower doesn’t need to be an expensive party, but it certainly can be. Be sure that your budget is set early in the planning process. Once your budget has been determined, be sure the required funds are set aside. Don’t be a hero and ask for help. Just because you plan the shower, it doesn’t mean you have to pay for the whole thing. Unless you are independently wealthy, ask all the bridesmaids to help out.

A bridal shower can be a discreet get together or an extravagant party with some great bridal shower favours. The sky is the limit, and, of course, your budget. If you organize the party, you should know enough about the bride to determine what kind of shower she would enjoy the most. Would she enjoy a relaxed shower at somebody’s house, or is she expecting a more formal party in a hotel ballroom? Does she have specific hobbies or interests that would provide an interesting theme for the party?

You should only invite guest to the bridal shower who will also be invited to the wedding. If you are unsure about who should be on the guest list, feel free to ask the bride to help out. If you are organizing a surprise shower, ask the bride’s mother or someone who would know about the wedding reception guest list.

It is very smart to include information about where guests can purchase presents in the shower invitations. The guests will appreciate your guidance. After all, it makes it easier for them purchase the proper gifts.

The bridal shower invitations can be traditional cards or even e-cards. Most people have an e-mail address, so an electronic invitation might be a feasible option for your shower. E-cards are not only freely offered on many Web sites, but they are also fast. You send them our one-minute and they are delivered the next. If you have a larger budget, you might be interested in sending out personalized chocolate bars as bridal shower invitations. Regardless of what form of invitations you decide to use, make sure they are sent out well in advance. The bridal shower invitations should be sent out about two months prior to the bridal shower party.

Food is an important aspect of the planning process, and it is very much influenced by where the bridal shower is held. If you’re planning an at-home bridal shower, you may prepare the food yourself or you have a catered party. If you’re having the shower in a restaurant or a hotel, make sure they prepare one of the bride’s favourite meals.

Remember: Bridal showers are supposed to be fun, so don’t stress too much. After all, you are planning a party.

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