Friday, January 16, 2009

Save the Date

Sending out a save the date about a year to 9 months ahead of the wedding date is a great way to let people know that you're getting married and make sure that your guests that are traveling a distance have time to get travel plans in order.

Magnets - You can now create a Save-the-Date magnet to send to your guests with pretty much anything on it, including your personal photo(s). You sites such as, and Your guests will not misplace these save the dates because they can stick them right on their fridge, I have about 5 on my fridge right now from weddings that I've been to and weddings that are in the future. If you have about 100 invites it will cost you about $200 - $300 dollars for these magnets depending on which magnet you choose.

Paper - If you choose to send a traditional paper save the date, skip the stationary store and go to staples, office depot or target for self printing kits. Save the dates tend to be casual, save your money for the more formal invitation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reception Sites

Choosing a reception site depends greatly on how many guests you will be having attend the wedding. The bigger the guest list gets the smaller the selection of reception venues. The majority of reception venues max out at about 200 to 250 people.
  • Hotels/Function Halls - This type of venue is definitely the most popular for wedding receptions. There is usually a wedding coordinator that you can work, and a package that you can buy that has transportation, photography and menu selections. Remember to find out if you can bring in your own photographer, flowers, etc.. if you have certain people in mind. If you don't have tons of time on your hands and like what they offer in their packages this might be the way to go, but remember this convenience usually comes with a price.
  • Country Clubs/Yacht Clubs - If you are a member or someone you know is a member of a country club you might want to look into this option. They usually do not carry packages so you have more room to save money. even though you may not think it, many private country clubs are less expensive than hotels because they only do about 1 to 2 weddings a month and don't make most of their revenue this way so they do not jack up the prices. The club will have different menus for you to choose from and allow you to bring in any photographer, videographer, etc. that you wish.
  • Public Spaces - Indoor or outdoor public spaces are options that some people choose as reception venues, but I would not recommend this due to many issues you may run into with liability and you will not be able to serve any kind of alcohol because its a public space, so no champagne toast.
  • Backyard Reception - Other than not having the site fee this option is just as expensive if not more because you have to rent all the chairs, tables, linens, tents, etc.. and have some one clean up when the whole thing is over. Unless this is something that you have dreamed about for all long time I would stay away from this option and I would definitely hire someone to take care of organizing things on the day of the wedding so that you and your mother are not running around getting things ready.
  • Other Venues to Think About - Wineries, Barns, Mansions, Destination weddings (expensive), just let your imagination run wild.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ceremony Sites

Where to get married?

There are thousands of places where you could get married. I will break them down for you and talk about how each of them will effect your budget.

  • A religious setting (Church, Temple, etc.) - These venues tend to be the least expensive, its usually a couple hundred dollars for the priest or rabbi and whatever you want to spend on flowers.
  • Outside (public space)- This is another relatively inexpensive venue although you do have to worry about the weather. In this scenario you still have to pay for the officiant, but you also have to add on the chair rental, the cost of renting or building an archway to stand under and any fee the city or town my have for you to use the space.
  • Outside (private space, backyard, etc.) - This venue is similar to the public space except you can minus the fee from the city or town. This can be a very inexpensive and personal way to have your ceremony.
  • At the Reception Site - If you are thinking about having your reception at a hotel, inn, country club or function site, you may want to look into having your ceremony at the same location. In this scenario you will not have to worry about renting chairs or an archway because these venues usually will have these items. You can save on transportation costs as well, since every thing will happen in the same location.
  • Public Building - If you have a historic building near where you live with a beautiful space that would fit all of your guests, consider this as an option as well. It will create a one of a kind experience for the two of you and give your guests a nice change of pace as well. Costs wise this is the same as the outside public space, and also you may need to take out short term insurance for the event for a couple hundred dollars depending on the historic value of the building, check with the town or city.
Of course make sure that wherever you choose to get married, is beautiful to you. If it is beautiful to you then you will feel beautiful when you are there.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Choosing a Date

Before going out to look at ceremony and reception sites you will need to have 3 or 4 dates that work for you and others in your families.

  • Discuss dates with your fiance and come up with some that work for the two of you, make sure that all the dates work so that you have plenty of time for your honeymoon.
  • Check with your parents and others in the wedding to see if there are any conflicts with any of the dates that you have selected.
  • Check to see if any religious or non-religious holidays fall during the dates.
Once you have checked with every one you'll be ready to start visiting ceremony and reception sites.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Planning the Big Vaca

Planning your honeymoon, such an exciting time.

Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? and How much is this going to cost? These are probably the questions that you are going to be asking yourself.

Planning your honeymoon as a couple will ensure that you both have as much fun as you can, as well as look forward to the vacation together.

Questions to ask yourselves:
  • Want kind of honeymoon do you want to go on, fun in the sun, European elegance, ski, etc.?
  • How long is the honeymoon going to be, 1 week, 1 month? (Make sure you have enough or will have enough vacation days at work before booking anything, usually employers are flexible when you're going on your honeymoon, but always ask first.)
  • When do you plan on departing for your honeymoon, the night of the wedding, the next day?
  • What kind of a budget do you have?
After you have those questions answered go to a local travel agency, this should not cost you anything and they will give you lots of information and packets on places you might want to visit, you can decide later if you would like to book your travel through the agency.

Narrow down your destinations until you only have a few left and start looking online to see how much the vacation will really cost. Use websites like Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity to get cost estimates and websites such as Tripadvisor for great online reviews.

Finally try to book major items such as transportation and lodging about 6 months prior to your wedding date so to have the best selection. Happy traveling!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Starting the Search for the Dress

Buying your wedding dress is a very exciting time for a bride, take your time and enjoy the experience with family and friends.

  • Buy a few wedding magazines and rip out any dress that catches your eye.
  • Go to a couple of bridal stores and try on all the different styles that interest you, this is the only way to narrow down what style you look the best wearing.
  • If you decide on a ballerina, full skirt or more intricate a-line dress you will want to be shopping at bridal boutiques because they will have the experience needed to make the alterations. Dresses at bridal boutiques run anywhere from $1000 to 10,000 and above.
  • If you live in the Boston area I greatly recommend Bella Sera Bridal on the north shore, they create a very welcoming and personal experience for every bride.
  • Of course, if you have a tailor that you go to all the time and trust feel free to buy a dress off of the rack and have your tailor alter it to fit you.
  • Bridal boutiques have sales every couple months when they get new samples in, this is a great way to save money. But, I do not recommend this if you do not have a good tailor. You can usually grab a dress for around $100 - $1000 depending on the designer.
  • If you are looking for a simpler dress there are many money saving options. Chain bridal stores such as David's Bridal offer dresses for a fraction of the cost of the small bridal boutiques. If you are looking for something really basic, for example something that you would wear in a beach wedding, try boutiques that cater to bridesmaids almost all the styles they have there come in off-white and will save you lots of money. These dresses will usually run you a couple 100 dollars.
  • Remember to work into your budget money for a veil (if your wearing one) around $50-$100, jewelry (its up to you how much you spend on this), shoes (remember to have your shoes before you get fitted for your dress because the height of the shoes will have to match the hem of the dress) $50 or up, and alterations if you have a simple dress you should budget around $100 - $300, but as your dress gets more complicated your alterations get more expensive and can end up costing you as much as the dress itself.
  • Never hesitate to ask family members that have skills like tailoring to help you instead of giving you a wedding gift if you have a tight budget.
Remember to bring your Mom and anyone else that you think might be able to help you making this decision. Have fun with it!