10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Your Wedding

Saying “I DO” can be a budget buster.  Here are some tips and hints to save on your celebration:

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  1. Keep the wedding guest list under 100.
  2. Limit the wedding party – keeping it small. This cuts down on the cost of attendant bouquets and gifts to each member in the wedding party.
  3. Consider having the ceremony and reception at the same site – thereby paying only one site fee and possibly fewer total hours. This can also save on transportation costs – no need for a party bus.
  4. Find a venue that allows you to bring your own food.  This blog post lists those that we can recommend:  http://www.bridestlouis.com/venues-that-allow-outside-caterers
  5. Why not an early morning or early afternoon wedding. You can eliminate a lot of alcohol and possibly a band or DJ.
  6. If your event is small and intimate, create your own personal playlist and purchase a blue tooth speaker.
  7. Try “off season” times like December and January. Vendors will usually work with you on a special price as this is a slower time for them.
  8. If you really want a popular month like May, June, September or October go for a Friday or Sunday to save money.
  9. When shopping for your wedding dress, ask about off the rack “inventory” dresses. Many bridal shops have a good selection of discounted, previous year’s styles that are beautiful.
  10. Set up a wedding checking account and make deposits monthly. Use only that money for the wedding allowing you to see what you are spending, and a better way to stay on top of the budget.

Weddings can be beautiful without depleting your bank account and being in debt for years.

 

First Look or Not?

Wedding Planning

A “First Look” is the term used when a bride and groom decide to see each other before the wedding ceremony. Many couples go back and forth on this decision. While, a traditional bride might prefer to have her groom enjoy the first sight of her as she walks down the aisle, there are many benefits to having a first look. Here are 8 reasons to have a “First Look”:

Wedding days should be full of emotion and should not be stressful.  A first look can add so much beautiful emotion and happiness to your day.

If you are Jewish you must see the groom before the wedding to sign the wedding contract.

A First Look helps eliminate those “I think I’m going to go crazy” nerves that you often feel before the wedding. Seeing your honey and sharing that time can provide instant relaxation and assurance that everything will be just fine. While some jitters and nerves come back when you are about to walk down the aisle, it’s different.

Photographers enjoy doing photos before the ceremony as there is less stress and more time to be creative.

Many guys lock up when you come down that aisle. They feel “on stage” and you often won’t get an honest response out of him. He’s nervous too! When he can see you before, he can take it all in, respond to how beautiful you are, laugh with you, cry with you, and most importantly… TALK TO YOU!

When you choose to see each other before the ceremony you have time to touch-up makeup, are able to say things to one another and you are actually able to enjoy your time together before the ceremony. When there are tears, you can take time to re-compose before your walk down the aisle.

Many times the reception and the ceremony are very close together in time scheduled to eliminate a long wait time for your guests. However, that means that once the “formal photos” are done, there is usually not enough time to do the really great candid shots.

TIME with your groom alone!  The day will be very busy!  Guests will be congratulating you, wanting to ask thousands of questions, and you will have no time to share with your groom until the end of the day.  The first look gives the two of you some time together.

If you’re traditional, it’s okay to skip it. “Remember that you can always change your mind—even on the day of your wedding!  Some couples prefer that the first time they see each other to be when the bride walks down the aisle in church. It can be an exciting and emotional time, and you can share that with your guests.  Plus, the photos after the ceremony capture you wearing your rings.

 

 

What Everyone Needs to Know When Planning a Wedding

I’ve seen a fairly large number of weddings, and I can guarantee you that there has never been a perfect wedding.   But here are seven things that are KEY to a GREAT WEDDING.

Here’s the crazy thing about most weddings.  You and your partner will share very little time together on the most important day of your lives!   First, you get ready for the ceremony, then have the ceremony, and finally spent a lot of the reception dancing with parents and friends and thanking guests for coming.  I highly recommend that you PLAN some alone time for you and your spouse immediately after the ceremony.  Take a walk, go to a room alone, or just some place where the two of you can really share time just with one another.  The Wedding Timeline should allow plenty of time for your together time and photos of just the two of you.

Don’t try to do everything yourself!  The night before the wedding you don’t want to be making place cards, finishing centerpieces or arranging bouquets.  In fact, you should have all your décor and decorations READY 30 days before the wedding!  Those last few days before your wedding you want to enjoy.  Delegate and use your family and friends.  The bridesmaids and groomsmen are there as well to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask them to take responsibility for a last-minute task.

Don’t invite too many wedding guests.  Sure, I’ve seen empty spaces at tables where guests have RSVP’d and then failed to arrive.  However, if you have invited 300 guests, received 290 “yes” responses, but the reception venue can only legally accommodate 275, you might have to turn 10 people away.  That’s really bad.  And I think most couples don’t realize this.  Keeping the guest list shorter also helps control the budget – that’s the easiest way to cut expenses.  And quite honestly, you want to be spending your day with those who TRULY care about YOU…not a second cousin removed that has only met you once!

Don’t blow the budget!  Make a budget and keep track of your expenditures.  Don’t forget the hidden extras like tips and delivery fees.  I’ve heard of grooms who had to make a trip to the bank to get money to pay the DJ, or else there would be no music!  It costs a lot of money to have a wedding, so make sure you have all the major items budgeted for.

Photography is one of the MOST IMPORTANT items on your budget.  Your photos will be your special “take away” from the day – and images that bring back memories of your special day are just really priceless!

 

Create some WOW at your reception.  Do you want your wedding reception something that family and friends will be talking about for years?  You don’t have to spend a fortune.  You just need to add some extra pizazz and show guests that you really appreciate them.  Little things can make a big difference.  For example, serve pre-ceremony cocktails or serve wine/sparkling grape juice during the ceremony, have an “after party”, or hire special entertain for the reception.  Perhaps a singer, bagpiper to make a grand entrance, or a piano player to play requests!

Your wedding day goes fast, so just go with the flow and enjoy your day.

Wedding Planning – Important Dates to Keep in Mind for Your 2019 Wedding

Wedding Planning

 

Congratulations to all you brides sporting a beautiful new rock on that left hand.  One of the first questions you will be asked is, “Have you set a date?”  The date you choose is key to your entire event.  If you are on a tight budget there are some dates you will want to avoid and if you choose a date around a Holiday, you might find your favorite vendor already booked.  To save money, go for a Friday or Sunday wedding as many vendors will offer a reduced price on those days.   We also listed the 3 day weekends – these are great for guests who need to travel.   October is a very busy wedding month.  If fact, it ranks up with June as one of the most popular wedding months.

So let’s start –

January 1 – It’s a Tuesday this year.  Some of you might want to opt for a 12/31/18 end of year wedding.  And besides it will save money on taxes if you file as “Married”.  Many companies will be celebrating a 4 day weekend so this could be a great time to say those “vows” especially if you have out of town guests invited.

January 9, 2019 (It’s 1/9/19) – A easy date to remember!  What I call a Novelty Date.   (Yes, it’s a Wednesday)

January 19-20-21  – A 3 day weekend for many to celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day.

(January 27th – Our First Bridal Show of the Year at The Christy Banquet Center in O’Fallon, MO.)

February 3th – Super Bowl – If your guy’s a sports fan – forget about this date!

February 12th  – Lincoln’s Day is a State Holiday in Illinois.  It’s a Tuesday.

February 14th – Valentine’s Day (Thursday).  Florists will be super busy, and you might pay more for those red roses.

February 16-17-18 –  President’s Day Weekend – A 3 Day National Holiday.

March 3rd – BrideStLouis Bridal Show at the Foundry Art Center in St. Charles

March 5th – Marti Gras (Tuesday)

March 6th – Ash Wednesday (Catholics usually don’t marry in Lent.)

March 10th – Daylight savings time begins.  (Longer Days)

March 17th – For You Irish Lads. (It’s a Sunday. Wear those kilts!)

March 20th – First Day of Spring – Vernal equinox. (Wednesday)

April 19th – Passover Begins and Good Friday

April 21st – Easter Sunday.  Most couples avoid that date.  Many churches will not perform weddings the Saturday before Easter – April 20th)

May 12th – Mother’s Day.  (Be sure to check with your Mom’s about that weekend.)

May 25-26-27 – Big Wedding Weekend – Memorial Day Weekend.  If you are thinking about one of those dates, you need to get your contracts signed NOW.  Photographers and favorite venues may already be booked.  Vendors know that they can book these dates – so don’t look for price deals.

June 16th – Father’s Day.

July 4th – (Thursday) This could be a busy time for many places so get your reservations in early.  If you have folks who need to travel this could be an ideal time for them to come.  It’s generally HOT so consider an indoor wedding.

(July and August can be very hot in St. Louis.  It is best to plan for an “indoor” ceremony/venue.)

August 31, Sept. 1 & 2 – Labor Day Weekend.   Book quickly if you want this date.  Good again for those with out-of-town guests.

September 29th – Rosh Hashana Begins (Sunday)

September & October Weekends

Extremely popular in the St. Louis area.

Great time for those Wine Vineyard Weddings.

Ties with June as the most popular month.  Book EARLY for weekends in these months.

October 12-13-14 – Columbus Day Weekend.  Another good long weekend.

October 31st – Thursday

November 1, 2019 – Another Novelty Date (9/1/19).  Easy to remember.  (Sunday).

Nov. 3rd – Daylight Savings Ends

November 9 – 10 – 11 Veterans Day Weekend

Many in the military choose this day.

November 28, 29, 30,Dec. 1 Thanksgiving Weekend. These dates book fast.

December 22nd – Hanukkah Begins

December 25th – Christmas (Wednesday)

December 28, 29, 30 and 31 – End the year married!

 

Also, be mindful of religious and cultural holidays (Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, Christmas, and Kwanzaa) when planning your wedding.  There may be restrictions at your house of workship.

And if your family is deeply involved in sports – avoid weekends with the Super Bowl, Final Four March Madness, and perhaps some local college games as well.

And finally, for number “13” fans – you have (on weekends):  January 13th (Sunday)), April 13th (Saturday), July 13th (Saturday), September 13th (Friday), and October 13th (Sunday).   This is for Friday, Saturday or Sunday events as noted.

 

Outdoor Weddings – What YOU Need to Know

 

 

Today, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about concerns that you need to take into consideration when planning an Outdoor Wedding.    Outdoor weddings must be planned with thoughts about the weather and the light conditions.

  • You need to have adequate lighting for your guests’ departure.  Display lanterns or luminaries help indicate where guests exit.
  • Guest Name Cards will fly away if there is wind.  Display these name cards tied to branches or tucked into a decorative display base filled with sand.
  • The Ceremony area many times is out in the open, so give so consideration to positioning that event space in a shaded area.  Our hot sun makes for a very uncomfortable experience during an afternoon ceremony.
  • Of course, provide plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to grab. Flip flops for ladies are nice if you are using a gravel or sandy area.  (Think lake front or beach!)
  • Additional things to have on hand and very useful include – bug spray, suntan lotion, flashlights, garbage bags, and paper towels.
  • Always have a Plan B for inclement weather.  What will you do if it is raining all day long?  Tent rentals are always in demand during the summer and one might not be available if you wait unit the week before to try to rent one.  And renting a tent is not a “cheap” affair.  They are expensive and may times exceed the cost of a regular indoor venue.
We would love to hear from past brides who have had an outdoor wedding. What worked? What were some of the problems you encountered? What advice do you have for our 2018 brides? Please share with our reads your thoughts and suggestions.  Send your comments to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.
One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding is the natural beauty around you.   Be prepared to keep your guests comfortable, and you will shine as the perfect host on your day.

Smart Spending for Your Wedding

 

It’s easy to get excited about your dream wedding, but your fairytale wedding could turn into a less joyful situation if you go into debt.   Even before creating your budget, you and your partner need to decide which details are important for both of you.  It’s funny – no one will remember the little details, like the color/type flowers you might have opted for, but they will remember if they had a good time.  Don’t skimp on food and entertainment as these elements have a huge impact on your guests’ enjoyment.

However, food doesn’t have to be expensive.   You could choose to have a cocktail wedding or perhaps hire a food truck.  A few weeks back we published a list of venues that allow you to bring your own outside catering companies – many independent catering companies would love to be of service and can provide a competitively priced menu.  Secondly, trim your guest list.  That’s one of the biggest ways to save money.  Ask yourself, “Would you take this person out to an expensive dinner at any other time?”  If the answer is “No”, scratch them from the list.   How well do you know that person?  If you hardly remember their name or recognize them, scratch them from the list.

One thing I don’t recommend is to try to tackle everything yourself – like preparing your own food or baking your own cake!  Hire a professional!  They know how to do the job and you really don’t need that stress.  Hire a florist but choose in-season blooms.  Do hire a professional photographer.  Don’t depend on family or friends for your photos.  So many brides have cried the blues when their photos didn’t turn out to be what they expected.  Photos are the only thing you will have after the day is over.

Our new Wedding Planning for the St. Louis/St. Charles and Southern Illinois Bride is now available!  Request your FREE copy today by sending your request to bride@BrideStLouis.com.