Cutting Down the Guest List

This is one of the hardest things to do and can be one of the most heated topics during your wedding planning. Here is an infographic to help you cut down your guest list.



Drink Calculator

One of the biggest expenses at your wedding will be dining. This include hors d’oeuvre , dinner and drinks. Most caterers charge by the plate, so how do you determine the budget for drinks? Here is a quick guide to help you get started.

As a general rule most guests will consume two drinks during the first hour and one drink each following hour. When planning an event serving wine, beer and spirits, the general rule of thumb is that:

50% will prefer WINE
30% will prefer BEER
20% will prefer MIXED DRINKS

If you do not anticipate serving mixed drinks at your event, then you should plan on 60% of your guests consuming wine and 40% beer. Use this sheet to calculate how much you need. Or click the link below to auto generate.

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 11.33.19 AM


Easy Ways To Cut Cost Not Quality

You don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your wedding just because you have a tight budget. Try some of these budget cutting tricks.

1. Invite fewer people

No ones says you have to have a large wedding, well except your mother. Some of my favorite, most intimate weddings were small. Most wedding expenses are based on a per person basis so having a small wedding lets you expand on the extra touches that are important to you. Tips for cutting the guest list.

2. Pick the Right Date

Or should I say avoid certain dates. There are many factors that can affect the cost of your wedding and the season is definitely one of them.  Start by avoiding wedding season which is June – September. By getting married in the winter you can reduce your cost by almost 50%.  Another easy way to cut your costs is by choosing to get married on a Friday. Most places offer the same packages for a fraction of the cost.  Keep in min to avoid holidays such as Valentines Day which can blow your floral budget quickly. Picking your wedding date.

3. Rethink the Cake

There are so many options for desert why limit yourself to just cake. Why not have pie, cupcakes or a desert bar.  Lots of young couples are experimenting with desert options and straying from the traditional.  If you have your heart set on a traditional wedding cake try one of these tricks. Have a smaller version of your dream cake or have the baker decorate blocks to create the tiers you want and then dish out sheet cake in replacement.

4. Be smart about flowers

Don’t get your heart set on a certain flower or design in case that flower is out of season for your wedding. Your florist should be able to help you locate a similar flower or offer suggestions on your bouquet to save you costs. Consider including more greenery in your bouquet. Especially for a winter wedding.  When looking for a location site try to keep in mind floral costs. If you have a location that is already well decorated you can drastically reduce your budget.

5. Be creative

Instead of decorating your location with extravagant floral arrangements try decorating with sea shells or branches adorned with crystals. If its something that can be created before hand why not do it yourself. This includes invitations, favors and decorations. reduce the floral cost by having your bridesmaids carry a purse instead of flowers or have hand made paper flowers. There are so many options for the do-it yourself bride and many locations that help you put your ideas into reality at a fraction of the cost of professionals.

The cost cutting doesn’t stop here. There are tons of more ways to cut costs by being creative and thinking outside the box. The most important part is that the day is a representation of you and your future wife/husband whether that be a large formal wedding or a backyard barbeque. Its your day!

To Tip or Not to Tip?

Taken from I-do

From I-Do Wedding Blog

Your wedding day is finally here! Everything you have ever wished for is about to happen and you can’t wait to get your life started together as a couple.  The only problem is that your mother-in-law is asking you if you tipped your vendors yet and you start to panic. You have no idea how much is appropriate and you have forgotten to budget for this last minute expense!

The best way to keep this from being you is to plan ahead. The day before/week before, doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t wait until the day of your wedding,  you should gather all your vendor remaining balances, INCLUDING tips and put  cash/checked for them in individual envelopes for each vendor. Give these envelopes to someone you trust to distribute to each vendor on the day of the wedding. Just makes sure its clear that if a vendor has an issue it is their job to handle it and not to bother the bride and groom.

If you are looking for guidance on what is the appropriate amount to tip for services is, review this list from below.

Wedding Planner – Most will not be expecting a tip. However if you felt they did an amazing job and want to shop your appreciation you can tip depending on the extravagance of your wedding.

Protocol – Optional
Tipping Standard – up to $400 , or a nice gift
When – End of the night or at a later date

Hair Stylist & Make-up Artist – Similar to your regular hair stylist you should expect to tip both. Also tip extra if you feel they did a great job or had to make lots of changes.

Protocol – Expected
Tipping Standard – 15-20%
When : End of service

Delivery and Set-up Staff – If you have lots of items being set up in your wedding ceremony/reception space you should tip employees for their services.  If you are having close friends or family help with set-up make sure to write them a hand written note appreciating their help with making your day go smoothly.

Protocol – Expected
Tipping Standard – $5-$10 per person
When – Before the wedding so that the manager can distribute tips

Wedding Officiant – Most officiants will except their payments at your discretion or ask that you donate to the church. If you officiant does have a standard rate  no tip is required. Remember not to skimp on this because its a suggested fee. This person is playing one of the most important roles in your wedding.

Protocol – More Often Than Not Expected
Tipping Standard – $50-$100 for an officiant , more if you are donating to the church.
When – Before the Wedding Day

Ceremony Musicians – Up to your discretion.  If they are with the church are are required to play according to your contract, you can probably skip the tip. If you brought outside musicians consider tipping.

Protocol – Optional
Tipping Standard – $15-$20 each
When – End of Ceremony

Photographer/Videographer – You are not required to tip unless you feel they went above and beyond what you expected. If you decide that tipping is not in your budget but still feel they did an amazing job consider a hand written note. Also the best way you can show your appreciation is by referring others to their business.

Protocol – Optional
Tipping Standard – $50-$200 per vendor
When – End of the Reception

Reception Staff – This include on-site coordinator, banquet managers, and other staff. One thing to check before hand is if you are already paying a gratuity in your contract. Many now include that in your fee.

Protocol – Expected
Tipping Standard – 15-20% of the food and drink ( max of $200-$300)
When – Before the reception if included in the bill otherwise at the end of reception

Reception Attendants – this includes your parking attendants, bathroom attendants, bartenders, coat check etc. Again this is sometimes already included in your bill. If not it may be a good idea to ask ahead of time how many will be expected so you can calculate accordingly.

Protocol – Optional Based on Contract
Tipping Standard – $20-$25 for bartenders and waiters, $1 for any additional staff like coat check and valet.
When – End of the event or beginning depending on your preference.

Reception Band or DJ – This is completely optional for you. Depending on the quality you can tip accordingly.

Protocol – Optional
Tipping Standard – $20-$25 per musician, $50-150 for DJ
When – End of Reception
Transportation – Gratuity is usually included so check your contract before hand.

Protocol – Expected
The Standard – 15-20% of bill
When – End of night or end of the ride

Keep in mind these small tips as well:

  • Don’t tip business owners, only tip employees.
  • If a vendor has given you exceptional service or gone above and beyond you should tip appropriately, or express your gratitude in a hand written note.
  • The best tip you can give is to recommend their services to someone else!!

How Dates and Time Impact the Cost of Your Wedding

Want an easy way to save money? Pay attention to simple things like the date and time of your wedding. It’s amazing the huge impact it can have on your budget. Take a look below for things to watch out for and tips to getting the best deal.

Wedding Dress Alternatives

Maybe you aren’t the traditional bride or prefer to have a more low-key wedding. Whatever the reason your wedding dress is an expression of you no matter what your budget.

Below is some low-budget wedding dress inspirations to get you thinking.

Back Yard Wedding Bride

Backyard Wedding Bride


Off-Beat Bride 

Offbeat Bride


Vintage Bride

Vintage Bride


Beach Bride

Beach Wedding

5 Tips to Cut Your Guest List

Ah the dreaded guest list. Creating the guest list is by far one of the most stressful things you will do when planning your wedding. There are lots of feelings involved in deciding who will be there to witness one of life’s major milestones.  Once you get to this point follow these 5 tips.

1. Budget & Venue

When looking at your guest list first determine what is important to you and the groom. If your budget is non negotiable decide if you would prefer to have a more casual wedding in order to accommodate more guests. Think about  how many people your venue will hold.  If the church holds less than the reception site think about inviting a smaller amount to the wedding and a larger amount to the reception.  Once you factor in these variables you can decide how many people you can reasonably have on your list.

2. Bride/Groom Ratio

Decide if the guest list will be split 50/50 or 60/40 depending on large families or mutual friends. This will help you decide how many each family can invite and give you a solid number for your future mother-in-law or your own parents in order to keep the list reasonable. Don’t forget to factor in your numbers as well to save room for your important guests, it is after all your wedding!

3. Cut by Category

Put each guest in a categorize such as A, B or C . Those in category A are absolutely invited. Those in category B will more than likely be invited, category C are a maybe and so forth. You can be more granular if you want it’s all about helping you pin point who should and shouldn’t be on the list. Once you have your list created start by count out the A’s to make sure your wedding budget and venue can handle the amount of people who without a doubt need to be invited,  continue on down until you have to start make touch decisions. Some people who may not make the cut? Maybe you decide to cut out co-workers or young kids.  The choice is completely up to you and your family, your wedding venue and what your wedding can afford.

4.  Focus on the Present

Don’t feel obligated to invite people from the past that you no longer stay in touch with. Just because you were invited to their wedding 5 years ago does not mean your relationship is the same as it was 5 years ago. Focus on those who are part of your present life and know you as a couple. If your wedding budget and list permits start adding those people who played an important role in your past that you would like their not just feel obligated to invite.

5. Stick to Your List

Once you have some boundaries created make sure to stick to them. If non-couples guests can’t bring a date, or young children are not allowed, try not to make exceptions in order to keep from offending loved ones.  It makes it easier also when someone asks you can let them know the guidelines you and your fiance have created. It makes it easier when everyone sticks to the guidelines that everyone has agreed to.

This should be a first step to cutting down your guest list. Of course there will always be some tough decisions but just try to focus on what the day is really about. It’s about celebrating your love for one another with those you care the most about and support you the most.

Wedding Dates to Avoid

Picking a date can be a stressful event. There are so  many thing to consider, your cousins graduation party, your great aunts 90th birthday celebration, your dads golf schedule. Who knows what obstacles you personally have to be considering when picking a wedding date. Don’t let holidays, religious events and conventions escape your mind when tackling this task.  Here are some dates to try to avoid.

Holidays – Try to avoid planning a wedding right before a holiday Monday off since a lot of people will already have plans.

Martin Luther King Day
January 16,2012 & January 21, 2013

Presidents Day
February 20, 2012 & February 18, 2013

Memorial Day
May 28th, 2012 & May 27, 2013

Independence Day
July 4th

Columbus Day
October 8, 2012 & October 14, 2013

November 22, 2012 & November 23, 2013

New Year’s Eve – although this is now becoming a popular wedding date.

Religious Events – You may offend some people by having your wedding on or to close to these important religious holidays.

Palm Sunday
April 1, 2012 & March 24, 2013

Easter Sunday
April 8th, 2012 & March 31, 2013

Rosh Hashanah
September 17, 2012 & September 4, 2013

Yom Kippur
September 26, 2012 & September 14, 2013

December 10, 2012 & November 27, 2013

December 25 2012 & 2013

December 26 – January 1, 2012 & 2013

Additional Events to Consider – These events may not be religious holidays but they will definitely impact your big day.

Valentines Day – This can cost you a good chunk of your budget if you try to do floral arrangements on valentines day.

April Fools Day – This may make the perfect sense for you and your fiance but if you aren’t into jokes and pranks maybe consider another day.

Mother & Fathers Day – Most people have traditional plans for these days and may not appreciate your day falling into the mix.

Halloween – I have seen plenty of TV shows where people intentionally want to have a themed wedding that is fun and unique. But if you aren’t going to have a Halloween themed party I would keep in mind that this is another day where people may have traditional plans.

Super Bowl Sunday – Plan for a lot of distractions from your wedding from a majority of men and women if you choose this day.

March Madness – If you have a lot of sports fans on your guest list I would also steer clear of this Month.

Events in the area – Check your cities calendar for any big events in the area that might make it difficult for your guests to get rooms or park.

Keep these dates in mind before your date in stone  it will help keep you from headaches later.