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!


10 Things Brides Forget To Do

With all the small details that go into a wedding sometimes it feels like you are running a small country.  Its inevitable that there are a few things that might slip your mind. Although non of these items will rain on your wedding day parade they will however make your day run smoother and cause you a little less stress.  So here are the top 10 things brides forget to do,by TheKnot.theknot.com

1. Post wedding plans

Although sometimes it feels like there is nothing beyond the ceremony and reception don’t forget to plan ahead for what happens after that.  If you are a night owl plan for guests to meet you at a late night hang out in or near the hotel. If you want to have a short night and enjoy a romantic night with your now husband consider booking a room that is not at the same place as your guests for extra privacy. Whatever your preference is just make sure you have a plan.

2. Your Overnight Bag

You have your bag packed, the room reserved and everything is in place. The only problem is how to get your bags to your hotel on the day of the wedding.  Most brides are jam packed the day of their wedding so assign a guest or bridesmaid to check into your hotel for you and drop off your overnight bags. That way when the night nears an end you know that you can go straight from the reception to your hotel room with all your essentials already there.

3. Getting Your Things Home

All those little things you planned for your special day,your guest book, your cake topper, unity candle and other momentous that you will treasure forever.  Make sure you plan ahead to have someone you trust bring all these things home for you so you don’t have to fret or worse worry about packing them into your own car on your wedding day.

4. Deciding Where Everything Goes

Sure everybody frets over the seating chart. Uncle Ed and his son can’t sit next to Aunt Mary and so forth. But don’t let the seating chart distract you from other areas of the reception that need your attention. Key places/things to keep in mind when planning ahead include  place card, programs , menus etc. Once you have these ironed out don’t forget to select someone to make sure they get put in the right spot and get brought home at the end of the ceremony/reception.

5. Decorating Special Area

Decorate the bathroom area, the entrance, any area you feel needs a little special attention. Same as the previous spaces make sure you select someone to arrange them and to take them home or make sure they are cleaned up right away.

6. Gifts For Your Wedding Party

Your wedding party is full of those closest to you and also those that have invested a lot of time and effort in your wedding and the planning of it. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for these special people. Also extend a gift or tokens of your appreciation for those that helped set-up, readers, singers or anyone who played a role in your ceremony.

7. Getting the Gift Home

Sure it didn’t look like a lot when people brought them in one by one but don’t forget that what goes in must go out. Set up a trusted person or people to take your gifts from the reception site to a safe location. If you plan to have a next day brunch for gift opening make sure this person is invited.  Have them also carry your cards out, remember that these should be kept in a very safe spot and given to the bride and groom soon after the reception or the next day if needed.

8. Day After Plans

Whether you have a next day brunch, gift opening or are leaving for your honeymoon make sure you are ready. The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is make last minute plans. Plan ahead and try not to leave last minute details until the end.

9. Legal Documents

Your celebrant should hopefully keep you on top of all the legal requirements, such as lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month and a day before your wedding day, and bringing along three marriage certificates for you to sign on the day. Check with them a few days before the wedding so you can have peace of mind.
10. The Itineraries

Check with all vendors and members of the wedding party on the wedding itinerary to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s best to create an itinerary with all information and times stated and passed out to all vendors and the wedding party. If someone in the bridal party is notorious for being late, start their schedule half an hour early just in case.


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 theknot.com 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!!

Your Wedding Font

It’s amazing how much a font selection can tell about a person or a couple. Making a simple change like the font on your invitations can transform them from generic to personal. Carrying your font out through invitations, programs, table numbers, escort cards and more can carry your theme and your personality through the entire wedding experience. Not sure which font to choose. Here are a few free fonts to give you some ideas.

1. playdate | 2. simply glamorous | 3. before the rain | 4. roskrift clean | 5. freehand 591 | 6. leytonstone regular | 7. silver script | 8. atlast Greeting | 9. shelly script | 10. baronesse | 11. baker script | 12. daniel script | 13. baby font | 14. hurried font | 15. alako | 16. mr. wade | 17. aka frivolity | 18. milk & cereal | 19. callie hand | 20. celine dion handwriting

What Would David Do?

One of my favorite wedding and event planners it David Tutera. If you have never seen My Fair Wedding you are missing out. David transforms any event into an unforgettable evening. So what are his secrets? Here are a few of David’s tips and tricks of turning your party from mediocre to magnificent.

Get creative with fruit:

  • Use citrus fruit as a decorative element. Use different fruits , bowl sizes and heights to create striking color and an inexpensive decoration
  • Cut a lemon in half and slice out the inside to place a tea light inside. Not only is it a creative way to create a candle holder but the lemon scent will transform the room
  • Hallow out fruit to create bowls. Fill them with ice cream, sorbet or crushed flavored ice
  • Decorate deserts with fruit shavings to add a touch of sweet fruit taste

Create your own:

  • Create your own colored glass by purchasing basic glassware and paint with translucent glass paint
  • Use old costume jewelry as napkin rings
  • Use wine corks as place card holders
  • Reuse small glass candle containers as mini vases for floral arrangements
  • For a holiday party create place mats out of old holiday cards

Scent Matters:

  • Use scent to capture the mood of the evening each scent means something different.
    * Lavender oil reduces anxiety and improves sleep
    * Lemon, orange and citrus oils improve mood and alertness
    * Rosemary oil assists with muscle relaxation
  • Stear clear of incense for afternoon parties. The musky smell is too strong and heavy for an afternoon party
  • To get rid of smoke odors and bad smells place a shallow bowl filled with white vinegar in the corner of a room for 48 hours. It helps absorb unpleasant smells
  • Don’t burn more than one candle in a room. Having too many scents becomes confusing and can conflict with one another

These are just a few tips and tricks from David, to see more check out his website!

Pose Like a Pro

 Nervous about posing for your wedding photos? Not everyone is a natural and even though your photographer should be able to help you out with suggested poses and placement it’s a good idea to have your own ideas in mind as well. You don’t want to look back and wish you would have gotten a specific photo.  So here are some tips from Martha Steward Wedding to put your mind at ease and feel a little more confident in your wedding day pictures.

Heather Nelson Photography

Tips for your portrait shots:

  • Take flattery photos by standing at a slight angle.  You can do this by tilting your body to the side a bit or by asking your photographer to stand on a chair to get an elevated angle.
  • Pick a photo buddy – this is someone who can be on the other end to crack jokes and make you laugh or just be there to calm your nerves. Pick someone who won’t be overly judgmental on photos or angles but is strictly there to keep you calm and looking natural in your photos.
  • Be natural – Most people are nervous about taking wedding photos, especially before the wedding so don’t worry. You’re not the first anxious bride.  If you need a smiling break ask for it. Your photographer can take more serious photos to give you a chance to relax. Or forgo posed photos with a photojournalistic approach by walking around or creating an activity to catch great photos instead of creating them.

Tips for your couple shots:

  • As stated above be natural, some of the best shots are caught candidly. So take a walk together, have a private moment with each other and ask the photographer to capture your time together without intruding.
  • Take a walk.  Walk down a path while you hold hands, take a stroll along the beach or walk down a sidewalk. The combination of movement between your hair, dress and hands will create great pictures.
  • Kiss. It is your wedding day! Don’t be afraid to be affectionate. This is one of the few times when PDA is acceptable.  The more comfortable you can feel the better your pictures will turn out.
  • Be creative. Scope out the location ahead of time for any specific areas you want to take photos. Perhaps there is a waterfall, large rock, or statue that would be a great spot. If you can’t find one at the location perhaps think of bringing something to add you’re your couple shots. Some couples have now started to incorporate signs, oversized balloons and large picture frames.

Tips for your wedding party:

  • Be active. Having jumping shots, or have the photographer take photos as you are getting prepared, or take a walk through the street.   Also interact with the flower girl and ring bearer to get them smiling.
  • Scope out the location. Just like with your couple shots have an area in mind. Perhaps have your photographer visit the location ahead of time to pic some key spots that would create a great backdrop for your group shots.
  • Use props. Think about having furniture or steps in your shots. The variety of heights will add depth to your shots. One thing to try is to organize your group at different distances, heights and lengths apart in order to create a more unique shot.
  • Make them laugh. Most guys are not exactly excited to be taking photos for hours. So try to joke around and keep it fun. Posing straight faced for too long will create obviously posed smiles and after a while sore jaws.

When you go to a stylist you have clippings of your hair-do, when you go shopping for your bridal gown you also bring clippings and ideas of what you are looking for. So why should your photographer be any different?  Go through magazines or scope out websites to bring your photographer snapshots of poses you like or to give them an idea of the type of photographs you have in mind. Communication is key so make sure to address concerns, ideas and come up with a plan before the big day.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Hair Trial

Everyone wants to look great on their wedding day. You prepare for months, some people for years all for this one momentous day. So how to you ensure your hair is perfect for your wedding day? By acing your wedding hair trial runs. These tips & tricks to a successful hair trial brought to you by the May issue of Brides.

Timing – Don’t schedule your hair trial too far in advance from your wedding. You may have a change of mind or decide the style is not want you want.  To ensure that doubts don’t come about schedule your trial around three months before the wedding

Put Your Hair to Work – Now that you feel your hair is just how you want it, make sure that not only does it look good but can also stand the test of time. Plan to have your hair up for 6 hours at least; the best way to take advantage of this is to plan a night out.  Use your trial hair as a great hair style for a bridal shower or bachelorette party.  Things to keep in mind: Does your hair stay put? Does it hurt after a couple hours?

Preparation – Make sure that you aren’t wasting time with your stylist by having them wash and dry your hair.  Wash and dry your hair the night before or the morning of. Keep in mind though that somewhat unwashed hair does stay put better and can make it an easier job on your stylist if you are having an up-do. So if at all possible wash it the night before.

Wear Makeup – I don’t know about you but when I have my hair up nice or have a great outfit on I don’t feel complete until I have make-up on as well. So why would you think your trial day would be any different?  Wear your make-up similar to what you will on your wedding day or try to have your makeup trial scheduled right before your hair trial. This will give you get a better idea of what you are going to look like on your wedding day.

Do your Research – Make sure that you come to your stylist with pictures of what you like and don’t like. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain what you have in mind, it’s like they say a pictures worth a thousand words and will keep you and your stylist from getting a headache.

Accessories – If you plan to have a tiara, barrette or headband in your hair for your wedding make sure to bring it with you. Make sure that it will work with the hair style you have in mind as well as look the way you want it to. You don’t want any surprises on your wedding day, well at least not bad ones. 🙂

Be Honest – If you hate it, let her know.  Be honest with your stylist when you feel conflicted about part of the style or if you just don’t like it. It may be what you have in mind but not the right fit for you or your wedding so let them know. You can always ask for suggestions but the important thing is that this is your day. So don’t be afraid to speak up.

Bonus  Tip – You should be looking for your hair stylist around 3-6 months before your wedding depending on how picky you are. If you haven’t thought about it yet and don’t know where to start, try out a few new salons and see who you like. If you find someone you love , ask them if they do weddings?

You are now all set to ace your trial run.  For wedding hair inspirations check out some hair style suggestions on my Pinterest board.


The Perfect Mix

Weddings and parties are all about the extra touches. If you are interested in adding something that your guest will be talking about consider incorporating a specialty drink.  Below is a list of my favorite specialty drink recipes. (you can also find great drink ideas at the bottom of Lolita Glasses)

The Something Blue

  • 2 oz Hpnotiq
  • 2 oz white wine
  • 1 oz Ginger ale

Wedding Cake

  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Amaretto
  • 1/4 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/4 oz cream

Blushing Bride

  • 1 oz peach schnapps
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 4 oz Champagne

Wedding Belle

  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1/2 oz cherry brandy
  • 1/2 oz orange juice

Honeymoon Cocktail

  • 3 oz Benedictine
  • 3 oz Apple Brandy
  • 2 1/2 oz lemon juice

Love Birds

  • .5 oz Grenadine
  • 1 dash Dark Rum
  • 2 oz Sweet & Sour Mix
  • 1.5 oz Vodka

Or create your own cocktail mixture and call it something fun like “Mrs. Mathson”. The possibilities are endless and the end results are a hit!

Not All Registries Are Created Equal

That’s right not all registries are created equal. Many registries now offer incentives to register with them. Take a look at the registries below that provide benefits to not only you but also your guest.

1. Bed, Bath & Beyond

  • Free gifts for registering for select brands
  • 10% off everything left on your registry
  • Guests can use 20% off coupons to purchase your gift

2. Kohls

  • Free announcement cards that include a 15% off discount
  • 15% off everything left on your registry

3. Macy’s

  • Bonus gifts for registering for certain brands
  • Automatically added to the Macy’s reward program that gives you point (cash) for every gift that is purchased on your registry.

4. GiftRegistry360

  • Combine all your registry items into one simple list
  • Register for items at stores that don’t have registries

5.  eRegistry.com

  • Guest purchase WishCards which can be used as cash
  • 30% off purchases in their online mall

6.  Give Artfully

  • Register for all hand made unique artwork
  • 5% of proceeds are donated to the non-profit of your choice

7. The Man Registry

  • Let your guy be part of the registry experience
  • Provides Groom 101 articles and vendor lists

8. JC Penny

  • Free Engagement Portraits
  • Free Shipping for your guests
  • 10% off everything left on your registry

9.  William – Sonoma

  • In-store guidance
  • 10% off completion discount

10. Wishpot.com

  • Get notified when an item goes on sale
  • Allows your guests to contribute to a large gift together

Hopefully these gave your some ideas for making the most out of your registry, now go have fun!

Name Change Made Easy

You’re finally married …. or at least the reality is setting in that you will soon be Mrs.fillintheblank. It’s fun to say it but first we have to make it legal. While doing research for my own upcoming wedding I discovered a genius site called I’m a Mrs. The site guides you through a step by step process of changing your name. Making it as simple and stress free as possible, at a charge of course. Their easily affordable packages help take the guess work out of changing your name, and ensure that no stone is left unturned.

Package Options

Standard – $29.95

  • All Government Forms
  • 3 Additional Forms of Your Choice

Premium – $49.95

  • All Government Forms
  • Financial Companies
  • Utility Companies
  • Mortgage Companies
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Fitness Centers
  • Medical
  • Any Other Form Available

You can also purchase gift cards which are perfect gifts to give to friends, family or send a hint hint to receive it yourself as a shower or wedding gift. 🙂