Archive for June, 2009

It seems these days everyone is trying to save and weddings are no exception! Sometimes saving is as simple as thinking outside the box. The traditional wedding reception occurs on Saturday evening, making it the most expensive time to celebrate your nuptials. By now, most people know it can be less expensive to get married on an alternative day of the week, with the next most popular being Friday and Sunday, respectively. Switching the day of the week isn’t the only alternative though. Why not consider changing the time or style of your reception? There are many different ways to do this – check out our list below for some inspiration…

Brunch Anyone? Who doesn’t love brunch? It is by far my husband’s favorite meal and one of my favorites to cook. A casual brunch reception can help cut your food and beverage costs signficantly. A brunch buffet can be beautiful and more filling than a full dinner. Brunch is the perfect time for some food stations as well – omlettes, waffles, carving stations. Certainly most of your guests will not expect a full bar at this earlier hour so a coffee bar (with flavored whipped creams and chocolate chips!) and mimosas are a nice treat.

Cocktail Reception: A cocktail style reception is a classy and fun alternative to a formal reception. Cocktail receptions are traditionally shorter because there is less time needed for dinner service and are typically held between 4pm – 7pm.  They offer a more social environment, with no formal seating, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  Get creative! Offer a specialty drink that represents you as a couple, maybe a cigar roller and some lounge furniture. I guarantee your friends will love this laid back atmosphere!

Tea Time! While this one is not for everyone, it can work for some couples. A reception held during the mid afternoon with a variety of punch flavors, lemonade and sparkling water in pretty containers as well as finger foods and pastries can make an elegant presentation while saving you on costs.

Dessert Reception: Dessert – my husband’s second favorite meal (and yes it is a meal in our house!) A dessert reception later in the evening is always fun. Offer mini versions of all of your favorites paired with champagne and cordials. You can purchase or rent a chocolate fountain and display pound cake, fruit, marshmallows and brownies to dip in the chocolate.

Whatever you chose, make sure that your reception is a reflection of you as a couple and fits within your budgetary guidelines. Every couple is unique and each wedding should be too! chocolate_fountain


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According to costofwedding.com, on average, US couples spend $20,398 for their wedding. However their wedding budget is typically 50% less than the amount spent.  That’s pretty scary!

The numbers for Palm Beach County are significanly higher, with couples spending on average between $35,034 and $58,389. This does not include cost for a honeymoon or engagement ring.

Understanding average wedding costs NOW can help you create and stick to your wedding budget later. I use a simple spreadsheet to create and track budgets for my clients.  Below is a general idea of how your overall wedding funds should be allocated. There is obviously some flexibility on these items but understanding how much money you have left in your budget will help you plan and help your vendors provide you the best value for your money.

Ceremony – 5%

Attire – 10%

Photography – 15%

Stationary – 5%

Reception – 40%

Music – 5%

Flowers – 15%

Transporation – 3%

Gifts – 2%

In addition to creating your wedding budget, it is helpful to also create a reliable tracking system to help keep you organized.

Finally there are a few items that many couples forget to include when planning their big day.

  • Tips for your vendors – 15-25% is customary for certain services
  • Trial runs – make-up and hairstyling – about $20-$100 each
  • Overtime fees if your reception goes longer than expected
  • Last minute dress cleanings or tux pressings – anywhere from $50-$100 each
  • Postage for invitations and stamps for RSVPs – cost depends on how heavy your mailings are and how many you send
  • Marriage license fees – approximately $15-$90; depending on state

*From Elegala.com

By taking the time to create a budget you are ensuring that you will not have any additional unnecessary stress throughout your planning process!

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I am so excited to head up to Ohio for my sister’s baby shower this weekend. She is having a baby boy, Jackson William in August and this will be the first grandchild for our family (can you say SPOILED?!). Since we don’t live near her, her amazing sister-in-law has done all of the planning and I am looking forward to seeing all of her creative touches.

Listening to her talk about all of the details of the shower made me realize this wasn’t the first shower she has thrown. For those of you who may be new to bridal and/or baby showers you may be realizing it can be overwhelming! Don’t worry though, with proper planning and a little creativity you can host the beautiful shower that your friend or family member has always dreamed of.

One of my favorite personal touches when hosting an event for someone is to provide them with personalized thank you notes as a gift. I pre-print the names and addresses of all the guests on the outside of the envelopes along with her return address on the back of the envelope. Inside I tuck a set of notecards that fit her style and print her monogram or name on the front. This is sure to save her time during what is sure to be a busy point in her life. Below is a photo of the cards I created for my sister (her colors are green and brown and she has a monkey theme).

Thank You Cards for Liz

Whatever event you are hosting, I am sure your guest of honor will appreciate the thought and time that goes into creating this personalized gift.

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Rainy season is now upon us in South Florida. Over the past three weekends, all three of the weddings that I have done have had some type of rain. There is an old wives’ tale that rain on your wedding day is good luck. There are many varieties of how this superstition came about, but my favorite is the Hindu version which states that rain on your wedding day is good luck because a wet knot is harder to untie than a dry one. Since you “tie the knot” on your wedding day, it is considered good luck to have rain!

Rain or shine, it is important to be prepared for anything that mother nature may throw at you on your big day. Below are some ideas to help with your planning.

1. If you are planning an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, it is vital that you work with your planner or venue to secure a back up locaiton in case of rain. Make sure your indoor location can accommodate as many guests as your outdoor location would have.

2. Just because it is raining, that doesn’t mean you can’t take pictures outside. Any good photographer welcomes the creative challenge of working with mother nature. Grab a few umbrellas, put on your rainboots and get out there! I have seen some of the most amazing wedding photos taken outside while raining.

3. Make sure to allow yourself ample travel time on a rainy day. Especially in South Florida, when it rains traffic seems to practically halt. Adjust your timeline for the day accordingly to allow enough time to accommodate for slower drivers and longer loading/unloading time.

4. Pack an emergency rain kit. Be sure to include a cute umbrella for photos, a large golf umbrella for getting in and out of your limo, extra hairspray or frizz control, stain remover, and a mini hand held fan for quick drying.

5. Create a memory. Anytime I have a wedding on a rainy day, I bring a small jar and fill it up with some of the rainwater. The bride and groom then have a small token of their special day. You can then have the water blessed and use it to bless your home or even baptize your future children.

The most important thing to remember is to be prepared and go with the flow for the day. It is the most important day of your life and if your stressed it will show. Just relax and have fun!

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