Monday, December 30, 2013

How to Plan a $3000 Wedding

The sky is the limit when it comes to wedding spending. However, most brides have a budget and do not want to kick off their lifetime of wedded bliss in debt. A bride could easily blow through $3000 on her dress alone, but a more savvy spender can plan the whole event for that price. With a little planning and discipline and a lot of creativity, a white wedding (while staying in the black) really is attainable.


Strategize the Basics: Date, Venue, Guest List and the Dress

    1 Choose a wedding date during the off season for your area. For the most part, spring and summer weddings are more popular than winter or late fall nuptials. Planning a wedding during the slow season will dramatically reduce costs for everything from flowers and photography to catering and wedding venues.
    Find a venue. The most sought-after wedding locations will eat up a large chunk of the budget. Consider asking a friend or family member if you could host your wedding at their home to eliminate this cost altogether. Using the same venue for the ceremony and reception is an effective cost-cutting measure as well.
    3 Pare down your guest list. Your dad's boss probably does not need to attend your special day. Consider restricting the guest list to family members, possibly including some of your very closest friends. Not only will this cut costs, it will make the event intimate and special and allow you to truly enjoy it.
    4 Pare down your bridal party, perhaps eliminating it altogether. Your friends may even be relieved to not have to foot the bill for a bridesmaid dress, and you will not have to worry about spending on bouquets, boutonnieres and gifts for the wedding party.
    Find a dress. Online retailers can offer deep discounts on dresses, including designer gowns. Consider using your mother's or grandmother's gown and having it altered. Ultimately, the key to looking good in your wedding dress is not its label, it is how it is tailored to fit your shape. A perfectly tailored dress will look like it cost a fortune, even if it was a steal.
    Find accessories. Vintage shops or online auction sites are excellent sources for unique veils, shoes and jewelry. Otherwise, this might be a good opportunity to secure your "something borrowed." Friends will be honored to have a piece of theirs featured on your special occasion. Vintage ring pillows are also a great way to add some playfulness to your ceremony.

Source Vendors Like a Pro

    7 Find a photographer. During the off season, photographers slash their rates to get clients. Work this to your advantage by negotiating a discounted flat fee that includes ceremony and portrait photography and a CD of all wedding photos taken. Use an online photo-finishing site to share, print and frame your photos at a dramatic savings.
    8 Plan catering wisely. Source small-scale or independent caterers rather than the big names in town. Having brunch fare instead of a multi-course dinner, or a vegetarian menu instead of meat, and featuring one signature cocktail or punch instead of an open bar are all chic yet less expensive options for catering. Naturally, the smaller the guest list, the more manageable the catering bill will be.
    9 Get creative with flowers. Read trendy wedding books and magazines to get inspiration, purchase the flowers you want from a wholesaler and have a team of friends and family put the arrangements together on the wedding day. Typically, floral wholesalers can even construct intricate arrangements like bouquets and garlands as needed. Consider using fruit, vegetables and greenery to bulk up floral arrangements and centerpieces at a savings.
    Determine your officiant needs. If you are a religious couple, you may want a minister to officiate your wedding ceremony. Many ministers charge a fee that includes mandatory premarital counseling prior to the wedding date. For couples who do not need a clergy member to officiate, judges are a good option. Judges also charge a fee, but tend to be more flexible and do not require any counseling.
    Find students to provide the music. College music majors are often looking for performance experience and will book clients for much less than professional musicians. Contact the music department at a local college to find a musician or group to play at your wedding.
    12 Skip the limo. Most limousine companies also have a fleet of comfortable towncars or exciting sports cars to choose from. Many non-limousine choices come at a much lower pricetag than their stretched-out relatives.

Determine DIY Elements

    Create unique invitations, table decorations and placecards using word-processing and photo-editing software. Consider online-only invitations to really save. Tealights and luminaria add romance to the tabletop without much added expense. Type placecards using a vintage typewriter, or have nieces and nephews handwrite cards for a sentimental feel.
    Handmake your wedding favors. Create customized favors like a CD of your favorite songs, a goody bag of assorted teas, or a seed starter kit as a symbol of growing love. All of these options will be much more meaningful than an expensive store-bought favor.
    15 Factor in your honeymoon. If your wedding budget includes your honeymoon, having a wedding date during off-peak times is essential. Although a tropical getaway might be ideal, consider the romance of cuddling by the fire at a seaside resort during the winter when beachgoers are staying at home.
    16 Constantly review your budget. Some costs are unavoidable, but the key is to monitor your spending. Determine what elements are the most important to you, and direct your resources toward them. For instance, if you want a designer gown, but could do without live music, allocate more money to finding the right dress and use recorded music during your ceremony.
    17 Forget about what other people think. While you should always respect your family and friends' ideas and wishes, the decisions about your wedding day ultimately lie with you, especially if you are paying for it. There are lots of wedding traditions out there that you do not necessarily need to include in your ceremony. A wedding should be a reflection of your love and what you hold sacred as a couple. It should not simply mimic other ceremonies just because they have always been done that way. Outline your vision for your wedding day and use it to guide your planning.

    Friday, December 27, 2013

    How to Address Wedding Invitation Labels

    To avoid the time-consuming and mistake-prone hassle of addressing your wedding invitations by hand, consider creating labels with the help of your computer instead. Printed labels can help provide a uniform and clean first impression of your wedding to your guests.

    Despite the hand cramps you'll avoid by going the electronic route, there are still a number of etiquette and logistical considerations to navigate.


    Compiling the Guest List

      1 Type up your guest list with addresses. Many word processors, such as Microsoft Word, have label wizards that will make the process of organizing your guests' names and addresses onto label-sized squares virtually painless. Or, enter your list into a spreadsheet or database and create labels directly from that program.
      2 Decide whether to use titles of your guests or just first and last names, as is a growing trend. If you're using titles, married couples can be abbreviated, "Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Smith," unless the wife has a different last name, in which case you shouldn't drop her first name either: "Mr. Jerry Smith and Mrs. Mary Jones." The person with an occupational title---such as a medical degree, a military rank, religious title or elected position---should go first, regardless of sex: "Judge Katherine Baker and Mr. Jared Baker." Use "Messrs." and "Mesdames" as titles for married gay and lesbian couples, respectively, with the same last name: "The Messrs. Joseph and Michael Bell."
      3 Write out the complete names of your guests: "Robert" instead of "Bobby," for example. Single guests living at the same address should be listed on different lines.
      4 Address the inner envelop of your invitation with shortened names of your guests, either dropping first names but keeping titles, or using just first names if you decided against titles. The inner envelop is where it's most appropriate to use the familiar title of your close relatives: "Uncle Billy and Aunt Joanne," for instance. Add "and Guest" if your single invitee is allowed to bring a date. List the first names of the children in the family, if they're invited, on the second line, from oldest to youngest.
      5 Use postal form and abbreviations for addresses on the outside envelop, rather than spelling everything as traditionally is the policy for the wedding invitations themselves. Don't include an address on the inner envelop.

    Printing the Labels

      6 Choose a font that matches your wedding invitations. Many brides opt for a calligraphy font and black ink to mirror the tradition of hiring a live calligrapher, but the address labels can be as unique as you like. Keep in mind that the label addresses have to remain legible in order to avoid confusion in the post office.
      7 Check for name and spelling errors. Nothing can insult your friends or family members faster than seeing their names spelled incorrectly on an invitation to the one of the most important days of your life. Worse still would be never receiving said invitation because you had their address wrong.
      8 Print the labels, making sure the label size in the program you're using matches the label you're printing to. Use clear labels, which will blend with the color and paper quality of your envelops.
      9 Use a fresh envelope to fix any name or address mistakes. Don't try to peel off the label or place one over top the offending label.
      10 Make sure you have the correct postage for the outside envelope. Include postage on the envelop for the return cards.

      Thursday, December 26, 2013

      How to Plan a Catholic Destination Wedding

      It's not surprising why so many couples opt for a destination wedding nowadays. Romance. Adventure. Exotic locales. But what about couples who want both a Catholic ceremony and a destination wedding?

      Planning a Catholic destination wedding may seem like a tough endeavor, but it's much easier than it sounds. With careful planning and organization, a couple can have the Catholic destination wedding of their dreams.


        1 Choose a wedding date and location. Decide with your fiance when and where you would like to get married. If possible, give yourself at least 9 months to book the flight and travel accommodations, speak with your priest, and to complete the premarital preparation course required by the Roman Catholic Church. You should also take into consideration the budgets of your wedding guests. If you choose a far-off wedding location on the other side of the world, then some of your guests may not be able to attend your wedding.
        2 Check local marriage laws in your wedding location. Contact the embassy or tourism bureau to see what requirements you must meet to get married legally. You will need to bring your passport and you may need to show your birth certificate and any court divorce decrees (if applicable). In some countries, you must apply for a marriage license in person or meet a residency requirement. Make sure to arrive at your wedding destination a couple days early to complete any necessary paperwork and procedures.
        3 Make an appointment with your local priest. Tell your priest about your plans for a destination wedding, and have him arrange for you and your fiance to attend your parish's required premarital course. Fill out the necessary paperwork the priest will provide you.
        Once the paperwork is approved, your priest must send the documents to his Chancery office. Then, the Chancery must forward the papers to the office of canonical affairs in your wedding location. The paperwork should arrive at the proper office at least 3 months before your wedding date.
        4 Contact a priest who resides in your wedding location. Locate a priest in your wedding destination who can officiate your wedding ceremony. Search for Catholic churches on the Internet, or ask your local priest if he has the contact information for priests in your wedding location. The priest will help you select your ceremony structure and choice of readings.
        5 Book a flight and secure travel accommodations. Check on travel sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia to find the best deals. You should try to find a hotel that has enough room to accommodate your family, wedding party and other guests.
        6 Send out save-the-date cards. Once you have a set date and location for your wedding, send out save-the-date cards to your guests. These cards are especially important for destination weddings, since guests will have to book a flight and hotel to attend your big day.
        7 Attend the premarital preparation course with your fiance. Class lengths vary from parish to parish, but you will need to complete the course before you can marry in a Catholic church.
        8 Plan your ceremony and reception. Research and hire a caterer, florist, ceremony musicians and DJ or band. Choose your wedding party and finalize your wedding invitations. You may want to hire a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings to help you make all of your arrangements.
        9 Have a fabulous destination wedding!

        Wednesday, December 25, 2013

        How to Plan Drinks Per Guest at a Wedding Reception

        Planning a wedding reception means taking important details into account, and one of the most important is the amount of various beverages that will be required at the wedding. Drinks are an essential part of any party, and since the reception will serve some type of food--and cake at the very least--the hosts of the reception must be sure to keep the fluid flowing. If the reception is a sit-down dinner and includes dancing, drinks are even more important. Fortunately, planning drinks per guest at a wedding reception is a matter of some simple math and a little thoughtful estimation.


          1 Calculate the total number of guests that you expect to have at the reception.
          2 Calculate the amount of time you expect the reception to last. Estimating time can be challenging, because some receptions prove to be either longer or shorter than planned. Additionally, time of day--and day of the week--can have an impact. For instance, a reception that begins during late afternoon on a Sunday is likely to be shorter than a reception that begins in the late afternoon or evening on a Friday or Saturday. As a rule of thumb, plan for between two and three hours, and if the reception is in the late afternoon or evening expect it to go longer.
          3 Plan for each guest to consume approximately three to four non-alcoholic drinks per hour. In general, guests will drink at least two beverages per hour, but you should plan for more, particularly if the reception is being held outdoors during the spring or summer. (The warmer weather encourages more beverage consumption.)
          4 Plan for one 750 ml bottle of wine for every two (adult) guests, and one 750 ml bottle of liquor for every 15 guests if you plan to have a bar. Also, expect to use one quart of the drink mixer (i.e., ginger ale) for every three to guests. For larger receptions, consider purchasing a case of wine, which will typically serve 80 to100 guests, and a keg of beer, which should serve the entire reception.

          Monday, December 23, 2013

          How to Wear a Wedding Set Correctly

          When planning your wedding, you and your fianc will have to make dozens of decisions about dozens of details. So, you may forget to ask little questions, such as how to wear your wedding ring set? Familiarize yourself with the traditions, and try your wedding set on prior to the wedding day, so you will not be surprised at the altar.


            1 Take your engagement ring off your left ring finger the morning of your wedding. Wear it on your right hand, or let it hang from a necklace or put it in a jewelry box until later.
            2 Allow your groom to place your wedding ring on your left ring finger, which is the finger next to your pinkie, during the wedding ceremony. The Greeks believed a vein that runs from your left ring finger to your heart was the shortest route to your heart, which is why they placed the wedding rings on that finger.
            3 Slide your engagement ring on top of the wedding ring if you choose to wear the complete set on your finger. The Greeks believed this protected the wedding ring and all it stood for.

            How to Defrost the Wedding Cake for an Anniversary

            Freezing your wedding cake to eat on your first year anniversary is a classic tradition that allows you to relive the magic of your wedding day as you move forward in your life together. But this romantic tradition is only as good as the techniques used for freezing and defrosting your cake. For a cake that is just as delicious as it was on your wedding day, be sure to defrost it in the proper way.


              1 Remove the wedding cake from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator, keeping it wrapped up.
              2 Defrost the cake in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
              3 Remove the cake from the refrigerator about two hours before eating the cake.
              4 Unwrap the cake and allow it to sit out at room temperature for about two hours until you are ready to serve it.

              Sunday, December 22, 2013

              How to fund a wedding

              Getting married is one of the most expensive things you can do in life, eclipsed perhaps only by buying a house. If youre hoping for a small wedding, the costs such as the church, flowers, reception, brides dress and grooms outfit can add up. And when you account for any finishing touches like a hairdresser, table centres, favours, chair sashes and music you realise just how expensive a wedding can be. Thorough planning on how to fund your wedding can help you stick to a budget and have your dream wedding without the costs taking over.


                1 Work out your budget. Decide on a rough figure youd like for the wedding. Calculate how much you'd like to spend on each item you want to include in your wedding and stick to it. It might be that the original figure you allocated for your budget is not enough. In this case you either increase your budget or cut back on your planning to make savings.
                2 Seek family help. You may be lucky enough to have parents or grandparents who would be happy to help pay for all or part of your wedding. Some mothers of the bride may offer to buy the wedding dress, or some mothers of the groom offer to pay to hire the ushers outfits, especially if other sons are included.
                3 Work out a monthly savings plan from your earnings. Divide the amount of money you need for the wedding by the number of months left until the date youve set. This will give you the amount you should aim to save each month.
                4 Sell any unwanted items to raise extra cash. Scour your home, attic and garage for those items you no longer need or use. Then you can arrange to sell them at a car boot sale or list them on an Internet auction website.
                5 Ask for money as a wedding gift. Many people are doing this to put a deposit on their first house or to pay for a honeymoon. But theres no reason you couldnt do this to help with wedding costs. At least that will help to start your married life debt-free if theres a shortfall in your savings.
                6 Use savings. Decide if youd like to use all or part of your savings to fund your wedding. Some women set up savings accounts years in advance of their wedding to ensure they can buy everything they want when their big day arrives.
                7 Get a part-time job. Working evenings or weekends is a good way to get extra cash towards your wedding. And it might mean the difference between going into the red to pay for your wedding and staying in credit. This is especially the case should any hidden costs surface.

                Saturday, December 21, 2013

                Smart, cost-conscious couples will see the value in planning a small intimate wedding rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars for elaborate affairs. In fact, while low in cost, a small intimate wedding can be even more entertaining and special for guests and the bride and groom because everyone can talk, laugh and share memories. Here are a few tips to help you plan a small intimate wedding that will bring your family together and give you more "bang" for your buck. Think outside of the box when you're planning a small wedding---there are so many exciting possibilities.


                  1 Keep your guest list to a maximum of 20 to 35 people. Anything over 50 and you are moving beyond an intimate affair and into a big wedding.
                  2 Combine the wedding ceremony and reception into the same hall. Book two rooms at one of the following locations to keep things small and intimate: a local college hall, a restaurant (preferably where the couple had their first date), an amusement park, a rooftop, a hotel, the Knights of Columbus, or another small banquet hall. You may also go with a small community church that has a separate reception hall. The key is to keep the venue small so that your guests won't feel swallowed or intimidated by the size of the location. You can also plan the intimate wedding in a far-off location, like a tropical resort, since the number of guests will be minimal. Offer to pay half of the guests' travel and lodging costs---most will be ecstatic at the chance to enjoy a half-priced vacation.
                  3 Think of a general theme for your wedding and then narrow it down to a more specific idea. You don't always have to go with a traditional theme, like white flowing gowns and flowers. Find a theme that fits with your goal of an intimate affair and makes your event more interactive and inclusive for all attendees. For example, maybe you want an Indian themed wedding. Take that a step further to turn it into a Bollywood theme where the bride and groom are the stars, and the groomsmen, bridesmaids and guests are supporting cast. Organize a fun classical Indian dance routine, like the Kathakali Dance (represents truth), to teach the guests.
                  4 Instead of hiring a caterer, buy groceries and have the best cooks among your family and friends gather together in one kitchen to prepare a sumptuous wedding meal. Be sure to give them plenty of credit at the event so that everyone can rave about their delicious food and feel as if they are at one big Sunday family dinner.
                  5 Consider holding a small, intimate wedding outdoors near the water in your town, such as at a picnic area. Afterward you can have a barbecue picnic reception. There's nothing like a picnic on a sunny day to bring families and friends together.

                  Friday, December 20, 2013

                  How to Plan the Perfect Inexpensive Wedding Within 3 Months

                  Weddings today tend to be extravagant affairs that take months, if not a year or more, to plan --- at significant cost. Planning an inexpensive wedding quickly is doable but requires significant organization. Handling more of the details and preparation of the wedding yourself will reduce costs, since much of the wedding expense goes to time and labor charged by vendors.


                    1 Locate and secure your officiant and your ceremony and reception sites. Note that you will often save money by having both events at the same place. Most well-known sites will be booked, so contact smaller venues: They may offer discounted rates for reserving so close to your wedding date. Be flexible with dates and times to get the most inexpensive option. Also consider venues that are free of charge, such as a public park or a family member's backyard.
                    2 Shop for and purchase your wedding dress, bridesmaid's dresses and attire for the groom and groomsmen. Most wedding boutiques require at least six months' lead time, so go to larger stores where you can purchase dresses off the rack and have them altered. Determine what the groom and groomsmen will wear, then visit a formal-wear shop. Many stores offer deals on tuxedos if they are all purchased from the same place; often, the groom's tux will be free.
                    3 Design and purchase wedding invitations, which need to go out at least six weeks before your wedding. Visit a local print shop that can print the invitations quickly or purchase them from an online printer. Check the turnaround time --- some places require more time to print invitations. To further cut costs, purchase a wedding invitation kit from a local crafts shop. Design the invitations on your home computer and print them out on the card stock included with the kit.
                    4 Choose the menu for the wedding. Meet with caterer to determine if their prices are within your budget. Serving light finger foods will be cheaper than serving a full meal. Also consider asking family members and friends who cook well to help prepare the food you will serve.
                    5 Order your wedding cake. Many bakeries have a standard wedding cakes to choose from that will be far less expensive than a custom cake. Another option: Order a smaller custom cake to cut and display for guests and sheet cakes to cut in a back room and serve your guests. Cupcakes are yet another less-expensive option.
                    6 Choose the decor and flowers. Visit local florists and pick out the flowers you want to use. To keep expenses low, consider purchasing fresh flowers the day before your wedding and creating your own bouquets. Most florists have petals that are thrown away. Ask if you can purchase those to scatter around your reception tables. Also consider buying inexpensive photo frames, painting them in your wedding colors, putting in photos of the two of you together and using them as centerpieces.

                    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

                    How to Plan a Wedding Reception on a Budget

                    From the decor and refreshments to the entertainment and favors, a wedding reception can easily eat up your entire wedding budget if you don't plan in advance. When you take the time to figure out a spending limit in regards to the reception -- about 48 to 50 percent of your entire budget, according to website -- you'll have an easier time of staying within the financial bounds. With a set amount to spend, you'll know when you need to hold back and when you can splurge.


                      1 Decide on a set dollar amount for your reception and stick to it. Start planning as early as possible to avoid having to pay extra for rushed arrangements.
                      2 Book your reception on a weeknight or Sunday rather than a popular Friday or Saturday. Try to plan the date during off-peak wedding season times such as November to March. You'll find you can negotiate better rates from the caterer, florist, entertainers and even the venue owner.
                      3 Opt for less expensive decorations. Substitute artificial or dried flowers for real flowers to cut costs. Arrange flowers yourself instead of paying for expensive florist creations. Purchase small glass containers, fill with water and place a floating candle in each for a cheap, yet elegant, table decoration.
                      4 Make a playlist with your groom-to-be and load it onto your MP3 player. Set up a docking station attached to speakers at the reception and let the music play. Or, hire a student band if you want live entertainment.
                      5 Have a small, elaborate wedding cake made for pictures. Serve sheet cakes in the same flavor to guests. Serve cake and punch at an afternoon reception to avoid serving a meal. Other low-cost options include a dessert or hors d'oeuvres bar.
                      6 Give guests disposable cameras to take pictures during the reception and instruct them to deposit them in a designated area on their way out the door. This will ensure that you get some candid and interesting shots without having to pay a professional photographer.
                      7 Serve one type of cocktail -- such as a sparkling sangria or a flavored martini -- rather than have an open bar.
                      8 Go cheap on the wedding favors. For outdoor receptions, purchase labels for water bottles that you can personalize with your computer and printer that state the bride and groom's name and date of the wedding. Or personalize bottles of wine the same way and leave the wine on the reception tables with glasses so the guests can serve themselves. Order copies of your favorite engagement pictures and have your names and wedding date printed on them. Place a quantity of photos on each table for the guests. Give a packet of flower seeds tied up in a square of tulle secured with ribbon and a paper tag attached, stating your names and wedding date.

                      Monday, December 16, 2013

                      You want your wedding day to be special. But it doesn't have to be an extravagant, budget-busting event. With a little thought and planning, an informal wedding can be a memorable and a tailor-made delight for any couple who prefers to keep things simple. Read on to learn more.


                        1 Go to the courthouse and get your marriage license. Get the legal issues out of the way first so you can concentrate on the fun stuff. Choose an official to conduct the wedding ceremony as soon as you set your wedding date. Whether it's your own clergyman, a friend or a justice of the peace you hire, get that person on the calendar as soon as possible.
                        2 Invite people to your informal wedding in the simplest way possible. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can make invitations on your computer or you can invite by phone or email. If you mail invitations, make sure to plan enough time. At least two weeks notice is best when possible.
                        3 Think about keeping the guest list small when you plan an informal wedding. About 50 to 60 invitations would be ideal. Since not all invited guests show up for any function, you'll probably have a perfect-sized crowd.
                        4 Plan an informal wedding by keeping the attire simple. Especially if you choose to have an outdoor wedding, casual dress is the best choice. Limit your number of attendants and allow them to wear whatever they have that might fit with your wedding theme. An informal wedding can be in your backyard, in a park or on a beach. Be sure to let your invited guests know that the wedding is informal so they can dress accordingly.
                        5 Keep the food simple when you plan the reception part of your informal wedding. Consider a sheet cake instead of the traditional wedding cake. You can get a lovely decorated sheet cake for a fraction of the cost of a tiered wedding cake. It's easier to serve, too. Get party platters of mixed meats and cheeses, raw vegetable trays and chips and dip. Another simple alternative for an outdoor wedding would be grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. Have ice chests handy filled with bottled water and sodas.
                        6 Decorate simply for your informal wedding. Flowers bought at a supermarket can be just as pretty as those ordered from a florist. For centerpieces, consider a single flower with its stem removed floating in a bowl of water. Table decorations don't have to be elaborate in order to be beautiful.

                        Sunday, December 15, 2013

                        How to Find an Inexpensive Wedding Venue

                        It's no secret that weddings are expensive. But if you're able to find an inexpensive wedding venue, you'll cut a good deal of your wedding costs. Read on for some surprising tips on how to save money on your wedding!


                          1 Think Outside the Box
                          Popular wedding venues like reception halls or hotels can afford to charge their customers an arm and a leg. No matter what price they're asking, they'll always have a steady supply of brides and grooms lining up to book their weddings at their locations.
                          If you want to save money on your wedding location, consider less popular venues. This usually means skipping over the wedding locations listed in the backs of magazines or advertised on websites. Instead, consider venues that do not often host weddings. Many of these venues will be happy to have you at a much lower per person cost than that of a wedding hall. Plus, because you'll be giving them more publicity,they may throw in a few extras! Here are some places you can consider:
                          1. Favorite restaurants
                          2. Nightclubs (believe it or not, some of them are very elegant)
                          3. Venues that just recently opened and need the business
                          4. Local galleries
                          5. Get creative! If you see a place at which you think you could get married, don't say to yourself, "Oh, I bet they don't do weddings." Go ahead and ask!
                          2 Look to the Suburbs
                          If you're in a big, metropolitan area, consider holding your wedding in the suburbs or in a small, nearby town. For example, if you live in New York City, think about having your wedding in New Jersey or Westchester. The bigger the city, the more costly the wedding venue, so moving your wedding out of town could save you a lot of money.
                          3 Combine the Ceremony and Reception Space
                          You'll save money if you book a wedding location at which you can hold both your wedding ceremony and your wedding reception. You'll be scoring two wedding venues for the price of one! While touring a wedding reception venue, ask your guide whether ceremonies are held at the space, and what the setup for these ceremonies usually looks like.
                          4 Go for the Off-Season
                          Weddings are usually held between the months of May and October. Therefore, wedding venues tend to lower their prices between the months of November and April. If you're looking to plan an inexpensive wedding, one of these off-season months could be for you. Wedding venues also lower their prices for weddings held on less popular days of the week, which really include every day other than Saturday. If you're worried about guests having to go to work the next day, consider holding your wedding on the Sunday of a three-day-weekend. But hurry--many couples try this trick.
                          5 Shun Blank Slates
                          Blank slate locations like loft spaces may be less expensive to rent for an evening, but you'll end up paying more by having to bring in tables, chairs, linens, lighting, etc. It's best to pick a wedding location that is able to provide these things itself. When you book a wedding venue, make sure to ask what items are included with the space.
                          From centerpieces to table draping, professional wedding decorators help a couple choose and implement an overall theme for their wedding. As a professional wedding decorator, you can own your own business and assist couples with decorating the church, reception hall and any other room in which their wedding will be celebrated. Using your creativity, you handle all the important visual details of a wedding, including color scheme, flower arrangements, fabric and any other other decorative elements that will enhance wedding space.


                            1 Learn how to make flower arrangements. Flowers are the main tool that wedding decorators use to create beautiful and unique centerpieces and other decorations for the wedding day, so it's important for you to feel comfortable using flowers and to understand the basics of creating different arrangements. There are several correspondence courses you can take that will award you a certificate in floral design upon completion. For a cheaper alternative you can purchase books or instructional videos that will teach you the basics and provide instructions on creating special flower arrangements for weddings. Also, ask your local florist or arts-and-crafts stores for information on workshops or courses.
                            2 Read wedding magazines and arts-and-crafts books. There are different styles that couples can choose from for their wedding including traditional, romantic and modern. As a professional wedding decorator you must stay up to date on different trends and have a variety of decorating options. The best way to come up with your own unique floral designs and decorating ideas is to find inspiration from the examples in books and magazines. Reading as much as you can about wedding decorations and what other professionals have accomplished should also prepare you to help your clients with selecting a theme and decorations.
                            3 Locate suppliers. Wedding decorators use table linens, flowers, lights, chair covers, fabrics and other decorating materials to do their work. Their service packages may also include providing the tables, chairs, silverware and other items that are used for the reception. Unless you have the money to invest in buying these items, you'll need to find suppliers, some of whom may give discounts to regular clients. Contact local florists, arts-and-crafts supply stores and party rentals in person to get a list of prices. Observe the quality of their merchandise and determine if they have the type of materials you need. Discuss how many weddings you expect to handle each year and ask about any discounts they may offer in exchange for regular business. This information will help you determine how much to charge for your services.
                            4 Take business courses. Professional wedding decorators are more than just decorators. They are business owners that are responsible for promoting their services, negotiating with clients, putting together written agreements with clients and suppliers, handling the bookkeeping and managing employees. To successfully manage your own business, take courses in marketing, contract law, management and accounting. You should contact your local business school for a list of courses. You can also enroll in a correspondence course in business management or read books on starting and running your own business. Also, contact the Small Business Administration. They offer free online courses, seminars and assistance to help you learn about important business practices. The link to the courses offered by the SBA is in the Resources section of this article.
                            5 Promote your business. Once you've developed your decorating skills and have set up a list of decorating services you want provide, you need to find clients. There are several ways to promote your services including advertising, attending bridal expos, creating a website and spreading the word through friends and family. You can also partner with other professionals in the wedding industry to provide services. By networking with wedding planners and professionals working in reception halls and bridal stores, you can make them aware of the services you provide and they can pass this information along to their clients. Be prepared to promote your services by printing business cards and brochures.
                            6 Create a portfolio. Having a portfolio to show your prospective clients is also important. A portfolio should include pictures of your work, a detailed price list and a description of the services you provide. Put together a portfolio by taking pictures of the churches and reception halls you've decorated and the centerpieces you've created. Make sure that the pictures are clear and demonstrate your creativity and good work. Add a description of what type of decorations are featured in the picture. Include a list of your prices and a description of the decoration services you can provide. Consider the price of decoration materials and how much you'll need to charge for your services to make a profit. It's also a good idea to include testimonials from previous clients recommending your services and information about your professional training.

                            Friday, December 13, 2013

                            How to Estimate Wedding Attendance

                            Knowing the number of guests that will attend your wedding is important to control and anticipate costs. Unfortunately, guests are not always so cognizant that their lack of attendance or unexpected arrival can greatly affect your pocket. There is no way to know exactly how many of your invitees will attend the wedding, but estimating attendance for the big day provides an accurate measurement of how many people you will need to accommodate.


                              1 Create a list of all invited guests. You will separate the guests on this master list into three separate lists: guaranteed, local and out-of-town.
                              2 Write a guaranteed list. This list is composed of all invited guests that are guaranteed to show. Typically, this list will include your parents, siblings, close friends and relatives that live nearby. Estimate that 100 percent of the guests listed on this list will show.
                              3 Create a list of local invitees. Locals generally live within 60 miles of the wedding location. Estimate that 90 percent of these guests will show.
                              4 Estimate the total for the out-of-town list. The invitees on this list are more likely to show if they've known you for a long time, have been in recent contact with you and have the money to travel. The estimate for this list ranges between 40 and 85 percent. Dexknows suggests a good working estimate for out-of-towners is 65 percent.
                              5 Add extra guests that are brought by invitees without spouses. Estimate that 30 to 50 percent of these guests will bring a date.
                              6 Total the number of guests from Steps 2 to 5. For example, if you have 60 local guests listed, 90 percent of 60 equals 54. If you have 40 out-of-town guests listed, 65 percent of 40 is 26. Add 26 to 54, plus the number of guests on your guaranteed list. Then add an additional 30 to 50 percent to the guest total for the number of guests that don't have spouses.

                              Thursday, December 12, 2013

                              Start a Wedding Rental Business
                              A wedding rental business can be relatively easy to start as a home business. You can start very small or begin large scale. There is always a good demand for wedding rentals.


                                1 Think of the area of wedding rentals you want to begin with. I actually had a friend who rented his classic car to brides and grooms for the evening. Backdrops, garden arches, trifold room dividers, and table cloths with various center pieces is a great beginning. Other areas you can diversify into are plates and place settings, chocolate fountains, punch bowls, wedding dress rentals even rental of outdoor canopy tents.
                                2 Contact a few wedding rental businesses in your area to see what services they offer and what they charge. Some items will rent for about 5% of the cost like a nice wedding backdrop. Other items like glass plates can be purchased in bulk for close to what they rent for each time. My friend who has a wedding rental business bought several hundred nice glass dinner plates for $1.10 each. He rents them for $1.25 each including washing them after. Two wedding rentals for large dinners paid for every plate he bought. Research your competition. If you can not find any competitors in your area it is probably a good place to do start wedding rentals. If you have lots of competitors seek out a niche that is not well serviced. Every area has couples getting married. It is a good full time or part time business opportunity. In Wyoming I attended a wedding where they had rented 25 hay bales at $1.00 each from a local rancher to decorate a cowboy wedding.
                                3 Register in your city and or state as a business so you can buy wedding rental items wholesale and free from state sales tax. Buy the wedding items and begin getting the word out to all you know. Bridal trade shows are a great place when you get a bit larger. Local college campus newspapers near the end or school or before Christmas break are a good place and time to advertise locally. Find related small businesses and trade client leads. You may work out a two way referral payment for related small businesses. Some of these are catering services, wedding photographers, wedding cake bakers, local jewelers, wedding dress makers, tuxedo rental businesses, wedding invitations printers and so on. Any business targeting the same brides and grooms you are but not directly competitive is a great candidate for a strategic marketing alliance that will benefit you both.
                                4 Think storage and transportation of large items like backdrops. A small enclosed trailer is a good investment. You may want to rent a storage unit so the wedding business is not overtaking your house and garage.
                                How to Dress for a Casual Wedding
                                It may not be your big day, but that doesn't mean you can't look fabulous at this season's slew of weddings. For a casual wedding, you will always dress down a bit from what you would wear to a formal wedding, but you can still do it in style. Keep these important guidelines in mind when choosing that perfect outfit for a casual wedding.


                                For Her

                                  1 Choose a short dress in a floral print for a casual wedding taking place during the day. Don't hesitate to go for those bold colors, such as bright yellow, if it's a summer wedding.
                                  2 Combine a fun skirt with a sweater or button-up shirt if the wedding is in the fall or winter.
                                  3 Wear a short dress for a casual evening wedding as well, but go for something darker, such as black or navy. A cocktail dress is often appropriate.
                                  4 Consider wearing pants or a dressy pair of capris for a wedding outdoors. That way you won't have to constantly worry about your skirt flying up in the breeze.
                                  5 Remember that your shoes can make or break your outfit. If the wedding is outdoors, go with flats so that your heels won't get stuck in the ground. Otherwise go for a flirty heel: peep-toed sling-backs or sandals for the summer and something closed-toed (but still sexy) for fall and winter.

                                For Him

                                  6 Don a long-sleeved, button-up shirt with dress slacks for a daytime wedding. A tie and sports jacket are recommended but not mandatory.
                                  7 Opt for a lightweight suit in linen or seersucker for a daytime summer wedding if you prefer wearing a suit to slacks and a dress shirt alone.
                                  8 Select a dark suit for an evening wedding. Dark slacks, blazer and tie are a more casual alternative to a suit but are still be appropriate for a casual wedding.
                                  9 Wear darker, heavier clothing for a winter wedding, including during the day. You may even want to wear a nice sweater with a tie under your blazer.

                                  Tuesday, December 10, 2013

                                  Choosing to become a wedding officiant can be a delightful way to perform a necessary service while enjoying a profitable income. Wedding officiants who are independent from organized religion often have complete wedding-planning businesses. A successful wedding business often requires travel to unusual or romantic getaways for the ceremonies.

                                  How to Become a Wedding Officiant


                                    1 Become a wedding officiant when you are recognized by an established religious organization. You may be required to complete a series of studies, or a post-graduate degree may be necessary before you can perform the marriage ceremony.
                                    2 Assume the position of pastor of a congregation and become recognized by the state as one who is qualified to be a wedding officiant. In most states, the role of pastor is adequate to meet the criteria.
                                    3 Complete an application online to obtain certification as a member of the clergy. Read the information carefully to determine if the site is recognized in your state as a legal wedding resource.
                                    4 Become a deacon to perform marriage rites. In some church denominations, such as Catholic and Episcopal, one in the position of deacon can legally perform a wedding ceremony. Some restrictions may apply based on the church's specific requirements.
                                    5 Get a job as a ship captain on a cruise ship. You will have to pass rigorous exams following formal education requirements, but the result could be a career traveling to the most popular vacation spots with the authority to perform weddings at sea.
                                    6 Take on the political journey to become a justice of the peace (JP). Becoming a recognized wedding officiant is just one of many roles of the JP. Elopements and those who desire non-religious marriage ceremonies often choose a justice of the peace to perform the ceremony.
                                    7 Check with your state to determine if just anyone can perform a wedding. Some states will grant a permit for anyone to serve as Deputy Commissioner of Marriages for 1 day only. This provision allows a family member or friend to officiate the wedding. Check the Marriage Laws website to investigate (see Resources below).
                                    8 Become a chaplain in the military to officiate at military weddings. This requires being a commissioned officer in some branch of the military.

                                    Monday, September 30, 2013

                                    How to Plan a Small Courthouse Wedding

                                    A courthouse wedding might not be the fairytale wedding most girls envision, but it can make for an intimate and affordable wedding option. If you are considering getting married in a courthouse, individual states have different regulations and costs associated with a civil ceremony. A civil ceremony wedding is not without any planning. You will not be able to just walk in and declare you want to get married. A civil ceremony also does not mean you need to skip a reception and honeymoon.


                                      1 Obtain a marriage license. You can do this at the courthouse where you plan to get married. Each state has different laws regarding marriage licenses, including required blood tests, costs, waiting periods and duration of license validity. To obtain your marriage license, you will need copies of both partners' birth certificates, photo identification, such as a driver's license, and Social Security number.
                                      2 Book your wedding date. You can do this at the same time you apply for your marriage license. Courthouses are places of business, which means your ceremony will have to be on a weekday during normal business hours. The hours vary from state to state, but are typically between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. While you are booking your date, also ask if the courthouse provides witnesses, how many guests are permitted to watch your ceremony and the fee you will be charged. Besides the marriage license cost, you also will have to pay a fee to hold your ceremony in the courthouse and pay for the officiant. Costs vary from state to state, but expect to pay approximately $25 for a courthouse wedding. Most states require that you have at least two witnesses present to verify that you are of sound mind when you agree to wed.
                                      3 Decide who you want to officiate your wedding. Most states have an officer of the court present to perform your ceremony. However in certain states, if you choose, laypeople are permitted to marry you. An on-day officiant, laypeople or Commissioner for a Day, is a family member or friend that has filed the proper paperwork and paid the fee to be eligible to marry you on your wedding day. Applications must be filed a month before the ceremony date, in some states it is only required to be filed two weeks prior to the ceremony. The fees vary from state to state and this option is not available in every state.
                                      4 Invite guests. If you want and are able to have a small group of friends and family join you in witnessing your union, send out invitations. You can do paper invites or if you want to be cost-conscious you can send electronic invitations. Keep it intimate because room will be limited. If you are planning to have a dinner or party afterward as a reception, you could send out invitations for that. When inviting guests to your wedding, make sure that the time of the wedding will not be an inconvenience to them. If your guest feels obligated to attend but logistically cannot it could create an awkward situation and put your guest in a tough position. Plan your reception or celebration on the weekend so more guests can attend.
                                      5 Decide what you are going to wear on your big day. Just because you are having a civil service does not mean that you don't deserve to look like a blushing bride. You do not have to go out and buy an elaborate gown to feel beautiful. A cute dress you love could work, or buying a simple dress also can save money. If you purchase a new outfit you care wear again, it will be a solid investment and won't collect dust in the back of your closet.
                                      6 Decorate the courthouse to give it a more romantic atmosphere. Many locations allow you to bring in small decorations and items to personalize the room. Usually you can ask to have access to the room approximately one hour prior to the ceremony. If the courthouse is busy or the room is used for other purposes you might not be able to decorate or may only have a couple minutes to do so. Make sure you ask at the time you book your date. Common restrictions are placed on throwing flower petals, rice, bird seed and other items because of the difficulty to clean up quickly. All items you bring must be able to be carried and quickly set-up and taken down.
                                      7 Ask one of your witnesses to take a couple of pictures for you. You can get them developed and framed yourself for a fraction of the cost a professional photographer would charge. You also could ask the witness to hold a video camera and record the ceremony. You could replay it at your reception later and everyone will be able to view your special moment.

                                    Sunday, September 29, 2013

                                    Knowing how to dress for a wedding reception is important. If you're dressed too fancy or not fancy enough, you're going to stand out like a sore thumb. That's not the kind of lasting impression you want to leave on your fellow guests or the happy couple. Unless you're the bride or groom, it pays to learn how to dress for a wedding reception before you attend one.


                                      1 Pay attention to the invitation. If it indicates anything like formal dress or black tie, then you know you need to dress to the nines for this event. This means a tuxedo or suit and tie for men and full-length dresses or ball gowns for women.
                                      2 Take your cue from the venue of the reception. If the reception is going to be outside, you can usually get away with more casual clothing than if the reception will be in a formal ballroom.
                                      3 Refrain from going too casual, unless the invitation specifically requests jeans and t-shirts. You're still attending a wedding, after all. Even the more laid-back outdoor venues require a degree of decorum. Business casual dress, such as khakis and polo shirts, are about as casual as you should go.
                                      4 Avoid colors that are too loud and patterns that are too wild. Either one of these things will make you stand out in a bad way.
                                      5 Keep the weather in mind. You should choose clothing that's appropriate to the season in order to be as comfortable as possible. Be sure to also check the weather report the day of the wedding, so you'll know if you should wear a coat or bring an umbrella.
                                      6 Find out what other guests will be wearing. If you can match your style of dress to that of other people who will be attending the reception, you will rarely go wrong.
                                      7 Ask the bride or groom what you should wear. This method is fool proof. It should also be used as a last resort, unless you're very close with either member of the happy couple. However, if the invitation doesn't give you any clues and the other guests aren't talking to you, then this is your best option.

                                    Saturday, September 28, 2013

                                    With holiday office parties coming and weddings and social functions common you may want to brush up on how to propose a toast.


                                      1 TIMING: Wait for the appropriate moment. The host or hostess, or someone close like a father or best man, should usually propose the first toast of the evening. If they don't wait until after the main course is done to give them that chance. Make sure you chose a moment when glasses are full. Think through your remarks before you begin so it goes smoothly.
                                      2 The intro: Stand at the table or in a prominent place and get the rooms attention. Introduce yourself briefly, and how you tie in to the person being honored or the company or project if it is a business affair.
                                      3 The lead in: Direct your remarks and attention to the host, hostess, or person being honored. Convey your feelings and compliments. Humor works well if it is not going to cause embarrassment or discomfort. Avoid anything too personal. Express your hopes and wishes for the person or moment being toasted.
                                      4 The Toast: Raise your glass and state "To.... in 3 to 4 words. Be very brief here so people can join in and repeat the phrase.
                                      5 Drink. A small drink is appropriate. Don't down the glass.

                                    Friday, September 27, 2013

                                    Reports show that less than a third of couples who plan a wedding that costs more than $10,000 save more than a couple of thousand dollars toward paying for it. Yet weddings today can cost an average of $20,000 or more for the reception hall, caterer, flowers, decorations, wedding gown, rings, and dont forget the honeymoon. So how do you pay for all this extravagance? Read on to learn how to finance a wedding.


                                      1 Save for your wedding. Certificates of Deposit (CDs) offer one option for short-term savings that offers higher returns on the initial investment. Having a regular savings plan to save as much unrestricted income as possible in the months preceding your wedding can help you to accumulate as little debt as possible. Saving coins and $1 bills in the months leading up to your wedding can add up, too, perhaps contributing a decent down payment toward the honeymoon.
                                      2 Talk to a representative from your financial institution. Many banks offer free advice to couples about budgeting, saving and purchasing a home. Inquire about a home equity line of credit to help cover wedding expenses. For engaged couples who may already own a home either individually or together, a home equity line of credit provides a flexible option for financing along with low interest rates.
                                      3 Set a realistic budget. Be careful of hidden costs. Dont make the mistake of going over budget. Be prepared as a couple to compromise on many of the details. Consider using a combination of savings, paying out-of-pocket, home equity and credit cards to finance the cost of your wedding.
                                      4 Pay as you go in order not to incur debt. Even if you dont have a lot of excess cash, you can pay off many of the bills related to the wedding beforehand. Most vendors who provide wedding services require a 50 percent deposit at the time that you place the order. This gets you halfway there from the start. And remember, all costs are negotiable.

                                    Thursday, September 26, 2013

                                    You need just the right person to make taking your marriage vows truly memorable--an officiant willing to create the perfect ceremony that captures your personalities and beliefs.


                                      1 Find someone whose beliefs resonate with yours and who can speak eloquently on your behalf. You'll want to meet several times to discuss the ceremony and come to a mutual accord. Officiants can suggest vows or help you fine-tune your own.
                                      2 Choose from a wide pool of possible religious officiants: priests, rabbis, Catholic scholars, theologians and cantors. If you hold a religious ceremony in a church or synagogue, you may need to use their officiant.
                                      3 A judge or justice of the peace can do the honors, as can a mayor, governor, county clerk, notary, legally ordained minister or anyone who is deputized to perform a one-time ceremony.
                                      4 Have a friend become a minister. At the Universal Life Church ( you can fill out an online form, pay $12, and voila! You're an ordained minister. (Check laws in your state.)
                                      5 Budget the officiant's fees into your overall cost of the wedding. Traditionally paid for by the groom, they can run from $100 to $300 or more, with travel and facility costs extra.

                                    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

                                    Wedding crashers as a rule get a bad rap, but they are not the mountebanks that most people think they are. The wedding crasher can add life and vigor to an otherwise dull wedding. Most weddings are staid and stuffy affairs that should welcome the wedding crasher with open arms. To be a wedding crasher, a person must follow some basic rules to not sully the reputations of reputable wedding crashers everywhere.


                                      1 Make sure to dance with as many people as you can. The main focus of the wedding crasher should be to dance with as many unattached wedding attendees as possible. Do not dance with attendees that have significant others at the wedding because that could result in a confrontation.
                                      2 Bring a nice gift to the wedding. Just because you are crashing the wedding does not mean you should not bring a considerate gift. The bigger the gift you bring the better, because a large box is always impressive even if an inexpensive gift. Be sure that your cover story is solid because the big gift will attract a lot of attention.
                                      3 Concoct a believable cover story. It is usually best that you are a friend of a friend or long lost relative that forgot their invitation. You also use another guest as a cover story if you make a wedding crasher connection early on during the crash. You can just say I came with Cousin Bob or Aunt Margie if they are amenable to going along with the story.
                                      4 Be as polite as possible. Drinking and rudeness are not permissible behavior from any respectable wedding crasher. Despite being an uninvited guest you show always maintain proper decorum and treat others with respect. Finally, do not get too drunk when crashing the wedding or you could face social embarrassment or worse.

                                    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

                                    How to Plan a Cheap Beach Wedding

                                    Beach weddings or destination weddings have grown in popularity recently. They offer a very special way to celebrate a marriage with a select group or friends and family in a location that can be elegant and beautiful naturally. A beach wedding doesn't have to be unduly expensive either. Here are suggestions for planning the ideal cheap beach wedding.


                                      1 Locale. There are miles of beachfront in the US alone. A public beachfront park is a free venue but you will need to check rules regarding food and drink if you hold the reception there as well. You might consider asking a private property owner if they would consider allowing you access for your wedding. Small resorts or hotels are always options but may incur costs associated with their use. If you are not close to a beach, a lovely lakeside setting may be just as nice.
                                      2 Travel. Before planning a destination wedding, ask those you simply have to have at your wedding for their thoughts. Nothing says you have to finance their travel arrangements but you do not want to impose a hardship on anyone either. A beach wedding may be your dream but perhaps a lovely lake setting would work just as well and be one you can easily drive to. If you absolutely must travel long distances to reach the beach of your dreams, consider how many guests you can afford to include if you have to pick up the entire tab.
                                      3 Guest List. The number of guests you invite to your wedding will determine the amount of money spent, particularly if food and drink are supplied. As awful as it may sound, make A, B and C lists. Your A list should include required family members, friends and your wedding party. Your B list will include others that you would like to invite if your budget allows. Your C list would be guests that perhaps your mother would like to include but would not be upset about if they weren't invited. You can always move them to your wedding announcements list if you need to. Not everyone you invite will be able to attend but by knowing a projected head count you can more easily set a budget.
                                      4 Invitations. Beach wedding invitations have become so popular that they now rate a category all their own. From embossed seashells to charming sandcastles,beach wedding invitations set just the right tone for your special beach wedding. You can see many affordable beach wedding invitations online at a company called Remember to include a map for those unfamiliar with the location.
                                      5 Decorations, food and drink. Beach weddings are affordable in that they are casual to begin with. Decorations are really not necessary as the natural surroundings are decorative enough. Food can be as casual as cold appetizers or barbeque. Drinks should be cold or frozen and colorful but don't necessarily have to contain alcohol. Often beaches are breezy so don't forget to add weight to your serving table and the items on it. You wouldn't want your home made wedding cake taking flight!

                                    Sunday, September 22, 2013

                                    How to Get Wrinkles Out of a Wedding Dress

                                    When a wedding dress is riddled with wrinkles it is a great idea to take the dress to the dry cleaners for a professional steam. Many times, however, it is not possible to use a professional steam-cleaning service. Luckily it is quite simple to get wrinkles out of a wedding dress--for free--at home. Since wedding dresses are frequently very light in color and are assembled from very delicate materials, it is important to use this method to avoid any stains or burns in the fabric.


                                      1 Hang the wedding dress on the back of a bathroom door, adjusting it so that it lies as flat as possible.
                                      2 Close the bathroom door and run a steaming-hot tub. The idea is that the bathroom should be filled with a thick blanket of steam.
                                      3 Grab the two towels and cover your exposed arms completely. This will prevent any sweat from being passed on to the wedding dress.
                                      4 Flatten out the wrinkles with your towel-covered hands. Tug slightly at the hems to soften large wrinkles. Run hands over the smaller wrinkles repeatedly until all the wrinkles disappear.
                                      5 Check for any additional wrinkles on all sides of the wedding dress. Once the wrinkles are gone, drain the tub.
                                      6 Hang the dress neatly from a cloth hanger and away from all other items to prevent any additional wrinkles.

                                    Friday, September 20, 2013

                                    Having a photo slideshow at your wedding is a wonderful way to give wedding guests a glimpse into the lives of you and your fianc. A slideshow can also be a funny and entertaining moment at your reception. It isn't hard to create a wedding slideshow on your own if you have the right software and a little bit of free time.


                                      1 Determine a theme for your photo slideshow. At a wedding, you could show childhood pictures of you and your fianc, pictures of you as a couple, pictures of your families or pictures of you with your guests, for example.
                                      2 Choose images for your slideshow. Slideshow images should be of good picture quality and have some variety. Rather than showing many pictures from a few events, show a few pictures from many events.
                                      3 Scan hard-copy photos onto your hard drive or have them scanned onto a disk and load them onto your hard drive.
                                      4 Create a soundtrack for your slideshow by downloading songs you like or uploading them from a CD. Choose songs that mean something to you and your fianc. You can either choose 1 to 3 whole songs to use sequentially, or you can create a music montage with clips from a number of songs.
                                      5 Buy photo slideshow software for your personal computer to create your slideshow. You can compare a number of different software options and read reviews of these products at (see Resources below).
                                      6 Input your photo and song choices into the software. Many software choices have pre-made templates you can choose from that allow you to simply drag and drop your photos into place.
                                      7 Edit your slideshow with the transitions and effects you want. Using smooth transitions and other special effects makes your slideshow more interesting.
                                      8 Burn your slideshow onto a DVD. DVDs are the easiest format to use, because your reception hall may already be set up to play DVDs through its audiovisual system. Alternatively, you can hook your computer directly up to a projector.

                                    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

                                    How to Book a Church Wedding

                                    As a newly engaged couple faces the task of planning a wedding, they might find that every other decision will be based on the location of the ceremony. After all, it is the event that the entire day is based on. Though the possibilities for ceremony sites are endless, classic church weddings are popular among many Christian couples. If you have your heart set on a certain church, such as the one you attended as a child or the one that you currently attend, planning ahead is necessary. As a guideline, try to book the church a year in advance. More popular venues or weekends might require more time, while off-season events or small congregations could allow you more leeway.


                                      1 Sit down with your fiancee and anyone else who will be having a say in wedding plans and budget. Set a timeline and pick possible dates that work for important family members and very close friends. Ideally, you and your fiancee have talked through matters of faith, but you must make sure that you have the same expectations from the ceremony.
                                      2 Contact the clergy person associated with the church you wish to book. Some churches employ event coordinators, which will ease the planning of logistics such as decorations, but clergy people are the ones who will make sure that you can be married in their church and assist you in any pre-wedding preparations.
                                      3 Make arrangements to meet requirements for being married in the church. Different denominations and individual churches have different rules. Usually, if you and your fiancee are both members of good standing, you will have no problem scheduling a wedding. If one of you is not a member of the faith, if you wish to be married outside your regular church or if one or both of you have been away from regular worship for a while, you may need to take extra steps. Some churches require that both partners be members of the denomination, which would require taking steps for conversion. Others require educational sessions, but not conversions. If one of you have been married previously, an annulment might be required. Your clergy person will be able to assist you.
                                      4 Schedule the date of the wedding with your clergy person or event coordinator. Check the availability of the church organist or anyone else you want involved in the day. Payment varies by institution. Some require a deposit in advance, to be paid in full later on. Others only ask for a donation.
                                      5 Attend any premarital counseling required by the church. The Catholic church, for instance, asks couples to fulfill Pre-Cana, a course regarding issues such as conflict resolution and practicing religion as a married couple
                                      6 Consult with your clergy person about ceremony particulars, such as vows and readings. Also ask about church rules before making other decisions. Some churches, for instance, would ask for shoulders to be covered, which might influence dress choices for the bride and bridesmaids.

                                    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

                                    The removal of the garter is one of the oldest standing wedding traditions. Modern brides can be thankful that the garter is now just fabric and elastic to make removal easier. They can be even more grateful that the tradition no longer mandates that the male wedding guests rush the bride to remove the garter forcefully, hence resulting in many a ruined dress and, one would garner, a ruined wedding. Today, removing the garter has evolved into a much more couth practice that brings little more than a blush and good-natured ribbing.


                                      1 Couples should discuss the removal of the wedding garter several weeks before the wedding. If you are exchanging vows in a religious ceremony and celebrating the reception in a house of worship, this custom may be frowned upon. Check with the clergy to make sure it is permissible.
                                      2 If the removal of the wedding garter will take place, decide at what point during the reception it will occur and, more specifically, where. It is customary for a special seat of honor to be given to the bride in the center of the room for this occasion. It normally takes place after the meal, cutting of the cake and most of the evening's festivities have passed.
                                      3 The garter is usually placed on the left thigh. If the bride isn't comfortable with exposing this much flesh during the reception, or if there are elderly guests who may find this offensive, she can lower the garter to just above her knee.
                                      4 The groom should kneel on one knee at the feet of the bride, gently taking her calf in his hand while she raises her dress, ever so slightly, to tease him. This will generally draw some cat calls from the men in the audience. The groom then slips his hand up the bride's dress until he locates the garter, which he then slowly removes, making sure not to raise her leg too high or to show undo impropriety.
                                      5 Once the groom has removed the garter, the bride is to remain seated. The groom may tease the guys with the garter by twirling it in his hand for all to see his trophy. He then slings the garter toward all of bachelors who hope to catch the garter, a symbol of good luck and fertility.

                                    Monday, September 16, 2013

                                    Weddings and their receptions make for wonderful parties. Food and drink are usually abundant. The partygoers are typically in a good mood and don't always know all of the guests. Either as a hobby or for a one-time event, crashing a wedding can be a fun challenge.


                                      1 Dress for the occasion. If you want to fit in unnoticed, then do a little homework and find out who the wedding couple is before you try to crash their party.
                                      2 Stand at the end of a reception line and shake hands with all the guests. They will pretend to know you most of the time. People are very often embarrassed about forgetting a face and will not ask who you are.
                                      3 Prepare an innocuous answer to questions about yourself. "I've not been around that long to know everyone in their lives," or "We're all friends here."
                                      4 Pose as a distant relative who heard about the happy couple's wedding and brings best wishes from all the other relatives who couldn't make the blessed occasion.
                                      5 Offer to dance with someone who looks like they could use the company. Dance well and you will have a line of potential partners - and official party acceptance.
                                      6 Compliment everyone and everything. No one thinks badly of someone who is full of praise of the party.

                                    Sunday, September 15, 2013

                                    You may have chosen to use the same gown as a family member or purchased your wedding gown from the second-hand market or you may wish to clean your own wedding gown after the wedding. Professional wedding gown cleaning can cost hundreds of dollars, so why not try spot cleaning the soiled areas of your wedding gown to save a little money? If your wedding gown has the most common types of stains, this is an easy process, as long as you have the right tools.


                                      1 Identify the stain. Most wedding gown stains are caused by dirt, perspiration, food or champagne. Stubborn stains, such as coffee, red wine or blood stains are difficult to spot clean on your own. You can try these methods on those difficult stains, but you may still need to take your wedding gown to a professional cleaner to fully and safely remove the stains.
                                      2 Make your cleaning solution. The liquid soap should be clear with absolutely no color. Colored soaps risk staining your dress further. You can use many types of liquid soap since you will be diluting it with water in one of the spray bottles. You can use laundry detergent, dish washing soap or even shampoo. Make a solution that is roughly one part soap to six parts water. Put the soap in one of the spray bottles, and add a little bit of water. Gently swirl the bottle to combine the soap and water. Add the remaining water and swirl again. Fill the second spray bottle with clean water.
                                      3 Make sure the floor under your ironing board is clean or put a clean sheet down and your ironing board on top if it so your wedding gown doesn't pick up any dirt from the floor. Put your wedding gown on the ironing board as though you were planning to iron it. The stained area of the gown should be on top of the ironing board. Place one or two clean white cotton rags underneath the stained area of your wedding gown.
                                      4 Remove any solid particles before cleaning, if your stain is from food. Spray the stain with your cleaning solution until it is saturated. Gently blot with a clean rag. Change the rag underneath your wedding gown and your blotting rag, if the stain remains. Repeat until the stain is removed.
                                      5 Spray the now-clean stained area with the clean water in your other spray bottle. Put a clean, dry rag underneath your gown and use another clean dry rag to blot remaining moisture from your gown. When you've removed as much water as possible, put another dry rag underneath your wedding gown and allow it to air dry. This may take up to 24 hours.

                                    Saturday, September 14, 2013

                                    You have decided to get married in the comfort and familiarity of your own home. You want to keep the wedding small and intimate, yet personalized and memorable for family and guests. From festive backyard barbecues to white canopied formal events, small, at-home weddings take some planning and extra forethought. Consider the steps below to help you plan your small wedding at home.


                                    How to Plan a Small Wedding at Home

                                      1 Decide what kind of wedding ceremony you would like to have and where it should be located in your home or on your home's grounds. For example, if you want a simple, cozy wedding, consider having an intimate wedding ceremony in your living room. If you have a nice backyard with lots of open space, plan an outdoor wedding ceremony underneath a small tent or gazebo. In short, make the best use of your home's distinctive features, such as an outdoor patio, pool, landscaped yard, barn or winding pathway, to host your wedding ceremony.
                                      2 Consider how your home's features could also be incorporated into a wedding reception area. For example, if you decide to have your wedding ceremony near a backyard creek, plan your reception underneath a sprawling white canopy near the same spot. Or if you plan to get married outside by your pool, consider hosting a reception in a nearby cabana or pool house. Use your surroundings to build your own personalized reception.
                                      3 Rent the items needed to comfortably seat guests at your home-based wedding ceremony and reception, such as tables, chairs and a tent. All of these items are available at your local event or party rental store.
                                      4 Plan your menu. Decide if you want to keep your menu simple and casual or elegant and formal. If a serve-yourself, backyard barbecue will do, consider preparing your own food, especially if you are a talented cook or have friends and family members who honestly do not mind helping. If you do opt to prepare your own food, carefully plan out the type of serving dishes, flatware, dishes and warming trays you will need. You can either borrow these items from family members or rent them from your local event or party store. On the other hand, if you want to serve a more elegant, sit-down meal and do not want to take on the challenge of preparing your own food, hire a caterer and wait staff to handle everything for you.
                                      5 Think about whether or not you want to serve alcohol. If you do want to offer alcohol, you will either need to purchase your own alcohol or hire a bar service to take care of all the details for you. If you purchase your own alcohol, do not forget to buy paper cups (if your wedding is casual), borrow stemware from friends and family or rent stemware from your local event or party rental store.
                                      6 Plan your entertainment. If you want to have dancing at your wedding reception, you will need to designate a large space in your home (such as a great room) or on your grounds (such as a patio) for this purpose. You can also rent a dance floor from your local event or party rental store. Also consider what type of music your will need, such as a string quartet to play a waltz during your ceremony or a disc jockey or band for dancing. Many local universities have students in their music programs who offer their musical services at home-based events inexpensively.
                                      7 Do not forget the decorations. Small, intimate weddings offer you the chance to use simple decorations that make grand statements. One of the most effective ways to decorate your home for a wedding is by using twinkling white lights and candles, especially if you are hosting an evening event. Lanterns and luminaries also add an air of simple elegance and ethereal beauty to an outdoor reception. And do not forget to use Mother Nature's natural gifts of flowers, trees and shrubbery to enhance your at-home wedding.

                                    Friday, September 13, 2013

                                    Choose wedding rings carefully - you'll be wearing them for the rest of your life. Wedding rings symbolize three things: your personality, your commitment, and your fashion style. Choose a wedding ring that will express an enduring, unequivocal love and exert a unique personality for both the groom and the bride.


                                      1 Shop together. The engagement ring was the big surprise, but you should decide on wedding rings together. Many women already know what they want on their wedding ring, so sitting down and talking can help get both spouses on the same page.
                                      2 Decide on matching or separate bands. It is possible to buy wedding rings together so they coordinate, but it is not absolutely necessary. For example, if a man is concerned with a ring appearing too effeminate he can get a different style from the woman.
                                      3 Match it to the engagement ring. Many people will wear their engagement ring and wedding band together. Having something to match it to will help you make your decision. You may want to visit the same jeweler you got the engagement ring from, or look into it when you are shopping for engagement rings.
                                      4 Consider your lifestyle. Rings should adorn and accentuate your hands, not hinder them. If you use your hands a lot for manual labor and you do not want to scuff up your stone or damage your ring, consider a low setting or a hard stone. Conversely, if you live a life of leisure and you want to flaunt your luxurious diamond, get it set high and flashy and let it bling.
                                      5 Choose a stone. You already know all about the 4 C's from buying the engagement ring (if not, check the resources box below), so you should be comfortable with buying a diamond. However, feel free to consider other stones. Look into the meanings of certain stones and the hardness.
                                      6 Choose a band metal. The three most popular are yellow gold, white gold and platinum. White gold is popular because it coordinates with both silver and gold and is less expensive than platinum (which does the same, but is much stronger). Yellow gold is traditional, but be sure to look into the karats. Nine karat does not look as nice and will not hold up as well as 18 karat, but more karats means bigger price tag.
                                      7 Look through catalogs. Once you have a general idea of what you want, leaf through a couple catalogs from different jewelers. This will help you figure out the price ranges as well as familiarize you with some good brand names.
                                      8 Visit your trusted jeweler. Get some references and recommendations for a good jeweler and go down to the store to look at rings. Find a knowledgeable employee that can help address your questions and concerns.

                                    How to Plan a Wedding for Under $5,000

                                    One of the first things a bride-to-be should do is to create a wedding budget. It's important to know how much money is available for the wedding. Savvy brides who are willing to stick to their budget and watch their pennies can plan an elegant wedding for under $5,000. The couple needs to decide what they will cut costs on and what they won't. Two of the most expensive items are food and drink, so a smaller guest list can save thousands.


                                      1 Create your wedding budget. All persons that are paying for the wedding should have a say. List everything you will need and set a maximum amount for each item, such as flowers, dress, transportation, music, food, drink and venue rental.
                                      2 Designate your priorities and be willing to spend a large chunk of the budget on what is important to the bride and groom, whether it is a band for dancing or a fabulous wedding cake or lots of photos.
                                      3 Write out your guest list, and pare it down to 50 people or fewer. With a small wedding budget, it's imperative that you have a small guest list, especially if you plan on feeding them.
                                      4 Create your own wedding invitations. Wedding invitation kits can be purchased at many discount and office supply stores for a fraction of the cost of pre-printed ones.
                                      5 Pick an unusual wedding date and time. Consider having your wedding on a weeknight or on a Sunday morning, because many venues charge less for bookings Sunday through Thursday.
                                      6 Find a venue. You will save money by having the wedding and reception at the same location, because you won't have additional transportation costs for the bridal party and for wedding vendors. Don't be afraid to negotiate. You may be able to save 50 percent or more if your wedding is not on a popular day and is off season. Use a reception venue that allows you to bring your own food and drink and have family members and friends prepare it. To eliminate venue costs entirely, get married at the home of a family member or friend.
                                      7 Shop around for an affordable dress. Watch the sales and be patient, or consider renting your wedding dress. If you look at dresses that are not sold as bridal gowns, you will find lower prices. Also consider wearing your mother's, grandmother's or sister's wedding gown if it has been preserved. For the groom's attire, check tuxedo rental shops.
                                      8 Keep food and beverages to a minimum. Consider serving only appetizers, punch and cake. If you want to serve hot dishes, a buffet costs less than a sit-down dinner. An open bar is expensive, so stick to wine and beer. Serve beautifully decorated sheet cake instead of fancy, expensive tiers -- or ask a relative to make the cake.
                                      9 Make your own decorations, centerpieces and flower arrangements. Consider using silk flowers, or choose flowers that are in season and buy them wholesale. Enlist family and friends to help you.
                                      10 Hire local college students or start-up businesses for photography, videography and music. They will charge far less than longtime professionals. Ask for references and view portfolios before hiring anyone.