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.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A wedding is one of the most important days of many people's lives, and everyone wants her special day to be just perfect. Of course, if you're going to the reception, you'll want to have a good wedding toast ready, especially if you're in the wedding party or are the father of the bride or groom. Luckily, there are some easy steps to follow to make sure you don't embarrass anyone, including yourself.


    1 Gain inspiration on a site like (see Resources below). Don't copy these toasts verbatim, however, as you want your toast to be as unique and special as the couple before you.
    2 Use an outline format to write your speech on index cards. They are extremely helpful to refer back to as you speak.
    3 Introduce yourself. The wedding party will most likely know who you are, but the rest of the guests may not have a clue. This is especially important if it is a large wedding. Simply begin your speech with a quick introduction or anecdote to let everyone know how you know the bride or groom.
    4 Compliment the beautiful ceremony you have all witnessed. This creates common ground and gets everyone on the same page. Leave this step out if the wedding was a small affair and only family was invited, saving the big guest list for the reception.
    5 Include memories that involve both the bride and groom. Though there's always room for Dad to get teary eyed over memories of his little girl, you should keep yourself focused on the bride and groom as a couple.
    6 Include famous quotes that fit the wedding or the bride and groom. You can find thoughtful quotes on a site like (see Resources below).
    7 Play it straight unless you're known for your wit. If you're known for your more serious demeanor, don't try to shake things up with a joke because it may fall flat. Stay in comfortable territory, and everyone will love you for it.
    8 Direct your toast to the bride and groom alone. Though you may feel that you have to entertain the crowd, you should write your wedding toast to be an intimate gesture for the stars of the day.
    9 Stay positive, exercise tact and only write about happy things instead of including comments about ex loves, embarrassing moments, wedding gifts or anything to do with the cost of the wedding.
    10 End your toast with a positive comment full of hope for the future of the couple.
    11 Invite the whole gathering to join you in the toast by raising your glass and saying, "To (bride) and (groom)!"
    12 Toast to the health and well-being of the couple by tacking on a cheerful "l'chaim," "salud," "a votre sante," "za vashe zdorovye" or "prosit."

How to Determine Wedding Cake Size

Planning every detail of a wedding reception can be harrowing for any couple. When it comes to the wedding cake, you want to make sure each guest has an adequate serving. Sometimes more guests are added at the last minute, and the bride and groom might worry they won't have enough cake to serve. Depending on the cake design, round or square, your servings per layer will vary. Using standard baking pan sizes, you can easily estimate the size of your wedding cake.


Round Cake Size Estimation

    1 Consider that most cake slices at weddings are approximately 8 cubic inches. Visually, the piece will be about 4 inches high and 2 inches wide. Each round tier is comprised of two layers of cake with frosting between each layer. When bakers or home cooks estimate the size of their wedding cake, they start with a serving size of 4 inches high by 2 inches wide.
    2 Review the round size pans or tiers that are available to cake makers and home cooks. Cake pans come in diameters of 6 inches, 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, 14 inches, 16 inches, 20 inches and 22 inches. Each diameter serves a different number of guests.
    3 Determine what layers will be needed to fulfill the needs of all your guests. A 6-inch pan serves 12 slices; an 8-inch pan serves 20 slices; a 10-inch pan serves 36 slices; a 12-inch pan serves 46 slices; a 14-inch pan serves 76 slices; a 16-inch pan serves 92 slices; an 18-inch pan serves 110 slices; and a 20-inch pan serves 120 slices.
    4 Estimate more servings than guests invited. You may invite last-minute guests, or your guests may want seconds.
    5 Determine what layers you would like on your cake. For a cake that has graduated layers from a large base layer to a smaller top, you could order or bake a bottom layer of 14 inches, a middle layer of 10 inches and top the cake with a 6-inch layer. This cake would have 124 servings.

Square Wedding Cake Size

    6 Understand a square wedding cake layer will serve more per layer than a round cake pan.
    7 Determine a square cake size by using the most popular baking pan sizes available on the market. Like the round cake, square cakes are two layers with icing in between.
    8 Choose from the most popular square pan sizes. A square 6-inch cake layer serves 18 guests; an 8-inch pan serves 32; a 10-inch pan serves 50; a 12-inch pan serves 72; a 14-inch pan serves 98; a 16-inch pan serves 120; and an 18-inch pan serves 140.
    9 Select a variety of square pans if you are planning on a square graduated cake with a wider base and a smaller top. For a wedding of 100 guests, you could select a 12-inch pan with an 8-inch pan in the middle and a 6-inch square pan on top. This cake would serve 122 people, so you would have extra for seconds.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When planning a wedding, sometimes the simplest things can become overwhelming and out of hand. While picking out your wedding cake and choosing the dresses for your bridesmaids may be easy, sitting down and making out your wedding guest list can be hard. If you have a lot of people to invite but you're on a budget, narrowing down your guest list can add a lot of unneeded pressure. Let's face it, everyone you know cannot attend your wedding, but there are ways to tell someone they are not invited without hurting feelings or potentially loosing a friend.


How to Tell Someone They are Not Invited to Your Wedding

    1 Decide with your groom how many people you all wish to invite to the wedding.
    2 After coming up with a definite number, begin making out your list. It's easier to make the list with your groom so that you won't have duplicate names. Also, start the list out with the people you are closest to and who you are certain will be in attendance.
    3 After making the list, make an alternate list with the people who did not make it on the definite guest list.
    4 Make sure the people on your guest list RSVP. It is easier to have a set deadline for RSVPs. This way, you can start putting people on your alternate list onto your final guest list.
    5 After the deadline has passed for the RSVP, take everyone off your guest list that did not RSVP.
    6 Count how many empty spots you have, then start adding people from the alternate list to your final list. Ask these people to also RSVP by a certain deadline. There still may be a few who cannot come.
    7 If after you do step 1-6, you still have people left on your alternate list, it is time to tell them they are not invited, especially if they thought they would be. It's sometimes more hurtful to a person if you do not explain to them why they are not invited versus not telling them anything at all.
    8 Do not send the person an email, but rather give them a call and meet them in person.
    9 Explain to them your budget for the wedding and let them know how important they are to you.
    Example: I would really love for you to be in attendance on such a special day in my life, but because of out tight budget for the wedding, I was not able to invite as many people as I would have liked. But if possible, I would love for you to help me_______(find a dress, look for a shoes, pick a cake, etc...)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to Defrost a Wedding Cake

It's a tradition for a couple to freeze the top tier of their wedding cake and save it to eat on their first anniversary. After being frozen for an entire year, a wedding cake must be defrosted correctly in order to preserve as much of the original flavor and texture as possible.


    1 Remove the wedding cake from the freezer two days before the anniversary and place in the refrigerator on a middle shelf where the temperature is fairly even.
    2 On the morning of the anniversary, remove the cake from the fridge and set it on a countertop. Take off the layers of foil and plastic used to wrap the cake. The fondant or buttercream should still be hard at this point.
    3 Leave the cake out on the counter the entire day. To protect it from anything that may touch it, such as bugs or dust, place a plastic or glass cake platter lid over the cake.
    4 Gently touch the fondant or buttercream exterior to see if it has softened. Once the frosting is soft, the wedding cake is ready to serve.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A wedding veil can be very expensive. For brides on a budget, you can avoid the cost of a store-bought wedding veil by making your own. Making a simple wedding veil is very easy and requires only a few steps. If making your wedding veil seems too overwhelming for you at this stressful time, assign the duty of making the veil to your mother or maid of honor.


    1 Decide what length of veil you want. For a shoulder-length veil, you will need 24 inches of fabric. Waist length will require about 32 inches. For fingertip length, you will need 40 inches. Floor length will vary by your height. You can also have a longer, cathedral-length veil that goes onto the ground.
    2 Purchase tulle--the fabric you will use to make your veil. Go to the fabric store, and you will find a variety of different types of tulle. Match the color as close as possible to your wedding dress. Pick tulle that is slightly soft and not stiff and scratchy. Tulle is very inexpensive and normally can be found for a couple dollars per yard or less. All tulle should be 108 inches wide.
    3 Lay out the tulle on a large table or the floor. Fold it in half and place paperweights or other heavy objects to hold it down flat. Coffee mugs are a good choice if you do not have paperweights. Cut the edge (not the folded edge) of the veil into a curved shape. You can use a pattern to do this or just slightly round the edges.
    4 Unfold the tulle and sew a running stitch along the straight edge. About 3 inches inside of the edge, using a needle and heavy white thread, sew all the way across the veil. After sewing, hold the thread at one end and push the tulle together to gather it.
    5 Attach the tulle to a comb. Purchase a 4-inch bridal comb. If you are getting married in a cool environment, you can use a fabric glue gun to attach the tulle directly to the comb. Do not use glue if your wedding is in a hot or humid part of the country since the glue may melt. Instead of glue, you can attach the tulle to the comb by stitching. Simply stitch the tulle to the comb by bringing the stitches through the material, then between the teeth of the comb. Make sure the tulle is attached completely. Your veil is now finished.

Some brides and grooms spend thousands and thousands of dollars on their dream weddings. With careful preparation and effort, you can plan an affordable wedding that results in an equally enjoyable experience to a wedding that costs thousands of dollars more. Trim your budget of professional services and accessories that family and friends can provide for lower costs or even for free.


    1 Limit your guest list. Each person you invite to your wedding will cost a fee. Pare down your guest list to limit your fees.
    2 Print your own invitations or buy premade invitations to which you can add your detailed information. Computer programs, such as Microsoft Publisher, allow you to design invitations. Purchase card stock and make your own invitations that look professional but cost a whole lot less than invitations that are purchased preprinted.
    3 Choose a venue with reasonable prices. If you choose a restaurant, rather than a traditional wedding venue, you may get a better deal. Many restaurants can create a small dance floor in any restaurants to ensure you don't have to forgo the traditional wedding dance.
    4 Negotiate the price of the wedding venue of your choosing. Cut down on some of the extras that the venue offers. Limit or take away the cocktail hour for significant savings. If dessert comes with your wedding package, stick with just cake for dessert, rather than a dessert bar.
    5 Schedule your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday. At many wedding venues, Saturday is the most expensive day to have a wedding. Fridays are significantly less expensive. If you have many out-of-town guests who will have to travel anyway, a Friday night wedding work out well for all.
    6 Book a four-hour wedding instead of a five-hour wedding. One less hour at the wedding reception can save you money on the music and photographer, for instance
    7 Choose a venue that allows you to supply your own bartender and alcohol. Bringing your own drinks will save you money because you can buy the drinks in bulk beforehand.
    8 Choose inexpensive buffet options or menu choices. Skip the surf and turf in favor of less expensive chicken, pasta and vegetable dishes. The food doesn't have to be expensive to be good.
    9 Buy a dress that is on sale, used, rented or has fewer embellishments. Scour the sale racks at local bridal boutiques or consignment boutiques for gently worn dresses. Visit a bridal store that lets you rent your dress.
    10 Skip the unnecessary flowers. All a bride really needs is her bouquet. Bridesmaids do not need bouquets. Corsages are not necessary. Keep your flowers limited for major savings.
    11 Use disc jockeys and photographers who are new to their trades. They may be inexperienced, but that does not mean that they aren't professional. Choosing affordable services will go a long way in planning an inexpensive wedding.
    12 Purchase inexpensive centerpieces and party favors. Candles make lovely centerpieces and party favors that are affordable, especially when purchased in bulk. Other options for centerpieces are vases with inexpensive or fake flowers or picture frames with pictures of the bride and groom. Inexpensive wedding favors include decorative bags of candy or Christmas tree ornaments.
    13 Give your bridesmaids small gifts. They are involved in your wedding because they love you, not because of what you can give them. A small, meaningful gift can be as nice as an elaborate gift.
    14 Do your own hair, nails and makeup. If you can't do it yourself, ask a bridesmaid or family member to help.
    15 Purchase inexpensive thank-you cards at any store. The thank-you cards do not have to be personalized: The important part is what you write inside of them.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

When you go to a wedding, dancing is inevitable. Sure, you may sit there and refuse to dance. Or, you may want to but you're too nervous. Slow dancing is the perfect time to hit the dance floor because it's so easy to do.


    1 Ask someone to dance. There's no point in sitting there during a wedding and wishing you were dancing. Make sure to start with someone you feel comfortable with--even if it's a friend, cousin or your grandparent.
    2 Stand about 6 inches apart. The man's arms should go around the woman's waist. Her hands should go around his neck. The man can also keep one hand on the small of her back and clasp her other hand away from their bodies.
    3 Go for the traditional side to side move if you're not much of a dancer. Sway back and forth, slowly turning your partner around in a circle. There's not much to slow dancing, it's perfectly acceptable to basically stand there with little movement.
    4 Take lessons if you don't feel comfortable slow dancing. There's no shame in learning a few moves before the wedding. You don't necessarily have to go the ballroom dancing route--but you can learn a few stand-by moves to help you keep things flowing on the dance floor.
    5 Stay in tempo. No matter what the song is and what your moves are, just try to find the beat and move along with it. Meaning, if the song gets a little faster, you should move a little faster, too.
    6 Spice things up and do the unexpected. Turn a traditional slow dance into something fun and memorable by suddenly changing things up in the middle.

How to Put a Wedding Together in Three Months

Whether you just can't wait to be married or the stresses of life require you to get married in a rush, planning a wedding in three months isn't impossible. When you're putting together a wedding in such a short time frame, you must choose the elements of your wedding that are most important to you and focus on them. Even with this focus, planning all the details of your wedding in three months is too big a job for one couple, so enlist your family and friends to help put the event together.


    1 Book a ceremony, reception site and officiant first thing, since these are all essential parts of your wedding that may be booked up in advance. Consider getting married on a Friday or Sunday, since sites are more likely to be free on these days than on Saturday. If you can't find free sites that you like, opt to hold the wedding at your own home or the home of a close friend or family member.
    2 Buy your tux and dress as soon as possible. Look for a sample sale at a local boutique, where you'll be able to buy a dress and walk out with it that day, rather than having to place a special order. Some national clothing stores also sell dresses online so you'll be able to receive the dress within days.
    3 Choose your bridal party. Pick dresses from a national chain that bridesmaids can order right away and ask the groomsmen to order their suits right away.
    4 Order the food. Your favorite small restaurant may have more availability to take on a catering assignment on short notice than a catering company that serves primarily weddings. Since many bakeries require cake orders to be placed far in the future, order a cake or cupcakes from the bakery section at your grocery store.
    5 Invite guests over the phone. Gathering addresses, filling out invitations and addressing the envelopes can take weeks, which you don't have. Email is too informal for a wedding invitation, so phone each guest personally to invite her.
    6 Hire a photographer. If you can't find a professional photographer who's free on short notice, ask a friend who's good with a camera to take photos. Ask all your close friends to take lots of photos as well so you'll have plenty of memories from your big day.
    7 Buy your own flowers and decorations. Borrow vases from friends, or pick up some simple vases from a warehouse store. These types of large discount stores should have plenty of inventory in stock so you can do all your decor shopping in a one-stop trip. Order flowers from a local florist and ask the bridal party to help put together bouquets.

How to Have a Court House Wedding

Whether you and your fiance are secretly eloping or have decided to wed spontaneously, a courthouse wedding is a simple, intimate affair. Most courthouse wedding venues even have enough room for a handful of guests, so you don't need to skip out on the guest list entirely. Remember to bring the required number of witnesses to validate your ceremony. Know that each county has its own rules regarding courthouse ceremonies, so learn the regulations before your wedding day.


    1 Apply for a marriage license in the county where you intend to marry if you are marrying in your home state. If you are marrying out of state, apply in your home county. Proof of identification and a stipulated payment, usually in cash, must be presented at the time of application. Proof of termination of previous marriages and blood test results are occasionally required. Some states require that a witness be present at this stage if they do not require that anyone witness the ceremony.
    2 Pick up your license. Depending on the state in which you and your fiance plan to marry, there may be a waiting period put in place to deter hasty marital decisions. However, once your application for a license has been approved, you will be free to marry immediately.
    3 Speak to the registrar who processed your marriage license to make an appointment to marry within the courthouse. Some courthouses perform weddings on a walk-in basis, but others require that couples make appointments in advance. Set your date with the courthouse before planning anything else.
    4 Meet with your officiant before the ceremony to discover whether or not she permits embellishments upon the ceremony. If so, you may wish to incorporate pertinent readings and self-written vows to make your ceremony more personal.
    5 Hold your wedding ceremony. Ensure that you bring a witness or two if your state requires them to sign the license. Present your marriage license to the officiant before the ceremony begins. After the ceremony concludes, you or your witnesses will sign the license. The officiant will then sign the license and return the document to the registrar to ratify your marriage.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weddings don't have to cost a small fortune. As a matter of fact, it is possible to have a totally free wedding. The right planning, flexibility and willingness to do some trading, you can have the wedding of your dreams for nothing.


    1 Pick several dates as possibilities for you wedding. Being flexible with your plans will make getting free things easier.
    2 Have your wedding at a church or country club where you or a relative is a member. This will eliminate the fee for your wedding. If you can't find a place consider having your wedding at home with a garden reception.
    3 Contact several photographers several months in advance and find out which is willing to exchange their photography services for advertising space at your wedding and reception. Be willing to let them set up a display table with brochures and business cards.
    4 Check with local bakeries who would like to trade advertising space in your wedding program for the price of a cake.
    5 Think about having your wedding in the afternoon and serve only light hor'deuvres with your cake. Enlist the help of friends and relatives to make them for you.
    6 Consider a destination wedding offered for free online. Many resorts offer wedding packages for free with your travel reservations.
    7 Offer your tuxedo rental store and bridal salon free advertising at your reception in exchange for free or reduced rates on rentals and purchases.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How to Wear Engagement & Wedding Rings

Engagement and wedding rings are generally silver or gold bands, sparkling with diamonds or other precious stones. These rings are symbols of the enduring love between a husband and wife. Which finger the rings are worn on depends on the design of the rings, whether they are a set and whether it is before or after the wedding ceremony.


Matching Wedding and Engagement Ring Sets

    1 Wear the engagement ring of a set before the wedding day. In the traditional manner, the engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the bride-to-be's left hand.
    2 Move the engagement ring on the day of the wedding. Traditionally, the wedding ring is worn on the hand that is considered closer to the heart, so the engagement ring must be moved to the third finger of the bride's right hand.
    3 Wear both the engagement and wedding rings after the wedding ceremony. The bride moves the engagement ring back to the third finger on her left hand, on the outside of the wedding ring.

Nonmatching Rings

    4 Wear the engagement ring and wedding ring on separate hands. Sometimes, the engagement ring and wedding ring do not match. In this case, the bride wears the wedding ring on the third finger of her left hand and the engagement ring on the hand and finger she chooses.
    5 Wear an engagement ring and ring guard. Before the wedding day, the bride wears the engagement ring on the third finger of her left hand. On the wedding day, she moves the engagement ring to her right hand. After the wedding ceremony, the bride inserts the engagement ring into the ring guard and wears both on the third finger of her left hand.
    6 Wear an eternity ring with the engagement and wedding ring. When the wife receives an eternity ring, the wedding ring is worn nearest the hand, then the engagement ring and then the eternity ring. If the wedding and engagement ring are too wide, the eternity ring can be worn on any other finger.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

There are so many different wedding themes available to today's couples, it's sometimes difficult to decide on the perfect one. Simplify your choices by choosing a traditional wedding theme. A traditional wedding offers elegance and romance that will enchant any bride and groom with rituals and customs steeped in history.


Traditional Wedding Attire

    1 Select a beautiful white wedding dress. White has been the traditional wedding color since Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in the 19th century.
    2 Wear a formal train. A traditional formal wedding gown should have a train that is three to four feet long. If you are planning a Catholic ceremony, you may want a cathedral train, which can be up to 10 feet long.
    3 Dress the bridesmaids in formal gowns of the same style. The maid of honor may wear a different color than the bridesmaids.
    4 Rent tuxedos for the groom and his attendants. The groom should wear a white vest and tie, while the attendants should wear colors that match the maid of honor and bridesmaids.

Traditional Wedding Party

    5 Plan to have one bridesmaid for every fifty guests invited to the wedding. For example, if you have 200 people invited, you will need four bridesmaids. The same rule applies to the number of ushers.
    6 Ask close relatives, such as a brother or sister, to be the best man and maid of honor. If you don't have a sibling, then a cousin should be the next choice.
    7 Include family members in the wedding party before friends.
    8 Invite two young relatives to act as the ring bearer and flower girl.

Traditional Wedding Ceremony

    9 Hold the wedding ceremony in a church or other house of worship. Most traditional wedding ceremonies are held in a church or synagogue.
    10 Say traditional wedding vows. There is no need to write your own if you stick with the basics.
    11 Include a lighting of the unity candle for Protestant ceremonies.
    12 Plan to have a full mass during the traditional wedding ceremony in a Catholic church.

Traditional Wedding Reception

    13 Begin the reception with a cocktail hour to entertain guests while the wedding party is having pictures taken.
    14 Stand in the receiving line outside of the dining room to greet guests as they sit down for dinner.
    15 Serve a traditional sit-down dinner.
    16 Listen to the best man toast the newlyweds.
    17 Watch the bride and groom dance their first dance as man and wife. The bride should dance with her father immediately follow the first dance.
    18 Cut the cake an hour or two before the reception ends and serve it with coffee or other beverages for younger guests.

How to Make a Wedding Dress Bustle

Wedding dress alterations such as bustle additions can be fairly expensive, and the last thing a bride needs when trying to stick to a wedding budget. An attractive wedding dress bustle is not as difficult to make as it may seem, and costs much less to make on your own. Whether you have made your own wedding dress or are altering an existing dress, a bustle will help get your train out of the way so you can better celebrate when the ceremony ends.


    1 Determine the style of bustle that is best for your dress (see Resources for style options). Since some bustle styles may be too complex for a beginner, start with the "overbustle" style, which is the easiest and most common type of bustle used on wedding dresses.
    2 Decide whether you will use buttons or hooks to attach your bustle. Covered buttons are more secure but do not complement every wedding dress. On the back of your dress, determine where you will place the buttons or hooks. Find the center back of the dress first. Place either one or two buttons or hooks on each side of the center back, spaced evenly apart. Mark these places with pins.
    3 Put the dress on your body or on a dress form that is the same height as you. Get a friend to help you lift the back of the wedding dress skirt so the hem falls where you want it to. Make sure you are lifting from the middle of the skirt. Pin the middle of the skirt to the button markings.
    4 Put the dress on a dress form if you have not already. Detach the middle of the skirt from the bodice, leaving the pins in the skirt to mark the placement. Refine the pin placement by making sure that all pins are level, then find the center back of the skirt. At the pin level, on either side of the center back, place as many pins as you are using buttons. These are called "bustle points." Remove the rest of the pins.
    5 Pin the bustle points to the button or hook placement markings, then step back and see whether the draping looks correct to you. If not, unpin the skirt and readjust the bustle points until you are satisfied.
    6 Sew the covered buttons or hooks to the button markings, then sew loops of matching ribbon to each bustle point. If necessary, hand-stitch the loops to the skirt so the stitching is less noticeable. Take each loop and attach it to its corresponding button or hook. Remove the wedding dress from the dress form and put it on your body to test the drape and fall of the skirt one last time.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Have a Beach Wedding

Beach weddings are one the most romantic and popular ways to say "I do." The natural beauty of the setting is impossible to match indoors and everyone will remember the amazing day that they had with you and your new spouse at the beach. Many people elect to spend several days at the beach before the wedding enjoying the company of their families and close friends before the big day. In this article, we will discuss how to have a beach wedding.


How to Have a Beach Wedding

    1 Select the beach where you wish to have your wedding. Be sure to factor in the time of year, season and other local events into your decision. For example, should you decide to get married at Daytona Beach you will need to avoid Bike Week in order to prevent your vows from being drowned out by the roar of thousands of motorcycles. Also, if you have your wedding in the tourist "off season" you can take advantage of low rates on accommodations and other services because there will not be as high a demand.
    2 Establish a contact person at the hotel nearest to the beach where you wish to have your wedding. This person will help you coordinate the event and reserve enough rooms for your guests. They also can recommend vendors to help you with the wedding cake, music and photography. This person generally will serve as your liaison to the catering department at the hotel.
    3 Spend at least one night at the beach where you want to have your wedding. This will help you be sure that you have picked the proper place. Walk on the beach around the time that you want to get married and check out the area to make sure that the hotel is the type of place that you trust to host your wedding and reception tastefully. If you find you do not like the area, atmosphere or clientele, consider a change in venue. You want you wedding day to be perfect!
    4 Make sure that the area where you wish to have your wedding can be reserved. If it cannot, you will need to select another venue. You do not want people walking through the middle of your wedding because the beach is public.
    5 Set a date with the help of the hotel contact person.When planning a beach wedding, this must be done at least six months in advance if possible. Otherwise, even if your venue is available you may end up being hurried out of the area to make room for the next scheduled event. By planning far in advance, you can usually talk the hotel into reserving the beach area for at least half a day.
    6 Interview potential musicians, photographers and bakers. It is best to use local talent since these people will work better if they are familiar with the venue and the area. Make sure to ask for references, examples of their work and cost estimates. Most will be willing to negotiate on prices -- -particularly if you are very clear about what you want and if you have your event when the area is not busy with other tourists.
    7 Sign contracts with your favorite vendors. This locks them into working with you on a given weekend and gives you the security of knowing that you can check one more thing off your list. At this point, the hard work is done. Now you can move on to the things that are required at any wedding, like showers, dresses and parties!
Every bride has a dream for the kind of wedding she wants. You have a dream for your special day. You can have a lovely, memorable wedding, even on a strict budget. You will know you have planned a cheap wedding but it will be one of the nicest anyone has seen if you plan ahead. Friends can make your cake, gather together to make reception foods and have a decorating party the night before the wedding day. It is so very important to set a specific budget and stay with it. A ten thousand-dollar dress is gorgeous, but a wedding gown made by your mother or your grandmother's gown will be priceless and a major boost to your reception budget. You can plan and have a wonderful wedding for less than the cost of another bride's wedding cake.


Plan ahead

    1 Make sections in a binder with the following titles: invitations and stationery, flowers and decorations, attendants, clothes, wedding location, reception location, participants that must be paid for their services such as the minister and musicians, photography, food and wedding cake.
    2 Discuss the choices you have to make with your fiance and parents if they are contributing financially. Set up a budget and plan to adhere to it to have a cheap wedding. Save a portion of the money needed each month before the wedding month. Plan and write down the amount you will be spending on each section in your binder.
    3 Make a list of friends and family who have talent to help in the various sections listed in your binder. Talk to each person and ask if they are willing to help you make your cheap yet nice wedding happen. Discuss with them what you want to do and make sure they understand that they are helping you without any need to take over for you.
    4 Make your own invitations. Craft them with card stock and vellum inserts or use a computer program to design them.
    5 Meet with a photographer several months ahead of time and find out if the business offers discounts if you pay ahead. Check if the photographer gives a discount if you allow your photos to be used in the business advertising. It never hurts to ask.

The Wedding Itself

    6 Decide if you can make your own floral pieces. Ask yourself if you will be happy with silk heirloom bouquets and work on them ahead of time. Store them in plastic for protection and save a lot of money by doing it yourself. Ask a family member or best friend that is crafty to teach you how to do this if you feel you need help. Make cascading ribbon florist bows to compliment bridesmaids' single roses, lilies or carnations if your heart is set on real flowers. Work a florist created wedding bouquet into your budget.
    7 Decorate the church with rented candelabra, plants and silk arrangements to cut the budget. Decorate an arch in the family garden and have an at-home event to save on building fees.
    8 Plan to have the flower girl toss petals and skip a wedding carpet.
    9 Meet with bridesmaids and plan what they can wear. Find out if anyone in the family or group is willing to sew dresses for the day. Go shopping together for cloth when sales are taking place. Shop for discount clothes in consignment shops, online and at thrift stores. Check out opportunities for clothes or costume rentals. Re-vamp dresses or gowns that the group already owns.
    10 Ask family, friends, acquaintances to sing or play an instrument at your wedding to save money.

The Reception

    11 Use decorations from the wedding ceremony at the reception.
    12 Prepare foods as a group the day before the ceremony to save on a catering bill. Plan your wedding at a time of day when you can serve appetizers and dessert only to save on the major cost of a full meal. Skip a major alcohol bill. Ask family and friends to share in a pot luck meal or barbecue for a more intimate gathering.
    13 Make wedding favors yourselves. Gather the wedding party participants together for an evening of supper, fun and crafts.
    14 Bake and decorate your own cake. Ask your favorite baking aunt or one of your fiance's family members to make your cake if the idea intimidates you. Tell her you'd treasure that labor of love as a wedding gift. Shop with her and buy the ingredients from your budget.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Organize a Wedding Fair

A wedding fair can be a large production that brings in engaged couples from a wide area, or a more intimate wedding show for a smaller area.


Organizing the Fair

    1 Conduct market research to determine the potential audience within the area. Pull together statistics on the average age of people getting married, how many of those individuals live in the area, and an approximation of the size of the wedding party. Talk with local churches, go to the county/city hall to view marriage license applications, and visit florists, jewelers, salons, reception halls, caterers, printers, travel agencies, and wedding fashion stores to gather this information. This market research is also the start of marketing to the vendors to rent space at the wedding fair.
    2 Draft a business plan showing your target audience size, vendor pool, start-up costs, financing needed, marketing strategy, and a projection of profitability. According to the Small Business Association, the "Small Business Planner" will assist you in writing a business plan. There are also Business Plan Workshop online classes to assist in drafting a business plan for a wedding fair. Once your business plan is drafted, you will know how to move forward to organize the event.
    3 Determine where the wedding fair will be housed. For a community-based show, a local reception hall, church, or school auditorium will be adequate. Reserve the dates well in advance of the event to ensure availability and provide pre-event advertising and marketing.
    4 Make a list of every detail for a wedding. Work with a local wedding planner to ensure that each area is covered. This list will determine which vendors to invite to make the wedding fair comprehensive and all-inclusive.
    5 Design a website that begins branding the shows identity. This branding will be used in all correspondence, marketing, and advertising for the wedding fair. The website should include a landing page for vendors, which will tell them how many prospective brides to expect. The landing page is also a place for them to sign up and pay for their booth space. Include a layout of the venue so vendors can select their booth location.
    The website will also house a landing page for attendees. This will not only provide a list of vendors who will be exhibiting but how everything needed to plan a wedding will be under one roof and other value statements. Highlight special guests and/or speakers, any presentations or fashion shows, and door prizes or other marketing tactics to entice pre-registration of attendees.
    Each landing page will be the call to action on all marketing and advertising materials used.
    6 Create a list of the target industries that will represent every aspect of a wedding (which you did previously in your market research). You might use direct-mail postcards as a marketing tactic to attract vendors. This is a cost-effective way to publicize the event and reach your target audience.
    7 Advertise your event with brochures left at each of the attending vendors' stores, including a link to your wedding fair website. This is also an opportunity for targeted direct-mail marketing. Use this marketing tactic, along with radio spots, ads in the local newspapers, and an endorsement from the speakers to be used in print and radio. Always advertise the benefits of attending, not who will be a vendor, so the marketing is talking directly to the needs of the engaged couple and how attending the wedding fair will fill those needs.
    8 Add the bridal fair to as many lists on the Internet as feasible. One such list is "The Bridal Association of America Bridal Show Listings." This website has been set up as a place for producers, exhibitors, and brides and grooms to keep up to date on the latest bridal shows. To find other similar websites, Google "bridal show listing" and select which ones are best suited for your bridal fair.
    9 Get assistance, as needed, for the pre-event logistics, marketing, setup and wedding fair activities. Each area should have a person in charge who is knowledgeable and dependable.
If you are planning the details of your wedding, it is important to reserve hotel rooms for wedding guests. Circumstances may arise where you will be getting married that may prevent your guests from being able to book hotel rooms. When multiple hotel rooms are booked, the hotel often will give you a discount. Booking hotel rooms in advance will save you and your wedding guests money, time and frustration.


    1 Decide how many rooms you'll need for your wedding guests. Once you receive your reply cards, begin counting the number of wedding guests who will be traveling to your wedding. Consider out-of-town guests and family members who might want to stay close to the wedding site. If you are still unsure of how many rooms you need, consider calling all of the guests.
    2 Research hotels around the area. You do not want your guests to travel far to get to your wedding. Look at hotels that are less than 10 miles from the wedding site. Guests may not be familiar with the city, so it is important that you book hotels close to the venue.
    3 Check hotel rates. Call each hotel and figure out the rates for rooms. Browse the Internet for special Internet rates that are cheaper through travel websites.
    4 Book blocks of hotel rooms. If you need more than 10 rooms, many hotels allow you to reserve a block of rooms. A block of hotel rooms may give you a discounted rate at a hotel. If you need more than 10 rooms, try booking blocks of rooms at two to three hotels to give your guests options.
    5 Look for hidden fees, charges and discounts. Booking hotels online may charge your credit card additional fees that were in small print. Hotels often will make you sign a contract if you book more than 10 rooms. If not all of the rooms are used, you will have to pay the fee for the unused rooms. Ask about cancellation and reservation fees, and choose the hotels that will offer you the best deal.
    6 Start reserving hotel rooms. Once you have researched all of the hotels, reserve the rooms at least six months in advance. This will guarantee that rooms will be available in the area for your wedding guests.
    7 Inform your wedding guests of the hotels. Once you book the hotel rooms, inform guests of the prices. If you are paying for the hotel rooms, let guests know that you covered the cost of the hotel rooms. Give the guests the hotel brochures, phone numbers or websites to the hotels so they can check out the area.
You agreed to have no more than 125 guests at your wedding. But you've just realized that between the two of you, you have 300 people you want to invite. Now what?


    1 Sit down with your intended and list everyone you can think of to invite.
    2 Use the one-year rule for friends: If you haven't had a meaningful conversation with this person within the last year, don't invite him or her.
    3 Ask your parents on both sides to help you cull people from the list.
    4 Avoid the "If I invite this cousin, I must invite all cousins" trap. And don't feel obligated to invite people who invited you to their wedding. Relationships change.
    5 Exclude children if possible. Suddenly a family of six is a manageable party of two.
    6 Address the invitations only to those you intend to invite. If your single friend rates an invitation and isn't seeing anyone seriously, you don't have to include "and guest."
    7 Keep the list limited to personal friends. Do you hang out with co-workers away from the office? If not, don't invite them.
    8 Make sure that the same number of people are invited from each side. This will prevent in-laws from feeling cheated.
    9 Keep in mind that on average, about 25 percent of your guests won't be able to make it.
    10 Make a first and second list. Put the absolutely-must-invites on the first list, and as the RSVPs come in, send an invitation from the second list for each regret.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Today's brides and grooms have busy lives and rarely have the time or expertise to plan and execute the perfect wedding. A wedding planner or coordinator is very often the lifeline a bride is looking for. Becoming a successful wedding planner requires knowledge about the industry and good people skills.


    1 Study the event planning profession. Spend some time reading books and bridal magazines, visiting online wedding websites and interviewing working wedding coordinators or planners to become familiar with what will be expected from you.
    2 Research free wedding planner software. There are many sites that offer free signups which will allow you to determine the major categories of services that you can offer.
    3 Consider taking an online course to become a Certified Wedding Planner. You will be able to offer professional event planning services upon completion.
    4 Understand your capabilities. A wedding coordinator must be very organized and posses excellent interpersonal skills. Being a resourceful and patient person will help you to deal with bridal nerves much more competently.
    5 Find clients. Networking is always important in building your new business. Promote yourself through business cards, your website, free press releases and referrals from people that know your work. Plan to attend as many social networking events as you can. Join clubs and organizations and always chat about what you do and hand out your business card.