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.