Saving Money On Wedding Flowers

Brides and grooms have had a beautiful wedding and save money on their wedding flowers. A few ideas to help prevent brides and grooms from going over budget on their wedding.

Use Alternate Forms of Decorations

Fortunately, there is more than one way to create drama for a wedding ceremony or reception. Decorating with an abundance of flowers is beautiful but expensive. Candles are beautiful when they are combined with low lighting. Combining candles with rocks, colored sand, or mirrors can create dramatic centerpieces without the expense of flowers. Omitting flowers doesn't mean that a bride has to exclude all types of greenery. Grasses and fruits can liven up a room and add a pop of color to any venue.

Keep the Types of Flowers to a Minimum

Using multiple kinds of flowers increases the price of floral decorations. Weddings that utilize a variety of flowers typically have larger budgets for a good reason. If multiple flowers are imported, the additional cost is transferred to the bride and groom. Couples that keep the types of flowers to a minimum can save a lot more money on their flower budget.

Use Flowers in Season

Using flowers in season may be the easiest way a couple can save money on their flower budget.

Some flowers that are in season are as follows:

     Spring - tulip, apple blossom and heather
     Summer - cornflower, lily-of-the-valley and sweet pea
     Fall/Autumn - sunflower, dahlia and morning glory
     Winter - snowdrop, calla lily and holly berries

Some flowers that are available in multiple seasons are as follows:

     Available year-round - chrysanthemum and iris
     Available during spring and summer - daisy
     Available during spring and autumn - lily
     Available during the spring, autumn and winter - orchid
     Available in summer and autumn - rose

Make Flowers Do Double Duty

Many brides have flowers for the ceremony and flowers for the reception. Yet, it is not uncommon for the venue to throw the flower arrangements away or donate them once the ceremony is over. Brides should speak to their florists and ask them if they can use the ceremony flowers for the reception or use specific flowers to enhance the reception decor. For example, a florist can take some rose petals and use them to enhance a tablescape or add a few roses to the wedding cake.

Building a beautiful reception is easy, and brides and grooms don't have to go broke to do it.


Saving Money On Wedding Invitations

It's possible to find inexpensive wedding invitations online, buy kits in stationery stores, or to do it yourself by printing your own invite on beautiful, organic paper.

Weddings can be horrifyingly expensive, and no one likes to waste money when it could be better spent elsewhere. Instead of blowing thousands of dollars on personalized wedding invitations that are going to end up in the garbage, consider these money-saving ways to get the elegant wedding invitations you want without blowing the bank… on that part of the wedding, at least.

If you're going for the extravagant white wedding, you may feel it's necessary to have specially printed invitations made by an invitation designer or a stationery store. But if you're doing anything other than the big white princess dress, 500 guests, and dozens of floral centerpieces, there's room to explore other options for your invitations.

Personalized Designer Invitations versus Premade Invites

One of those options is to use premade, inexpensive invitations that can be found at most office and stationery stores. Contrary to what you might think, there are some very elegant premade invitations that only take a bit of work to look just like the expensive, professionally printed ones.

These inexpensive invitations generally provide one piece to be printed with your wedding details and personal message, as well as a backing or framing paper, and ribbons or decals to be added after printing. It may take several packages of invites and a substantial investment of time, but you'll potentially save thousands of dollars compared to designer wedding invitations.

Do-It-Yourself Wedding Invitations

It's equally possible to start from scratch and design your own wedding invitations at home. All it takes is some really beautiful stationery or fine silk or bamboo paper to produce stunning, one of a kind, do it yourself printed wedding invitations.

You can print them yourself or have a photocopy store design a simple template for you and print on your paper of choice. Make sure you can find envelopes that match the paper before you get attached to particular stationery for your wedding invitations.

Inexpensive Wedding Invitations Online

It's also possible to find some stunning discounts on wedding supplies online, including budget wedding invitations. It may take some time and effort to track down the best deals on wedding invites online, but you're almost certain to find lower prices than you'd see in stores. The one disadvantage is that you won't be able to hold sample invitations in your hands or examine a mock-up copy before sending the invites to print, but you'll make up for this in big savings.

Use Your Wedding Invitations to Make an Environmental Statement

As a rule, weddings are big, expensive, resource-gobbling events – but it doesn't have to be so. There are ways to use your wedding invitations to show your love for the planet in little ways that can increase awareness:

     Print your invitations on recycled paper, or select a premade design that notes on the back of the invitation that the contents were recycled.
     Do it yourself invites can be printed on organic cotton or bamboo paper, or made out of paper with wildflower seeds embedded in it. Make sure to include instructions to your guests to plant the invitation once they're through with it and watch it grow!
     Make a donation to a reforestation group or green power fund to offset the energy "cost" of your wedding… and ask your guests, on your invitation, to do the same.

The Hardest Part Of Wedding Planning

Confused on what to do now that you have the ring? From a former bride who planned her own wedding, here's a list of some difficult obstacles and how to overcome them.

What is traditionally known as the most difficult aspect of wedding planning? The answer isn't concrete, but there are several standout factors. From the budget to the guest list, a bride's agenda can start off with more questions than answers. To alleviate a little bit of that infamous wedding stress, here's a short guide of basics.

Different Types of Wedding Vendors

There are several vendors that may come into play when planning one's wedding:

        * Caterer
        * Cake bakery
        * Dress shop
        * DJ/band/musician
        * Photographer/Videographer
        * Florist
        * Jewelry store for rings
        * Wedding insurance
        * Hair/makeup artist(s)
        * Invitation store
        * Venue
        * Officiant
        * Studio for dance lessons

This lengthy list can seem overwhelming, and while in that state of mind, it might seem impossible to make some key choices. Luckily there is an expert for just this purpose.

What a Wedding Planner Does

The job of the wedding planner depends on the span of time he/she is hired for. Some are only there for the day of the wedding for vendor confirmation and a smooth transition of events. Others are there every step of the way to accompany the couple to meetings, take the reigns with vendor negotiations, and keep track of the budget.

A bride's choice of planner depends on her budget's elasticity. A wedding planner's fees can range anywhere from a flat rate of $500 for the sole task of securing a venue, to 10-15% of the entire wedding budget.

Who Pays for a Wedding?

The budget is arguably one of the most difficult facets of wedding planning, and it is the very first thing a couple should discuss when embarking upon the planning process. This will lay the groundwork for the entire wedding.

First, the future Mr. and Mrs. should figure out the source of the money. Traditionally, the bride's parents paid for wedding expenses, with the groom's parents covering the cost of the rehearsal dinner. Present times have changed this formula a bit because the cost of weddings has skyrocketed. Now, it is not uncommon for the couple themselves to pay for the entire cost of the wedding. It is also popular for the bride and groom's parents to split the check, or all three parties to pay one third each.

Brides that don't have to monitor their budget are lucky! But for those ladies with limited finances, or just a desire to not spend more than is absolutely necessary, there are plenty of great ideas to save money throughout the wedding planning process.

Guest List Etiquette

Another central, and oft-times taxing, part of wedding planning is creating the guest list. Making one is never simple, especially for weddings on the larger end. There is always the possibility of what's known as the spider web effect.

For example, Peter invites his old roommate from college Antwon to his wedding, but not their mutual friend Bob. Antwon calls Bob and asks if he will be in attendance, making the assumption that he has also received an invitation. Bob is confused and hurt, realizing he was left off the guest list. One has to be extremely careful about the spider web effect because it can alter long-term relationships between a bride and her friends, family, and co-workers.

The Big Day and What it Means

When dealing with vendors, situations can get overwhelming. It is important to remember whose day it is, not the vendors. Always keep in mind that a professional wedding planner can step in and provide assistance.

Just like a marriage is unique to its partners, the most difficult obstacle in planning a wedding may differ from couple to couple. And while speed-bumps can arise during the planning process, it is important to find a middle ground. The most treasured part of the big day is not in the details of the day itself, but in the meaning behind it, and the future of who it's being shared with.



Wedding Etiquette For Brides

When people think of etiquette, they often imagine stuffy grandmas and repressive Victorians. But wedding etiquette isn’t there to stifle you— it’s there to make sure everyone is still speaking to one another after the big day. As you prepare for your wedding, it doesn’t hurt to remember a few simple social rules.

Gifts Are Gifts, Not Fees

Registries are a great way to let people know what sorts of things you’d like as wedding gifts. But remember gifts, while they are often given and very much appreciated, are never mandatory for wedding guests to bring. Never demand gifts or ask a guest why they didn’t purchase you something. Gifts are gifts, not entrance fees.

When registering at specific stores, it is never appropriate to list your registries on your wedding invitations, even if you only include this information on an insert. This information should only be passed on by word-of-mouth via your closest friends and family members or through shower invitations. In fact, the Emily Post Institute suggests that registry information should only be included in an insert to the shower invitations, and never on the actual invitation.

Never specify on any invitation that you would prefer money instead of actual gifts. If you really would rather have the cash, casually inform the people close to you (your parents, your siblings, your close friends), so they can mention it if anyone asks.

Every single gift received must be acknowledged by a written thank-you note— no verbal substitutes allowed! For gifts received before the wedding (including at the shower), thank-you notes should be sent at least two weeks after receiving the gift; for gifts sent after the wedding, you have three weeks after you return from your honeymoon.

Guests

When you invite guests to your wedding, specify exactly who is invited on the envelope. Don’t write “Mr. Will Watson and Guest” if you really wanted to invite Mr. Watson and his girlfriend. It’s not that hard to pick up the phone, call Mr. Watson or someone close to him, and inquire as to the name of his current squeeze.

Address envelopes using your guests’ preferred titles— not as you think they should be known. Don’t write “Mr. And Mrs. Will Watson” if you know Will’s wife goes by “Ms.” and her maiden name.

Your wedding party should all receive actual invitations to the wedding, even if they already know all of the details.

Relatives and Money

Contrary to popular belief, etiquette does not demand that certain people pay for certain things, with the bride’s parents paying for the wedding and the groom’s parents paying for the rehearsal dinner. These are common situations but are not mandated by etiquette. The wedding should be hosted by whoever would most like to have the honor— and that means either set of parents, the couple themselves, or even other family members or close friends.

However, etiquette does demand that, should you have a bridal shower, that shower is not thrown or hosted by a member of your immediate family (such as your mother or sister). Future family members (your fiancé’s sister, for example) are acceptable, but friends are the most palatable choice.

It’s Not All About You

Brides today say an awful lot of silly things: “It’s all about me,” “It’s my day,” or even “I should be able to have [object] at my wedding because I’m the bride.” Etiquette does not recognize bridal tyranny, no matter how temporary. It demands that you take into consideration the feelings of your guests, your family, and your friends, not just your own whims.

Save On Your Wedding Reception

Cost-effective ideas to personalize and brighten up your wedding or civil ceremony reception venue. It can also be used for any special event, such as anniversaries.



Don't let (lack of) finances hold you back from celebrating your big day in style. Have you ever thought of holding your reception or party in a venue such as a town hall or community center?



It is not just the modest hire fee that is attractive. Perhaps this was the venue for your parents' marriage. Maybe you do not want to go down the well-worn path of pub, bar, or hotel, feeling such a space is a little too impersonal.



With a little thought and minimal preparation, it is possible – without breaking the bank – to transform a plain hall into a magical, welcoming space that is perfect for celebrating your big day. Here are some ideas to get you started:



Table Decorations



Make your tables look elegant and classy, and the eye will be drawn to them and away from less aesthetically pleasing items such as fire exit signs. Remember that your guests will be dressed up to the nines, which will only add to the effect.



Banquet Roll



This cost-efficient and convenient alternative to tablecloths is an absolute must. Banquet roll is high quality embossed paper table covering. It transforms cheap stacking tables into presentable dining tables.



Cutlery and Crockery Hire



Don't bother trying to borrow plates, bowls, and cutlery from friends and family – it is a logistical nightmare, as well as ruining the classy impression that you are trying to create. Instead, hire these items. Many firms also offer a washing up service afterward for a small fee.



Choose simple and classic crockery – plain white is a foolproof choice. Set against banquet roll, it is reminiscent of the understated décor of a high-class restaurant.



Decorations



Chinese Lanterns



These look pretty strung overhead along the width of the hall – over the stage if there is one. Be aware that fire regulations probably prohibit lighting tea lights inside them – however, unlit tea lights help to weigh them down, so they hang properly.



Family Photos



Why not replace the pictures in the hall with your own for the evening? The bigger, the better. Consider baby and toddler photos, portraits of previous generations, or your parents' own wedding pictures. This may be a good time to properly frame that photo of you winning first prize at the school fun run!



Lighting



Because the lighting in these venues is often harsh, it is a good idea to invest a little in softer lighting that will add atmosphere to your celebration. Candles and tea lights are a timeless solution – but, do check fire regulations, especially if you are placing them on banquet roll.



Small table lamps can be found for next to nothing. Make sure you check that there are enough electrical points and that you arrange some of the tables next to these sockets.



Try to borrow a couple of up-lighters for the corners of the room. Again, they are not expensive to buy if you look around.

A Guide To Hiring A Wedding Planner

Friend, advocate, therapist, vendor expert, negotiator, and style consultant are all words that describe one of the most important people in the wedding planning process.

If a couple is going to hire a wedding planner, they should hire this person before any other vendors. The wedding planner will help the couple choose other vendors and give vendor suggestions. Couples should avoid wedding planners that can’t work within their budget and don’t seem concerned with their opinions.

Who Needs a Wedding Planner?

Some couples are able to plan their own wedding and don’t need the services of a wedding consultant. However, many couples should consider hiring a planner, even if it’s just for the day of the wedding. If a couple fits in one of the following categories, they should consider hiring a wedding planner:

     A couple is planning a destination wedding.
     A couple planning an outdoor wedding in a location such as a beach or public garden where almost everything will have to be rented.
     A couple planning a large wedding with more than two hundred guests.
     A couple who can’t set aside ten to twenty hours a week for planning the event, especially as the wedding date approaches.

What does a Wedding Planner do?

There are different types of wedding planning services, such as day-of wedding planners for the couple who can do most of the planning themselves, a partial-event planner, and a full-service wedding planner.

Basically, couples will get what they pay for when it comes to wedding planners. A couple who spends one thousand dollars for a full-service wedding coordinator will receive different services than a couple who spends five thousand dollars. It’s up to the couple to decide what they want their wedding planner to do and negotiate for it in the contract. Here are some planning services a couple can ask about:

     Assisting the couple arranging and sticking to the budget
     Recommending and hiring vendors
     Negotiating vendor prices
     Reminding couples about deposit due dates
     Assisting with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
     Helping the bride shop for a gown and bridesmaid dresses
     Selecting invitations and keeping track of the guest list
     Assisting the couple in making the theme of the wedding come alive
     Attending the tastings and helping with menu selections
     Creating welcome bags and favors
     Arranging the wedding weekend for destination weddings

Cost of a Wedding Planner

Planners charge for their services in different ways. A planner could charge a flat fee for a certain amount of hours, flat fee based on the couple’s plans, or a percentage of the cost of the wedding. Couples should be wary of a planner charging based on the percentage of the wedding cost, because she may drive costs to increase her payout.

Every couple should be sure to read carefully read over a wedding planner’s contract and ask any questions that arise before signing. The amount of the deposit and what services it will cover should be clearly stated on the contract.

When a couple is hiring a wedding planner, they should consider the different types of wedding consultants, the services the wedding planner will provide, and the cost.


Inexpensive Wedding Ideas

More and more brides realize that you don't have to spend a fortune to have a fabulous wedding. Here are a few great wedding favor ideas for money-conscious brides!

When you're planning a low-budget wedding, it's tempting to skip favors altogether. After all, when you're planning it all out in your head, favors seem so much less important than the cake or the dress.

But favors can be a lovely way to say "thank you" to your guests for making an effort to be there for your day. And inexpensive favors can be just as nice as overpriced ones.

Here are some ideas for easy-on-your-bank-account favors:

Homemade Food

Food favors are incredibly popular, mostly because they're useful (nobody's going to throw away a free brownie, right?), and they can be taken home and eaten by guests later. They can also be made in bulk fairly easily, which makes them great for weddings with lots of guests.

For a fall wedding, jams or jellies can make great favors. Collect and save canning jars from yard sales or flea markets a couple of months beforehand, then make batches of a few different flavors of jam or jelly and decorate the jars with ribbons.

Baked goods make great favors, too. Homemade brownies, cookies, or candies are yummy and can be customized to fit your wedding theme or style.

Useful Favors

Favors are especially fun when they can actually be used at the wedding! Bubble wands are popular favors these days since guests can use bubble-blowing as an eco-friendly alternative to throwing rice or confetti at the newly married couple. Just drop by a dollar store or pharmacy and pick up some cheap plastic bubble wands (usually sold in the children's toy section). Then you can either purchase a large jug of commercially made bubble soap, or you can make your own using an online recipe. Pour the soap into small ball jars or recycled glass bottles, and attach a plastic bubble wand to each jar using a nice ribbon or, for a more rustic look, some hemp twine.

Disposable cameras are also great favors, as they allow your guests to play photographer at the wedding. Lots of bridal stores sell cheap bridal-themed cameras; keep your eyes open for special seasonal sales and deals, especially since many bridal websites and stores will give you better prices if you buy in bulk. Your guests will have a great time taking pictures at the reception, and you can swipe their negatives and make your own copies of their photos. It's a cheap and easy way to turn every guest into your own professional photographer!

Get Creative!

Why not use your own personal hobbies or talents to make wedding favors? For example, if you end up spending a lot of time choosing the music for the wedding, make mix CDs that include your favorite songs. If you have a small or intimate wedding where most of the guests are friends with one another or are related, you could make DVDs from home movies of times you all spent together. Just buy large numbers of CDs or DVDs at any mass-market retailer (like Wal-Mart or Target) and then use a CD or DVD burner (borrow one if you don't own one) to make your CDs or movies. If you're good at making crafty things, you could make bookmarks, jewelry, or small bags for everyone.

Favors aren't the most important part of the wedding, but they do serve a nice purpose, and they don't have to break the bank. Just be creative, flexible, and resourceful in your planning, and you'll have guests telling you, "I wish I'd thought of that myself!"