Wedding budget tips
Hey there! Today I'm giving you some insight on you what should consider when coming up with a budget for your big day. I know, the money talk sucks but it's best that you're honest with yourself and prepared when it's time to shop for vendors. No, not everyone will have a magazine wedding. No, not everyone can afford every little detail you see on blogs and Pinterest (because you know, you actually have to purchase every little thing you see in those photos). Your wedding will be beautiful and special no matter how much you spend. But let's jump into some realistic tips to save some headache and surprises.
1. Figure out what is most important to you and your fiancé? Is it the ceremony and grand entrance or is the party and food afterward? Or maybe it's the honeymoon. Deciding this will help you allocate your funds appropriately. Maybe be you can do without major decor at your ceremony space if that means you'll have an open bar for your guests to enjoy.
2. How many people do you know really want to be apart of such an important occasion? Seriously. Once upon a time I had a list of 200 people I wanted at my wedding and that was only my list. And it was destined to grow for genuine people I would meet along the way. Today, I'm at a fraction of that. One of the major ways weddings get expensive is when the guest list keeps growing. Come up with a cut off number then fill up the spaces with your nearest and dearest. You'll be surprised who makes the cut.
3. Location, location, location! Picking the right venue is arguably the biggest budget factor. Choose it wisely. When you're venue shopping consider your date, time of year and if the venue has onsite catering. Weddings are happening any day of the week now so don't totally count on a discount if you want a Tuesday wedding. However, some places offer deals depending if you're wedding date is during the off season, roughly October through March. Having your ceremony and reception at the same venue will save money on transportation and time for photos. Picking a venue with in-house catering will save you the trouble of finding your own caterer. However, you won't save money if they venue is expensive and the meal per person is way out of budget.
4. Decor. My only advice here is to not skimp out on quality. You'll do more harm than good trying to figure out what corners to cut and how to make something happen when you should just consult a planner/coordinator, a florist, or ask your venue for preferred vendors. Take advantage of resources like bridal shows, wedding pro tips, luncheons and different events looking for brides in attendance to help you get the best information for your planning process.
5. Photography! I mean how else were you going to document your wedding, iPhone shots from guests? The necessity alone can get very expensive. Shop around! Look at their work on their websites and Instagram accounts. Does their style fit you? Do you like they're editing? Most importantly, will they fit in your budget. From a coordinator who puts her clients first, don't let any one vendor consume a greater portion of your money. There are talented people everywhere and they all charge differently.
Charleston Fashion Week Recap
It's official, it is Wedding Season! I had the pleasure of being a guest at a few Charleston Fashion Week festivities last week. Thank you Mrs. Atosha Barboza of Larger Than Life Events for bringing me along! I wanted to share some of the events I attended for this week's blog. The whole week was nothing short of networking, flowing champagne, good eats and of course gorgeous gowns!
My first stop was at The William Aiken House! This venue is so beautiful and vintage! Kate McDonald Bridal was revealing her 2016 Bridal and LulaKate Collections. They all consisted of light and airy fabrics such as silks, satins and tulle. The historic garden venue was transformed by Event Haus under the vision of Luke Wilson. From the guests' infinity chairs to the lounge space to the delicious hors d'oeuvres, spring and anticipation filled the air.
The second event I attended was Ooh! What a Pop-Up Party presented by Charleston Weddings, Ooh! Events and Lovely. The brides-to-be in attendance were greeted with make up artists for some pampering and a super cute cotton candy cart, Pure Fluff. Guests were able to taste great food and drinks provided by CRU Catering. Delicious macarons and cake were provided by ABCD Cakes. My favorite vendor, Page of Penned by Palmer gave every guest a custom notebook with their name in calligraphy. After some time, Ooh! granted us access to their wonderland of rentals. Oh my goodness, you could spend all day in their warehouse just looking at their awesome furniture and accessories.
Saturday, March 19th was the big show! The huge white tent in Marion Square I had been watching days prior begin setting up was now a hub of elite designers, wedding vendors and excited brides. Beautiful wedding gowns from Kelly Faetanini, Cordella Bridal, Fabulous Frocks and Jessica Williams of Alvina Valenta rocked the runway. And I cannot not forget the epic performance by Broe Works! I met so many wonderful people including Charleston Weddings Magazine senior editor Ms. Melissa Bigner and production director of Charleston Fashion Week, Ms. Jacqueline Lawrence. The whole week will be one of my many Charleston experiences to remember.
Get ready for spring
The first day of Spring is coming this Sunday, yippee! Love is in the air, the weather is gorgeous and wedding season officially begins. Here are a few things this lady in waiting would suggest you do before your wedding day.
1. Purchase high heel protectors. If you're having an outdoor wedding, make sure you and your bridesmaids have these. We have to remember with this great season it brings a lot of rain. Even though the outdoors seem dry, the ground is still wet. Don't want to ruin shoes because you sunk into the soft ground.
2. Stock up on allergy medication. If you have bad allergies around this time of year, keep tissues, eye drops and extra blotting sheets on hand during your wedding day.
3. Take more walks. Personally, I have found long walks to be a stress reliever. If you're experiencing anxiety as your wedding date approaches, take a stroll with your love. Have a conversation about things not related to the wedding.
4. Go over wedding day checklists. Make sure you have purchased everything you need personally for your wedding day. Are you missing a few items for your honey moon? Take care of them while the wedding planning process has slowed down and you have more time to yourself.
Reason #3 You Need LIW
It's another beautiful Wedding Wednesday! This week I have shared reasons why a lady in waiting is a must. Today I'm sharing reason 3 of 5: because every bride should start her big day feeling extra special and catered to. We can run to your favorite bakery, stop at Starbucks or even bring mimosas at your request. Your wedding day is a celebration that you should start from the moment you wake up. Visit our Instagram page at @_ladyinwaiting to continue to follow along!
How to hold your bouquet
It's almost spring, woohoo! I purposely waited for the weather to change and wedding season to begin to post this blog. Today I'm going to show you and your bridesmaids how to properly hold your bouquets going down the aisle. Right before the wedding processional, I always check to see where everyone is holding their flowers. Depending if the bridesmaids are going down the aisle solo or with a groomsmen, will determine where the flowers can be held. A tip to all of my brides and bridesmaids out there, the best time to practice this is at the wedding rehearsal *wink*. Ok, so this post is not long at all. I simply wanted to show you where you want to hold your bouquets.
Photo #1: Too high! Ladies, you just spent a good amount of money on a beautifully crafted gown. The worst thing you can do is hide the detail and your cleavage. Allow your photographer to get the full effect of your entrance. Show your guests every sparkle and inch of lace on your wedding dress.
Photo #2: Too low! This pose is ideal for photos taken before or after your ceremony. Yes, the detail of your bodice can be seen but you don't want to rest your hands and heavy bouquet on your thighs. This could create an impression on the skirt of your dress making it to become longer - increasing your chances to trip. A bride's worst nightmare!
Photo #3: The sweet spot! Whether you're walking alone or with an escort, this is the perfect position. Arms are bent at 45 degrees, your bouquet is nestled right under your bust line and you're entire upper body is straight. You are completely open for the perfect pictures and your skirt will barely grace the floor.
Now you can enter your wedding ceremony with poise and grace.
Picking the right veil
Remember when veils went through a huge and puffy stage? Thank God that's over! Today, veils are one of the many glamorous touches you can add to your wedding day look. They come in so many lengths, colors, and details. It is a challenge not to want more than one! However, I am totally bias to the cathedral veil. I believe it adds elegance and drama to your overall look. There are a few factors you'll want to consider before picking out that final touch.
For one, what does your dress look like? Is it understated or is it heavily beaded? If so, go for the opposite veil. A lightly detailed dress can handle beautifully beaded or an edged in lace veil. Are you a sparkle factor bride? Add the wow in moderation. You dress can be covered in bead and sequin but allow your veil to carry beading on the edges only.
How about, where will your ceremony be held? If you're choosing to be outside, pay attention the weather. You don't want to fight the wind when you're making your grand entrance. Will you be in a glitzy arena? If you're venue is saying over the top, you should definitely follow suit with your attire. Consider a form fitting gown with a lot of back detail. Then go for a fingertip length veil, it should land just passed your booty. Picking a shorter veil will be a distraction and cover the dress detail. Going too long will also bring the eyes away from the dress.
Not into glitz, glam or drama? No worries, there is something for everyone. Don't be afraid of elbow and shoulder length veils with a touch of lace. For just a touch of tradition, go with the blusher. Most times they stop at the shoulder and do not have any detail at all. Pair it with another hair accessory, such as a pretty comb or flower, to give you a complete wedding look. And don't forget the birdcage! Go for short curly locks with a tea length wedding dress to add the classic 50s hair accessory. Which will you choose?
Personally, this blog was hard for me to write because I am such a traditional girl. I prefer order and most times I believe if it’s not broken don’t fix it. However, it is 2016 and things have changed so much. I came up with my top 5 things I could part with for my own wedding and know you would feel the same. Some things just aren’t necessity anymore.
Let's talk invitations! This seems to be the topic every couple is concerned about. When do we send them? When should we get them back? And the biggest question I get from my couples, what if my guests bring more guests?! Well ladies and gents, that very well could happen but there are things you need to do to prevent this. Do you have that family member or friend that you invite to all of your functions but they never say if they are coming for sure? Expect this person, specifically, to do the same when it comes to your wedding. They will be the last to send in their RSVP and will ask if they can bring a date or even someone you didn't want to invite. Today I'll tell you a few things you can do to avoid and derail the unwanted.
When do we send them?
The first thing you can do to avoid late RSVPs is to send out your invitations 6-8 weeks ahead of wedding date. For destination weddings, 3-6 months ahead. Give your friends and family as much time as possible to save up and make arrangements for their jobs and children. The caterer for your reception will typically ask for a final head count 2 weeks before the wedding. Make the response date 3 weeks before the wedding; this gives your guests 5 whole weeks to respond. So why do I need responses 3 weeks before my wedding, Amber? Well, while responses were coming in the mail you were preoccupied with life and put your cards in a box for safe keeping. You may have looked at the responses but you didn't take the time to enter them into your spreadsheet. Use week 6 to enter every name and see who is missing. You will be making phone calls! Unfortunately, not everyone will understand the importance of a RSVP and you will have to hunt them down for an answer. And when you see extra names on the response card, gently explain that you and your fiancé have a budget you have to stick to and it will not allow more people to be added to the guest list.
Who and how do I address my guest?
Addressing your invitations correctly is how you prevent the extra and unwanted people from attending your wedding. On the front of every envelope clearly address who the invitation is for. The following are examples of how to address an invitation; I totally made up these names:
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Hampton (married couple)
Dr. and Mrs. Brian Smith (doctor and spouse)
Pastor and Mrs. (or First Lady) Wallace Johnson (officiant or pastoral guest)
Ms. Ashley Roberts and Mr. Joseph Dorsey (dating couple for more than 6 months)
Never ever use "and family". You will open the flood gates to 3rd and 4th cousins you may not even know of. Some sources say not to use "and guest" but that is solely up to you. If you know your guest's significant other by name, address it on the envelope. If you are concerned about a single guest and want to grant them the company of one person, use "and guest" for this occasion. Another way to let your single guests know they can bring a date, hand write "2 seats have been reserved for you in your honor" on the response card. They will most likely understand they can bring someone or may just call to clarify; this is always safe.
But, what if?!
Ok, so invites are addressed and sent out on time...what if extra people show up anyway? Chances are your efforts will not be in vain. Your coordinator is always prepared for the what if's so they'll find a seat for them at the reception after all other guests are seated. On your wedding day, just relax. It is your time to see the fruits of your labor and celebrate the journey of marriage with your other half. Don't worry about who may or may not have come to your wedding. I always say "whoever was there was suppose to be there".
DIY gift for him
It isn't tradition, yet, but what if you sent a groom's gift to your hubby-to-be the morning of your wedding? He would feel so special that you thought of him in the midst of the wedding planning process. I came up with this framed love note for the bride who wants to show her love in a crafty and unique way.
All you need is a frame, watercolor paper, watercolor paint, brushes and a sharpie pen. I took a few minutes to mix paints and get the perfect color.
Next, simply draw your cutest heart right in the middle or in the corner of your paper.
After it dries, write your love you note with a thin point sharpie. Take a few practice strokes on scrap paper. Be sure to take your time, there's no room for mess ups.
For this project, I chose a front loading frame but you can use any style frame you'd like. Pack your frame with a few of his favorite things and send it off to his suite. I'm telling you, he'll love this.
Grooms plan too
Fellas! Today’s blog is for you! You’ve asked the big question so it’s your fault your fiancé is about to freak out for the next 9-12 months…just kidding, kinda. Like most guys, you may think you don’t have much input during the wedding planning process but that’s just not true today. It is more than getting your groomsmen together for a tux fitting. Your fiancé may look like they have it all together but honestly, they would love for you to inquire about DJs or even set up cake tasting appointments. Make your fiancé feel like she has you as her teammate in the planning of your big day. Traditionally, the bride and her parents plan the wedding. Today, more couples are planning and paying for the wedding themselves. But where do your parents come in? It has become more common for the groom’s parents to helps with transportation for the wedding day and plan the wedding rehearsal dinner. They can also help take care of floral costs, the DJ and even the bar bill for the reception. It may be wise to set up a time for you, your fiancé and parents to sit and chat about what you’d like them to help with. Most importantly guys, stay by your fiancé’s side. Take on a project and step in when you see them start to get overwhelmed. Be their superman, that’s one of their reasons for saying ‘I do’.
Bonus tid bit! Groomsmen, it is your job to get together and plan the groom’s bachelor party. Pay close attention to the date of his wedding and plan for a fun night out a week or two before he becomes a married man. A trip to Vegas takes planning.
From Me, Amber
This page is to share ideas, current wedding fads and advice. Don't be afraid to share your thoughts as well!