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Wedding Decoration

5 Easy Ways to Save Money When Planning Your Outdoor Wedding

With the summer wedding season fast approaching and many couples looking for ways to cut back on the cost of their nuptials, outdoor weddings are enjoying resurgence in popularity. Not only does an outdoor event drastically reduce the amount spent on church and reception hall rental, but it also opens up a multitude of other cost cutting opportunities. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five easy ways to save money when planning your outdoor wedding.
1. Choose a month other than June. June is by far the most popular month for weddings, and with good reason; the weather is usually beautiful. But June isn’t the only calendar month with nice weather, and by choosing an earlier spring date or a fall date, you can save a lot of money with various vendors. Many photographers, caterers, and rental suppliers will charge a premium for weddings during the busy month of June, simply because demand is so high. If the date will work for you and your fiance, consider an April or October wedding instead.
2. Consider a morning wedding. Most weddings are held in the afternoon or evening, but there’s no reason you can’t have a wedding in the morning. Morning weddings are often a great way to cut back on expenses, for several reasons. First, you can serve breakfast instead of dinner. This eliminates the need to worry about expensive appetizers and alcoholic beverages. Generally speaking, breakfast foods are less expensive anyway. Furthermore, you may be able to negotiate some discounts with your service providers, since morning weddings aren’t that common, and you may also have an easier time booking the providers you want.
3. Choose a low cost outdoor venue like a friend or family member’s backyard. While it’s true that outdoor weddings are generally less expensive than indoor events, some outdoor venues can be pricey to rent. For example, if you were hoping for a very popular state park with a scenic overlook, don’t expect it to come cheap. By holding your event in a smaller or less formal outdoor space, not only can you save a lot of money on the location, but it can also afford you more flexibility with decorating.
4. Plant some flowers! Assuming you have chosen to hold the wedding in a space where you have some flexibility and control, consider planting some flowers a few months before the event to cut back on the florist’s expense. Planting flowers is also a great way to ensure that you’ll have exactly the variety of colors and textures you want when your big day arrives.
5. Buy decorations that can be used in your new home after the wedding is over. Outdoor weddings are often decorated with items that can be reused later in the couple’s new yard. For example, consider a large wedding arbor or pergola as the backdrop for your photos or the focal point where you’ll recite your vows. Garden trellises can also make a nice backdrop, as can large urns of flowers or planter boxes. If you have the ability to set these items in place a month or two in advance, go ahead and do so and plant some climbing flowers and vines like morning glory or nasturtium that will grow up the structures before your event. When the wedding is over, the items can be used to landscape your new home’s yard, and over the years, they will hold a very special sentimental value to you and your spouse.
These are just a few of many ways you can save money on outdoor wedding planning. With a little creativity and thinking outside the box, you can plan a beautiful and memorable wedding without breaking the bank.…

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Wedding List

The Best Budget Wedding Ideas!

Want a fabulous wedding but strapped for cash? When planning a wedding budget, engaged couples often ponder this question; “What is the best way to save money but for a low cost?” Most weddings cost an average of $20,000- $50,000. This will not work out for cash- strapped couples. Below, I offer cheap wedding ideas that will fit your wedding budget!
* Avoid the High Season: The majority of wedding events occur between the months of May- October. Having a ceremony in these months does not bode well for your budget. To avoid the high season, the best idea would be to get married in low- season months, such as December – March. Wedding vendors also have less bookings in these months so you will definitely get a better rate for their services. Remember to try to negotiate (not bully!) for the best cost for your budget. This is a cheap idea that will not hurt your pockets!
* Cheap Wedding favors as your Centerpiece: A great idea is to incorporate cheap favors as a centerpiece. This way, you can cut cost on the amount of flowers and accessories that you may order. A great, but cheap idea would be to order chocolate kisses ( in your wedding colors) and place them in a beautiful vase that your guests can admire and eat! Votive candles with your ceremony date and colors is also a beautiful and cheap wedding idea that will cut costs!
* Cheap Wedding venues: Most Reception halls charge their highest fees on weddings held on Friday- Saturday. For cheap wedding venues options, try having your event on a holiday that happens to fall on a weekday or have your wedding on a Sunday or Monday. These dates will likely guarantee a bargain for your wedding budget.
* Inexpensive Wedding Cake: Who can afford an elaborate, overpriced wedding cake? To have a really inexpensive wedding cake, you can have a small wedding cake on top and a faux bottom for the lower two tiers of the wedding cake. A sheet cake may be served for the guests. This is a cheap idea that will not make a dent in your wedding budget!
* Affordable Wedding Flowers: OK, so you’ve decided that you want flowers for your event. How to find affordable wedding flowers fit for your budget? Find out what’s currently in season and use more green plants in your blooms. Also, use flowers that the florists always have in stock. Carnations, Baby breaths, Roses and Lily’s are always in stock and are great, cheap wedding ideas for your decor. For a church wedding, I would rather have flowers at the reception; add pillar candles in a clear glass hurricane lamps down the aisle for a serene and romantic atmosphere.
* Discount Wedding Dresses: Most brides dream of a Vera Wang or Justin Alexander dress but if your are on a tight budget, that will not be possible. A great idea for discount wedding dresses would be to check out the sample sales and outlet stores for sales prices! If the dress is a tad bit big, you can always have a seamstress make adjustments. Another idea? Pick a Bridesmaid dress! Find out what color the bridesmaid dress comes in and order it in white. Voila! You now have a wedding dress that you got on a discount!
For more Cheap Wedding ideas, please view related articles ” The Cost Effective Bride ” and “Weddings on a Budget!” For wedding dresses, please view our selection of Discount Wedding Dresses!…

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Wedding Gowns

Tracking Who Pays For What In A Wedding Budget

A wedding budget is not a simple under taking. Well, at least an accurate wedding budget is not. Staying under budget is one goal of most brides. Things get a little more complicated when you start to think of splitting the costs among several groups of people. Here are some things that you should consider when deciding who is going to pay for what.
How should we break down the expenses?
Traditionally, there is a set of rules that dictates who pays for what in a wedding. Generally speaking, the bride’s family is responsible for the reception and ceremony expenses. The groom’s side of the family is responsible for the rehearsal dinner as well as a small portion of the flowers for the wedding. The groom is responsible for the rings for the bride and the honeymoon. The bride is responsible for the rings for the groom. There are many variations on this and we could go into much more details. But families are not as traditional as they were in the past. And today’s bride and groom are waiting even later to get married than ever before. The combination on those two points makes it harder to come up with a standard budget breakdown that works for everyone. Before you get started, you should examine your family situation. It may even be the case that you have to fund the wedding yourself. You just need to come up with a break down that works for your family.
What are you going to include in your budget?
How you breakdown the expenses will determine what you include in the budget. If the groom to be is paying for the honeymoon, then you can let him track that separately. But if you are letting the groom’s parents pay for their share of the flowers, you would want to include that in your budget. Communicate with them early in the planning process and let them know how you want to handle the situation. Are you going to pay for it up front and let them pay you back? Or are they going to write you a check for you to use when you need. Getting an accurate amount available to spend is should be a priority. Also make sure to communicate any changes in prices as soon as possible so that there are no surprises.
How can I keep track this in my budget?
You will want to keep track of who pays for what in your budget somewhere. The best thing to do is to add a column called “Responsible” to your budget. Fill in the column as you figure out prices. If there is going to be a split payment on a service, you may want to include multiple line items in order to track the amounts for each contributor. Account for the fact that the is more than one party paying for items in your budget. If the groom’s parents are paying a few hundred dollars for flowers, make sure that amount is counted in the overall budget total.
Spending time getting your budget in order is important in wedding planning. Spend the time necessary to get your financials in order. You will spend much more time in the future trying to correct problems if you are not organized up front. Have a well budgeted wedding!…

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Wedding Ideas

Renovate Your Wedding Planning

I’ve been really focused on growing my business and getting more and more high end brides. And it’s working! Great news…. BUT…..
There’s always a BUT….
There are brides that love my style, love how we plan events but because my prices have gone up they can’t afford to hire me as their wedding planner. These are brides that are ready to buy and it makes me really sad to turn them away. So after listening to photographer Laura Novak at a recent conference I thought she was on to something. Laura was in the same position as me as a photographer. As she grew so did her prices but it didn’t mean she wasn’t still attracting clients that would be great to work with but who just couldn’t reach her fee. She was busy enough so she created a second division to her company where she could refer these couples. They’d receive the Laura Novak photography style and treatment because she’d trained these associates and she wouldn’t lose out on the business. Brilliant!
So I applied this to my business and quickly came up with Simon and I running the Haute Couture division and an associate planner running the Pret a Porter division. They still become a client of Firefly and get access to our private collection of décor, our cool templates and spreadsheets, design ideas and our associates are trained in the Firefly Occasions style but at a fraction of the cost. It’s a total win win!
Could you do this in your business?
This is a great tactic to try while everyone is moaning over the economy. Could you create a second tier in your business so that you personally don’t have to lower your prices but brides and grooms could still gain access to your company’s style by working with an associate planner?
Another thought is- if people aren’t buying right now it means you’ve got to do a bit of renovations to your programs or packages. Maybe you promote coaching brides through their wedding planning rather than full service. It’s less of a cost for them but it also takes up less of your time and after talking to you on the phone for a year don’t you think you could upsell them to day of coordination?
What about tossing out some budget bride packages? Get some local vendors together and figure out how you could combine your services and give the bride a sweeter deal. That helps everyone out!
You need to think… How can I renovate my wedding planning?
And this idea is good to use all the time. I think it’s important that you give your business a little reno from time to time. Think about that boutique in your town that’s been there for 25 years without a paint job and the same mannequins in the window. It’s not very exciting and it probably wouldn’t attract today’s fashionista… It needs a little facelift to bring it up with the times and get people interested again.
Rockstar Wedding Planner Advice
How can you renovate your business? Are there some new programs or packages that you could create to spark some new interest? Are you losing money by not having services for different levels of brides? Is there an area of your market that you’ve thought about tapping into but hesitated? Now is the time. Why not spiffy up your business right now and jump up to the next level?…

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Wedding Decoration

Tips to Having a Traditional Wedding

For some brides it is important to have a traditional wedding. This can be the classic Victorian weddings of Europe and the United States, or the more exotic marriages rites of places like India, Africa and China. As a bride who wants to have the traditional wedding in modern times, this can be a challenge. If you live in Europe and the United State you most likely have a diverse set of friends and even family so while some customs can be preserved you may find yourself having to bend some rules to accommodate your guests. In some cases it may be simply that getting all the traditional materials for the ceremony is more difficult than originally thought as some of them may not be available where you live. Well don’t’ fret. Here are some great tips to have a successful traditional wedding even with limited resources.
Make a checklist of the rituals, ceremonial items, and any other custom that would normally go with a traditional marriage ceremony for your culture. This is very important as it helps you know what is needed and what you can procure. It is a very good idea to get the assistance or at least input of your parents and other relatives familiar with the practices so that you can go through your list. Another great source of information is the religious leader that is going to marry you. As a custodian of your faith he or she is great resource to draw from. They can also tell you what you can permissibly get away with if you have to make compromises.
Now think of what decoration you need. This is very important sometimes you don’t have to get the exact item as long as you can get something that is a close approximation. A great example is Asian themed decorations and wedding favors. They are easy to find on the internet and at specialty wedding boutiques. They may be stereotypes or generic but if they have enough of what counts they can be great substitutes.
Think of who is coming to the wedding. This is very important as it will determine how strictly you will have to adhere to custom. In most cases if you are having the ceremony in the United States or Europe there will be friends or even family of other cultures at the festivities. The important thing is to make everyone comfortable. There should be no major problems with the main ceremony itself but for the feast or reception take into account that not all the foods served will be to your friends or guests. Make sure to have more standard fare so that you can meet everyone’s needs without making it obvious.
If permissible, be creative. Depending on what is allowable add creativity and make the nuptials truly your own. One of the best things about traditions is that you can interpret them in new ways. A great idea is to make your wedding be all about the fusion between Traditional and western culture. If you are someone who was born in a foreign country, but have parents that are immigrants this is a really great idea for you. In the end the whole point is to have a ceremony that reflects your personality and where you come from.…

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Wedding Gowns

Give Great Bridesmaid Gifts to the Ladies Who Have Helped You With the Wedding

They were there with you before and through the wedding. They helped you do the planning, pick the patterns, threw the shower, and best of all spent time with you as you prepared for the biggest day of your life. They are your bridesmaids and maid honor. These women members of your family and your close friend have done nothing but show their support for you throughout the entire process. So what do you give them? Well it can’t be tacky. Here are some suggestions and ideas to think about when getting bridesmaids gifts and maid of honor gifts. First match the gift with the person. Second jewellery and cosmetics are always a good idea. Third make them mementos. Finally Try giving thank you packages.
The biggest thing is to match the gift with the person. These are not just anyone these are the people you trusted most to help you with the wedding. They are your close friends and family so you best used what you know about them to give them a gift that matches each of them. This requires a higher level of personalization than for other presents you might give at the party. There are many founts of inspiration to draw from. First try to use a shared experience as a starting point. The point is to emphasize your closeness in the gift. Maybe its that last road trip you took before graduating from college or the last place you lived together these are all great ideas to incorporate when choosing your bridesmaid and maid of honor presents. Another source inspiration are conversations you might have had. Keep a notepad while hanging out with them during the planning of the marriage ceremony and during the pre-ceremony events. You never know when they may drop a hint at what they want.
The next idea is cosmetics and jewellery. Always spring for the swag. This is a sure hit for any of your girlfriends and female family members. Make sure to get make up that is trendy and chic. Also jewellery doesn’t have to be too expensive. A good idea is engraved sterling silver. As long as they are not too cheap it will be a hit. One more not make sure if you do decide on cosmetics that you find out what works for each person you don’t want to give them something that they are allergic to.
Another idea is to make the gifts mementos of the event. Any gift you decide to give make sure that they remind the bridal party of the time you have spent together. One way to do this is to engrave your present with your name and a nice inscription. That way they can become items that your bridesmaids or maid of honor can enjoy and cherish long after the nuptials.
Finally instead of giving one costly gift you can give gift packages. These are normally a bundle of smaller gifts grouped together. A good idea is to group a cosmetic or lotion set along with quirky wedding favors. This is a good option in that it gives you flexibility and room to be creative and personalize. This is a great to show you put sincere thought and feelings into the gift while not straining your bank book.…

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Wedding Ideas

Your Wedding Reception – How To Create An Effective Timeline And Format

Your wedding reception should flow right along at a good pace, but it certainly should not be rushed. We strongly recommend following a format and timeline that varies slightly from the norm. Why? Because it works very well, improves flow and helps keep your guests around so everyone has fun. Plus it guarantees no lengthy break in the music once it starts. Dragging out the ceremonial activities combined with starting and stopping the music will frequently result in the early departure of some (or many) guests. Everything should be planned and scheduled with your DJ, photographer, caterer and other key vendors well in advance of your big day.
Here’s the sequence to follow for a successful wedding reception:
Arrival: The Wedding Party should strive to arrive at the reception hall within an hour of the end of the wedding ceremony. This means you must gather family and move right to your photo session. If the wedding and reception are at different locations, someone in the party should keep the DJ posted by cell phone as to the party’s whereabouts and estimated time of arrival so the DJ can keep guests informed.
Introduction: The DJ joins the wedding party just outside entrance to hall and makes sure everyone is properly lined up and ready to go. The introduction should be limited to the wedding party; however it is perfectly OK to include parents, grandparents and others close to the bride and groom. Note: If your DJ has access to a studio, you might consider having him or her produce an awesome announcement mixed with music pre-chosen by the bride and groom. Pulled off correctly – it requires a true pro – this can really make your entrance “big time!”
If you will play a video-slideshow of the bride and groom through the years, a good time to do it is after all members of the wedding party have been announced, except the bride and groom who wait outside the hall during the video. Another good choice is just before dinner when everyone is seated. Your video-slideshow show should be three to four minutes with special music mixed under the photos and graphics.
Cake Cutting: As introduced, members of the wedding party should proceed immediately to the dinner table and be seated. The bride & groom upon introduction should walk straight to the cake and proceed with the cutting. It’s a good photo-op and guests are already centered on the bride and groom. The newlyweds then take their seat for dinner.
Toast: This should take place just a few minutes after the bride and groom are seated but before any food is served and certainly not while servers are moving about the area.
Blessing: The microphone will be handed off to the person who will do your blessing. The toasters and DJ must know where this person is sitting.
Dinner: If banquet style, bride and groom go first followed by the rest of wedding party. Then tables are released one at a time by staff, friends or your DJ. Arrange it in advance.
Greeting Guests: If the bride and groom wish to “work the room”, they should do so immediately upon completion of their dinner while guests are still at their tables. They’ll be “honored” to have you stop by, even if you interrupt their dinner conversation.
Bouquet Toss: This should take place as soon as possible after dinner.
Garter Toss: This should immediately follow the toss.
First Dance: Bride and groom dance to their special song.
Father/Daughter Dance: The bride’s father joins her for a special dance.
Mother/Groom Dance: (optional)
(We suggest no Dollar dance or other special dances except for the entire wedding party. Dollar dances tend to drag on, slow things down and are considered a bit “cheesy” these days)
Wedding Party Dance: Your DJ invites all members of the wedding party to hit the floor.
Anniversary Dance: Your DJ will invite all married couples to the dance floor and play about thirty seconds of a pre-selected song, then ask anyone married less than a day to take a seat. Obviously, the bride and groom are first to leave with everyone’s focus still on them. After a few more seconds of the song, everyone married less than a year will sit down, and so forth. You get the idea. Eventually a few couples married 50 years or more will remain. This special dance is a great way to get people involved and a neat way to lead into open dancing for all.
Open Dance Floor: This continues with no interruptions until the end of the reception.
Treat your wedding reception as a “production” and pay attention to detail when meeting with your service providers and constructing your timeline.…