March 4th, 2014
When it comes to weddings, there are a few beliefs that are rarely challenged. One is, anybody who is engaged wants a beautiful, perfect wedding. Another one is, nobody wants to end up in massive debt because of the wedding.
Look, most weddings are expensive. Maybe if you get married in your backyard, with your Uncle Phil serving as justice of the peace and serving up a wedding menu that consists of burgers on the grill, you’ll save some serious money. Most couples are going to aim a little higher, however.
So where are some areas where you can save money when it comes time to preparing for your wedding? Here are some tips we found from experts and people who make their living in the wedding business:
• Prioritize. What’s really important? Is the open bar really important? Or is the 14-member band for the reception really important? Sit down with your future spouse and make a list of things you both want for the wedding. Then decide if there are areas where you can do some trimming.
• Trim the guest list. This is not an easy one, we know. But smaller is cheaper, so you have to make some tough decisions. We are not saying you should omit close family and friends. Take a look at whittling down the number of co-workers who are invited. If you are working with a wedding hall or banquet facility, ask them if any special packages are connected to the number of guests you invite.
• Consider an off-season wedding. Spring and fall weddings are great. If you can swing it, go for it. Just know going in, you likely going to get a better deal at a banquet facility if you plan a wedding for one of the following months: January, February, March or November.
• Stick to your schedule. It’s easy to fall behind schedule on your wedding day. But there’s some financial incentive for watching the clock. Some bands and limo companies will charge extra if things run longer than planned.
February 25th, 2014
We all know planning and holding a wedding can be very expensive. Yet, attending a wedding can be very expensive as well. No one wants to disappoint family or friends by skipping a wedding because of the cost.
Fear not. There are ways you can save on the cost of attending a wedding. It just takes a little homework and creativity.
For the gentlemen guest, buying a tux one piece at a time can really pay off. Think about how much it generally costs to rent a tux. It’s usually between 100 (if you’re lucky) and 250 dollars. You might be better off searching the web for discount tuxedo sites and buying a tux, piece-by-piece. For instance, you might be able to buy the jacket and pants separately at a reduced price. In the short time, there may not be a huge savings in terms of price. Yet, you still may be able to “build” your own tux at a cheaper cost than the actual rental. Plus, there’s the added benefit of owning your own tux. That will come in handy and save you money when you attend future weddings.
For female guests, buying a new dress can bring along a hefty price tag. This is especially true for bridesmaids. Don’t be afraid to consider a used dress. There are websites where you can score great deals on popular used bridesmaids’ dresses.
Then there is travel. Let’s be honest. Some of us groan upon learning a friend or family member’s wedding is a “destination wedding”. Travel ain’t cheap. But it doesn’t need to break your bank account or put you into debt. There are lots of travel websites out there just waiting to give you a great deal. You should check out some of the sites and set up real-time price alerts. And book as early as possible. Plus, if you attend a destination wedding, you should not feel obligated to buy a gift as well. The wedding couple should be understanding.
Wedding couples will try and keep costs down. That’s why facilities offer off-season weddings. It’s important for wedding guests to know about the deals that can save them money the next time a wedding invitation arrives in the mail.
February 19th, 2014
We know, we know…weddings are all about tradition. It makes sense. The traditional wedding ceremony is beautiful and the memories last a lifetime. Still, it’s up to each couple to decide what traditions to keep and which ones to leave out of the ceremony.
One of those age-old traditions is that the bride and the groom should not see each other before the walk down the aisle and the meeting at the altar. At least one wedding photographer says this is a tradition couples should at least reconsider. And it has nothing to do with breaking tradition. It has to do with practicality.
The photographer says a “first look” can be very beneficial to couples on their wedding day. She brings up some interesting points we’d like to pass along:
Emotions: This is the idea that the first look is more emotional than the actual walk down the aisle. This might very well be true. The first time the bride and groom see each other on the day of the wedding is always going to be emotional. This could be a great time for a special picture.
Improving logistics: Romance and logistics don’t always go hand in hand, but they need to co-exist on a wedding day. The thought here is that a first look often makes for a smoother wedding day. The photographer recommends the couple get together for a first look two to three hours before the wedding ceremony. This also allows for more time to capture family and bridal shower pictures.
An opportunity to calm the nerves. At some point during the day, there is a very good chance at least one if not both members of the happy couple will start feeling the jitters. Seeing each other can help calm the nerves and jitters that otherwise might take place right before the start of the ceremony.
Of course, finding a great wedding venue is always a way to know your wedding ceremony and reception will be in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
February 12th, 2014
For many couples, Valentine’s Day means a guaranteed night out to dinner. For those who wait until the last minute to try and find a table, this can be tricky. Restaurants are jam-packed on Valentine’s Day night and will likely be especially busy this year, since Valentine’s Day is on a Friday.
This is why it’s always a good idea to make those romantic dining reservations in advance. Trying to reserve a table the day before or on Valentine’s Day can lead to culinary heartbreak. And the early bird does not always get the worm (or a meal). If you don’t have reservations but think you can just show up early and get a table, you may be disappointed. Folks who love the early bird specials also love Valentine’s Day. You can always try picking a very early time (say 4pm) or a later time at a restaurant. Maybe you’ll get lucky.
If you do find yourself in a romantic dining pickle, you do have some options. You and your special someone could opt to dine out on another day. See if you can book a table at your favorite restaurant the day after Valentine’s Day. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, maybe there will be a little less dining traffic on Saturday night. The good news about dining out a day or two after Valentine’s Day is that some restaurants will feature a specials Valentine’s menu that lasts several days (or at least through the weekend). Still, it’s a good idea to do a little research first. Some restaurants may have price-fix menus for Valentine’s Day.
If you have your heart set on a special dining-out experience for Valentine’s Day, but are having trouble finding a table for dinner, consider dining out for another meal. There’s no law saying you can’t enjoy a great Valentine’s Day lunch or brunch.
We want to remind you that Seasons at Oak Lane is a great spot for a delicious and romantic Valentine’s Day meal. Our restaurant at Seasons at Oak Lane will provide the romantic atmosphere and our Executive Chef will create delicious food. The restaurant is also open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
February 3rd, 2014
Themed weddings are becoming more popular, but one couple took it to the extreme with their football wedding. The bride and groom, die-hard Giants and Redskins fans respectively, put their rivalry aside to tie the knot.
Every part of the couple’s wedding, from the boutonnieres to the aisle markers, were football related. The bride donned a pair of New York Giants blue heels, while the groom and his groomsman wore maroon and gold under their suits for the Redskins. The flower girl was a Giants cheerleader and the ring bearer was wearing Redskin’s quarterback Robert Griffin III’s jersey.
The couple created their own vows that read,
“From preseason through the playoffs and Super Bowl, in good health and injury, despite tackles and fumbles, whether the New York Giants win or lose, I promise to support and always love you in our game of marriage. And take you as my wife.”
To stick to their theme, the reception’s tables were organized by NFL teams instead of numbers and the décor matched the football theme as well. The centerpieces were footballs on tees with maroon and gold flowers over a blue tablecloth. The cake….Giants and Redskins themed of course! The game day wedding was a win for both teams.
January 27th, 2014
Before we know it, spring will be here and a new wedding season won’t be far behind. This means guest lists will start being created and received.
If you receive a wedding invitation this year, it’s important to remember there is some etiquette involved in being a good wedding guest. That can be trickier than it sounds. Weddings can be emotional and not just for the (hopefully) happy couple. Moms are crying, dads are proud and everybody else is generally in a good mood.
One wedding planner has several helpful reminders about proper behavior and etiquette when attending a wedding:
1. Don’t try and give a wedding speech that’s off the cuff. There’s a good chance it won’t go well. There be some preparation for the speech. Also keep the speech short. Focus on hitting a few points and that’s it. This also goes back to preparation. An unprepared speech can quickly turn into a rambling speech.
2. Don’t wear white unless you are walking down the aisle. The bride should be the only person wearing white. This is tradition for a reason.
3. Try not to get drunk. We know, it’s a wedding, there’s an open bar and a few people might get tipsy. It might sound clichéd, but use your best judgment. Don’t embarrass the bride and groom…or yourself.
4. Don’t stiff the bartender. Just because it’s an open bar does not mean that you should not reach into your wallet. If you just want to take care of it early in the evening, drop a twenty in the tip glass.
5. Stifle your complaints about the food. A quality wedding facility should serve up delicious food but if you come upon something you don’t care for, keep it to yourself. You don’t want your complaint getting back to the bride and groom.
6. Don’t buy a gift that is not on the wedding registry. It’s nice to try and be creative but most couples put a LOT of thought into their wedding registry. It’s best to stick to the list. If you do go off the registry, the best option is cash.
January 21st, 2014
Everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect but what if it isn’t? There are things that can curtail a wedding, things like bad weather and illness.
Maybe that’s why wedding insurance is on the rise.
A lot of people probably don’t know there is such a thing as wedding insurance. When you think about the money being spent on weddings today, it’s no surprise. The cost of the average American wedding is just under $26,000. That’s before we even get to the honeymoon.
With those kind of expenses, it seems logical that more and more insurers are selling policies to protect against loses from things like extreme weather and illness. Wedding insurance is sold by a small number of companies in the U.S. The insurance can cover losses because of issues like wedding halls that suddenly go out of business because of bankruptcy. It can also protect against weddings that are affected by military deployment.
One woman tells The Associated Press she purchased wedding insurance for her daughter’s wedding in New Orleans because she was concerned about a possible hurricane. The hurricane never materialized and the wedding took place. But a limo for the wedding failed to show up so the insurance policy was used to claim the deposit money the family couldn’t get back from the limo driver.
One insurance company says issues with vendors account for about a quarter of all wedding insurance claims. The company says most of those issues are related to the wedding photographer or videographer.
Companies say the sale of wedding insurance itself does not have a big impact on the bottom line either way. However, it’s a way to get couples to be familiar with the company and perhaps decide to purchase other types of insurance.
All most couples want on the wedding day is a great ceremony, great reception hall with a great dinner and reception and a great honeymoon. Of course, greatness is hard to guarantee so it’s nice to know there’s insurance available.
January 14th, 2014
There are lots of decisions that go into a wedding. One of the bigger decisions is whether to invite children to the wedding.
For some people, it may be cut-and-dried. You’ll find some that say “absolutely” and some that say “no way”. For others the answer may be a little bit more complicated.
If you have a lot of guests coming from out of town, it may be hard for them to find way to travel without their children. This is especially true of people with younger children.
If you are sending out wedding invitations and decide to include children, it’s good to set guidelines. The good folks at Martha Steward Living have some tips and suggestions on children and weddings:
Make sure those invitations are specific. Wedding experts say the traditional way to indicate whether a child is invited is to include the child’s name on the invitation. If your wedding invitation card has both an outer and inner envelope, the parents’ name should appear on the outer envelope. On the inner envelope, children’s names should be written beneath the names of the parents. If a “child” is 18 or older, he or she is old enough for a separate invitation.
Make a phone call. After you send out the invitations, reach out to your potential guests with children to let them know if the wedding is or isn’t kid-friendly. They should appreciate the early notice.
The ring bearer and flower girl should be invited to the reception. If you are going to include a ring bearer and flower girl in the wedding ceremony, they should also be invited to the reception.
Children can perform other duties. They can act as ushers, hand out programs, and distribute rose petals.
What about food? Experts say it’s a good idea if possible to have a small buffet of kid-friendly food like pasta, chicken fingers and fruit cups. Check with your wedding meal provider to go over options.
January 7th, 2014
Everyone wants to look good on their wedding day. That includes riding in style after vows are exchanged.
Once the ceremony and reception are over, the (hopefully) happy couple are often whisked away in a nice ride. Often, the vehicle of choice is a limousine. It’s rarely a hot dog.
Unless you are one new bride from Davenport, Iowa.
Turns out Erin Platt (formerly Erin Lounsberry) likes the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile…a lot. In fact, she is so enamored with the hot dog-shaped vehicle that she was hoping to ride from her wedding ceremony to her reception in the Weinermobile.
Erin is a marketing and communication manager and she put her skills to work to make her dream come true. She lobbied Oscar Mayer for months in hopes of making her wedding ride dream a reality. She also created a Facebook page, asking her friends to like it. She used Twitter to reach out to Oscar Mayer. Her meat product-based mission also attracted the attention of a local newspaper. She sent the article to Oscar Mayer as well.
Platt says she cannot pinpoint the exact start of her fascination with the Weinermobile. What she does know is that her effort to bring the Weinermobile to her wedding left her giddy when the hot dog on wheels actually showed up on her wedding day.
So what is it about the 27-foot-long hot dog on a bun? Platt says she thinks the Weinermobile makes people happy and that it’s always a thrill to catch an unexpected glimpse of the Weinermobile on the street.
Let’s face it. Part of what makes weddings great are the individual touches that each couple brings to one of the biggest days of their lives. Planning a great wedding is hectic but it can also be a lot of fun. Picking the perfect reception room or deciding on the food can be exciting. Couples should take the time to plan and make sure their wedding is unforgettable.
December 30th, 2013
As we head into the new year, people will begin to look at and re-evaluate their budgets. People planning to walk down the aisle in 2014 may be doing the same thing.
Some wedding party members and guests would probably love a wedding cost re-evaluation.
According to a recent CNN report, a bridesmaid typically spends more than $1,600 for a wedding. This includes the cost of a bridesmaid dress, travel, engagement gift, bridal shower gift and wedding gift. That’s a lot of time, money and gifts. And that’s just for one ceremony.
An American Express survey shows that the average cost of attending a wedding in 2013 was about $539. That includes expensed for things like lodging, child care and party attire.
For couples planning a wedding this upcoming year, here are some ways you can keep wedding-related costs down for family and friends:
• Keep the engagement party small and reserved. Rather than having a big engagement party, keep it small with just close family and friends.
• Location, location, location. It’s not just important in real estate. Consider picking a wedding location that will be easy for family and friends to travel to.
• Party down…down home. You’ve heard about bachelor and bachelorette parties that are big-road trips, with destinations like Vegas. Help groomsmen and bridesmaids keep the party costs lower by keeping the festivities closer to home.
• Register at affordable spots. You can help guests out by registering at an affordable store to go along with a registry list at a more upscale store.
• See above. Try choosing some items to put on your registry that start at between $15 and $25 dollars.
• Itemize…sort of. If you include things like china or lines on your registry, make sure your guests can buy individual items rather than a whole set.
Remember that saving money by choosing a great wedding reception location can also help keep costs downs.