Choosing Your Wedding Cake

wedding cake

A wedding cake is not just dessert. Well, it is dessert but it is so much more.

Most of the guests won’t remember the wedding cake. That’s ok. The wedding cake is for the happy couple. This means the happy couple needs to make some cake decisions. After all, this is more than just buying a sheet cake from the grocery (buying a sheet cake is not the way to go on your wedding day).

Set a budget (call it a cake budget) and get down to the task of finding a baker. Make sure you are going with a reputable cake maker. Do some online research. If you are employing a wedding planner, this would be a great time to ask for suggestions.

Select your cake style. A wedding cake should have a style. This is where timing comes into play. You want to choose your cake style after you’ve chosen your attire and the décor of your reception area. It would be great if you could get your cake style to match another component of your wedding. You can also chose a cake that goes with the style of the season.

You still to give yourself, and your baker, adequate time when picking a cake. Get it ordered no later than two months out from the actual date of the wedding.

Arrange a cake tasting. Please arrange cake tasting. You want to know you are going to enjoy your cake. Let’s face it, you want to have your cake and eat it too, so taste the cake. Don’t get to funky. Go with what you like and ask the cake maker for some sample tastes.

Keep the outside input to a minimum. It’s okay to ask for advice or recommendations. Just remember, at the end of the day, you need to love the cake.

Picking Your Wedding Vendors

money planning

When planning a wedding, finding the right vendors is crucial. It can seem like a daunting task and there is always worry about making the wrong choices.

The right choices are made with careful planning and research. Finding the right reception location is obviously very important but it’s far from the only serious vending decision that needs to be made.

The one thing you want to do is sit down and make a list of the types of vendors that will be needed for the wedding. This should not be done on the quick. Give it some thought. Once you’ve completed the list, assign a budget number to each vendor. Wedding vendors love getting business from referrals because it shows their work is paying off and being appreciated. By contrast, married friends may also be able to tell you which vendors to avoid. Hey, word-of-mouth works both ways.

A great way to choice vendors is by word-of-mouth. Check with married friends or family members. They may be able to identify a vendor that was very helpful.

If you want to find out more about a wedding vendor, check out social media. You may be able to check out what a vendors has to offer and communicate with the vendor.

When you do communicate with a vendor, ask for references. A quality vendor should have no problem providing references. Direct contact with a reference means you may be able to get direct, unbiased answers to questions you have about services. Any vendor that does not or cannot provide references should be met with a great deal of skepticism.

Don’t be afraid of contacting a wedding planner. If your budget allows for one, you might find a wedding planner to be very helpful. Good ones often have invaluable knowledge in finding credible and affordable wedding vendors.

Fall Wedding Flowers

fall wedding flowers

Picking wedding flowers can be tough. Let Mother Nature lend you a helping hand.

There are plenty of flowers that reach their peak in the fall. Picking flowers that are in-season is about more than just looking good. In-season flowers can also save you money.

October is a month that can provide plenty of fresh, colorful flowers. Let’s check out some of those October flowers:

If you like bright, vibrant reds and deep oranges, you’ve got lots of October options. There are different kinds of lilies, including the Asiatic lily and the Calla lily, which will bring color to a wedding. This is also a great month for roses. You really can’t go wrong with roses at a wedding.

The flowers available in the fall allow for some stunning floral arrangements. You can talk to your wedding florist about creating an arrangement deep in lush, rich colors. Remember that fall colors like purple and orange are in season. If you want a look of classic wedding flowers while still keeping a distinct fall feel, take some of the autumn colors and mix them for a traditional arrangement with earthy tones. You can find dahlias that come in colors like orange, plum, burgundy and red.

Other October flowers include:

• Hyacinths, which can often be found in white, pink or purple. Those are three wedding-friendly colors.
• Lilacs are classis wedding flowers. They always add style. Look for purple and/or white lilacs.
• Speaking of classic wedding flowers, don’t forget the tulip. These can be find in many colors this time of year. Look for red, white, pink or yellow tulips.

Don’t forget to plan where you would like to display your wedding flowers. Talk to the folks at your wedding reception location about the best use of location and space. And don’t forget to have flowers in the bridal suite.

Forgotten Wedding Costs

wedding presentAnyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows there needs to be a budget. There is a tremendous amount of thinking and planning that goes into that budget. Despite the best of intentions, it’s easy to forget about some very important wedding costs:

• Tax: Taxes can be taxing. OK, enough about that. Sales tax on items can add up quickly, especially on big-ticket items (like, say, a wedding dress). If you get quotes or estimates on anything, make sure the tax is included. This also includes any and all vendor quotes.
• Alliterations. Sometimes things don’t fit the way they’re supposed to. That means money will need to be spent on things like hemming, letting out or taking in gowns and dresses. Some bridal dress shops may include alliterations in the cost of the dress, but don’t count on it.
• Tips and gratuities. Or gratuities and tips. Whatever you prefer. Either way, it means money and it’s money that is often left out of the initial wedding budget. This is why it’s a good idea to MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME CASH ON YOU ON YOUR WEDDING DAY. Factor in tips for the DJ or the band. Set some money aside to tip the bartenders and the hostess.
• Hotel rooms. You may find yourself staying in a hotel the night before and the night of your wedding. Factor that possibility in when setting your wedding budget.
• Groomsmen and bridal party gifts. It may not seem like much but getting gifts for the groomsmen and bridesmaids can get awfully expensive awfully fast. Just be prepared. Oh and don’t forget about gifts for the parents of the happy couple.

Remember when booking your wedding reception spot, as if there are any additional costs beyond the reservation. The answer is usually no, but it’s a good idea to check.

Add a Celebrity Look to Your Wedding

celebrity weddings

Think those huge celebrity weddings are only for celebrities? Yes, for the most part that is true. And most of us are not celebrities.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get into the celebrity lifestyle on your wedding day. You just have to get creative. It’s all about budget your time and money. Mostly your money.

Make a no-cut list. This should be a really short list. These are the two or three things that you and your fiancé agree you MUST have at your wedding. Again, these are MUST HAVES. Understand now why this should be a short list?

Then it’s time to look at other ways to cut costs. This means talking to your vendors. See if there are any creative floral arrangement deals to be had.

Try and set the celebrity glamour mood right from the beginning. Talk to your florist about adding a glitzy (yet affordable floral display near the busiest entranceway on the day of the wedding. That will create an immediate impression in people’s minds that you are laying the glamour on thick at this wedding. If you work with your vendor and go over specific concepts, you may find that fancy floral does not cost as much as you think.

Think about sprucing up your table settings. They can add a touch of glamour to the wedding reception. Ask family or friends about anything antique that could be used as part of the table settings. May some old glasses or vases.

Are you familiar with uplighting? If not, get familiar. Here’s how it works: Lighting is placed at key positions around the room and are then projected to the wall or ceiling to create brilliant bursts of lights.

Be ready to talk to the people at your wedding reception location to get suggestions on how you can glitz up your glamorous day.

Brides & Lists

wedding budget
Start reading about weddings and you’ll quickly start seeing a lot of things about brides and lists.

There will be lists made up of do’s and don’ts and remember this and don’t forget that. All these lists can be interesting and overwhelming. They can also be helpful, in moderation.

One recent list focused on things a bride should not do on or before her wedding day:

• One fairly obvious thing: Don’t invite more people than you can afford to have at your wedding. Don’t go over budget by indulging in a wedding invitation list that is too big.
• Let your wedding planner be the wedding planner. Simply put, this means let the wedding planner make the wedding planner decision. Don’t start hiring vendors and then hire a wedding planner. What was the point? Besides, most wedding planners will work with a preferred list of vendors.
• Don’t use a go-between for you and the wedding planner. It’s your wedding. You hired the wedding planner. You need to communicate, not have someone else do it for you.
• Don’t let bridesmaids choose their own dresses. This could turn out to be a bone of contention, but again, it’s your wedding. You should still provide guidance. Choose a color and basic design style and the let the bridesmaids choose from there.
• Make sure to register for gifts. Maybe you need money more than you need a new pasta maker. That’s fine. You should still register. It looks better than just basically announcing you’d rather have cash (even if that’s the truth).

One article points to things brides need to be aware of before the wedding:

• Make sure you bring water for picture-taking time. It’s easy to get overheated, especially if you are outside under the sun for pictures.
Make sure your wedding reception facility allows for a taste testing before the actual reception. It’s always a good idea to try the food before the big day. Food is important.

Grooms Get In on the Planning

groom wedding planning

For better or worse, when we think about wedding planning, we often think about the bride. Maybe the perception is reality. If so, maybe the reality is changing.

A recent article shed light on how future grooms are taking a more active role in wedding preparation. In fact, according to a poll conducted last year, 95% of engaged couples plan their weddings together. That’s up from 70% in 2007. A study by Brides magazine shows the average wedding costs $28,000. This follows an engagement that lasts more than 14 months.

Of course, there is a lot more to do nowadays. Planning a wedding is more than sending out invitations and deciding if it makes sense to offer an open bar (it does). Many couples now have wedding websites where friends and guests can get a look at what’s going on with the wedding planning. Couples also allow for online registry and work together to choose the items on the registry. This means the grooms gets to have a little more say on what is on the gift list.

There are also engagement parties and rehearsal dinners to be planned. The groom will also be involved in some of the decision-making concerning these two events. How much planning the groom actually does for these events varies among couples.

Then there is the whole invitations list. Grooms seems to taking on a more active role in wedding invitations that in years past. This means there should be more unity about who makes it onto the wedding guest list.

Wedding themes are becoming a popular trend in the world of matrimony. This means couples have another decision to make, one in which the opinion of the groom can actually matter.
Both bride and groom should also be in agreement on where to hold the ceremony and reception.

Dressing Up the Groom

groom accessories

When it comes to weddings, the bride and the groom tend to dress up on the day of the wedding. OK, this might be something of an understatement. We know how important it is for the bride to look her best on her wedding day. It seems the groom sometimes gets overlooked. Yet there are plenty of tips and accessories that can help the groom stand out during the ceremony.

Accessorize. It’s the little things that can help a groom look his best on his wedding day. Let’s start with the shoes. The shoes can make the outfit. If you are renting a tux, rented shoes may come with that rental agreement. Treat these shows a little better than the shoes you rent at the bowling alley. You’ll want a simple patent leather shoes to go with your snazzy tux. Don’t fear the rental tux shoes. Most are pretty good. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t help them look a little better. Throw a fresh coat of polish on those shoes on the morning of the wedding. They will shine and gleam all the way through the reception. And wear a decent pair of socks.

Cuff links. Most people don’t wear cuff links every day. Some people have never worn cuff links. If you are in the latter group, the wedding ceremony is a great time for a cuff link debut. You can go the classic, old-school link and wear a pair of silver square cuff links.

The vest. To vest or not to vest? This is the question many grooms struggle answer. Don’t sweat it. The vest really comes down to personal preference. If you want to rock a stylish two-piece charcoal suit on your wedding day, go for it (pending approval from your soon-to-be spouse). Vest can add another layer of style to a tux, and the vest should really be included in the tuxedo look. The vest itself does not have to be too funky. The white vest is actually considered to be the most formal vest.

Choose a wedding reception spot that has a quality groom’s suite and you’ll have a chance to clean up and refresh your look (if need be) after the ceremony and before the reception.

Planning a Business Party

business party

An off-site business party is a great opportunity to mingle with co-workers in an environment outside the workplace. People can “let their hair down” and get to know one another a little better. Over time, this can actually lead to increased workplace productivity.

If you get the opportunity to plan such a party, there will be plenty of questions to answer.

First, you’ll have to think about your budget. How much money to you have to spend and how are you going to spend the money?

Will you promote the party on social media or just promote it through internal office communications? Will you need to book entertainment? Will the party need a theme?

Themes can work great around the holidays. For those parties, the theme can be…the holidays. Easy enough. Problem solved. You can also brainstorm to come up with other ideas. It’s important to remember that any theme should be in good taste. Remember, this is still a work party.

One of the great benefits about throwing the off-site office party is that you don’t have to worry about space or after-party cleanup.

The off-site party at a banquet facility will also be great when it comes to food and drink. There is no worry or need to call a caterer. If you want a special menu or food to match up with a certain party theme, talk to the people at the facility and ask about any special foods you’d like to provide and see if they can accommodate you. You can likely choose from different food and bar plans.

Do your best to select a date and time that works for most of your co-workers. The party does not have to be long. 2-3 hours is a good time frame, especially if it is held on a weeknight after work.

Fall Wedding Fashions

fall wedding fashion

Let’s not rush past the rest of summer but fall will be here soon. Fall is a very popular time for weddings. Fall weddings means making different fashion choices than you would for spring or summer wedding. It can be confusing at time, but there are outfits that are perfect for a fall wedding.

Attending a true fall black-tie wedding means formal gowns for women and tuxedos for men. For women, black is an acceptable color for the gown as is a jewel color. Men can stick with the classic tuxedo look.

For fancy but less-formal fall weddings, women can go with a simple yet pretty dress. If it’s more of a casual wedding, think about a dress that would work at a casual workplace function. If you want to go with something a little more formal, consider a single-color dress with simple lines that can work with a scarf or jacket. Also think about a dress that embraces fall colors. These are colors like maroon, purple, turquoise and dark green.

Be smart with your feet. Heels are good but if it outdoors later in the day, think about how the fall temperatures drop once the sun goes down. It might be a good idea to bring a pair of flats.

If you are a guest, check with the bride to see what colors the bridesmaids are wearing. You don’t want to wear anything that is too similar in style or color.

There are some colors to avoid. One would be white (for obvious reasons). Also stay away from brown. Sure, it’s a fall color, but it can also be a bit of a dour and depressing look at a wedding. Avoid summer colors like pink or baby blue. It’s time to embrace the fall season.

Pack a lightweight coat or a scarf in cause that fall air becomes a little too chilly. This is especially true for October weddings.