Archive for 'Planning Help'
Let’s talk guest list! Warning: This is likely going to be one of the toughest tasks of your wedding planning journey. But it is essential to the process and thereby, unavoidable! However, it doesn’t have to be super hard!
Eliminate ALL distractions! Designate a night, alone, with just you and your fiancé. No one else is invited to this meeting! If you hear yourself or your partner start to say something like,”my mom said….” or “my parents want to invite…” SHUT IT DOWN!!! Those people are not in the room this time for a reason! This first go through is strictly about what YOU (the couple) want. Write down your decisions to the following questions:
#1: BIG or small?
#2: Kids or no kids?
#3 Local or far away?
During this (↑) meeting, start writing down everyone that you BOTH know together. Start with CLOSE family members. Build to extended family members/childhood friends. Then discuss friends you know now who know you both, and see you regularly!
Once you have this list (↑) written down, count how many people that is. Does it match your big or small answer? Big is typically categorized as over 100, Small is under 100.
Does it not match? If you have too many names, consider a destination wedding. Want to have a local wedding anyway, choose a venue that only allows a limited number of guests. Still have some room in the guest list? Ask your parents for some names of people they would like to have included. (see how this suggestion only comes after you’ve established who YOU want to be there!)
Remember to consider your budget! You’re buying everyone their dinner and drinks, more people = more money!!!
Keep it all organized! When you’re ready to make your scribble marks official, Use a Guest List Organizer to keep your wedding plans organized. Make sure to include Names of EACH guest, Mailing address, email, phone number, number in party, if the invite has been sent (and what number you put on the back of the RSVP card to keep it organized), how many will attend, meal choices (if applicable), and Food restrictions or allergies.
To Make it easy, you can download this one (↓) that I give to each of my full planning clients! Enjoy!
Why does a wedding cost so much?
I get asked this question ALL THE TIME! Mostly from family members, parents, and friends of a newly wedded couple who spent a small (sometimes large) fortune on the wedding of their dreams. Most engaged couples have already done their research before they get around to booking a planner, so I don’t hear it much from them. Until they are asked to sign contracts and put down huge down payments, then it becomes real. And rightfully so!
In 2015, the average cost of a wedding in San Diego was around $36,000 (based on The Wedding Report, Inc.). That’s as much as a down payment on a starter home!
Let’s look at real life equivalents for a sec. If you walked into a crowded restaurant of 100-200 individuals, and shouted at the top of your lungs, “hey everyone, drinks and food are on us! Have the kind of night you’ll remember forever!” first, I hope that I am sitting at one of those tables. But for real, you’re not going home with a just couple hundred out of your account. More like $10,000 or even more, depending on how much they drink, and how good the food is! But wait, you don’t want to get married in a crowded restaurant, cause you want to party! So you want to add that party atmosphere by setting up your own decor, in your own style. Basically creating the dining room of your dreams. Whether that be in a hotel ballroom, or a private estate, you are still looking at a space rental ($2500-$6000). But you don’t just need the space, you need it to be set up for you… add in rental companies and staff members to set up/clean up/and manage your event. And that is just dinner…
Average cost of a ceremony (complete with space rental, musicians, professional officiant, flowers, chairs, arch/chuppah) is about $2500.
Average cost of a florist (centerpieces, bridal bouquet, wedding party & family flowers, boutonniere, light ceremony decor) about $2000.
Average cost of a wedding photographer in San Diego ranges anywhere from $3000-$5000.
Videographer average in San Diego is $2000-$4000
Average cost of a DJ/MC is $1200
Wedding Cake: $500-$700
Wedding Dress: $1300
And you are looking at a grand total of: your first born child or $30,000+. I wish it weren’t true, but it adds up real quick!
So what can I do to NOT spend than much?
For starters, Throw out the Pinterest expectations! I’m not saying that you can’t have a beautifully styled wedding! But be realistic about what things cost. There are some blog images that cost 1000’s of dollars to create just one table. So be realistic about what you can afford. DIYing crafts will help you, but it still doesn’t mean that your $10,000 budget is going to get you what you see on the front page of Style Me Pretty! Be okay with it looking different than the picture, and put your own spin on everything (it’s YOUR wedding after all, right?)!
Look for discounts. Here in San Diego, we LOVE our Military! So if you are in, or marrying into the armed forces, start throwing that weight around and take advantage of the saved cash! If you aren’t that fortunate, sign up for newsletters, LIKE your vendors pages on social media, and look on their Yelp pages for special offers.
Coupons are awesome, whether you’re getting married or stocking up on dish soap!
Cut the guest list! If your parents start complaining, just tell them that if they want to invite aunt X, Y, and baby Z, then they need to pay for those additional guests. To put it into perspective, about 60% of your budget is based off of per person amounts. More people = More money, it’s as simple as that!
For more tips and tricks to save you money on your wedding, just keep reading! I do my best to help stretch your budget as far as it can go… I love saving money!
Before you dash off to Snap and Insta to debut your new ring; Before you log in to your dream wedding Pinterest page to start DIYing yourself to wedding bliss; There are just a few questions that you need to discuss with your soon to be betrothed.
Write down your decisions, and stick to them. These 6 answers will keep you honest to what both of you have decided on together. Making sure that you stick to what you both want and decide will be a huge factor in making sure that your Wedding Day is exactly what you want, and not swayed by your friends/family members/most popular Pinterest posts/and even your vendors!
1. What do you want your wedding to feel like?
2. How do you want your wedding guests to feel?
3. How do you and your partner want to feel on your wedding day?
4. How many guests?
How many guests will determine your budget quite a bit. Over half of your wedding expenses are determined by per person cost. For more help with defining your budget, visit our post about how to properly create a wedding budget.
5. When-ish? Where-ish?
Remember not to officially set a date for now! However, you can plan for what season, month, or series of dates work best for you and your closest family. For more on this you can read our article on How to go about officially setting a date.
When I say Where, I am not talking about your soon to be task of finding a venue. Discuss your options! Many couples decide on Destination Weddings. Some for the reason of a combined vacation and adventure for their family and friends. And some come to this decision to take away the burden of traveling far distances for some of their family members who live elsewhere. While it still is most popular to host your wedding wherever you and your partner feel Home is, make sure that which ever Country/State/or City you end up is the best representation of what you and your partner want for your wedding! And if it’s San Diego you decide, Welcome!
6. Planner or DIY?
This question is best discussed up front. There are so many benefits to working with your wedding planner from the very beginning. The decision-making is not going to stop after this conversation. A planner can help guide you through the process! Not to mention, the expertise, connections, and knowledge a good planner brings to the table. If you decide on a Destination Wedding, hiring a full planner who is local to the area is very important. And if you are staying local for your wedding, but you are in school or working full time, a full planner is definitely a good idea. Even if you are super organized, type A, or a little OCD (hi, sister!), planning your own wedding is going to be a lot of work no matter what! Finding someone who knows what their doing and can help guide you through the process and assume most of the stress, is going to make everything better! And that my friends, is a Wedding Planner!
But above all else, remember to stay true to both of you. It is your wedding, it should be the best reflection of Your Relationship!
As always, Happy Planning! xo,
Congratulations! You just got a new ring 😉 The question everyone will immediately start asking you is, “so, when’s the wedding???” So naturally, you will think that the first thing you need to do is Set a Date. HOLD ON A MINUTE! There are very important steps that come before you circle a date on the calendar. First thing you need to do is enjoy the fact that you just got engaged to the person you have been dreaming about your whole life! Enjoy this blissful state for a few days, weeks, months (whatever you feel comfortable with), then move onto these 3 crucial first steps you have to do BEFORE you set that wedding date!
Uncomfortable as it might be, you have to get this established before you do anything else. If you end up on a smaller than average budget, opting for a Sunday or Weekday to host your event will save you some serious cash. Also, if you elect a month that is considered “off season” for your particular climate, vendors will be more willing to play with the idea of discounts! If you jump the gun and choose a Saturday in the middle of June as your date, the demand is high, and you will find that vendors will have a hard time justifying a discount. Of course there are perks to that time of year, and a lot of perks to choosing a Saturday date. However, weighing the pros and cons on this list come after figuring out how much money you have to work with!
Figure out who is willing to help with the expenses of the wedding. Hash it out with your parents, your fiance’s parents, grandparents, and your partner! Figure out a ball park estimate of how much you will have to spend, and who you can expect to be writing the check. Don’t feel discouraged if it ends up being you and your love! Many a wonderful wedding have been paid for by the couple. If this is the case, take the opportunity to make it completely about what you guys want! Your own money, means that you have 100% decision making power! If other people want to offer their two cents when it comes to what food you should serve, or what you should wear, then they can do just that (offer their two cents + how ever much their opinion is going to cost the budget!) For more help on how to create your wedding budget, read the article here, or Pin it and read it later!
At the budget talk with your parents, ask them for their list! This is a list of family members, and family friends that your parents would like to be invited. Combine these lists with your own list of family and friends that you want there. At this point, you can take a pencil to the list your parents gave you to make some edits, but refrain from permanently marking anyone off the list until it gets closer to the time to send out the invites, just trust me on this one! You may have not seen your second cousin twice removed since you were two, but for some reason your mother thought of her. This doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone on the list right now! Once you get into the real planning, you will find things that will restrain the number of guests that you can actually invite (venue capacity, per person costs, etc). Let those issues be the reason you have to make “sacrifices” to the guest list.
For now, you just need a rough estimate. Gather your lists, pencil out the people you don’t think will make the cut, temporarily edit the people you don’t think will travel, and highlight your top 10% (your VIPs). When setting your date, you want to take into account what you know about your top 10%’s schedules. If you know that you want your brother to be your officiant, you better take into account that he starts his year abroad at school in London on September 3rd. I am NOT telling you to take into account everyone’s here and there’s, You will drive yourself crazy! Only look at your top 10%. You won’t be able to please everyone, it’s virtually impossible!!! So don’t beat yourself up about it, and DO NOT let anyone guilt you. It’s not their wedding! At the end of it all, what matters is that you and your fiance get married and are happy!
Venue’s schedules fill up fast, especially in San Diego. There are some that book 2 years in advance for Saturday dates! Before you start your search, narrow the style of venue you are looking for. What is so amazing about San Diego is that there is so much variety. Do you want your toes in the sand? or do you want woodsy wonderland? or maybe a rustic ranch complete with horses and hiking trails? Choosing the right location can minimize the amount of decor you need to supply. There are so many naturally beautiful venue’s to choose from, so don’t feel confined to a hotel ballroom or meeting hall. Once you have narrowed down your choices, contact the ones you are interested in. Inquire about availability! Price and maximum capacity are also good things to ask for up front. This information will also help you to narrow your search. The venue should be the first thing that you book!
Once you have the venue booked, then you know your wedding date.
It is always good to narrow down your date selection to a season, or a couple of good months that would work for you. But be open to different dates until you put down your first deposit! That’s the key! If you have a specific date set before you do the above 3 steps, you may be making phone calls and announcements to let everyone know that the date has changed. There are those family members who will buy a plane ticket at the first mention of your wedding (you know who they are!). So spare them the hassle of having to reschedule their travel plans, and when they ask, “So, when’s the big day” just say, oh sometime this fall, we’ll let you know when!
A warm WELCOME to all newly engaged ladies and gents! This blog is specifically designed to help you plan your wedding. I post frequently about tips and tricks to help you along your planning journey, helping you to save some money, and DIYing things in the process. If you would like to be included in my newsletter (0nly once per month, I promise) please fill out the email form below. Also, I didn’t mention it above, but now is also the time to start looking for wedding planners (if you want one). My services are designed with the DIY bride in mind, and still allow you to have a hand in planning your wedding, while receiving the guidance of a professional wedding planner. Please contact me if this is something you are interested in learning more about!
As always, Happy Planning!!!
Wedding Cakes are expensive! There is no easy way to put it.
There are a few ways to keep costs down though, and not all of them involve compromising your standards for style. If you start to think outside the box, you can make it look like you are showing off your creativity, rather than just making the budget work! Just because it is a cheaper way of doing things, doesn’t mean it has to look or taste that way!
First of all, everyone knows someone who loves to bake! and there is a pretty good chance that that person has offered their service to you in a Facebook comment or by way of your mother. If you are strapped for money because you have over spent elsewhere in your budget, don’t be shy asking for some help! Ask them if you can see some pictures of what they have done in the past. If you don’t like what you see as far as cakes go, ask them to make some cookies for the dessert table. That way, you don’t offend, and they still get to feel like they are helping out. If you do like what you see, then you have seriously lucked out! My cousin made my cake, and she did an awesome job. She was even able to do a funfetti layer (my favorite), and I may or may not have eaten 3 pieces (wink! wink!)
If you only feel like having a cake because it’s tradition to cut and feed, then opt for a small cake. A small 7inch round will run you under $100, especially if you just go in and purchase it without mentioning it is for a wedding! You can then just set out a dessert bar with options for guests. Guests love to have options! and not everyone loves cake. So being able to choose which kind of dessert they want and when they want it is a bonus! But make sure that you have enough. One slice of cake per person is usually more than enough. But one mini torte or one cookie per person is not going to survive your total amount of guests! plan on 2-4 per person depending on the size and sweetness of the dessert options!
Another great option is to cut a small decadent cake for the cake cutting and to have displayed, but serve your guests sheet cake. Costco has sheets for $17.00. Or, if Costco cake isn’t your thing, bakeries will also sell sheet cakes at a fraction of the cost of a stacked and decorated tiered cake. Add something to the top of each slice like a berry, chocolate shaving, or single rose petal.
My last money saving wedding cake trick is limit what the bakery has to do. Fondant and elaborate designs cost more! Instead of the Cake Boss cake recreation with the edible everything, opt for the simplest design! Buttercream frosting can look just as elegant as fondant, and costs less. And instead of the sugar flowers and decor, have your florist give you the extra blooms that she didn’t use for your centerpieces and bouquet. Place those flowers, or have your florist do it, on the cake! It looks fresh and costs a lot less money!
Or you can do away with the traditional cake all together. Dessert tables are becoming much more popular and expectable than the traditional tiered cake. We’ve seen everything from bundt cakes, cupcakes, donuts, pies, candy buffets, mini cobblers in mason jars, ice cream sandwiches, and s’mores stations. Guests love the change of pace, and it’s exciting to see what couples will choose that best represents their desserts of choice! Throw a couple cute cake stands and serving trays in there, and viola! It’s wedding perfection!!!
Here’s some amazing inspiration from some of the best cakes and dessert bars we’ve had the pleasure of setting up and styling!
When you go into your florists office to tell her (or him) what you want your wedding flowers to look like, it is important to be prepared. Showing your florist a picture off Pinterest will only do so much. Likely, you’ll get the quote for those “Pinterest Arrangements” and pass out! So few people can actually afford exactly what is in those photos, you are not alone! If your decor budget allows for a variation on the elaborate floral sculptures you were hoping for, it will be SO important to know what kinds of flowers will create the mood you are looking for, so you can still keep the same feeling you had when you saw that arrangement done on Pinterest which is pretty much run over by people that have “1-Million Dollars” to spend on their decor alone!
So when FTD flowers asked me if they could create a blog post for my readers, I said um, OF COURSE!!!
Whether your favorite flower is the romantic rose, the lush peony, or even the exotic protea, there are many creative combinations that you can create using both popular classics and exotic rare blooms for your wedding centerpieces. Since flowers are such an essential part of any wedding, it’s important to know which flower types and colors complement each other well.
That’s why FTD created these 7 wedding centerpiece ideas inspired by different color palettes to fit the theme of your wedding. Whether you like bold and bright colors, or if you are more of a chic and effortless bride, we’ve included mood boards that feature the different flowers included within each centerpiece. We’ve also provided a helpful list of the flowers so that you can recreate them! You’ll be sure to get inspired by these ideas and find a wedding centerpiece that will fit your style and include your favorite blooms!
- Ranunculus – Ranunculus are popular for their bright blooms and delicate, layered petals. They do best in hardiness zones 8 to 10, and bloom in the summer. They’re great for adding texture to a bouquet or centerpiece, though they only last about a week as cut flowers.
- Tulips – Tulips are popular because of their unique shape and wide variety of colors, from bright reds and yellows to nearly black purples. They bloom from spring into early summer. Red tulips are great for weddings because they symbolize true love.
- Clematis – The Jackman clematis is the most popular type in North America. The flowers grow on a vine and bloom in mid to late summer. These purple blossoms do best in hardiness zones 4 to 8, and can grow in full sun to partial shade.
- Hydrangeas – Hydrangeas are great statement flowers because of their voluminous, round clusters of blooms. They bloom from summer into fall in shades of white, pink, purple, and blue. For some species, the color is determined by the pH of the soil.
- Garden roses – There are two types of garden roses — Modern Garden Roses and Old Garden Roses. Modern Garden Roses are the most common. They bloom continuously and have a long vase life, making them good for centerpieces.
- Ginestra – Ginestra are great accent flowers, because of their many tiny buds attached to a long stem. They are known for their strong, sweet fragrance and typically come in shades of pink, purple, yellow, and white.
- Anemone – There are many species of anemone, which are also known as windflowers. The fall blooming varieties are taller with cup-shaped blossoms, while the spring blooming varieties grow lower to the ground. They grow in a variety of colors including pink, red, purple, and white.
- English Roses – English roses, also known as David Austin roses, are famous for their pleasant fragrance, repeat flowering capability, and wide range of colors. Their flowers have a cupped shape and many petals. They grow best in hardiness zones 5 through 10.
- Succulents – Succulents are available year-round, but are an especially good addition to warm weather weddings because they can stand heat well and won’t wilt. Their soft greens, blues, and greys are great accents to light-colored centerpieces like the one above.
- Dahlias – Dahlias can be used to add texture to a bouquet because of their many small, rounded petals. These flowers bloom in mid-summer, and will continue to bloom into the fall until the weather gets cold.
- Lisianthus – Lisianthus flowers are great for centerpieces because of their long lifespan as cut flowers — many can last in a vase for two to three weeks. Their loose, ruffled petals are a welcome contrast to more structured flowers like dahlias.
- Dusty Miller – Dusty miller can grow year-round in hardiness zones 7-10. It produces yellow flowers during the summer, though people are often most interested in its lacey, silvery foliage, which is commonly used in bouquets and centerpieces.
- Passion Fruit Vine – The passion fruit vine is a unique addition to the centerpiece above. It grows best in subtropical environments, and produces aromatic purple or yellow fruits. The vines grow quickly and should be guided along a fence or trestle.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus’ long stems and many leaves are a great way to add depth to your centerpiece. The trees grow quickly, and are hardy and adaptive. Most species are evergreen, making them a good filler for bouquets and centerpieces year-round.
- Snow on the Mountain – Snow on the mountain is known for its showy leaves, which have white accents. The leaves are often used as fillers in centerpieces because of their unique appearance. This plant grows best in hardiness zones 3 through 9.
- Curly Willow – Curly willow, or corkscrew willow, is known for its curling branches, which are available year-round. These trees grow best in hardiness zones 4 through 8, and produce beautiful buds in the spring.
- Hydrangea – If you are looking for a classic romantic look, hydrangea is always the way to go. A huge perk of using hydrangeas in your arrangement is that they fill space and allow for the arrangement to appear full and fresh without having to use a lot of stems of flowers.
- Protea – Protea, also known as sugarbushes, are tropical flowers that are native to South Africa. There are over 2000 species of these flowers, which are known for their large, dome-like center with surrounding spiky, colorful petals.
- Kangaroo Paw – The fine hairs that surround kangaroo paw flowers give them their pollen-like appearance. These flowers are native to Africa, and they grow in a variety of colors including black, red, yellow, and orange.
- Air Plants – Air plants are great for warm weather weddings because they can withstand heat and do not need to be kept in water. Because of this they can easily be placed around the centerpieces or be incorporated into table settings as well.
- Peonies – Peonies are known for their lush, pink petals. Like in the centerpiece above, they’re often used when they’re only partially open to make a statement without overwhelming the arrangement. Peonies bloom from spring into early summer.
- Hybrid Tea Roses – Hybrid tea roses are one of the most popular cut flowers because of their long, upright stems and sweet fragrance. They bloom in a wide variety of colors including pink, purple, red, yellow, and white.
- Tuberoses – Tuberose is known for its strong, delightful fragrance. Many small clusters of flowers grow along one stem, making this a great accent flower. Tuberose blooms in summer, and is commonly found in shades of white, pink, and yellow.
- Calla Lily – Calla lilies are best known for their white blooms, though they also grow in shades of purple, pink, and yellow. They’re great for centerpieces because of versatility, as they can be dyed to fit your color scheme.
- Stock Flower – Stock flowers are popular for wedding arrangements because they symbolize a happy life. They’re known for their strong, clove-like scent and clusters of small, delicate flowers. Stock flowers bloom from late spring into summer.
- Orchids – There are over twenty thousand types of orchids, the most popular are phalaenopsis, dendrobium, and cymbidium. Because these flowers are so elegant, and there are so many different types, they are very popular for bouquets and centerpieces.
- Magnolia leaves – Magnolia trees and shrubs can be deciduous or evergreen. Evergreen varieties allow the bold, green, waxy leaves to be available year-round. They’re commonly used as filler in centerpieces and bouquets.
- Carnations – Carnations are great flowers for centerpieces because of their long life as cut flowers, usually two to three weeks, and their vast color assortment. Red and pink carnations symbolize love and admiration, making them fitting for a wedding.
- Spray Roses – Spray roses usually have smaller blooms than typical roses, making them a good accent flower for centerpieces. Because they grow from small stems attached to one large stem, they’re often used for boutonnieres and corsages as well.
- Kale Flower – Ornamental kale plants, which are not edible, are grown for the vivid color of their ruffled leaves. For optimal color, they must be grown in cool weather and kept well watered. They grow best in spring or fall in hardiness zones 2-11.
- Statice – Statice are used on both fresh and dried floral arrangements. They begin blooming in summer, and bloom into fall. Statice are relatively easy to grow because they are hardy plants that are drought tolerant and deer resistant.
- Veronicas – Veronicas are known for their narrow, spiky shape. They have a long bloom time — six to eight weeks — and bloom throughout the summer. They’re also known as speedwell, and known for their vivid blues and purples.
- Green Trick Dianthus – Green trick dianthus is a unique flower that has a fuzzy, globe-like appearance. It was bred in Japan, and is relatively new to the cut flower market, but works well in bouquets and centerpieces because of its long vase life.
- Cascading Amaranthus – Amaranthus is known for its elegant appearance and vibrant color, which remains even when the plant is dried. It does best in warm weather and is drought tolerant.
Thank you Caroline from FTD flowers for sending me all this great information and fun photos to use!
Happy Planning! -Juliette 🙂
Tipping wedding vendors can be a tricky subject, and one I get asked about regularly. There is a lot of mixed information on the main wedding blogs. theknot.com, weddingwire.com, loverly.com, all of them have articles on the subject, but nearly all of them contradict each other. And that’s what is confusing! Actually tipping your vendors does not have to be that complicated! So here’s an honest, straight forward approach from someone who has seen all sides of the issue!
My general rule with the “who do I tip?” question is -Anyone who has provided you a service. The service based industry differs greatly from retail. So if you are simply purchasing a product from someone, that product is priced accordingly. However, services require a variable level of effort, commitment, and skill (especially with weddings) that are not always accounted for in the up front pricing. So if you feel that your service provider did an above and beyond job with your event (including the hours they put in before the actual wedding date), you should make sure that they know that you appreciate their extra effort to make your day awesome!
Here’s a list of vendors with an estimated amount that should be given. (Just like going out to dinner, if you think their service sucked, then tip them less. If you felt like (metaphorically speaking) your glass was always full and your table was constantly cleaned appropriately, then tip them more!)
Should you: Expected.
Tip your hair and makeup artists as you would if you were getting yourself done up at the salon. Tip them More if they came to you and didn’t charge a travel fee!
Should you: Not required, but always appreciated!
These vendors don’t expect a tip, but thanking them with a monetary gift or some other present is a nice way to show your gratitude if the service provided exceeded your expectations.
Caterer/ Venue Banquet Staff
Should you: Expected
Thanking your officiant with a tip or gift for performing one of the most important jobs of the day is customary. Especially if it is a friend or family member that knows you personally. If this is the case, and they needed to travel to the wedding to do it, you should offer to pay for their travel. It’s the least you can do, they are marrying you!
Should you: Expected
A couple things to remember:
- Remember when tipping a team of people, use cash so that it can be easily split up at the end of the evening.
- If you are getting married at a community hall/center, where your contract is with a City or County, the venue coordinator or manager of the facility can not be tipped or given a gift since they are a government employee.
- Unless you feel strongly about handing these things to the vendors personally, it is perfectly acceptable to pass on the task to someone else on the day of the wedding. Your coordinator, best man, mom or dad, are all people that should take this on, so you don’t have to worry about it! Make sure the person you leave this to is responsible, even when drunk (because if they are waiting to hand things out after the party, they need to remember to actually do it!) This being said, most vendors expect the tips to be coming from the coordinator, and will find us to ask for them after clean up. Place the tips/gifts in sealed envelopes with the name of the recipient on the front, so that they are easy to hand out, and will get to the correct people when the time comes.
That’s all the advise I can give on the subject! Now you know as much as I do 😉
All about the BAR
How much Alcohol should I buy for my Wedding???
A fellow wedding planner from Massachusetts, Tanya Costigan Events, came up with the following formula! With her permission, I’m sharing it with all of you wonderful Brides/Grooms-to-be.
How much of each type of Beverage?
To this I say, you know your guests best. If you’re family primarily sticks to wine, stock up on that. If you live in San Diego, our Craft Brew scene has exploded, and if you are part of the following- make sure to have more than your typical amount of Stone and Ballast Point on hand for you and your buddies to share!
If it is a full bar (beer, wine, and hard liquor): 50% should be wine servings, 20% should be beer servings, and 30% should be hard liquor
If it is only Beer and Wine: 60% should be wine servings, 40% should be beer servings
If you are having “signature drinks” in addition to the above: estimate that each guest will have just one. Very rarely to people go back to order a second sig. cocktail. And not everyone will be as adventurous to try even one. But don’t stock up on the fixings, because unless it is pre-mixed, it will just turn into shots later in the evening.
At the end of the day, people will drink whatever is behind the bar because it’s free (to them at least)! In my personal opinion, having been to SO many weddings, Beer and Wine bars get everybody happy and almost nobody sloshy! It is a very easy way to keep your guests tamed and have the elegance of your wedding last until the very end of the night! Full bars are, of course, FUN! But there is always at least one person who is a little too ambitious with the amount they consume and they become a burden on the other guests/vendors.
For a fun way to help your guests remember to finish their drinks from earlier, and help conserve some of your rented glassware, use these handy little cards!
I print these on colored card stock to match the color scheme of the wedding, usually 4 per 8.5×11 page, then cut. Cut 1 per guest, and place one at each place setting under one of the glasses or at the bar in a stack by the napkins!
Find this helpful??? Please leave a comment so I know that what I do isn’t unnoticed 😉
You’re Engaged! Congratulations are in order!!!
How much do you have to spend?
For most couples, money is a very stressful thing to talk about. But it is so important to start now! I suggest scheduling “the talk” after going to dinner and returning to the comfort of your own home.
1. Estimate what you can save:
When do you think you want to get married? What month?
Multiply the number of months left until the wedding by how much you and your groom can realistically set aside each month. If you think you will be paying for most of the wedding yourselves, think about picking up a small part time job a couple nights a week. Or maybe just babysitting or dog walking… every little bit is going to help!
2. Talk to your families
Muster up the courage and ask your parents, and his, if they are planning on pitching in on the wedding spending. This should be in person if possible. If they say yes, ask them for a specific dollar amount. Tip: Estimate to spend a little less than what they offer, this way if you need money at the end of the engagement, they wont be burnt out on resources! Now is also a good time to ask any other family who may be inclined to contribute.
When you add everything up, subtract about 10% to allow for last minute costs and overages.
Now that you have your budget total…
How are YOU going to spend it?
There is absolutely NO right way to spend your budget! It is personal to you! So how do you figure out where your money needs to go?
Make a list of what you will be spending your money on…The Dress The Tux Ceremony Location Reception Location Wedding Planner (full/partial/”day of”) Rentals Food Flowers (Personal, Ceremony, and Reception) Officiant Photographer Videographer Music/ Entertainment Invitations Stationary Cake Gifts/Favors Bar Rings Beauty Transportation Honeymoon
Now rate each category from most important to you → least important.
For example, photography was the most important thing to me when I got married. Turns out, about 1/3 of our budget went to the photographer, because I knew what I wanted, and that was a good photographer who understood my artistic eye! For my friend, the venue was most important to her and her fiancé. They wanted a mountain view, with a down home country feel. That is how they were both raised, in different parts of the country. And it was a big deal to them that they were able to find a venue with the same qualities that could make them feel at home!
Once you have figured out what is important to you and your groom, you can start spending accordingly. But don’t just start spending, do some recon… figure out what the average cost of the services and products are. I suggest googling “the category” + “your city”. A lot of wedding vendors make you email them for a price quote, but some will post the prices on their site! Look at these vendors prices to get a estimate of what the average cost is in this category. Factor this info into your spending as well. Make sure you are following your prioritized list to gage how much of your budget should be allotted to each wedding category.
Combine, Edit, Save, and Spend
Start thinking of how you can combine elements! Check out the live plants featured above ↑. A potted flower or succulent placed on the tables as centerpieces, can double as favors to the guests sitting at that table! They can even triple as place cards by stringing tags with the guests name or the family name around one of the stems.
What is down at the bottom of your list, that neither you or you fiancé really care about. Maybe it’s a professional officiant or a traditional 5 tier wedding cake. Spend less or even nothing on the items and services that mean the least to you! I don’t care how much money you have…The less you spend on things that you don’t want the more you can spend on the items you do want!
So what do you do when you future in laws step in and say that their has to be “a cake”? Here’s the rules: You can not ruin your future relationships over you wedding plans. As messed up as it may sound, you have to listen to what everyone wants. But when there is no room in the budget for it, say just that! “We simply can’t afford it with everything else that we need to spend our money on. We would love to have “a cake”, but other items have our priority. If you would like to pay for “the cake” we would be more than happy to help you pick it out!” But remember, if they pay for it, they have a say in it! So be careful what you relinquish power on, make sure it’s not something that you have to have exactly your way. These are bottom half of the list items!
Look for ways to save. Be creative. DIY, or enlist the services of your super hip and crafty aunt. My cousin’s new wife sewed each persons napkin and the table runners! This added so much pattern and charm that a simple centerpiece and the basic white table cloth and plates from the catering service was all that was needed to make the reception tables amazing! Not to mention, it made each of their 150 guests feel so special.
Look to who you know! If they meet your style and standards, reach out to the people you know to help you out a little! If they are professionals, remember not to ask them for too much, as they make their living based on the services that you are likely asking them to discount. Be respectful, and they will reciprocate! If they are hobbyists, offer them a little something in return for their service. If they refuse payment, at least hand them a gift card and a thank you note on the big day!
Take advantage of a planning notebook or a online wedding guide. Wedding Wire has the most comprehensive budget tracking system I’ve ever seen, and it’s Free!!! It will help you estimate, track, and adjust your spending. They also have a payment reminder system that will remind you when you have a payment coming up!
Leave some money for the last minute expenses. Even the most organized bride is going to have the last minute blowout shopping trip to Michaels or some other craft store to pick up “all the other things”!
Remember for tips and tricks on ways to save, read more of what the Simply Elegant blog has to say!
A couple other budget friendly blogs I LOVE to read:
Check out my services for Wedding Planning as well as “Day of” Wedding Coordination! If you need help getting started, schedule a free Start up Consultation with me, where we can talk about your wedding plans, I can give you some great information, and we can talk about which wedding planning services might be right for what you, your budget, and your wedding!
Why would someone want to hire a wedding planner, when they already know what they want and how it should look on Pinterest?
There is so much more to planning an event than just picking out the right color swatches and DIYing all your own decor. There are vendors to hire, money to organize, etiquette to follow (or not follow), and more opinions from your friends/family than you ever thought possible. So here are just some of the things that we will help you with!
Get you Started:
Beginning to plan a wedding is like trying to clean up a disaster zone. You can stare at the pile for hours before you even know where to start. That’s why looking to someone who has done it before can be so helpful! When you look to an experienced wedding planner, you gain the benefit of our knowledge and past experiences. A good Planner can tell you what you need to know when interviewing other vendors. We can even go with you on those meetings to help screen out the good, from the just okay. An educated planner can look over your contracts with other vendors to make sure you are not paying for things you do not need or fees that were not agreed upon. Most planners have a preferred list of vendors that they have worked with in the past. We know that those vendors are worthy of your money! Planners have also worked with vendors that are not so good (unfortunately)! We remember what happened in the past, the mishaps that they (the planner) had to make right. We can warn you to stay away from these troubled vendors, something that Yelp reviews may not always be able to do.
Time is money, and when there is a deadline, it is a stressor! There is no need to spend 24/7 researching how to’s or stressing over what flowers would make your bouquet pop against your white dress! A planner can do that for you. Save your beauty sleep, and schedule a meeting with your planner. We will research anything that you have a question about! Then we will present you with a few options based on your vision and all you have to do is say “I want this one.”
Rescue your Relationships:
When you are engaged there can be a lot of family input, from both sides. Being a patient and kind bride will help to start your relationship with your in laws on the right foot. It is important not to step on anyone’s toes and not hurt any feelings. Part of a planners job is to act as a buffer, between the couple and their relatives. A planner can help smooth over any differences that you may have with your immediate or your future family. Also, We can help to prevent a case of “Crazy Bride Syndrome” from occurring a week before the big day. Our goal is to keep you as calm and as relaxed as possible, because the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a case of “The Freaked Out Groom”! Grooms: yes, your bride has a lot of things to deal with at the moment. no, they are not going to stay this way once you are married! Weddings do have a tendency to cause temporary insanity. Spare yourself and let the planner be the one to go through it.
Save you Money:
Although it seems counter productive to spend money on someone who can save you money, it really isn’t, I promise. Wedding Planners are expert bargain hunters. Even working with the most outrageous of budgets, a wedding planner is still faced with the obstacle that our clients don’t want to spend more than they have to. It is our job to find the best price possible. San Diego is consistently ranked one of the most expensive cities in the country to host a wedding. In 2014, the average budget in San Diego was $32,941! That’s a lot of pressure for a bride on a tight budget. Wedding Planners have the knowledge of the city and we can give you pointers on where to shop for the best prices! Working with a planner can help you find reputable vendors in the price point that you are looking to spend. Vendors on a planners preferred list will often either give a discount to the couple or will give the planner a kick back for setting them up with the job. **At Simply Elegant Weddings, we ALWAYS pass this on to the client in the form of a discount from the vendor, or a discount on our services to make up the difference! And we never choose vendors just for this reason, they have to be good at their job for us to want to work with them!
Make your day about You:
Wedding Planners are trained to notice (and fix) the details. You want your guests to be focused on you and your partner, not on the boxes behind you that someone forgot to move out of sight. But if you are getting dressed and having your hair and makeup done, who is going to look after these last minute details. This is the job of the Day-of Wedding Coordinator. We are there to make sure that every wrinkle gets unwrinkled, that every stray thread gets plucked, that every piece of glass is fingerprint free! Day of Coordinating is the most affordable form of wedding planning, and in my opinion is the most important. You can not be everywhere on the day of your wedding, it’s impossible. You will be getting hair and makeup done at the same time that vendors will be arriving to the venue to set up. You need to be focused on what is important, the major fact that you are getting married to the love of your life in a few short hours! It is a Wedding Planners job to make sure that the vendors arrive on time and that everything looks the way that you envisioned it would.
Many major wedding venues (like hotels and catering halls) come with the service of an ‘Events Manager’ or ‘Venue Coordinator’. These guys are great, but they are not your personal wedding coordinator. The role of an events manager or venue coordinator is to take care of what the venue is in charge of (tables, chairs, linens, place settings) and to make sure that your event stays within the rules of the venue. Often times, that is where the service stops. They do not coordinate activities during the event and they do not set up (or clean up) any personal decor that you have to incorporate in your wedding or reception.
Fix what needs Fixin’:
JLo had an utility belt. I have a Mary Poppins bag full of last minute emergency fixes. I am sure that I haven’t seen it All, but I have seen a lot! Everything from blood on the wedding dress to broken boutonnieres, suit coat buttons that are missing to wipes for your face after a good cake smash. I’ve got you and your guests covered, all day long. Think of me as hands-on insurance! But we don’t just fix things on the wedding day, If you have a tiff with your future mother in law and you need to be reassured at 2am that going through with the wedding is the right thing to do, I’ll answer your call! If your DJ makes you angry by playing a song that you hate, I’ll take care of that too! My job is to make sure that you enjoy getting married and that you celebrate it with no stress attached!
Wedding Planners are a necessity for weddings. Maybe I am biased, but I really do think that hiring someone to take care of plans and logistics is essential to being able to relax and enjoy your special day. I think that the idea of hiring a planner or even a Day of Coordinator has become associated with being a Luxury expense when it comes to your wedding budget. However, when you factor in what a planner can save you, through connections with other vendors and shopping for the best deals, it can pretty much even out the price of their services. Plus, you get all of the other perks of having a planner, an extra set of hands, and the knowledge from their previous experiences.
So are you are still on the fence about whether to brave the process yourself or hire a planner? If so, I encourage you to schedule a FREE start up consultation! This is not a commitment ceremony, it’s Just a meeting. There is no charge, and it will help get you organized and focused! We will go over the different services that we can offer you and different ways that we can help that will fit into your specific budget. It’s not just a sales pitch though! We will also give you checklists and worksheets that will help you throughout your planning process, whether you decide to hire us or not!