Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Give a Door Prize at the Reception Instead of Favors

Filed under: Favors,Gifts,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

The cost of a wedding can be astronomical. Depending on your wedding budget and the number of guests, it may be difficult to buy wedding favors for everybody. Although most wedding favors are priced reasonably, the cost can add up if you’re having a large wedding.

Wed-DoorPrizeThe point of a favor is to acknowledge and thank your guests for coming to your wedding. Many couples shell out hundreds of dollars on junky favors that will just get thrown away or left on the table when the guests leave the reception. Instead of buying hundreds of cheap wedding favors, why not consider one big wedding favor as a “door prize” at the wedding reception?

When it comes to the wedding favors it’s completely up to you what you do. Make a note on the invitations that one lucky guest will go home with a very special gift. Ideas for that big wedding favor gift include:

• A large basket filled with a personalized wine bottle, candles, chocolates, wedding napkins, etc.
• A Vera Wang Toasting Flutes Set
• Centerpiece
• A golf bag
• A chocolate basket
• A beautiful pen and stationery set
• A spa package
• A gift certificate to a boutique or restaurant
• Pick up the tab for one night at a nice hotel
• A special portrait session with your photographer

Door prizes should be gender neutral and are usually awarded on a lottery basis to the holder of a certain ticket. An easy way to award door prizes at a wedding reception is to number the backs of all of the place cards that wedding guests will pick up to find out what table they have been assigned to. Then, have the DJ randomly draw numbers during the reception and award fun door prizes that are in line with the theme or destination of your wedding.

One way to do this is to place a sticker underneath one chair at each table and have the DJ make an announcement to check the chairs to see who gets to take the centerpieces home. Or what about the couple with the closest anniversary day to the newlyweds? Ask your DJ if he/she can offer some suggestions.

Or… Instead of giving the guests a small favor, use the money budgeted for favors and make a charitable donation. A charity gift is a memorable way to thank family and friends for sharing this special day with you.

If you need to be frugal or must cut something out completely, favors would be the wise choice. Most people will not even notice if you eliminate favors.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The idea is to buy one great wedding gift in lieu of hundreds of inexpensive wedding favors. Depending on the number of people at the wedding, those “inexpensive” wedding favors can really add up.

BONUS Article: Do Me a (Wedding) “Favor”… or Not!

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Advertisements

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Collaborative Wedding Budget

Cherie Johnson, Guest Author

For husbands-and-brides-to-be with large, extended families, they often find that both sets of parents, and perhaps even grandparents, want to chip in to help defray the soaring cost of today’s weddings, which, on average, come in at a whopping $20,000. Many couples, too, are electing to pick up the rest of the slack. Corralling so many people who want to help with the wedding budget can be a virtual nightmare though.

Before simply accepting their good wishes and checks, the very first thing you should do is to sit down with your fiancé and chart a course of action to ensure you’ve covered every element of your wedding that requires a significant contribution. Planning a wedding with a budget in mind comes down to knowing what you’re looking for in terms of venue, vendors, and necessities – this, however, can be easily put to rest with a systematic budget planning roadmap.

WED-Collaborative-BudgetPlanning a Wedding with a Budget in Mind

An itemized wedding budget detailing the specifics – such as the dress, food/drinks, venue, flowers, and band – will ensure you’ve covered all the major aspects of your wedding day. At the top of your worksheet, spreadsheet, or what have you, list what you’ve decided is a reasonable amount to spend on the wedding.

On the left-hand side, make each specific and significant element that you must or would like to have a line item. For instance, the ceremony, which encompasses the venue/place or worship, wedding officiant, and any licenses, would be listed here.

Decide on a true and honest estimate of what you’re willing to spend planning a wedding on a budget, and then, at a later date, add what you actually spent so that you can keep accurate track of your finances. Other items in the left hand column should consist of things such as the reception (food/drinks, cake, favors, venue, etc.); wedding attire (bride’s clothing and shoes, makeup, hair, groom’s clothing and accessories); rings/jewelry; flowers (for the entire party and at both venues); music/band/DJ; photography; transportation (if applicable); invitations and signage; and anything else that would cause a significant dent in your wedding budget.

Remember to include such essential fees as tips for vendors (about 15 to 20%), trial hair and makeup sessions, and dress/tuxedo cleanings and pressings.

As far as planning a wedding on a budget with your parents, his parents, and any other well-wishers (step parents perhaps), show them your finalized wedding budget at an informal, yet constructive meeting. Discuss costs and who can realistically afford what. In days past, it was common – and expected – for the bride’s parents to pay for everything, a modern dowry in a sense.

Today’s weddings no longer involve such a considerable sacrifice, though it is still carried out by many traditionalists. At this meeting, you’ll want to discuss how the payments will be made; maybe your parents would like to split something or pay for one segment of the wedding entirely. Will they be giving you one lump sum in a check or visiting vendors with you to pay upfront? Such concerns about planning a wedding on a budget should be dealt with by a frank talk that involves all parties.

Many wedding budget planners suggest opening a separate wedding account at your bank that’s not linked with any of your personal accounts. This simple action will help you more carefully figure out what’s been spent on the wedding and where the funds are going. You should also set aside an additional 5 to 10% of your overall wedding budget should mishaps arise.

The likelihood that you will go over your budget is almost a given; the amount to which you do can be controlled, in most instances, by careful wedding planning, and that budget of 5 to 10% extra you’ve stashed away will come in handy. Scaling back from the get-go is a huge help; this includes things like not having a buffet (wasted food), having fewer bridesmaids, and offering just wine and beer at the reception (alcohol is a major expenditure).

Still, if these are must-haves, just be cautious of vendors who try to upsell you to some better, improved service that you probably don’t need. Research is a crucial part of planning a wedding on a budget, so make sure you do your fair share before visiting vendors and venues.

Fine-tuning Your Wedding Budget for Success

Far too many couples forget about planning a wedding with a budget in mind and have a bang-up, blow-out bash that ends up putting them in the red. Add that to any other debts, and you’re starting your marriage – which should be thoroughly exciting – with a gray cloud over your heads. A well-planned wedding budget that’s done from the start – with nothing unaccounted for – will ensure that you can mosey off to your honeymoon with nothing else to worry about but enjoying yourselves.

BONUS Articles: How to Make Money Talks Less Awkward
Beware of “Cheap” Wedding Vendors!
Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!
Post-Wedding Credit Card Blues? Here’s the Solution!

Larry’s NOTE: This article was originally published at http://Blog.WeddingPlanningInstitute.com.

cherie-johnsonCopyright 2015 – Cherie Johnson. Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, the premier site for unique anniversary, baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceañera, and wedding favors. Her wedding ideas have also benefited readers of many websites, including Women Of, Wedding Lenox, and The Wedding Guide. Before establishing Creative Wedding Favors in 2006, she worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing all the special moments of the nuptials and ceremony. Cherie live in the York, Pennsylvania Area.

ljspacer

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Sunday, December 7, 2014

9 Hidden Wedding Expenses That Caught Me by Surprise

Jennifer Calonia, Guest Author

Anyone who has planned or will plan a wedding can empathize with the horror of seeing expenses creep over their budget. The Knot revealed that the average 2013 wedding cost $29,858 – and that’s not including honeymoon expenses. In my hometown, Los Angeles, the average cost to host a wedding is $38,735 – and that only makes it the 11th most expensive place in the U.S. to get married, according to the survey.

HiddenWeddingExpensesMy wedding isn’t until November 2015, but my fiance and I mapped out a 27-month engagement that would give us time save money for the event. Like any newly engaged couple, we asked ourselves how much we were willing to spend on our big day, but we knew that our large Filipino families would expect us to extend invitations to distant relatives and friends with six degrees of separation from us. My mom’s contribution to the list of guests we needed to invite, for example, included one of her high school friends, that friend’s entire family and her friend’s daughter’s long-term boyfriend.

Some friends recommended that we dodge a traditional wedding by eloping on the cheap. This would save us from spending the equivalent of a home down payment on a single night, but we knew the importance of tempering family cultural expectations with our modest budget.

At this point, we’ve locked in the venue and most of our primary vendors. But along the way, I’ve encountered more than a few surprises and budget-busters.

To read the rest of the article, please click here!

BONUS Articles: Tying Up Loose Ends After the Wedding! – Newlywed To-Do List
10 Hidden Wedding Costs to Watch Out For
30 Unexpected Wedding Costs Brides Forget to Budget For

Larry’s NOTE: It’s very important to have a wedding budget. Not all vendors charge based on those discussed in this article. Please check your contracts with wedding vendors to keep you from experiencing hidden wedding expenses.

jenn-calonia130x130

Copyright © 2014 – Jennifer Calonia. Jennifer Calonia is a Los Angeles-based journalist covering consumer tips about banking, savings and other personal finance topics that matter most to your wallet. Her features and savings advice are featured on GOBankingRates, U.S. News, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money. More about Jennifer!

ljspacer

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Friday, October 24, 2014

Get More for Your Wedding Floral Budget

Filed under: Flowers,Wedding Flowers — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Sharon Naylor, Guest Author

Use flowers that are in-season. Consult the florist’s charts of floral bloom times in order to determine which types of flowers will be in season at the time of your wedding.

Expect higher prices during times of popular flower-giving holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Flower prices go up at this time of the year, and you’ll pay the price in your wedding budget.

WEDfloralBudgetUse flowers that are grown locally, rather than exotic blooms that have to be imported at greater expense.

Consiter different varieties of flowers rather than the traditional “bridal” ones such as white roses, orchids, tulips and gardenias. These styles are often more expensive, especially during the most popular wedding months. Larry’s NOTE: The most popular wedding months varies in different parts of the country. For example, in Arizona, we have two wedding seasons: March, April and May and October, November and December are the busiest months for weddings because the weather is so great, especially for outdoor weddings.

Get a little creative and use more original types of flowers in your arrangements. No doubt your search will reveal flowers you’re never seen before, and they just may become your favorites.

Use more expensive flowers, such as your favorite bird of paradise, only as accents to larger, more economical arrangements.

Use larger flowers for centerpieces and decorative arrangements. You’ll need fewer per arrangements.

Add some color to your arrangements. A grouping of all while roses will require more flowers per bunch in order to make an impression. A splash of color will make your bouquets and arrangements look better at a lower price.

naylor

Click Book for Info!

Use smaller bouquets and arrangements. Today’s trends favor smaller floral pieces, so that the bride can be seen behind her bouquet and the guests can see each other across the table.

Use simpler floral arrangements and bouquets. A great amount of the florist’s bill is related to the amount of labor required to wire together your bouquets and assemble your intricate centerpieces. Instead of choosing the most difficult-to-design styles, consider using flowers for your bouquet that are tightly bunched and tied at the stem, and tightly bound, low-sitting flowers as your centerpieces.

Rent potted flowers and plants to decorate your reception and ceremony areas. For a lower price, you can fill your location with a larger number of atmosphere-setting plants, create walkways, and even provide centerpieces for your buffet table.

Don’t use flowers in your centerpieces. Choose pillar candles or other creative, inexpensive centerpiece ideas instead.

Have your maid set their bouquets in front of them at the head table to eliminate one centerpiece, or get a two-for-one from your investment by having your maids place each of their bouquets in the centers of a guest table (if there are enough to suit your guest list).

Skip some nice but unnecessary floral expenses, such as having a small floral arrangement on the back of each guest’s chair, decorating the getaway car with floral swags, placing floral arrangements in the restrooms or on the gift table, and using fresh flowers to decorate the cake.

Shop for candles in craft stores where you can buy inexpensive brands in bulk. Freeze the candles before lighting them so they will burn longer.

BONUS Articles: How to SAVE on Your Wedding Floral Budget
Centerpieces… Plan With Your Guests in Mind

SharonNaylorCopyright © 2014 – Sharon Naylor. Sharon Naylor is the author of “How to Have a Fabulous Wedding for $10,000 or Less“, “The Complete Outdoor Wedding Planner,” and more than 30+ other wedding books. Sharon has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, Primetime, Lifetime, ABC News, Get Married, I Do with The Knot, Fox 5 News, Better TV and more. Visit Sharon’s Website and follow her on Twitter.

ljspacer

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Postage Stamps = An Unexpected Wedding Cost

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Gratuities for Vendors,Postage,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Although postage is one of a very small hidden costs of your wedding, if you are on a tight budget, here are a few things to think about.

extrapostageHopefully you have budgeted enough for the most beautiful letterpress invitations with multiple inserts, including the map, reception card, wedding website card, photo cards, but that’s not the only expense a couple will have when considering stationery and invitations. Remember to budget for postage, additional stationery required, etc.

When setting your invitation budget that you need to not only consider the cost of your invitations and save-the-date cards, but the cost of postage, as well as any additional stationery you may need. Using an example budget of $450 for 100 invitations, consider that you’ll need to budget at least $0.92 minimum (if you are in the US) for postage, since you need a stamp for both the outer envelope and the RSVP envelope.

You may also need to include extra postage if you have an oddly shaped, sized or overweight invitation, which happens fairly frequently. Stationers don’t often advertise the shipping costs; if they did, you might decide to go with less expensive invitations.

You may want to skip the fancy boxed invitations and multilayer cards, which can bulk up quickly and cost a lot more than you bargained for. Those invites are gorgeous, but that awkward square shape means you’ll be paying extra postage per invitation. Even if it’s just 92 cents per invitation, that can add up pretty quickly: It’s an additional $99 for 150 invitations. The cost of oversized, awkwardly shaped and bulky invitations will most often run you as much as $2 each to mail.

Another way to save – consider putting an odd-shaped invitation into a standard-size envelope, so you won’t pay extra. Or skip boxed invitations and cards with multiple layers of paper, which can bulk up quickly and cost more than you have in your budget.

If you’re hoarding your Forever stamps, a regular envelope will cost you 46 cents (2 ounces, 66¢, 3 ounces, 86¢, as of August, 2013 rates) to mail. If you want to be really thorough, remember to budget yet another 1st class stamp for thank-you notes.

Hot Tip: Sometimes people forget to write their name on the RSVP card before returning it to you, so spend a few extra minutes numbering the backs and keeping a corresponding list. This will be a big time saver in the long run.

Here is another item that couples often forget to add to their budget:

Gratuities and Tips ~ Just like tax, gratuities and tips are often left out of the initial wedding budget. Your caterer may tack a whopping 25 percent gratuity onto your bill for the privilege of serving their chicken skewers and manning the beef carving station. It’s in the fine print, so be sure you read over your contracts and estimates carefully. According to some industry insiders, it’s customary to also have tips ready for the wedding officiant/minister, band, DJ, photographer, florist, cake delivery, hairdresser, coatroom attendants, limo driver, bartenders and servers.

BONUS Articles: 10 Hidden Wedding Costs
DIY Invitation Tips from a Hindsight Bride
Tipping Your Wedding Vendors is a Common Courtesy
Accuracy of Your Wedding Guest List Helps You Stay On Budget
The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget
The Best Use of 10% of Your Budget: Hire a Coordinator!

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (96 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How Much Will Your Wedding Cost? + Ways to Save!

One of the biggest challenges of planning a wedding is coming up with a budget. The cost of a wedding goes up exponentially if you don’t think about having a budget wedding. Don’t put your head-in-the-sand. Plan!

On average, couples in the United States spend more than $23,500 for their wedding. However, the majority of couples spend between $15,300 and $25,500 while their wedding budget is typically 50% less than the amount spent. Of course, the costs vary greatly from region to region. To find out how much a wedding costs where you live, click here.

This does not include cost for a honeymoon or engagement ring. Understanding average wedding costs now can help you with your wedding budget later. Staying within your budget is important.

First of all. . . who is paying for what? Talk with your families about who will pay for what: Some brides’ families still pick up the entire tab, but more and more groom’s families are participating too. Ask both of your families to commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to begin planning your budget.

cashHow much can YOU save? It may be smart to start saving before you start planning! Certainly as soon as you’re engaged, start putting aside as much of your income as you can for the wedding. TheKnot.com says, “Saving 20% of your monthly income is a good – though painful – goal. The longer your engagement, the more you’ll be able to sock away.”

Take lots of time to think of some creative ways to reduce the cost of a wedding. Prioritize. What MUST you have that you cannot live without?

Avoid the high wedding season. Arizona has two wedding seasons. The majority of weddings in the Greater Phoenix area take place from March through May and October through December because the weather in the desert is perfect. Most of those weddings are outdoors at hotels, resorts, etc. Our slow season is June through August. Those are our hottest months. Most of those weddings are indoors. If you plan right you could save across the board – on limos, photographers and caterers, etc., – by getting married during one of the hotter months.

Take a close look at your guest list and location. Trimming the guest list to close family and friends can help. This will help slash your catering costs and save on invitations and even the number of centerpieces. If you figure it will cost $60 per guest for food, drinks, and so forth, you’ll save $3,000 by reducing your guest list by 50 people. Centerpieces, matching everything, dove releases, bows everywhere, etc, do not get remembered.

Brides who have an extravagant budget can expect to pay $6000 and up for a designer wedding dress custom made just for you. People don’t really care if you have a $3,000 dress or a $200 dress. Some brides are visiting second hand stores or are renting their wedding dresses. What matters is that you look good. Spend the most money on the important things; the rings, the DJ (who can do both the ceremony and the reception), the Minister, the photographer and a videographer come to mind.

There are two important areas of your wedding celebration where price should never be a factor. A mediocre Minister and a unenthusiastic DJ can wreak havoc at your wedding. A lackluster minister with a boring ceremony – like most of the others you’ve heard – can leave the guests cold and uninspired and if the DJ isn’t a true “entertainer” the party can crash and burn. Your wedding reception DJ should be considered your “Wedding Entertainment Director.” A great DJ determines whether your reception is a hit or a miss! The minister and the DJ should be the very best you can hire. I know its cliché, but you really do get what you pay for.

Perhaps the primary deciding factor should be who performs the most memorable and unique wedding ceremony for you and your guests and what other extras do they offer in their package that other ministers do not. You will enjoy the comfort and assurance of knowing you are contracting with a first-class minister who comes with professional experience, impeccable integrity, commendable references, a gentle and enthusiastic spirit and a subtle, but delightful sense of humor (Hmmm, sounds like a description of Larry James).

Skip the Friday and Saturday wedding. Some vendors will offer a discount if your wedding if you opt for a weekday wedding. And, don’t be offended if they don’t offer a discount. Some do. Some don’t. Have a friend do your hair and makeup. Skip the black-ties and go casual.

Make your own invitations or at least opt for the less expensive single-page invitations. Ditch the inserts. The extra paper can increase the postage. A recent wedding had a special party for the invited children before the wedding and the night ended with the children using crayons to make place settings on recycled paper. They are colorful and got lots of great comments from the guests.

Buy flowers that are in season. Cut out the favors. Offer beer, wine, and soft drinks instead of a full bar. Skip the champagne toast. Your reception can be the most expensive part of your wedding day. Not every wedding reception needs to feature sit-down dinner. A few receptions I’ve been to lately have skipped the full dinner in favor a cocktail reception with some drinks and a lot of appetizers, then dancing, etc. Or… consider a potluck or BBQ instead of a catered meal or a lunch reception with a light meal.

Don’t be afraid to ask your wedding vendors for ideas on cutting costs. Order a small one or two-tiered cake and then supplement cake with a larger sheet cake (served from the kitchen). No one will know the difference.

Save money for your honeymoon and register with a honeymoon registry. You don’t need a passport if you plan your honeymoon close to home. You can always plan an lavish getaway later. Second marriages often encourage their guests to donate to their favorite charitable cause.

Should you tip your wedding vendors? I recommend you budget for tips for the vendors and offer generous tips for those who do exceptional jobs. If you are absolutely blown away by their services, by all means, tip them.

Say no to the extras. You really don’t need wedding bubbles or embossed matchbooks or napkins. Weddings can be an opportunity to begin new traditions. Be creative and save. Plan a wedding where, the day after, you’re debt-free and can start your lives together. Do everything you can to cut costs so you don’t have to deal with the debt resulting from the wedding after the honeymoon. It’s best if you do not go into debt over your wedding. It’s not a great way to start a marriage.

While costs vary according to the type of wedding and geographical location, the typical breakdown of a wedding budget according to TheKnot.com is as follows:

Wedding Cost Estimates

The #1 must-do savings tip is to hire a wedding consultant. The consultant will do all the legwork for you, shop around for the best bargains, and use their network of vendors to get you the best insider deals.

In 2010, 2,145,800 weddings will occur in the US, 40,737 will occur in the state of Arizona. The Cost of the Average wedding in 2010 (Source: Arizona Weddings Magazine & Website, Scottsdale, AZ):

Flagstaff: $17,629
Gilbert: $22,974
Paradise Valley: $42,400
Phoenix Metro: $20,797
Scottsdale: $30,595
Sedona: $27,618
Surprise: $16,766
Tempe: $25,466
Tucson: $18,141

32% of couples solely fund their wedding.

weddingplannerCopyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Best Use of 10% of Your Budget: Hire a Coordinator!

Amy Bacon, Guest Author

Do you need a Wedding Planner? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Be realistic about the time you really have to devote to putting together the sort of wedding you want. If you have lots of spare time, you may be able to pull it off. Interesting enough, most Brides simply don’t think they can afford a planner (silly Brides!), and it’s the one vendor they WISH they’d spent a portion of their budget on. Ask a recent bride, she’ll tell you the same!

Here are some good reasons we believe that tell the story of why you should hire a wedding planner:

• You’re planning your wedding in another city or state.

• You have special needs, such as finding a place of worship that will accommodate a mixed- religion ceremony, or would like to track down a caterer who can prepare a diabetic-friendly, or vegan/vegetarian menu.

• Both you and your fiancé work long hours and/or travel frequently for business, and you want a big, blow out event; but who can make the time for all the detail work AND end up a nice woman, when it’s all said and done?

• You don’t particularly like hassling with little details; you’re a “big picture” person.

• You want someone else to do the leg work for you! As an example: your coordinator/planner, after spending time with you knows what your budget and needs are and sets appointments with vendors they think will be a good match. You don’t waste your time looking for vendors by going on appointments that are a total waste of time based on price points, or your budget/vision.

• You’d like to be able to purely enjoy your day with no worries regarding any issues that will undoubtedly transpire.

A wedding planner can actually SAVE you money – Most planners will be able to get you discounts with different vendors that they work with on a regular basis (baker for your cake or cupcakes, catering, photography, flowers, videographer, officiates, and even at venues)!

Brides: You need a “Day-Of” coordinator; you just don’t realize it!

Why? Well firstly, you’re hosting the biggest party of your life! (How many people can you imagine would throw a formal, sit-down party for over 50 people and not hire help? Exactly!). Secondly, we know how perfect you’d like everything to be and we know after years of experience, a Bride cannot sanely be in 8 places at one time and truly enjoy her day. Thirdly, your choice of reception site may have a Catering Manager, but it’s really not her job to be sure you stay on schedule or to wrangle!

Our “Day-Of” Wedding Consulting Service will afford you a sense of control and ease, allowing you the opportunity to relax, enjoy and be in the moment:

• Complete oversight for your Rehearsal and Wedding Day

• On-site meetings prior to the Wedding to ensure placement of flowers, gift books, etc

• We’ll keep you completely on Schedule the Day-Of

• We’ll make sure each attendant knows their role for the ceremony

• Ring Bearer and Flower Girl Tutoring

We communicate with every contracted Vendor prior and the day of, ensuring all requirements are met. They will know exactly where to be and what the bride’s and grooms expectations are.

We’ll make sure your photographer and videographer get the Photos and Reel from your Shot Lists, etc.

Cuing the music, the procession and more.

Why Hiring a Wedding Planner is imperative…

While you may not need someone to assist with the menu or your dress or color choices or any number of your dream desires for your wedding day, we strongly advise hiring a “Day-Of” coordinator, who at the very least will assist you for some months prior to and the Day-Of; we’re here to assist and as much or little as you like!

What is a “Day-Of” Coordinator? For example: a month out we will meet with you, help finalize contracts and your desires for placement and decoration; the time line on your wedding day and so much more. We make all the follow up phone calls, we do all the organizing so that on the Day-Of your wedding, you’ll have one or two main people (depending upon the size of your wedding), to answer any and all questions, maintain the day’s flow and to be sure you and your groom really enjoy your day.

If you’re thinking you can handle all this yourself; consider that it may sound easy; certainly seems like something you can handle and it very well may be, but if you want people running up to you the whole day asking:

• “What time will the limo be here?”

• “Aunt Jo and Uncle Charles from NYC are lost; how do they get here?”

• “Little Eric, where’s the ring pillow?”

• “When are we supposed to line up?”

• “Where’s Tiffany; your Mom, your Cousin Ilene, the Catering Manager?”

• “What time are you going to throw the bouquet?”

• “Should we ask Earl (who drank too much and is disrupting guests) to leave?”

• …and more; then by all means, run your wedding day yourself!

If, however, you’d like to be kept out of this mix, free to spend time with your attendants, your guests and your new husband, then please reconsider. Even if you’re the “Anti-Bride”, there are still lots of things you’ll really want help with and with the cost of an average “Day-Of” coordinator being typically less than approximately 10% of your overall budget; it’s really affordable. We can save you money, too! Ask us how.

amybaconWe will be sure everything runs smoothly, that you are insulated from the stress that transpires on your Wedding day; when it’s all about you, not about everyone and everything else.

Copyright © 2009 – Mrs. Amy Bacon. Reprinted with Permission. You will find Mrs. Hancock’s Wedding Planners and Consultants, kind, professional, knowledgeable, helpful and excited to be of service. They won’t break your budget either! Please contact their office at 602-234-1200 and speak with Mrs. Hancock or Mrs. Amy Bacon for a free consultation. Visit their Website at: www.MrsHancocks.com

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability for your wedding.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips written by Larry James listed in this Wedding BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget

Filed under: Budget,Guest Authors — Larry James @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Amy J. Chung, Guest Author
Ramblings from Amy Jean on her “Relentless Bride BLOG” (A bride-to-be)

I was discussing with one of my BFF’s (MLL), wedding “research” and planning. We were going through the number crunching phase of one venue to see if it’s an option for her to put on her list of possibilities. MLL is in the “researching” phase of wedding planning, but this phase of “researching” that we are currently in made me realize that wedding planning has various stages that I think all Bride-to-Be’s (BTB) go through.

The First Stage is excitement! Yippeee… it’s FINALLY my turn. {Keep in mind “finally” is all relative and I think all BTB’s feel it no matter how young or less young they are when the day comes to start planning for one’s wedding.} Images of excited bride in her white dress on the “happiest day of her life.”

The Second Stage would be confusion. Where do I start? What do I want? WAIT, he wants WHAT? I didn’t think he’d care about that! What do my parents want? Where do I start? Just how this picture depicts a bit (or a lot) of confusion, i think we start off just sitting still in front of the computer “where do i start?” Maybe at this point you start asking close friends for advice.

The Third Stage is determination. Feeling equipped with a few good words from friends who have ventured into this arena before, google becomes your best friend and you are determined to find some possible locations to hold your ceremony and/or reception. Just like this Ronin Warrior, ready to go to battle, the bride-to-be is ready to tackle any thing that comes her way.

The Fourth Stage is overwhelm. This is where you realize how huge the wedding industry is and that the choices are endless. There are so many venues, so many packages, so many options, yet so few beaten paths that will actually work… You realize at this stage that you may need a little help… or make that a lot!

For me the Fifth Stage was the hardest. Realization of REALITY! This is the stage where you realize, holy crap… how am I… my family… I… we gonna actually pull this off? This is where all the times you’ve heard “weddings are expensive” or “just saying ‘wedding’ brings the price up” is very true… and you realize for the first time, and reality starts to set in!

This is where that time you went to that one wedding 5 years ago and you weren’t given a “plus one” and you complained… now you began to understand why the bride and groom did what they did. This is where you question… can we afford to pay over 25k for 250 people on just food and drinks (but not full bar tab)? This is the stage where the calculator gets busted out and then…

Stage Six doesn’t always express itself in the same way, but to make it easy to understand, we’ll just say its the stage of crying, angst or depression. This is where you just want to pull out your hair. You curse the wedding industry and all the people involved. You question over and over again “Why is it so expensive?” or you curse and say “It’s such a money making monster”.

Stage six can involve tears and sadness or complete anger aimed at your loved ones that you weren’t born into the Hilton family and able to afford anything you wanted. (Don’t worry, after stage six, you are very thankful you weren’t born a Hilton and regret even admitting that the thought crossed your mind). Stage Six needs to be expressed and I think any bride on a budget goes through some emotion during this stage.

Stage Seven is the resolve. You are now resolved to find an answer. You began to brainstorm and ponder various different alternatives. This is the stage where prioritizing things on your “must have at wedding” list becomes reexamined.

Stage Seven and Stage Eight overlap a bit, as Stage Eight is persistence. This is where you realize there has to be an answer and you just have to find it. You are resolved with your reality and persistence sets in so that you can continue to figure out your solution! You will problem find and there WILL be a solution!

Stage Nine is real wedding planning. This is where you now have a more realistic idea of what you want, need, must have, can do without. This is the whittling down stage. The guest list will have been whittled down. Your venue options will whittle down. The “to do” list will whittle down. Your “must have” list will whittle down and now you get your hands REAL dirty… you cut out places from mere glances at the package plan or you add them to the list. You visit venues.

You have a can-do attitude that is based on the realistic situation of the means allowed for this extravaganza… and you are OK with that. In fact even with complaints still abundant, overall you are ready to get this show on the road. At this stage you either have a wedding planner (which I highly recommend and please feel free to ask me why) OR you are your VERY own wedding planner!

commentStage Ten is the actual Wedding. I have yet to really pass Stage Nine and often go back to Stage Six, so I can’t really elaborate on Stage Ten, but I can not wait to get there!

So, what stage are you in?

Copyright © 2009 – Amy J. Chung. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Amy Chung was born & raised in Orange County, currently living in Washington, DC by way of Indiana. She is a bride-to-be with a LONG engagement (23 months). She’s planning her wedding from DC with the help of her Wedding Coordinator, Paola Spagnoletti, owner of “Just Chic Events.” Visit Amy’s BLOG

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability for your wedding.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips written by Larry James listed in this Wedding BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Money Saving Tips to Help with Your Wedding Budget

Filed under: Budget,Guest Authors,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , , , ,

boojumtree2Natasha Miller, Guest Author

Decide what is most important to you and your fiancé. It is common to hear brides say, “He doesn’t care about the details.” Have you asked him if there is a certain thing that is truly important to him? Well you should. You may be surprised! This simple question will help you know to which you should target your budget.

The guest list: make a few decisions first:

1. What number of guests do you feel would be too many?
2. Kids – Yay or Nay?
3. Do both of your parents get to make a list?

Then both the bride and the groom make three lists. List one, the must attend list (immediate family and close friends), list two, people you would like there (extended family, other friends and coworkers) and list three, it would be nice but not heart breaking if they weren’t invited.

Also have this in mind, fewer guests means less food for the caterer, less alcohol for the bar, less favors, less tables for dinner, in conclusion LESS.

You may also want to think of a smaller bridal party. Fewer people standing equals fewer gifts to buy.

Pass on some of the smaller more pricey details: you might notice them but your guests probably won’t. Or if they do notice them, they wouldn’t get the recognition that they deserved for how much was spent on them.

When choosing your invitation, take in consideration the size and shape (postage on some envelope sizes costs more). Also keep in mind the heavier the paper, the heavier the total package will be, which also means more postage.

When selecting your flowers, think of substituting for less expensive choices. Such as flowers that are in season opposed to the flowers that will have to be special ordered. There are some fabulous flowers that are in your wedding colors that will cost you half as much as the ones you may have had your eye on.

When ordering your cake you do not need to have a cake that will feed your entire wedding. Some people do not eat cake and some will have left by then. Wedding cakes are not cheap, so you may even go with a smaller decorated cake and some pre cut sheet cakes in the back. Again no one will notice this detail.

There is always at least one toast at a wedding and it is tradition to have champagne for that. However, most people do not like champagne or like to mix different types of alcohol so you may consider having champagne available at the bar but let your guests choose if they want that or what they are already have in their hand.

Favors: If you would throw it away so would they! Fabulous ideas for favors are ones that they can use or eat, giving money in their name to a charity or for fun give them lotto scratchers.

Selecting a site for your dream day: Pick a place that already is beautiful. A place where you don’t have to get flowers and decoration, and if you do this you are already saving money!

Time to say goodbye, choose a smaller get away car. A fully loaded limo may be sweet but its cost, not so much.

Your comments are always welcome!

boojumtree

Copyright © 2009 – Natasha Miller. The Boojum Tree’s Hidden Gardens is Arizona’s most unique and exotic wedding, reception and corporate event destination. While you enjoy your stroll through their property, you’ll be in awe of the thousands of tropical plants, multiple water features and our new Palm Forest. Visit the The Boojum Tree’s Hidden Gardens.

NOTE from Larry James: Tasha is fun to work with, is very detail oriented and is one of the best venue coordinators for weddings in the Greater Phoenix area. The Boojum Tree’s Hidden Gardens is one of my favorite wedding venues.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: