The Planner's Corner
Seven (7) Wedding Tips To Save on a Shoestring Budget
In 2008, an average wedding cost nearly $22,000, according to estimates from The Wedding Report, a wedding market research firm.
Due to the effects the economy has had and is having people have decided to wait on getting married or end up going to the justice of the peace and then have a reception at a later date. By going to the justice of the peace is not saving any money of significance. The true cost is from the reception. Nevertheless, a couple can still have a beautiful reception without scarifying quality.
Here are some tips on how to cut your wedding costs:
- GUEST LIST. The best way to cut cost on your wedding is to trim down the guest list. However, by doing this may cause friction with whomever you decide not to invite to your wedding.
- PLENTY TO DRINK. Instead of going for an open bar with premium (Topshelf) drinks, do a cash bar for two hours after dinner, or serve just beer for the evening. Don’t worry about what your guests may think. They will only remember the time they had at the wedding.
- SAVING $$$ ON MUSIC: You can create a playlist on your ipod and hook it up to a sound system.
- DO IT YOURSELF. If you have a computer and printer you can purchase invitations and programs from any fabric store like Joanne Fabrics, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby (one of my favorite stores). Sign up for their ads and use the coupon to save even more.
- PLENTY TO EAT. Another way to cut cost on food is to have a buffet for your guests and serve chicken. You can also serve heavy hors d'oeuvres and skip the buffet dinner altogether.
- NEGOTIATE. Everything can be negotiated. In the event you cannot get a lower price, ask for something free. The vendor wants your business so don’t leave empty handed. Let them know you are on a budget.
- GO VINTAGE BOUTIQUES. You can find beautiful new or once worn bridal dress. You can always alter it to make it your own customized gown or dress. Be creative.
It’s true! you can have your cake and eat it too, by faking it! And the best part is no one will ever know. I know you may feel uneasy about renting a wedding cake, however, if you have champagne taste on a beer budget then this may just be the way to go.
You will still be able to cut the cake in front of everyone; however, when it’s time to serve the cake, the caterer or whomever you designated to cut the cake will remove the faux cake and wheel it to the back and the (actual cake that will be cut) sheet cake will be cut and brought out to be served. Same decorations, same icing, but at a much lower cost. The best part is that none of your guests will ever know unless you tell them.
This trend is on the rise. However, people have been doing this for quite some time. It’s the next best thing that has happened for couples on a budget. How many times have you been to a wedding or an event with an elaborate cake that was to beautiful to cut? Was it real or fake? If they did not cut the entire cake in front of you (or other guests), then guess what? It could have been fake.
Has this happened to you? You (and everyone else) were having a great time at an event, as you were dancing or mingling with other guests, you saw people leave the party but they left without their slice of cake. I’ve heard people say, “That’s a lot of cake they are going to have left over. I wonder what they are going to do with it.” Why waste money when you can go faux? This would eliminate the waste of money or cake.
Side bar: This would only happen if there were no one in place to oversee the cutting of the cut. Hire a planner or coordinator to oversee items like this.
There are many reasons why someone would have a faux (fake) cake. Let’s explore of some them below:
- Many brides who choose artificial cakes do so because they want the tradition of a wedding cake but do not want to serve cake to their guests. This is often the case when a bride is serving a special dessert as part of the meal.
- Brides often cannot afford their dream wedding cake, but can certainly rent one for a fraction of the cost.
- Artificial cakes are perfectly suited to outdoor weddings - they will not droop or melt in hot weather and bugs are not an issue.
- Faux cakes are visually identical to real cakes. They are still covered in real fondant icing and are decorated just like a real cake.
- If you are not serving your cake as dessert you should consider a faux cake. Real cakes are often left uneaten if used as part of the evening buffet. Many brides have reported that most of the cake was not eaten at the end of the evening. With a faux cake you will not have unnecessary waste and expense.
- Faux cakes are also light and easy to move around, although the icing and other decorations may be just as fragile as a real cake.
- Faux cakes are a way to afford a cake that is larger than you actually need. You are able to have that six storey masterpiece for a fraction of the cost.
- Faux cakes still allow you to have a traditional cake cutting ceremony.
- Faux cakes allow you to view your cake exactly as it will appear before your wedding. There will be no surprises with a fake cake.
But it’s sill Fake…
Fake cakes, however, aren't all fondant and flowers. In the end, they are fake, and pulling out a couple of stashed slices from a secret compartment will never be as romantic as a traditional cake cutting. It shouldn't be a big deal for most brides (after all, what's a good ceremony without a few props?), but it could be embarrassing if someone discovers the truth. It probably won't happen, but wedding guests can be unpredictable -- especially if there's an open bar -- so you can never be sure. However, the risk is minimal, and if you're a budget-conscious bride having to make some tough choices, a fake cake could be the perfect solution to your wedding-planning woes. For more information about fake cakes, visit http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/weddings/fake-wedding-cake.htm
Bridal shows are great places to attend where you have all the vendors you need under one roof for four to six hours. But when you attend one (or more) be prepared using this tips. This is a fun experience but it can be overwhelming.
- List out the things you need to accomplish for your wedding. Do you need a florist, table linens, DJ, Limo, baker, etc.? Listing these out will help you stay focused and find the vendors you need. If you need a band, don't talk with a DJ.
- Upon your arrival at any bridal show, you will be handed a bag for you to collect vendors information. For the vendors you really like, collect and separate their business card by placing them in your pocket or in the side of your purse for easy access. Place all others in the bag.
- Before filling out any forms, create an email address just for wedding-related info. As you walk through the fair, you will be asked to fill out entry forms to "win" something and during the registration process, you will be asked to fill out the registration form. The information on the form will be given to each vendor that participated in the bridal fair. This is called a lead list. By creating a separate "wedding email address", you keep track of all your wedding-related information without giving your personal email address.
- Speaking of winning something, do your homework before you book with any vendor. Contact your local Better Business Bureau or google them to see if they had any complaints. Saving a $100 may not be worth the heartache you could possibly encounter in the long run. Also ask for references and/or to see testimonials from past clients.
- Go to the show prepared. Create labels that include your name, address, number, email, wedding date to use when vendors have giveaways or ask for information. You can also create business cards using stationery from your local office supply store to drop in their box.
- Ask for special pricing. Usually at bridal shows, a vendor will have some kind of discount rate. Find out what it is and ask if they price match. Also you want to know how long is the special rate for. It's usually for a week. So if you are not ready to book on that date (because you have to do your homework mentioned in #4), you will have seven days to do so and still receive the discount.
- Wear comfortable shoes and wear a light jacket. You will be walking around for at least an hour and you want to make that you are comfortable and not fighting carrying your coat, handbag, and literature bag with sore feet.
Why Do Some Planners Charge Less Than Others?
I get asked this question a lot or the reverse question, “Why do planners charge more than others?” Either way the answer is the same. For the most part, planners who are just starting out will charge less because they are trying to get noticed, build up their portfolio or just do not know how to price appropriately for services.
However, if a planner is confident in what they offer, know the value of what they offer, educated, skilled and have several weddings or events under their belt, they will start pricing competitively. The low fee planner is unsure of themselves and services they provide to a client. So it is unfair for a planner to claim to offer the same level of service and knowledge as a seasoned professional.
A skilled professional planner will educate a client on the importance and value of a planner and why they charge the prices they do for their services.
For those who do not know why they need a planner, let’s explore what a planner does, shall we? A planner comes up with original ideas based on a theme, concept, and feeling of a client. A planner will execute the ideas of a client. They make sure a client stays within their budget and will notify them when they run over. A planner makes sure that the client will have a stress-free, worry-free event or wedding and will negotiate with vendors to get the best pricing possible. They also deal with problems that occur at the last minute without the client even knowing it (if possible).
Planners or coordinators who charge $395 are more than likely inexperienced in handling the above items I just mentioned.
If you see a planner who says, “I can do your event or wedding for less than that or for $395 WALK AWAY! You will be saving yourself a headache. Planners charge what they are worth. If you want the best, then guest what, you will pay for the best. If you want mediocre, unsure about their services, then that’s just what you will get.
There are some pros and cons of a hiring planner. I have listed them below:
- A planner can negotiate a contract to get better pricing.
- Planners with more experience can offer unique ideas and concepts.
- A professional planner will eliminate the stress of planning and will make you a guest at your own event.
- A planner can help you stay within your budget.
- A planner may not be necessary for a smaller wedding or event for a group of 20 people.
- If you have a small budget, the planner will increase your budget based on what you need them to do for you.
- You may not be able to let go of control and will bump heads with planner.
- Without an experience planner, you may stress out over the littlest of things or may forget important factors.
Bottom line is before making any commitments, ask the planner about their experience and training. Find out if the planner or coordinator does this part-time, just for fun, or whenever they have time. This will definitely help you decide if he/she is an amateur.
Lastly, always shop around! Get three quotes before you make a decision. Find out what each planner offers and compare their pricing to each service. A planner may have similar prices to their competitors but they may buy from high-quality vendors, while the other planner shops at bargain stores. It depends on what you want, how much you are willing to spend and if you gel well together. A planner should be like your best friend…you should be able to feel comfortable around them and trust them with everything.
Please share your thoughts on this. I love to hear from you. For additional information or a free consultation, visit www.ABEventPlanners.com or call 716-898-0959. Next blog: Is That Cake Real?
Last year's Pantone color of the year was turquoise
because of its calming effect (much-needed after a tumultuous 2009). This year, they're forecasting a way more vibrant color: Honeysuckle! According to Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman, “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues." It's already been on the red carpet, as you'll see below, and it's showing up in various of shades of cute items right now!
by Ariel Kaiser, The Thread Stylist
So you're thinking about starting a business? Read the E-Myths by Michael Gerber. This is an excellent book to read if you are thinking about going into business or in business.
Starting a business is exciting and can be very rewarding! But before you start consider these factors. Listed below are some things to consider when starting your business:
- Decide on what type of business you want
- Get training for your area of expertise
- Do you have the business, management, technical and selling skills that it will to start your business?
- What are these skills you need?
- Who will be your target audience (specifics)?
- Will you have a home based business or an office space?
- Do you have or will you need capital (startup funds)?
- How will you get your business out there?
- What form of advertising will you do?
- Are you willing to network 5 days out of the week?
- Will you need employees?
- How shall you dress when you meet clients (this will be another blog entry later on)
- How will you keep track of your records (clients, finances, contacts, etc.)
- Do you have a reliable computer?
- Will need you need a fax and credit machine?
- Will you need to be bonded, licensed and insured?
- Is there a market for your type of business? (hint: there's always a market)
- Will you know who to market yourself and business?
- Do you have an elevator pitch? (what's this you say? We will discuss this in another blog)
- What will be your business formation? (i.e., LLC, LLP, Corp, Inc., DBA). You will have to decide which business structure would be good for you.
There is a lot to consider when starting a business. These are only a few things to start working on. Until my next entry....Happy searching. If you have specific questions, please comment and I will respond to them.
There are several options where one can have their ceremony. Churches, cathedrals, chapels, temples, synagogues, house, gardens, hotels, clubs, halls, parks, museums, yachts, wineries, beaches, castles, hot air balloons, cruises, just to name a few.
The selection site will be influenced by the formality of your wedding, the time of year, the number of guests and your religious affiliation. We deciding on a location, keep in mind the restrictions and guidelines regarding photography, videography, music selection, decorations, candles, rice versus bubbles or grass seed, etc. Also keep in mind the distance from the ceremony to reception site, parking, handicapped accessibility and other time constraints.
Need to save money? consider having your ceremony and reception at the same location. Hire an experienced wedding consultant to help with the day of coordination (it's worth every dime). If you decide to host everything at the church and there's another wedding, consider asking the other bride to share the cost of the floral decorations. Having a membership at a club, temple or church can reduce rental fees as well. Try your community center in your area. This is usually $50-100 to rent. Host a garden wedding and have guest stand instead of renting chairs.
If you have any suggestions or ideas to save on weddings costs, please share them with us.
This question has been raised several times by people who do not belong a religious affiliation. People who are married in a church setting will be married by their pastor, priest or clergy of that church. However, for those who are not affiliated with a church and want to be married there are options for you.
This will vary from state to state. You can log onto usmarriagelaws.com for additional information. Once you decide who you want to perform your ceremony ask the following:
- Make an appointment to meet with him/her to see whom you are most comfortable with
- Ask how long have they been officiating and if they are willing to travel to your ceremony site
- Are there sample ceremony's they like to use
By asking these questions, you will be able to determine if they are a good fit for you.
You have options to choose from to do your ceremony: the County Clerk is short and inexpensive and requires no appointment. However, you will be married in their office and probably waiting a long period of time. Any Judge can perform the ceremony whether district or supreme court. Justice of The Peace can also perform short ceremonies in their chambers during office hours and possibly willing to travel. A Public Official such as a Mayor or Governor can perform a ceremony. You will need to check the jurisdiction for that city/town. A few states (like California, Vermont & Massachusetts) will grant a one-day license to allow your Friend to perform the ceremony.
Many civil ceremonies take place in a city-hall office or judges chambers; however, if the officiant is willing to travel, you can exchange vows at the beach, park, reception site, backyard, waterfront, etc. You can even get married a cruise ship!
As event & wedding professionals, we see more clients choosing simpler menu options rather than going the traditional route. The budget conscience bride has many options to choose from hors d'oeuvres. A full hors d' oeuvre station will satisfy anyone tummy!
The most popluar items are: sliders (hamburgers, turkey, ham or anything you desire), finger sandwiches, hot dogs rolled in a biscuit, fresh garden tomato bruschetta, rolled salami with cream cheese, mini crab cakes, tricked out popcorn placed in martini glasses, mini pancake stacks drizzled with syrup placed on a wooden skewer, parmesean cheese straws, forks of pasta, etc. Stylish food doesn’t have to cost a fortune, its all about the presentation of the appetizers and the bowls or glasses in which they are served.
Another trend setting option for 2010 is the venue. If you want to do something outside the box consider holding your event on a college campus, art gallery, backyard, a cave, castle or a warehouse. There's no need to go into debt for an event that's worth remembering! You create the perfect atmosphere and get the WOW factor you want by starting with a blank canvas (such as a cave or warehouse).
If you have some trend setting ideas, please share them with us.