Saturday, March 18, 2017

My Favorite Place to Find Event Vendors

Do not let the name fool you.  Wedding Wire is more than Wedding vendors.  Well, they are all Wedding Vendors, but this is a great resource to find local vendors.  It is also a great place to find unique venues.  Brides will also love the forums.

My favorite part is that most of the vendors I have a ball figure for what they charge, and even some breakdown on individual items; for example florist would list the range of what they would charge for a large table arrangement.  This can help in the early days of budgeting.

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Organized Bride

The best thing that the Bride can be in the months leading up to her Wedding is organized.  Honestly, read all the articles you want but the best advice is to be organized.  Have all your ducks in a row, know who needs to be where when, makes a world of difference.

The best place to start is with a binder.  Now, you can go out and buy one of these expensive binders to help you stay organized, or you can make your own.  I really prefer the make your own method, because you can have all the tabs you want breaking categories down into sub sections for all the balls you will have up in the air.

Get yourself to the office supply store, you will need a binder (in your colors), 3 ten packs of tabs, a 3 hole punch, sheet protectors, and business card holder sheets.  You might also want to go to the craft store to make it pretty.

Suggestion Tabs:

To-Do (I would suggest creating a master list with due date, print out a copy each week)
Planning Timeline
     Dresses and Tuxes
Bridal Party
Ceremony (include venue information)
    Table Decor
Day After (brunch)
Day of Itinerary
Guest List (spreadsheet with an RSVP column, print out a new copy each week)
Hotel (Block and Welcome Bag)
Music (Ceremony/Cocktail Hour)

This is just to get your started.  Add tabs you think you will need as they come up.  In these tabs keep vendor contracts, menus, things you have torn out from magazines.  Everything you think that you might or do need.  Take it everywhere with you, wear it out.

You can do this.

Happy Planning


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ask CW: How to Include Step-Parents in your Wedding

We get alot of questions from readers, we try to help where we can.
Dear CW:  My parents have been divorced since I was young.  They have both remarried wonderful people who have become an important part of my life.  I want to honor ‘all’ of my parents, but I do not want my biological parents to feel like I’ve diminished their role in our Wedding.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can include them?
~Lots of Parents
Dear Reader:  What a wonderful problem to have.  May I make a suggestion?  Communication will be the key to no hurt feelings in this situation.  Please have a discussion with each set of parents early in the planning process and ask them if they would like to participate in the Wedding, and what role they would like to play.  Also, update them throughout the process so there are no surprises come the big day.   
Many brides have their step father walk them half way up the aisle and their father walk them to remaining path to the altar.  If this is something you would like to do speak to both of them and make sure they are both comfortable.  I would also recommend, that the question “Who gives this woman to be married” is answer with “Her parents and I”.  Another wonderful way to honor both sets of parents would be to bring flowers to all the Mothers during the ceremony, while the pianist plays.
At the reception, the ‘fathers’ could share the father's dance or if you're fiancĂ©e also has a stepmother you could have 2 Father/Mother songs where you both dance with your step parents.   This would be after you have danced with your father and him with his mother.  Both fathers can also give toasts.

Be mindful to set aside some time while you are preparing for day with each of the mothers, and pictures should also include both sets, individually and together.
Have a question for us?  Drop us a line at: and we will help if  we can!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wedding Budget Breakdown 2017

Let's start with this figure.  The average Wedding in 2017 cost $35,329.  Let that sink in.

Now let's break that down in the average cost per category in your budget.


The biggest expense.  48% - 50% of the budget an estimated $16,957 to $17,664

  • Food, including appetizers, dinner, cake, and midnight snack
  • Venue Rental
  • Open Bar

Influencing Factors:  size of your guest list, serving style (sit down, stations, family style)
Where to save $$: consider dropping or down sizing the midnight snack, close the open bar an opt for wine service only during dinner


The most important expense.  10-12% of the budget an estimated $3,532- $4,239
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Photo Booth for Reception
Influencing Factors:  the number of hours both are on site, photo package
Where to save $$: don't skimp here, if you need savings skip the photo booth


The prettiest expense.  8-10 % of the budget an estimated $2,826 - $3,232
  • Ceremony Flowers
  • Reception Flowers (Centerpieces)
  • Family Flowers 
  • Wedding Party Flowers
  • Brides Bouquets (one to carry, one to throw)
  • Pew Bows, pew decorations
Influencing Factors:  size of wedding party, amount of flowers
Ways to save $$: limit who in the family gets flowers, stick with immediate; re-use ceremony flowers as decorations at the reception, consider making your own pew bows


The best expense to shop for.  8-10 % of the budget, $2,826 - $3,232
  • Brides Dress(es)
  • Groom's Clothing
Influencing Factors: theme of dress(es)
Where to save $$:  consider only have one dress (think removable train), rent all the tuxes from one place, typically the Groom's will be free


Get the party started expense. 8-10 % of the budget, $2,826 - $3,232 

This mainly just covers your DJ or band.  Unless of course you are planning on having a clown at your reception.  

Influencing Factors:  length of the reception, how long you will have them play
Where to save $$: Provide your own music (think Ipod) during the cocktail hour and dinner


Getting to the Church on time expense.  2-3% of the budget, $706-$1,059
  • limo, to the venue, from the venue to the hotel
Influencing Factors:  size of limo, party bus needed
Where to save $$: see if the hotel has a shuttle to pick the wedding party up 


The 'I do' expense. 2-3% of the budget, $706 - $1,059

The most important part has one of the smallest budget lines.  This will include the donation that the church will require.  If you are getting married at the same venue you are holding the reception the there should not more that a minimal cost, if any.


The everything else expense .  8-10 % of your budget, $2,826 - $3,532
  • Wedding Party Gifts
  • Stationary: Invitations, programs, Thank you notes, postage
  • Rings
  • Licenses
  • Hotel welcome bags
  • Favors
Influencing Factors: Quality of stationary, size of Wedding party
Where to save $$: only send save the date cards to out of town guests, put the welcome bags together yourself

Of course these are all just averages, you may choose to save alittle money here, spending alittle more over there.  Over the coming months we will dig even deeper into all these categories and help you decide where you want to spend and where you want to save.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions -

Happy Planning!


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dinner Options for your Event

The biggest line item in any event biggest is food.  Feeding a group of 100 - 200 is always a challenge.  It is also a challenge because you want to feed everyone a good meal, and you want to stay with in your budget.  That being said, there are alot different options when it comes to feeding your guests.  Below we break each dining option down, to help you make a more informed decision.

Family Style: Large bowls of the entree(s) and side dishes are passed around each table.

Pro:  Imitate and causal dining experience
Pro:  Guest interaction is high
Pro:  Cost is generally lower, decreased wait staff.
Con: Large bowls and platters, decrease room for table decoration
Con: Not offered by all catering companies or venues.

Sit-Down:  Guests are served complete dinners by wait staff.

Pro: Offered by all venues.
Pro: Dinner timing is more controlled, no one up getting seconds.
Con: Meals are often cold on arrival.
Con: No variation in dinners.
Con: Depending on size of party, more expensive due to larger wait staff.

Buffet: Foods are served on long tables, guests serve themselves.

Pro: Pricing, less wait staff.
Pro: Menu is completely
Con: Takes a long to feed guests.
Con: Food is often cold.
Con: Guests serve themselves.

Stations:  Foods are served in stations position around the reception, guests serve themselves.

Pro: Variety of foods can be offered.
Pro: Dinner stations can be converted to Dessert stations.
Pro: Guests start at different stations, avoiding lines, and deceasing serving times.
Con: Dinner timing is looser, guests mingling, getting seconds.
Con: Guests serve themselves.

Discuss each option with your venue or caterer.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How to Plan your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

My suggestion when it comes to planning your Rehearsal Dinner is to have fun.  By the time the rehearsal dinner comes around, all the planning and to-do lists are done.  All you have to do, is get a good night's sleep and show up the next day.  The night before should be fun and relaxing and time to really visit some of your family and out of town guests. Let's get started.

Where to have it.

Wedding Rehearsals dinners can be held almost anywhere.  The bar you where you meant.  The hotel you are the guests are staying at.  The bowling alley down the street from the hotel you are staying at.  There are really no 'rules' expect for it needs to fit all the people you want to invited and there is a way for you to feed them, and get them a drink.

Budget Friendly?  Think about hosting (or asking your parents) to host the dinner at their house.  Maybe a cook out or a pizza party.

Worried about guests getting lost?  Talk to the hotel you holding your events at, or where you guests are staying at, and see if they would be willing to help you secure a room and a light dinner menu.

Who is going to pay for it.

Traditionally the Grooms parents pay for the dinner.  The trend is moving to couples paying for this themselves.  If you are planning on paying for it, remember to make sure it is part of your budget.

Who gets invited.

Again, there are very few rules.  The must invites are all of those participating in the Wedding and their families, this includes the officiant.  You will want to invited your immediate family that is not in the Wedding, but in town for the Wedding.

You can also think about inviting out of town guests, but if you invite one, you invite all of them. If that isn't in the budget, think about holding alittle after party at the hotel to visit with the out of town guests.

Do We send Invitations to the Wedding Rehearsal?

You can.  It's a cute idea, especially for those you are inviting who are not participating in the Wedding.  I would suggest sending 2 sets, one for those that need to be at the Rehearsal and those who are only invited to the dinner.  Check with the stationer that you are purchasing your invitations from, they should be able to create some postcard invitations for you, these are perfectly acceptable.

Do not post the Wedding Rehearsal or the Dinner information on your Wedding website or Facebook site.  That is unless you are prepared for extra guests.

What do I wear to my Rehearsal Dinner?

I would prefer that you do not wear jeans to a church.  I would say the dress code, depending on where you are having the dinner, should be driven by the venue the ceremony is in.  If you are headed to a fancy restaurant you may want to dress more formal.  Most rehearsals are pretty causal, so I would say business causal for men, and causal dresses for the ladies.

What do you do at the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner.

Eat.  Enjoy.  Talk.  Visit.  Pass out Bridal Party gifts.  This is a great time for funny toasts and stories.  Relax.

My one last piece of advice is this.  Have a designated start and end time.  The next day is going to be busy.

Happy Planning!