Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wedding Favors - Great Favor Ideas for Brides on a Budget

When it comes to your wedding budget, wedding favors are often the first item to suffer deletion from your list. They're not mandatory, so why waste precious wedding dollars on these seemingly frivolous items? I had already decided I wouldn't be wasting money or effort on this wedding detail, but my mom reminded me that wedding favors are a great way to thank guests for sharing in your celebration. I conceded.

I soon found that wedding favors are also a fun little extra to tie in the style of the occasion. And If I know anything about today's weddings - it's that they're all about the details. No one wants a cookie cutter wedding, and wedding favors offer a relatively inexpensive outlet for you to demonstrate your creativity and set your wedding apart from the rest.

Just like everything else in the wedding planning process, if you would really like to give favors at your wedding, you can always find a way to make it fit within your budget.

What They'll Cost
Expect to spend around $1 per guest on the low end, and just like any other element of a wedding, costs can always creep up to suit your wildest imaginations

Budget-Friendly Favor Ideas

• Here's what I did for my wedding favors: For my Atlanta wedding, I gave guests cds featuring selections about Georgia or from Georgia artists. The discs costs virtually nothing; and I ordered customized decorative cd labels and holders for a minimal amount.

• Food and candy items are often inexpensive and always popular. Make yours stand out: give a regional favorite from your wedding location - peanuts in Georgia, Vermont maple syrup, or hot salsa in Texas.

• Round up your family or bridesmaids for a fun night of homemade favor-making. Test your culinary skills and make a homemade jam or spread for your guests. (package them in festive customized jars!)

• Even if you have your heart set on a high-end item, save by giving one gift per couple, placed between their dinner plates and tagged with the couple's names (of course, your single friends will each still receive one).

• Get two things for the price of one, and ask your florist to create centerpieces that can be split into tiny bouquets for your guests to take home.

For more tips on favors and accessories, visit my complete wedding favors and gifts guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Your Wedding Dress - Cost and Budgeting Tips

As a recent bride myself, I know this... Shopping for a wedding dress is one of the most anticipated wedding planning milestones for a bride-to-be. There's just something awe-inspiring and almost magical about "the dress." Whether you have been dreaming of it since age four or have yet to give it much thought, seeing yourself in a wedding dress for the first time can be a wonderfully disarming moment.

That said, shopping for a wedding gown is a tad more involved than shopping for your basic pair of slacks. After all, this is a dress that will most likely be the most expensive and most photographed you've ever owned. But don't let the potentially high price tag scare you. This being a budget basics blog, I've compiled some useful cost and budget information so that you'll be prepared when shopping for your wedding dress.

Determine Your Budget
It's best to have an idea of what you would like to spend before stepping into a bridal salon. This will save you the hassle of going to salons out of your price range or allowing the sales clerk to bring you dresses you cannot afford. The average cost of a wedding dress is around $800. However prices can range from anywhere as low as $100 to as high as $10,000 and beyond. Shop around online and in magazines to get an idea of how much wedding dresses cost and how much you want to spend. In general, your wedding gown shouldn't exceed 10 percent of the cost of the wedding reception.

When determining the cost of your wedding dress, remember to factor in the cost for the veil, (which can run up to $500 and beyond), and other accessories such as shoes, headpiece etc.

Know Where to Shop
The most popular choice is the bridal salon, known for a high level of customer service. Bridal salons exist almost everywhere; you can search the local wedding services directory at for ones nearest you. Of course, all bridal salons are not the same. Some feature wedding gowns from multiple designers, others feature only gowns from one specific designer custom for their particular store. Price ranges vary as well. While many bridal salons offer gowns starting as low as $300, prices at other stores can start as high as $4000. Call and inquire before choosing a store.

Brides on a tighter budget can try an outlet. Bridal outlets offer hundreds of dresses, often from past seasons, at a discounted price. For more information on bridal shops, this wedding dress shopping guide can help.

Or try a nationwide bridal chain store (such as David's Bridal) These national chains manufacture, import, and sell their own private label wedding gowns. While the style selection is more limited than in other types of stores, the prices are usually lower. For more information on national bridal chains, review the wedding gown shopping guide at -Elegant Galas Made Simple.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wedding Invitation - Budget Considerations and Ways to Save

Worried that your wedding invitations are going to break your wedding budget? Don't fear; here's what you need to know about ordering wedding invitations...

Before you go shopping, become familiar with the invitation printing process and lingo; this will help you determine your needs in advance and avoid unnecessary costs. Price is determined per invitation, so if your guest list is huge - be prepared to designate a significant portion of your budget to wedding invitations.

Costs can range anywhere from $1-$50 each. Bulky papers, colored inks and unique graphics all increase the cost. Custom designs can also be pricey.

Printing options also affect the cost. Here are your printing options:

Engraving - most formal and most expensive - results in raised print that is pressed through the back.
Thermography - less expensive than engraving - results in raised print that does not press through the back
Lithography - less expensive than either engraving or theromography - results in print that is neither raised nor pressed through
Laser printing - the least expensive option. - produced on a laser printer and results in print similar to that of lithography.When factoring total costs, don't forget to consider postage as part of your budget, including stamps for the response card envelopes.

The bottom line: If you're looking for ways to save -

1) Keep your design simple, sticking to one color.
2) Use lighter weight papers and include less inserts. Use response postcards instead of cards with envelopes.
3) Select a less-expensive printing option - such as laser printing.

Need more advice and tips on planning your invites? My complete wedding invitations and stationery guide can help.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Complete Wedding Planning information at my new Wedding Lens

Hey everyone - I just created a lens at Squidoo - which has complete wedding planning advice, useful tools, links and resources. Check it out:

So far I've included a list of links that I found useful in planning my own wedding; along with a few planning articles and lists. I will eventually be adding a complete photo gallery of wedding details - images from my own wedding and others of wedding details (cakes, bouquets, centerpieces, favors etc) that I found particularly unique and inspiring. So keep checking back!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wedding Transportation - How to Arrive in Style on a Budget

Every girl dreams of making a grand Cinderella-like entrance to the ball – and her wedding day is the perfect excuse. Although not the most exciting task on your wedding to do list, planning your wedding transportation represents yet another opportunity to show off your creativity and personality. But at what cost should you be willing to sacrifice your wedding budget for glamour? With my sound advice, you can save and still arrive in posh style. Make an impression on a budget with these top five ways to save on wedding transportation:

Downsize Your Ride
You don’t necessarily need a stretch limo for an intimate bridal party. Traditional limos seat 6 passengers and are a perfect budget friendly alternative to their stretch counterparts. If scaling back the size of your bridal party isn’t an option, consider having a close friend or relative transport them to the wedding, and save the hired ride for you and your hubby.

Save the Drama
Determine what point in the day your mode of transportation will have the greatest effect – and hire the fancy ride for that one way trip. Do you really need a chauffeured limo if you’re showing up in a t-shirt and jeans? Perhaps you would rather make a dramatic getaway at the end of your reception. Sign up for the hourly rate instead of the entire evening, and enjoy considerable savings.

Designate a Driver
Ditch the chauffeured ride, and opt for a rental car that is equally as glamorous. Recruit someone reliable (and sober) to drive your rental.

Omit the Amenities
A television and sunroof might seem like an enticing add-on when booking your wedding transportation. But consider the circumstances - just how much TV are you going to watch on your wedding day? Take our advice – lose the pricey extras – and put the savings towards more noticeable wedding details.

Have an Off-Peak Gala
Again, there is no rule that states that your wedding has to be held on a Saturday in June. If you hold your event on a day when rental vehicles are in less demand, chances are you can negotiate a considerable discount.

For more advice to help you plan your wedding day ride, visit my complete Wedding Transportation Guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple