Monday, November 05, 2007

Top Budgeting Mistakes Brides Make

You’ve said yes, you’ve conjured up ideas for the wedding of your childhood dreams…let the planning begin! But not before you establish a budget, that is. The thought of spending upwards of $28,000 – the 2007 national average – on one day can seem like a nauseating number. But once the planning begins, it can all add up. An extra hour here and a few enhancements there, and you’ve got yourself in the middle of a budget nightmare. We’ve compiled a list of the top budget mistakes brides and grooms make - and how to avoid them.

Not having a plan
Winging it may (or may not) work in every other aspect of your life, but this is not one of those times when it is worth a shot. Begin your planning process by establishing a reliable method to keep track of all your expenditures. Even a simple spreadsheet will help to allocate your expenses.

Ignoring the numbers
One of the biggest mistakes an overzealous bride can make is to start planning anything before determining her guest count. That exquisite mansion may make the perfect setting – but not if it can’t hold all of your guests. A nonrefundable venue deposit is surely not a budget-friendly way to commence your wedding plans. Take a step back and first determine an approximate number of invitees for your big day.

Get more wedding budget advice at - elegant galas made simple.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bridal Fitness - The Fastest Way to Get in Shape for the Wedding

Of course every bride-to-be knows that one of the key ingredients to looking and feeling her best on her wedding day is a killer fitness routine. But sometimes we need a little motivation to transform a bootylicious bod into a bride-a-licious bod. 'Cause let's face it - pounding away on the treadmill day after day gets a tad tedious.

So I'm happy to report that I'm no longer a slave to the old treadmill (or eliptical, or stairmaster...). I've found what I truly believe to be the most effective - and more importantly - most enjoyable workout I've ever tried. It's called boot camp.

I just completed a month-long boot camp here in Atlanta, and hands down, this was the best workout experience of my life. Boot camp takes exercise back to the basics, back to it was actually fun. Remember how much you looked forward to field day back in elementary school? It's a little like that - only you're getting the most effective workout of your life. Every day is different - and exercises consist of tried and true basics - things like push ups, sit ups, relay races, sprinting with cones, scavenger hunts, etc. And instead of struggling through repetitions on your own, the instructors are there to support you and stay on you. You don't want to let them - or yourself -down, so you keep pushing - way beyond what you could accomplish on your own.

Now it's your turn to try it!
Boot camps are catching on, and new ones are popping up all over the country. Many are owned and taught by women and offer specific training sessions geared towards brides.

Here are some local suggestions around the US, as well as some at-home options, to get you started:

1) The American Boot Camp Company - Atlanta, GA - This is the one I did! The 30-Day boot camp program includes 16 group workouts - each about 45 minutes. In addition, instructors monitor your daily food intake, helping you learn how to incorporate nutrition into an overall healthy lifestyle.

2) Adventure Boot Camp for Women - Locations throughout the US - Offers four week programs that include one hour sessions Monday through Friday. Cost is $299 for a regular 4-week camp or $199 for a three-day-per-week program.

3) FitBoot - Boston, MA - This program has a realistic military approach, but a supportive environment for women of all fitness levels. The course ($375) consists of 45 minute sessions every weekday for six weeks, and recruits must pass a physical fitness test at the end of camp.

4) Fit to Be Wed Live - West Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, CA - Camp features 60-70 minute workouts 3 days a week for 4 weeks. Geared towards brides, bridesmaids, and mothers of the bride and groom, workouts include lots of shaping and toning in those "key wedding gown areas" -- the arms, back, and shoulders.

5) The Healthy Bride’s Boot Camp Workout - DVD - This DVD features four 45 minute workouts, including cardio, abs and push ups, stretching, and weight training designed for the style of your dress. Get in shape for your wedding - all in the comfort of your own home. $21.95 - available at or other retailers

6) Bridal Bootcamp – Paperback – by Cynthia M. Conde - This book is a fitness and nutrition guide created especially for women, with a focus on looking fabulous on your wedding day. It includes 6 month, 3 month and 4 week programs you can follow to lose body fat, increase lean muscle and make healthy lifestyle changes. $14.95 - available at or other retailers.

For more tips and advice to help you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for your wedding, visit the Emotionally Engaged Guide

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wedding Attire - What are the etiquette rules for dress code?

Q: I'm attending a New England wedding in November as a guest of a guest. What dress code rules should I adhere toto? Are long formal dresses inappropriate for anyone other than bridesmaids? What's the etiquette?

A: Dress codes for modern weddings have relaxed a bit, but there are still traditional standards for fabrics and styles. Style really depends on the formality of the wedding. For formal evening weddings, guests should dress for a nice dinner or event. This includes suits (or black tie) for men and dresses or skirts in sophisticated colors and fabrics for women. Lengths can also vary according to the style of event and location. For instance – an outdoor beach wedding lends itself to shorter hems and more casual fabrics; however, a formal wedding in a ballroom calls for longer ball gowns or cocktail dresses. As for colors – female guests can now wear black (a color that was once frowned upon), but to avoid competing with the bride, guests should never wear white.

Get more Wedding Etiquette Advice at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

-Cori Russell - style and etiquette editor

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weding Flowers - Tulips for Fall Wedding?

Q: I'm getting married in October and am interested in having tulips in my bouquet. Are tulips appropriate for a fall wedding? Are there any concerns I should be aware of with how they'll hold up?

A: Tulips are spring flowers, and not usually associated with Fall weddings. That said, weddings are really all about expressing your personality and style – so if you have your heart set on tulips – I say go for it!

Things to consider:
Realize that out of season blooms tend to be more difficult to find and therefore more expensive – so you should confirm with your florist right away about cost and availability.

Since the wedding is in the fall, you may want to stick away from pastel colored varieties and opt for bolder reds or deeper yellows instead.

Tulips are thirsty flowers – so make sure they have plenty of water if in a vase or that the floristry foam is well-wetted.

Tulips are also very sensitive to temperature. Try to keep them cool for as long as possible before the event, and don’t place the arrangements next to sources of heat – i.e. next to a heater, on the mantle above a fire, or in the direct sunlight.

Get even more ideas and advice for Planning a Fall Wedding at - Elegant Galas Made Simple
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Find more advice to help you Plan Your Wedding Flowers at, Elegant Galas Made Simple

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Are You Turning into Bridezilla? 5 Tips to Avoid the Monster Inside

Let’s face it, most women don’t set out to become difficult and obnoxious when presented with a marriage proposal and the task of planning a wedding. Bridezilla clichés aside, sometimes the stress in coordinating the details brings out the worst in even the most laid back of women. We all swear it won’t happen to us, but sure enough, there we find ourselves – arguing fiercely with our fiancé about the font style on our place cards or bursting into tears when the mother of the groom adds five more people to the expanding guest list.

It’s easy to do – engaged women are inundated with detail-driven messages expounding elusive images of “perfection” and “fairytale.” From custom labels to custom lighting, the list of “must have” wedding essentials grows exponentially. Meanwhile, the billion dollar behemoth that is the wedding industry sits back and cashes in on the mania designed to ensure the flawlessness of a woman’s “big day.”

So while the critics sit back and label us “bridezilla,” the reality is that our sometimes fanatical behavior is somewhat warranted and perpetuated by those around us. Deep inside every bridezilla is just a woman who fell in love and decided to celebrate a lifelong commitment. The problem lies is getting back to her.

Afraid that you fit the bridezilla bill? Here are 5 steps to help you Avoid Bridezilla Behavior and return to the person you were before the madness ensued.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bridal Party - Other Ways to Honor Friends Beyond the Traditional Bridesmaid Role?

Q: I don't want to have a huge wedding party, but between my fiance and I we have four sisters, and I have a lot of close friends from college and highschool. What are some options to include important people in my life other than asking them to be a bridesmaid?
- Tricia -

A: When it comes to casting your wedding “VIPs” you have plenty of options beyond the traditional roles of bridesmaid or groomsmen. You could designate a few close friends as “honorary attendants.” Since the role isn’t an “official” role – you can make it entail whatever you want. Your honorary attendants can attend all showers and pre-parties; you can designate special seating for them at the front during the ceremony; you can give them a single flower or nosegay to carry at the ceremony to further set them apart (without giving them a full bouquet), and you can list their names in your program.

They’ll essentially have the role of bridesmaid – without standing and wearing matching bridesmaids dresses at the wedding.

Another option is to designate a specific role to each – one can be a reader at the ceremony, one a candle lighter, one a bell ringer, one a guest book attendant, etc.
-Cori Russell - style and etiquette editor

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cake Smashing - Cute Wedding Tradition or Bad Manners?

Q: My fiancé and I have been to a few weddings highlighted by the cake cutting and cake smash that followed. We think smearing a little cake onto each other’s face is a lighthearted way to display our joy and affection. My mother and some family members have suggested it’s in poor taste. It’s our wedding and our day, can we do it anyway?
- Allison -

A: You are right - it is your wedding, and your job as host and hostess is to make your guests feel comfortable. Since some of your guests have explicitly expressed that they find cake smashing offensive, subjecting them to it would be inconsiderate. Of course, no one can stop you from smashing the leftovers in your hubby’s face in the getaway car.

If you want to be sure your guests have a great time at your wedding, consult this list of the top wedding guest complaints and learn what to avoid.

-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Catering - What is the Average Cost Per Head at a Wedding Reception?

Q: What is the average cost per head for food and beverage at a wedding reception?
-Erin -

A: Cost per head depends on the meal and beverages you choose to serve your guests. For a full sit-down dinner with a full open bar, you can expect to pay around $100 per person ($65-$75 per person on the meal, plus $25-$35 per person on the bar). If you serve a soft bar with just beer and wine – you can reduce the beverage cost by about $10-$15 per person. Serving no alcoholic beverages can reduce this even further to about $5 per person for soft drinks and tea.

If yours is a morning or afternoon reception, the cost per person is usually much less, as breakfast and lunch menus typically range from about $25-$50 per person (depending on your caterer and what you serve). Daytime receptions are also more likely to have limited bars or no alcohol – which again, will save on the per person charge.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Find a complete guide to Planning Your Catering Menu at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wedding Bathroom Baskets - What to Put in Them?

Q: I have been asked to put "necessities" baskets in the mens and ladies restrooms. What is typically included in these wedding bathroom baskets?

A: Between sitting, dancing, talking, eating, and drinking for 5 or more hours, your guests might find themselves in need of some handy items they probably didn’t think to bring with them. How considerate of you to have thought ahead to provide these things for them!

You will need to create two bathroom baskets (one for the men, one for the ladies).

Here is a list of common items to include in each:
breath mints or breath strips
individually wrapped toothpicks
small Band-aids
tablet antacids like Tums
safety pins
individual packets of an OTC pain reliever like Advil or Excedrin
pocket-packs of tissues
a few matchbooks
travel bottle of hand sanitizer
Shout wipes or other stain-remover wipes
Spray deodorant
Nail clippers
Small sewing kit
Cough drops Hand Lotion

Additional Items for the Ladies Basket:
travel-sized hair spray
tampons and pads
bottle of clear nail polish
bobby pins
emery boards
a packet of replacement earring backs

When it comes to arranging your baskets, layer the larger items in the back, then tuck the smaller things on top and in the front. Especially if there is a unisex bathroom, you should try to be discreet with the ladies’ unmentionables by sticking them in the back. You can get as creative as you want (and have time for) with decorating your baskets to make them inviting or complement the rest of your wedding décor.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Save the Dates - Wording Samples

Q: I am sending out my save the date magnets and want to include hotel information. Do you have an example of the proper wording?

A: The content of your save-the-dates should be short, sweet, and to the point - providing a basic who, what, where, and when. There is no standard wording; they can be as formal or as whimsical as you'd like. In any case, make sure to include "Formal invitation to follow" somewhere on the card.

Here is the basic layout for the save-the-date cards:

Save the Date: [bride & groom's name] are getting married on [wedding date] in [city, state]

If you’re including hotel information – here is a basic format:

A block of rooms has been reserved at [Name of Hotel]. Please reference the [bride’s last name/groom’s last name] wedding to reserve the special rate of [hotel rate]. [hotel phone number, hotel website]

If space is an issue – you can simply state: Room block reserved at the [name of hotel, hotel phone number]

More advice on sending save the dates can be found in the original article source at - Elegant Galas Made Simple.

-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Monday, August 13, 2007

Guest List - Invite Guests to Bridal Shower and Not Wedding?

Q: My maid of honor is throwing me a bridal shower, and my co-workers are on the guest list. Our reception space is limited though, so I wasn't planning to invite them to the wedding. Is it ok to invite guests to the shower and not the wedding?

A: General rule - if a guest is important enough to be invited to the bridal shower, that person should be important enough to attend the main event. So choose your shower list wisely, and give your maid of honor the wedding guest list ahead of time.

The only exception to this rule is if your co-workers decided to throw you an impromptu office shower - they would not necessarily expect a wedding invitation just because they threw you a happy hour send-off. The very fact that they planned it themselves suggests they are not expecting a wedding invitation.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Get even more advice on creating your wedding guest list at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wedding Guest List - Can We Invite More Than Our Venue Capacity?

Q: My wedding reception site holds 75, but my guest list is at 87. How much can we afford to go over - isn't there a standard percentage of guests who typically decline?

A: You can generally expect about 10-15% of invited guests not to come to your wedding. It’s definitely better to err on the side of caution (you never know – they could all show up), but with a venue size of 75, you should be fine inviting 87 guests – just don’t stretch it any higher.
*Note - another thing to consider is whether or not your venue holds 75 or seats 75. If your venue seats 75 - you can get away with inviting more if you're planning a stand-up cocktail and appetizer-style reception.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Get even more advice on creating your wedding guest list at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Setting the Date - Must We Plan Our Wedding Date Around My Sister's Wedding?

Q: My sister got engaged a few months before me and set her wedding date for a year and half from now. I would really prefer to keep our engagement shorter, but she says I have to wait and name a date after hers since she got engaged first. She's afraid no one will want to travel to her wedding if I have mine first. Do I have to wait?

A: Technically, you are under no obligation to wait until after your sister has had her wedding. However, a big part of wedding etiquette is being gracious to all involved, no matter how petty or selfish they may be acting. If having an earlier wedding is going to cause a family feud, you may want to hold off. If you really don't want to wait, consider a very short engagement and have your wedding several months before hers. With enough time in between the two events, family and friends will be happy to attend both your wedding and your sister's wedding.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Answer more of your Wedding Etiquette questions at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wedding Colors - Must Ceremony and Reception Colors Match?

Q: Do the wedding colors and the reception colors have to match?

A: Your ceremony and reception colors to not have to necessarily match; however, they should coordinate or complement each other so that your wedding day has a complete feel. An easy way to do this is to have one or two colors featured at your wedding ceremony – then add a complementary color at your reception. For example - decorate your ceremony in shades of green and white, then add touches of brown (for an organic feel) or bright pink and orange (for a tropical feel) to the mix at your reception.

Remember also that the style and décor of your ceremony and reception sites should guide your color scheme decisions.

You can find a complete guide to choosing your wedding colors at - Elegant Galas Made Simple.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Friday, July 27, 2007

Problem Bridesmaid - Kick Her Out Of The Wedding Party?

Q: One of my bridesmaids is driving me nuts. She criticizes every decision I make and is ruining the whole process. Can I kick her out of the wedding party?

A: Ideally you two should sit down and talk it out. Ask what's bothering her and try to determine why she has issues with the decisions you're making. Perhaps she's jealous? If this is the case, a good talk between two friends may solve the issue. If she continues to behave badly, you have two choices: 1) tell her that while you value her friendship, you feel it would be best if she were no longer in the wedding party (tread lightly here though, as this may be a fatal blow to the friendship) or 2) assuming that you really do value her friendship, ask your maid-of-honor to run interference with bridesmaidzilla until after the wedding.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tipping Wedding Vendors

Q: If you are have a reception package which includes a DJ, caterer, servers, and coordinator in the price - are you supposed to tip these included vendors, and if so - how much?
~ J. Wolfe – Edmond, OK

A: You’ve already thrown down a fortune for this one day, but as with any other service industry, you still need to take tipping into consideration when calculating your overall budget. Although generally thought to be a voluntary act, tipping is a wonderful way to express your generosity. Still, shelling out wads of cash is probably the last thing you will want to deal with while you are trying to focus your attention on your friends and family. If you are using a wedding coordinator, make it his/her responsibility to tip your vendors on the day of your wedding; if not, elect your best man to do the deed.

So just how much should you tip your vendors? Here’s a basic guideline:

  • Beauty services (hair, makeup, nails): 15-20% of fee
  • Wedding coordinator: not expected
  • Officiant (if officiant does not charge a fee): between $100 and $200. If you didn’t have a lot of involvement with the officiant, you can contribute a lower amount.
  • Transportation: 15-20% of fee, unless it’s been included
  • Parking attendants/valets: about $1 per car
  • Coatroom and restroom attendants: $.50 to $1 per guest
  • Musicians (ceremony and reception): $20-$25 per musician
  • Photographer/videographer: Optional; $20-$25 each
  • Banquet manager, Maitre d’: $200-$300, if gratuity isn’t included
  • Caterer and waitstaff: total tip ranges between $250-$500 (depending on total cost and nature of event), if gratuity isn’t already included
  • Bartenders: 10% of total liquor bill (to divide amongst bartenders), if gratuity isn’t already included. *note – do not allow bartenders to place tip jars on the bar; let bartenders know that you’ll be handling the total tip and guests should not feel obligated to tip.

Of course, these are all just guidelines and the amount that you give should reflect your level of satisfaction. In general, tips should be given in cash just before the vendor leaves, and no one single person should get more than $150. And no matter how much or little a vendor contributed to your celebration, everyone will appreciate a thank-you note.

Get more Wedding Budget Advice at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Monday, July 23, 2007

How to Plan an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony

Let’s face it – the world just isn’t as big as it used to be. As a testament to the earth’s seemingly shrinking waistline, more and more young men and women are finding true love outside their faiths – and making it work. Yet no matter how progressive you and your families may be, the peaceful merging of two religions can prove an ambitious undertaking. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that love is the end goal, and get ready to celebrate a marriage made in heaven, er, make that two heavens. Interfaith wedding ceremonies pose a few planning challenges. Here is some advice to get you started:

Do Some Soul Searching
If you’ve been neglecting your spiritual side, it’s time to get reacquainted. Assess your beliefs and the role you see them playing in your life. How important to you is it that your wedding ceremony reflects your religious background? How willing are you to compromise for your fiancé’s beliefs or family? Know your personal stance on faith and religion, so you can speak candidly with your fiancé and your families and make decisions accordingly.

Talk it Over
After you’ve come to terms with your own spirituality, you and your fiancé need to have an honest discussion about religion. Although you should have broached the topic at some point during your relationship, now a wedding ceremony and marriage loom, adding a sense of urgency. During your internal reflection, you may have discovered your own views altering a bit, and he may feel the same. Discuss together your values, and identify what traditions are most meaningful for each of you to incorporate into your wedding ceremony and marriage.

Invite the Families
Combining two sets of traditions while keeping the peace with both families can be tricky. Invite both sides to listen to your ideas and contribute their expectations for your wedding day. You’d be surprised how an honest group discussion can bring about solutions once deemed elusive. As the happy couple, you and your fiancé should be prepared to discuss openly your choices, but you should also be receptive to their viewpoints. Be honest, open and supportive, and make sure that your ceremony plans are agreeable (or at least livable) for everyone.

Get the Right Officiant(s)
While many officiants do not perform interfaith weddings – or only do so with restrictions – just as many specialize in interfaith wedding ceremonies. If either of you has a relationship with the clergy at your respective place of worship, consult with that him or her first. Even if your clergy is unable to perform the service, he or she should be able to evaluate your situation with an open mind and make suggestions and recommendations. Many religious and interfaith organizations maintain lists of clergy who will officiate at interfaith ceremonies. Search the wedding vendor directory for a list of interfaith wedding officiants in every state and region.

Get Counseled
Counseling sessions, often recommended before a wedding regardless of the couple’s religion, offer a good opportunity for a bride and groom to not only learn about the other's faith, but also to consider ways to merge traditions or celebrations during the ceremony. Since religion won’t disappear after your wedding day, counseling sessions also offer insight to other situations that may arise in your marriage, including raising children.

Plan a Fusion Ceremony
Consult your officiant(s) and families for advice in designing a ceremony that incorporates both faiths and cultures. Determine which customs are personally significant, and select rituals and readings together. Continue this blending of cultures into the reception, and design a menu of personalized fusion cuisine – think egg rolls with a side of Spanakopita.

Reassure the Family
As your wedding plans unfold, remember to pause from time to time and check in with your families, especially if the news of an interfaith wedding was an initial shock for either side. Continue to keep them involved and informed throughout the planning process. Spend quality time together, and, if logistics allow, plan some group get-togethers.

Reassure Yourselves
Along those lines – don’t forget to reassure each other along the way, as uncertainty can creep in with potential roadblocks and planning challenges. Don’t stress that you’re losing your religion, because your not. Remember to always keep the focus on the marriage of two people in love, and rejoice that you now have two great traditions from which to draw your spiritual inspiration. Delight in a spiritually rich life and future to come!

For more advice to help you plan your wedding ceremony, visit the complete wedding ceremony guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Friday, July 20, 2007

Get in Shape for your Wedding with the Latest Workout Trend for Brides

New Bridal Bootcamps Help you Get in Shape for Your Wedding

Sometimes we need a little motivation to transform a bootylicious bod into a bride-a-licious bod. So you’re not a gym bunny? Enlist in boot camp! Many boot camps are owned and taught by women and offer specific training sessions geared towards brides. These pre-nuptial programs can range from intensive weekend or week-long regimens to long-term fitness plans. So report to duty, and shape up for your wedding.

Where to find: These bridal boot camps are popping up all over the country. Here are some local suggestions around the US, as well as some at-home options, to get you started. As with all fitness programs, please consult your physician before starting a new exercise regimen:

1) Adventure Boot Camp for Women - Locations throughout the US - Offers four week programs that include one hour sessions Monday through Friday. Cost is $299 for a regular 4-week camp or $199 for a three-day-per-week program.

2) FitBoot - Boston, MA - This program has a realistic military approach, but a supportive environment for women of all fitness levels. The course ($375) consists of 45 minute sessions every weekday for six weeks, and recruits must pass a physical fitness test at the end of camp.

3) Fit to Be Wed Live - West Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, CA - Camp features 60-70 minute workouts 3 days a week for 4 weeks. Geared towards brides, bridesmaids, and mothers of the bride and groom, workouts include lots of shaping and toning in those "key wedding gown areas" -- the arms, back, and shoulders.

4) Operation Boot Camp - Atlanta (Piedmont and Buckhead), GA - The 30-Day boot camp program includes 18 group workouts - each about 45 minutes. The program intersperses outdoor workouts with indoor studio sessions, providing a well-rounded, cross-training approach. In addition, instructors monitor your daily food intake, helping you learn how to incorporate nutrition into an overall healthy lifestyle.

5) The Healthy Bride’s Boot Camp Workout - DVD - This DVD features four 45 minute workouts, including cardio, abs and push ups, stretching, and weight training designed for the style of your dress. Get in shape for your wedding - all in the comfort of your own home. $21.95 - available at or other retailers

6) Bridal Bootcamp – Paperback – by Cynthia M. Conde - This book is a fitness and nutrition guide created especially for women, with a focus on looking fabulous on your wedding day. It includes 6 month, 3 month and 4 week programs you can follow to lose body fat, increase lean muscle and make healthy lifestyle changes. $14.95 - available at or other retailers.

For more tips and advice to help you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for your wedding, visit the Emotionally Engaged Guide

-Cori Russell, Style and Etiquette Editor

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wedding Invitations & Stationery - Include Travel Info. on Save-The-Dates?

Q: My mother is suggesting that I include all of the hotel information for out-of-town guests in the save-the-date/announcement card. Is this common or can it simply be a part of the invitation?
- Jamile -

A: It is best to provide your out-of-town guests with travel and lodging information prior to sending your invitations, since they don't go out until 6-8 weeks before the wedding. The earlier your guests can begin planning their travel arrangement, the easier it will be for them to attend your wedding.

You have a few options:
1) You can include lodging information with the save-the-date, - either printed directly on the card or on an insert.

2) You can create a wedding website that includes travel/lodging information - and include a link to the website with the save the date.

3) You can also send a separate mailing - in between the save-the-dates and invitations - that includes detailed information about your wedding, such as travel, lodging, things-to-do, weekend itinerary, etc. This doesn't need to be anything formal or professionally printed - just a typed list will suffice.

-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Get more ideas to plan your wedding stationery and browse a comprehensive gallery of unique wedding invitations, save-the-dates and other products - visit the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Guide or the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Search.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wedding Flowers - What are the Least Expensive Flowers?

Q: I'm a bride on a budget; what are some inexpensive wedding flowers?
- Heather -

A: Although individual flower prices vary depending on location, season and your individual florist, certain blooms tend to be more moderately priced than others.

These are: Orange Blossoms, Lavender, Daffodil, Daisies, Chrysanthemum, Carnations, Roses (due to huge variance in kind, quality, and color) and Greenery – such as ivy.

On the other hand, flowers that tend to be expensive are: Lily of the Valley, Calla Lily, Orchids, Magnolias, Peonies, Gardenia and Hydrangea.

Regardless, in-season flowers are often less expensive and easier to find. You can find a list of common flowers for each season at the seasonal flower guide.

As always, you can ask your florist to review your options with you and determine which specific blooms will fit into your budget.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wedding Invitations - Going Digital?

Q: Instead of sending traditional paper save-the-date cards, I want to send a classy contemporary digital invitation - perhaps a flash email or a link to an online invitation informing guests of our coming wedding date. Is this acceptable, and if so, how can I go about doing this?
- Suliat -

A: Inspired by the YouTube generations, digital "webitations" and save-the-dates have made a debut. Videographers can create customized DVDs to accompany paper invites or stand alone as digital invitations. Couples can then upload the video online or send via email, and guests can share and replay at any time.

How it Works: You meet with your videographer to discuss style, inclusions (wedding party photos, hotel recs.), and the paper suite for the invitation package. He or she then tapes your story in an informal interview. You’ll receive the finished DVDs and invitation packages plus web access for online video sharing.

What it Costs: Prices vary, but expect to pay between $500-$1500 for production costs and about $5 per DVD.

Where to Find: Reel Invitations (NYC, and Cinematic Studios (Sonoma County, both work with clients nationwide. Or inquire with your preferred local videographer.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Get even more ideas to plan your wedding stationery and browse a comprehensive gallery of unique wedding invitations, save-the-dates and other products - visit the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Guide or the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Search.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Budget Advice - Destination Weddings

Q: My fiancé and I would love to get married at an exotic location but were wondering what sorts of costs are involved? Are destination weddings usually more expensive than having one close to home?

~Mary S., Dover, NH

A: Destination wedding are always economical for a number of different reasons, but the main reason is because you have control over every aspect of it, from the location to your guest list. Hometown celebrations can easily get out of control with outside influences (ie., your families) wanting a piece of the planning pie. Hosting a destination wedding says “we want to do things our way.” With the world as your altar, the possibilities are endless so take some time to research the best option for your budget.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bridal Party - When the Best Man's a She Instead of a He?

Q: My fiance wants to have his sister as his "best man." As much as I hate the idea, I know it's becoming popular. My question is, how should she dress? Like my bridesmaids or like the other groomsmen?
-Stacy - Washington, DC-

A: Etiquette is still evolving around this new twist in gender roles, but whatever you do, please don't put her in a tuxedo. And give her a corsage, not a boutonniere. The idea here is to give your future sister-in-law an honored part of the ceremony, not to pass her off as a guy, no matter which side of the aisle she stands on. General rule: The groom's female honor attendant can wear a gown similar to your bridesmaids' dresses or a pantsuit of the same color.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor, Wedding Expert -

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Registry - How to let wedding guests know where you're registered

Q: I've heard that it's inappropriate to include registry information in your wedding invitations. How can you let your wedding guests know where you've registered?
-Jamile Wright - Brooklyn, NY-

A: You're correct that including registry information in your wedding invites is a no no (as it implies that gift-giving is required instead of optional). Here are your options to get the word out about your bridal registry:

The best way is for your family and bridal party to inform inquiring guests through word-of-mouth. Wedding guests realize that the couple has most likely set up a regsitry; if they want to know where the couple is registered - they'll ask.

Another option is to have your maid of honor include registry information in your shower invitations. Since bridal showers - by their very nature - are events where guests are to "shower" the bride with gifts, placing registry information in shower invitations is not considered a breach of etiquette.

If you have a wedding website, you can include it there amongst other wedding details. Just don't make your regsitry the focus of the entire site. Remember, the focus of a wedding should be on the couple's decision to make a lifelong commitment - not on their choice of china pattern.

-Cori Russell, Style and Etiquette Editor, Wedding Expert

For more etiquette advice, visit the complete Wedding Etiquette Guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Groom's Advice - Inviting ex to wedding?

Q: My fiancé wants to invite his ex to the wedding, and the idea makes me uncomfortable. I would never think of inviting one of my ex-boyfriends. Am I being unreasonable if I ask him not to ask her? - Barbara, Des Moines, IA

A: You’re marrying not only the parts of your guy that you like, you’re marrying all of him, which includes embracing all of the relationships he considers important. So, I think you are being unreasonable if you were to tell him she couldn’t or shouldn’t come. You can’t be the judge of which relationships are important enough for him to keep and which ones aren’t. If you did, that’s a one way ticket to the doghouse – and displaying some serious insecurities along the way, which no guy likes.

Using your relationship with your exes as a guide is a bit unfair too, because again, that’s not the relationship in question and there’s no way for you to know how close his friendship with his ex is today. You may think they’re just acquaintances, but he might have played down their friendship while you were dating so you wouldn’t get jealous. Now, he’s openly telling you she’s an important friend and trusting you to recognize she is just that, a friend. You really don’t have much of an argument as he’s obviously told you that you are the only woman in his life when he proposed. By asking him not to invite her, he might read that as you’re questioning his devotion to you. Plus, here’s your chance to prove to him that jealousy is not a part of your m.o. and earn a few bonus points for being so mature about the situation in the process.

Still, because you are uncomfortable, it can’t hurt to talk to him about it. Just explain how you feel. Chances are, what he says will put you at ease, or maybe he will realize it would make you uncomfortable – us guys are notoriously clueless so it’s definitely possible he never thought it would make you uncomfortable – and decide not to invite her.

If she does come, she’s certainly not going to be the first person you look forward to saying hi to, but remember that he’s marrying you and if he’s mature enough to have a friendship with an ex worthy of an invite, then you should be mature enough to accept that.

For more wedding planning advice geared towards the guys, check out this complete Planning for Grooms Guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Theme Weddings – How to Save on a Spring Wedding?

Q: I’m planning a wedding next spring. What are some easy tips for springtime savings?

A: Spring has finally sprung, and it’s about time, if you ask me. Grass is getting greener by the day and flowers are blooming at last. What’s not to love about the springtime? Each season offers its own savings advantages, so make sure you reap the benefits:

Go Outside

The obvious choice for hosting a wedding during temperate months is to throw an outdoor soiree. Not only will your guests appreciate the fresh air minus the humid climate, but a naturally beautiful setting will save you tons on decorating costs.

Go Casual

Hosting an outdoor reception also gives you an excuse to go casual. Consider an informal barbeque or luau in lieu of a conservative five-course meal and you will see your catering bill cut drastically.

Go In-Season

When it comes to flowers, always go with the season. Spring offers countless colorful blossoms sure to complement your color scheme and theme. Be sure to check out the Flowers by Season Guide to get some helpful suggestions.

Go Light

Warmer temperatures also mean fewer layers of clothing, and less clothing leads to lower costs. Lighter fabrics and smaller amounts of it will ultimately take less money out of your pocket. And keep your eyes peeled for good deals on summer sandals that could double as wedding day attire.

For more ideas and advice on planning a spring wedding, visit this complete Spring Themed Wedding Guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Q and A - Reception Sites - Can You Negotiate The Rental Fee?

Q: In your article, "7 Ways to Save on your Wedding Reception Venue," you said to look around for a place that doesn’t have a rental fee. What if you love the place that has a high rental fee, is that fee negotiable?

Thanks for any advice. Will keep reading your blog!
- Randi Seplow -

A: When it comes to weddings – most services are negotiable – but it’s best to come prepped to the negotiating table. Do some background research to find out:

- When is your facility's offpeak season? You're more likely to negotiate a better deal during these months. (peak times vary depending on location and venue type)

- Are there days/times when rental fees are lower? Midweek or afternoon site rentals are almost always less and easier to negotiate.

- Does your venue provide additional wedding services such as catering, ceremonies, rental equipment, cakes, decor, accommodations, etc.? Usually, bundling a number of services together will help you negotiate better deals. They may be willing to eliminate or reduce the rental fee entirely, or they may offer you a lump discount for the entire package.

- Cori Russell, Style and Etiquette Editor, Wedding Expert

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Find Tons of Ideas for Bridesmaids Gifts

They have done so much for you, not only as a part of your wedding party but also as a friend and confidant over the years. How to even begin to say thanks to your bridesmaids? Start by presenting your wedding attendants with heartfelt gifts to express your gratitude.

Looking for an inspiring bridesmaids gift idea? Look no further than through this convenient, interactive Bridesmaids Gift search. Here, you can sort by theme, style or price to view tons of gift ideas that meet your criteria. Best of all - each gift is linked to the online retailer where you can order them in time for your wedding.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Find tons of Ideas for Wedding Favors

Often a stumper, details such as wedding favors often find themselves last minute on the wedding planning task list. Avoid the last minute panic, and browse through this convenient, interactive Wedding Favor search.

Here, you can sort by theme, style or price to view hundreds of favors that meet your criteria. Best of all - each wedding favor is linked to the online retailer where you can order them in time for your wedding.

Or if you're really unsure how to begin selecting your favors, visit this complete Wedding Favors planning guide - which includes budget tips, ideas and trends.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Top 3 Bridesmaid Dilemmas - how to avoid them

After the initial congratulatory exclamations subside, distress can erupt on the bridesmaid front. From gripes about bridesmaids' dresses and wedding planning logistics, to deeper issues of insecurity and envy, even the best support systems can buckle under the strain. But you know that a blissful wedding day relies on a happy bridal party – and the best way to ensure that is to avert potential problems in advance. Here is a list of common stumbling blocks on the road to a happy bridal party – and tips to avert them:

1. Dilemma - Attire Backfire
There is a reason for the clichéd status of the heinous bridesmaid dress – and that’s because some brides just don’t think before selecting the “perfect” ensemble for their ‘maids.
Problem Solved – seriously consider allowing your attendants (or maybe just your maid of honor) to help in the dress-selection process. You can designate a color and even the style, and let them find something that suits them. There really isn’t even a rule that says they all have to match. Here is a great Bridesmaid Dress Search tool to help you and your maids find a style you can all agree on.

2. Dilemma - Money Woes
No doubt about it – being a bridesmaid is a costly endeavor, and almost every wedding party in history has included some gripes about expenses.
Problem Solved - be considerate. Don't book the room block at a 5 star hotel; don't insist your bachelorette bash be an extravagant weekend at a fancy resort; don't mandate every girl get their hair and makeup done (unless you're footing the bill.) Remember – yours is probably not the only wedding they'll be in this year – or even this month – so try to mitigate expenses at every turn.

3. Dilemma - Green with Envy
It’s often hard for us to admit – but most girls do have a bit of a jealous streak. While it’s not always intentional, it can be difficult to be completely happy for your newly-engaged friend when faced with the prospect of being the last person sitting at the singles table.
Problem Solved – reach out. Arrange a girls’ night, and celebrate your ‘maids for a change. And don’t just talk about the wedding; ask them about their lives too. Just remember to always keep the lines of communication open and be a friend.

Read even more tips on keeping your bridesmaids and wedding party happy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Save on Bridal Jewelry and Accessories

Perfecting your wedding day ensemble doesn’t necessarily end once you’ve found your dream wedding gown. Adding the right accessories is the final step. Here are a few pearls of wisdom to help enhance your style without breaking the bank…

Your Baubles - Double Duty Diamonds
Celebrity newlyweds are setting yet another trend—opting for one brilliant wedding ring in lieu of a solitaire engagement ring with a plain matching wedding band. This two-in-one trend can save thousands on the traditional left-hand bling, and while the diamond-encrusted band given to Pink by Carey Hart may be out of your price range, there are plenty of options to suit every taste and budget. **hint – visit the Wedding Rings and Bridal Jewelry Search to find styles in every price range.

Your Wedding Veil - Something Old AND Borrowed
Add a sentimental touch to your wedding attire by donning your mother’s or grandmother’s veil. This easy way to save will also fulfill your “something old” and “something borrowed” requirements.

Your Bridal Shoes - Walk This Way
A willingness to shop around is a surefire way to score some deals – and the same holds true for your wedding day shoes. In fact, there is no written rule that you even have to wear bridal shoes on your big day (hint – anything labeled “wedding” or “bridal” tends to cost more). Instead, consult your favorite brands or stores for a good deal on a pair of neutral sandals or pumps.

Your Headpiece - Go Natural
If an elaborate head piece is out of your budget, consider decorating your ‘do with seasonal flowers. This is an inexpensive alternative and a simple yet elegant way to tie in an outdoor theme.

For more ideas and advice to help you accessorize your wedding day look, visit the complete Wedding Jewelry and Wedding Accessories Guide at - Weddings Elegant Galas Made Simple

Friday, April 27, 2007

Planning Your Wedding Just Got Easier!

Brides - I don't have to tell you twice that planning a wedding is overwhelming. You know all too well that from the very moment you said "yes," your to-do list doubled.

Well - you can relax, because venue selection, wedding planning's defining decision, just got a lot easier. You will find that once you book your venue, the rest of the planning process is a breeze. Or at least it should be. Unfortunately, not all venue resources make planning the rest of the event so easy.

Thankfully, brides now have access to the most useful tool to help them do just that;'s national directory of Wedding Venues is the place to start.

OK - so online venue directories have existed for years, but here's what makes this one great. Instead of presenting a list of venues and then leaving brides to fend for themselves the rest of the way (the way most wedding sites do), every reception site in the vendor directory includes site-specific tools to help brides plan their events at that venue.

Brides can view each venue's recommended vendor list and download complete event planning guidelines - including the site's wedding packages, menu options, pricing information, directions, tons of photos, and even floor plans. With all of this information in one place, planning your event from A to Z (from the comfort of your home computer, while donning your favorite sweats), is a piece of, ahem, wedding cake.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wedding Invitation - Budgeting Tips

Some things to consider when budgeting for your wedding invitation and stationery cost:

When factoring total costs, don't forget to consider postage as part of your budget, including stamps for the response card envelopes.

Looking for ways to save? Keep your design simple, sticking to one color. Use lighter weight papers and include less inserts. Use response postcards instead of cards with envelopes.

For even more advice on planning your invites, my complete wedding invitation and stationery guide can walk you through the process.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Atlanta Wedding Vendors - Complete List of Atlanta Caterers

So a few days ago I posted a link to a list of recommended Atlanta Photographers. But of course, your photographer is not the only wedding vendor you have to book. So to help all you Atlanta area brides (like myself) check even more items off your to-do list, here is a complete list of recommended Atlanta Caterers.

And just like the list of photographers, every caterer on this list has been personally recommended by an Atlanta-area wedding venues. So no, these aren't just caterers who paid to be listed on the site (like so many other online lists of wedding services). Here, you can rest assured that every caterer on this list comes with a local reference. It's kind of like having a personal wedding coordinator to pre-weed out the hacks.

I only wish I had a resource like this when I was planning my own wedding.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Request Bids from Local Wedding Vendors and Services throughout the Nation

Don't waste time scouring the internet and yellow pages for qualified local wedding vendors - make them come to you!

Visit this proposal request for Wedding Vendors and Wedding Services . This handy form allows brides (and grooms) to submit their vendor requests to a national database of top wedding professionals (all personally recommended by nearby venues and reception sites). You indicate the wedding services you need along with your wedding information, including your budget, date, location, and any specific requests or needs. Those wedding vendors who meet your criteria will respond with proposals tailored to your event.

It just doesn't get any easier than that.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Atlanta Wedding Photography - Complete List of Venue-Recommended Photographers

As a recent bride, I truly believe that booking your wedding photographer is one of the most important planning decisions on a bride's to-do list. For after the flowers wilt and the place settings are cleared - all that will remain of your wedding day are your photographs.

Although I believe in being budget-conscious, wedding photography is not a detail on which you should scrimp. So choose wisely.

To help all you Atlanta-area brides (I was one myself!), here is a complete list of recommended Atlanta Photographers. What's great about this list (as opposed to others) is that every wedding photographer on this list has been personally recommended by an Atlanta-area wedding venue.
When you're overwhelmed by the number of choices out there, it's nice to be confident that your photographer selection comes with a personal guarantee - kinda helps you sleep at night :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Browse hundreds of images of wedding flowers, bouquets, centerpieces, and wedding décor

Sometimes we brides just need a little inspiration when it comes to choosing our wedding flowers and decor. Thankfully, you can get tons of wedding flowers ideas with this interactive image search. While away the hours gazing at hundreds of stylish designs to find your Wedding Flowers, including Bridal Bouquets, Wedding Centerpices, Reception Decor and Ceremony Decor. You can even narrow your search by colors, blossoms and style.

Print the images you like and bring them to your florist to recreate. It doesn't get any easier than that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Interactive Wedding Cake and Grooms Cake Search

If you're still seeking the perfect confection for the centerpiece of your wedding reception, look no further than this interactive Wedding Cake Gallery. Here you can search through hundreds of styles of wedding cakes, narrowing your search by color, style and shape.

And of course, don't forget to select a dessert for your hubby-to-be. Indeed, the old Southern tradition of the groom's cake is making a comeback — not only in the South but throughout the nation. And no, it doesn't have to be the red velvet armadillo from "Steel Magnolias". Today's grooms cakes, now just as elaborate as the wedding cake itself, often reflect the groom's interests in a dramatic and whimsical expression.

So while your there, browse through dozens of designs of Grooms Cakes and select a style that spotlight's your groom's personality.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wedding Ring, Engagement Ring and Bridal Jewelry Search

So you've got that sparkling engagement ring on your finger - now you just need a gorgeous wedding band to match. No doubt about it, adding some additional bling to your left hand is one of the more enjoyable tasks on your wedding day to-do list.

Here is a simple (and slightly addictive) tool to help you do just that: Visit this interactive Wedding Ring search. There you can browse tons of styles by price, metal, stone and stone shape. While you're there, you can also search hundreds of pieces to find an Engagement Ring (in case he hasn't popped the question yet), Wedding Band or other Bridal Jewelry and accessories.

Best of all - each product image comes with a complete description AND a link to the retailer where you can purchase your new baubles. Happy shopping!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wedding Dress, Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid Dress Search!

When it comes to planning a wedding, we brides all know what is the most important (and fun!) task on your to-do list (and no, it's not the seating chart). Nothing beats shopping for your wedding dress. Thankfully, spending hours a day doing just that - from the comfort of your own home - just got a lot easier.

Look no further than this interactive Wedding Dress search. Here you can search thousands of wedding gowns by price, designer, fabric, silhouette, hemline, sleeve style - you name it. And while your there, you can even search for a Bridesmaid Dress, Mother of the Bride Dress, or Flower Girl Dress. Just don't blame me when your boss catches you surfing for dresses when you should be working :) Happy Hunting!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wedding Invitation, Wedding Stationery Search

Still need to plan wedding invitations or other stationery items? Look no further - you can find your Wedding Invitation, Save The Date Card, Rehearsal Dinner Invitation, Shower Invitation, or Engagement Party Invitation in this interactive invitation and stationery search.

This is an invaluable tool for brides. You can search by price, colors, paper weight, printing method, or brand - and get tons of results that match your criteria. Happy hunting!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brides - Book Your Wedding Venues!

OK - so this post isn't necessarily budget related - BUT- still extremely useful to brides (the budget-conscious and non-budget-conscious alike!)

Without a doubt, finding and booking your wedding venue is the most important piece of the wedding planning puzzle. After you've accomplished that task, everything else just seems to fall into place.

Still need to book your reception site? Here is a searchable list of local wedding venues categorized by state/region. Each of these links are extremely useful, because once there - you can view images, pricing information, setting capacities and features, recommended vendor lists - AND you can download complete event planning guidelines for each venue.

There are two ways to search the directory:

1) The custom search tool allows you to input your location and service needs, and you'll receive a list of results that meet your criteria.

2)Or you can browse the entire directory by state or sub region

To help get you started - I've posted a list of direct links to some of the larger state's complete venue directories below. Happy searching!

California Wedding Venues - Complete list of venues in Northern and Southern California

Atlanta/Georgia Wedding Venues - Complete list of Atlanta and surrounding area venues

New York Wedding Venues - Complete List of New York/NYC area venues

Boston/Massachusetts Wedding Venues - Complete list of Boston, Cape Cod and other Mass wedding venues

Connecticut Wedding Venues - Complete list of Connecticut wedding venues, sorted by region

Texas Wedding Venues - Complete list of Texas wedding venues, sorted by region

Wedding Venues - All Other States - Complete list of venues - includes all other states and regions.

Friday, March 09, 2007

6 Easy Ways to Save on Your Wedding Reception Venue

The reception site is indisputably the most important piece of the wedding planning puzzle. Like no other aspect, the venue sets the tone for the day.

You'll find that a large chunk of your wedding budget will go towards the venue, so you’ll need to choose wisely. Based on my personal experience, here are some easy ways to get the cost down - without sacrificing on style.

1) Banish the Rental Fee
A large portion of your wedding reception budget will go towards food and beverage costs – that’s unavoidable. But many facilities slap on an exhorbiant rental fee just to host your event at the location (that’s before you spend the first dime on catering). You can avoid this extra cost by shopping around and comparing rental fees. Many facilities – often just as scenic – charge little or no rental fee on top of your catering bill (you’ll have to use the on-site caterers, but the cost is usually competitive).

Believe it or not – many wedding reception venues will let you bring your own alcohol – which can lead to extensive savings on your bar tab! Liquor store prices are always less, and you can usually return any unopened bottles for a full refund after the wedding. When prospecting potential reception sites, ask whether stocking your own bar is a possibility.

3) Snub Saturdays and Summers
Saturday nights in June command big bucks. Instead, be a little flexible with your date and time, and enjoy big savings. Most reception venues offer a discounted rate for dates that are not as high in demand (vendors too!).

4) Loosen Up
A general rule of thumb – less formal venues tend to lend themselves to more affordable affairs – which is good news for you. A simple beach or garden wedding can be equally chic, and it lends itself to steel drums instead of a 10 piece orchestra, a casual buffet or barbeque instead of a 5 course meal, and simpler wedding attire - all of which can save some serious cash in your wedding budget.

5) Beat the Clock
Trimming an hour off of your reception time will reduce any facility rental fee, along with many other costs associated with your reception – such as transportation and entertainment. Trust us, your guests will be none the wiser and may actually be grateful for the extra time to unwind.

6) Get it in Writing
Hidden fees can accumulate if you are not careful. Avoid any confusion by requesting an itemized list of fees for your specific event. Make sure every item you have discussed or requested is accounted for before signing on the dotted line. For an itemized list of typical facility fees and costs that you can take with you when reviewing potential reception sites, you can visit this Reception Site Checklist at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

-contributed by Joni Lacroix -

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wedding Ceremony Savings for Brides on a Budget

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the wedding ceremony is the reason behind the big party. In reality, the ceremony is one of the few true essentials on the wedding planning checklist, so you’ll need to allot space for it in your wedding budget. Thankfully, vows that wow need not be a budget buster. Heed this advice to walk down the aisle in style.

Site Savings

Two in One
Many reception venues also host on-site ceremonies. The ceremony fee may be built into the cost of the reception or tack on a minimal expense (*planning tip-the ceremony fee is easy to negotiate since you’re forking over so much the reception). Hosting both events in the same location will also save on transportation expenses.

Honor Your Faith
If you have a strong religious affiliation, your house of worship will likely host your wedding ceremony. This is good news for your budget, since members of the organization can usually rent the space free-of-cost (although a donation is a nice gesture).

Décor Deductions

Something Borrowed
Plan your wedding near a major religious holiday when your place of worship is decked with festive décor. “Borrowing” your ceremony décor means one less detail to plan – and one less item to purchase.

Simplfy Your Site
Overdone decorations are unnecessary for a brief ceremony. Keep décor elements simple (and cost-effective), and save the pricey arrangements for the reception – as this is where your guests will spend the majority of time. For example, strategically placed candles set a romantic ambiance and cost considerably less than flowers.

Go Natural
Cut décor costs further by exchanging vows in a naturally beautiful location. A garden wedding hardly needs additional floral arrangements, while an ornate church may be breathtaking on its own (*planning tip - for public outdoor settings, be sure to check the rules and regulations.)

-contributed by Joni Lacroix -
Get even more tips to cut wedding ceremony costs in the wedding ceremony guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple