Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Engagement Rings - How to Shop for an Engagement Ring


December is on its way - and with that - engagement season is quickly approaching. (more couples get engaged in December than any other month). As I write this, guys out there are furiously searching the web, trying to gain as much possible about making that all-important engagement ring purchase. OK guys - this is for you. It’s best to face every big purchase equipped with a little savvy. Here’s what you need to know about engagement rings before you start shopping.

First – A Primer on Engagement Rings Cost

The two-months salary convention is a common starting point, but in reality, the ring’s cost should be what the couple can afford without going into major debt. Cost varies for a lot of reasons – especially when diamonds are involved. Carat size is just one factor. In fact, a one carat center stone can cost anywhere from $1000 to $20000. Choice of metal also affects the bottom line; there’s a significant cost difference between a setting of sterling silver and one of platinum – anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand.

With that said, the average cost of an engagement ring in the U.S. is between $3,500 and $4,000. (according to About.com). Our engagement ring savings guide offers many useful tips to get costs down.


Now - you can put together the perfect diamond engagement ring with these three easy steps found in this complete engagement rings guide.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Will you wear gloves for your wedding?

Nothing screams elegance and refinement quite like a pair of white gloves. Just the idea of them is enough to conjure up iconic images of Camelot or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In fact, gloves used to be a must for all formal events. These days, however, they’re more of a fashion statement – and are completely optional. Unsure if you can pull off this once ubiquitous accessory? Read this guide to bridal gloves to find out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wedding Menu Ideas for Every Season

Let your wedding catering take a cue from the seasons with our favorite menu ideas for every season…

Spring Wedding Menu Ideas

Summon the taste of spring with light flavors and delicate textures…

  • In Season - serve a main dish featuring ham or lamb
  • Fresh produce – round out the meal with a bounty of fresh fruits and young vegetables like baby carrots, baby asparagus and new potatoes
  • Elegant sides – serve mini quiches or update traditional deviled eggs by adding salmon or crabmeat
  • Bar favorites – a spring menu seems to call for champagne. Mix up a batch of mimosas for a morning wedding, or create a festive champagne cocktail.

Summer Wedding Menu Ideas

Use your summer menu to invoke warmth, sunshine and fun…

  • Serve lighter fare – think fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables like berries, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, and corn, seafood and lean poultry like chicken. Between courses, serve a light sorbet.
  • Spark up the grill - serve traditional picnic and grill fare like barbeque, burgers and potato salad
  • Head to the tropics - feature tropical signature cocktails like margaritas, sangria, or mojitos.

Fall Wedding Menu Ideas

Bring out the rich and comforting tastes of autumn…

  • Traditional favorites – you cannot go wrong with seasonal standbys: turkey, red potatoes, corn bread dressing, green beans, and honey glazed carrots.
  • Family style – re-create a traditional thanksgiving feast by incorporating your family recipes into your wedding menu and serving the meal family style (if your guest list is small).
  • Hearty proteins - Choose a hearty meat that will pair with heavier side dishes – turkey, roasted quail, rib roast
  • Keep it elegant – you can serve traditional fare in sophisticated, creative ways – present soup or veggie puree in mini shot classes or hallowed out gourds, or warm apple cider in glass mugs with cinnamon sticks.

Winter Wedding Menu Ideas

Warm up to a decadent winter menu with these cool ideas to reflect the season…

  • Hearty dishes – serve heartier fare in sophisticated, creative ways – such as colorful butternut squash puree or warm pumpkin soup in ramekins or shot glasses.
  • Wintery beverages – warm guests with eggnog, spiced wine or mixed coffee drinks.
Get even more wedding menu ideas in elegala.com's complete guide to wedding catering

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Working with a Wedding Planner: Some Tips for Brides

The key to a successful working relationship is uniting together as an invincible team. Here are a few tips on working with a wedding planner:

Be a Team Player

Sure, it’s the “bride’s day,” but remember that you can’t get there alone. A planner can be your advocate and your voice, especially when you’re not around. Successful teams are all about balance: there will be areas where you’ll remain more hands on, and some where s/he runs the show. Determine which tasks complement your strengths, and plan on designating the other tasks to the seasoned pro. Sit down together to review your task list, letting her know where you’d like to remain involved and where you could use more help. Be clear about your expected level of involvement so your planner can adapt accordingly.

Speak Freely

Just as communication is the cornerstone to all successful relationships, it’s crucial to working with your wedding planner. You need to be able to clearly convey your priorities when it comes to your wedding. For example, do you envision a laid back affair with room for spontaneity? Or do you need a tightly scheduled event to feel comfortable. Is there an aspect of your wedding that you are particularly concerned about – such as the dance floor remaining packed or the meal being served promptly. Wedding planners aren’t mind readers. They can, however, remember that your cousin needs a vegan meal—as long as you tell them.

Get in the Trust Tree

If placing complete trust in your planner is difficult for you, remember that s/he has not only your best interests at heart, but his/her professional interests as well. This may be your first trip down the aisle, but an accomplished planner has been involved in countless weddings. Bottom line – make sure you can trust your wedding planner to pull off your event with success, then give them the space to do it.

Get even more advice on hiring and working with wedding planners at Elegala.com -Elegant Galas Made Simple

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grooms: How to Choose Your Groomsmen

Ever played pick-up basketball or football with a number of your best friends? Remember how hard it was to pick some and not others for your squad? Welcome to picking your groomsmen, only here, you’re not judging them on their athletic prowess.

Instead of starting with a concrete number to shoot for, it’s a much better idea to make the quick and dirty list first. Chances are, that should be your final list. But when you tack on trying to match up with the number of bridesmaids on the other side of the aisle, plus the typical “if I ask him then I have to ask him” dilemmas inherent in friends that run in the same circles, it’s not that easy. This useful list of guidelines and suggestions for choosing your groomsmen is here to help...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bridesmaids' Luncheons: Everything you need to know...

Let’s face it – weddings go by in such a blur that after the dishes have cleared and the flowers begin to wilt, many brides realize they never really had a chance to spend some quality time with their nearest and dearest. That’s what makes bridesmaids’ luncheons so great – they afford the perfect opportunity to get together and enjoy some time with your closest girlfriends one last time before the main event. They’re entirely optional, but this fun and typically hassle-free soiree is definitely worth your while. So what does it entail?

This article spells out everything you need to know about hosting a bridesmaid luncheon

Friday, October 02, 2009

Unique Wedding Favors Ideas

Wedding favors often evoke a “been there, done that” response from wedding guests. Looking for something a little more memorable than a bag of Jordan almonds? Here are our top choices for a few inspiring guest thank-yous.
Unique Wedding Favors Ideas

Late night munchies
After dancing for hours, rolling out individual snacks like mini hamburgers with a fixings bar are a big hit

Photo shop
Rent a photo booth and let your guests take turns posing for the camera. Set up a DIY station with mini-frames so they can take home their favorite shots.

Escape the Elements

If you really want to impress, give your guests something sublimely stylish yet useful to kep them smiling through the elements: stylish sunglasses (to deflect glare), sleek umbrellas (in case of rain), or cashmere scarves (should a breeze pick up).

Personalized Thank-yous
Place small journals at each place setting, and write every guest a personal thank-you note on the front page.

Make some noise
Liven up the party, and hand out maracas, small horns, or even kazoos - a great idea for a relaxed affair or a particularly festive bunch.

Get even more ideas for unique wedding favors at Elegala.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to Hire the Right Wedding Florist to Suit Your Floral Style


Hold the baby’s breath and filler flowers; look no further than a skilled florist for sophisticated and stylish arrangements

Even if you plan to create and arrange your own wedding flowers, consulting with a florist first is still a good idea. A florist’s first-hand knowledge and years of experience can prove extremely useful, ensuring you don’t overlook small but important details and that your floral scheme matches your wedding style.

Don’t know the first thing about hiring a florist? Follow these steps in this article on finding and hiring a wedding florist, and you will be sure to find the florist that suits you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Music for your Wedding's Cocktail Hour

While you and your wedding party take pictures, and your guests mingle and nibble before the wedding reception, the mood is festive and anticipatory. During cocktail hour, the party is just warming up, and your music should reflect the excitement without overpowering the conversation. Jazz or swing works perfectly here. You can also use this time to showcase the theme of your wedding. For a Mardi Gras or southern theme, spice up your cocktail hour with a little Dixieland jazz. For a beach or summer theme, steel drums will compliment nicely. As a prelude to a formal dinner reception, classical piano music will establish an atmosphere of elegance.

Get even more tips and advice on planning your wedding music at Elegala.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to Find the Right Caterer for Your Wedding Reception

If your reception site is the exclusive caterer, which is often the case with hotels and country clubs, feel free to skip this article and cross this item from your checklist. If not, don’t panic - find a wedding caterer that suits your needs, style and budget by following these steps to hiring and working with wedding caterers.

Do your Research

Plan ahead, and aim to start meeting with caterers as soon as you decide on your reception location, about 12 months before the big day. Imagine your ideal reception in terms of the meal, service, courses, theme, desserts, alcohol and any other food requirements. Then compile a list of potential caterers who meet this vision.

Ask your reception site for a list of recommendations; they can put you in touch with trusted professionals who have first-hand knowledge of the facility. All of the reception sites on Elegala have a list of preferred professionals! Or visit our local caterers search for a comprehensive list of recommended caterers in your area. Contact friends or colleagues who have been recently married or even other wedding vendors for recommendations.

Meet & Greet

Once you have a list of a few recommended caterers, set up face-to-face interviews to determine the right choice for you. Try to schedule a tasting as part of the interview. Your final decision should be based on taste, presentation and creativity, cost and the willingness of the caterer to suit your needs. Remember, the caterer should accommodate your vision, so choose someone who is open to your ideas.

Ask the Right Questions

During your consultation, ask the caterer to compose an outline highlighting the cost per person, menu selections, service options and any additional fees that could be incurred. Come prepared with a list of questions you need answered, including:

  • How long have you been in the business?
  • Do you specialize in a particular type of food and service?
  • Are you familiar with the reception site?
  • What is your average price range? Is it an all-inclusive flat rate or is the cost determined by the type of food and service?
  • Do you provide rental equipment, such as linens and dinnerware? Ask to see samples.
  • What is the ratio of wait-staff to guests? (1 server for every 8-10 guests is recommended)
  • Where will the food be prepared? Will it be fresh or frozen ingredients?
  • Do you also provide wedding cakes and/or alcohol? How will you be charged?
  • Are you available on the day of my wedding? Do you have any other events scheduled for the same day or time? (If so, having a similar menu will help to cut down on cost).
  • Could I get a list of references of your previous clients?

Sign on the Dotted Line

Before signing a contract, read the terms carefully to verify the agreed upon details. Be prepared to submit a 50% non-refundable deposit at the time of the signing, and make sure the contract includes the final balance amount and due date as well as the cancellation and refund policy. The contract should also include the caterer’s contact information, the reception date, time, duration and location (including the exact name of the room, if necessary). Other details that should be outlined on the contract are the meal plan, type of service and staff provided, the cake, liquor and rental specifics.

Get even more wedding catering tips and advice at Elegala.com - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sample wedding toasts

Stumped on coming up with a great wedding toast? This gallery of sayings, good wishes and quotations to incorporate into your toast will help you get started.

Incorporate these sample wedding toasts into your speech, and be sure to add a few heartfelt sentiments about the bride and groom for a personal touch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hiring a Videographer for Your Wedding - Important Tips to Know

Your videographer should be able to interpret your desires and expectations and work with you to accomplish your stylistic vision. Consider these important tips on hiring the right wedding videographer before signing on the dotted line.

The Research Phase

  • Begin by gathering a list of potential videographers:
  • Seek recommendations from other newlyweds.
  • Check with your reception venue to see if they have a list of preferred videographers who are familiar with the setting.
  • Ask your other wedding vendors if they have any suggestions.

The Selection Process

Questions to Ask -
Once you have a list of encouraging prospects, set up an appointment with each of them and get answers to these important questions:

  • Who will be videotaping on the day of our wedding?
  • Make sure the videographer whose portfolio you view will be the one who will be filming your wedding. Some videography studios claim the right to send any staff member to your wedding, so make sure the person who signs your contract is the one who will be at your wedding.
  • What is your primary style?
  • Some videographers specialize in cinematic while others concentrate on documentary. Make sure your videographer’s expertise matches your preference.
  • Have you worked at our wedding venue before?
  • If so, ask to see a tape of that wedding. Your videographer should be accustomed to the setting so that they can capture your day without becoming intrusive. Take it one step further and ask your venue coordinator if he/she is familiar with the videographer’s work.
  • What types of equipment will be used during the shooting and editing processes?
  • Ask him/her to explain the equipment that will be there on your wedding day and how the tape will be converted into an end product. You may not understand it all, but at least he/she will know you mean business.
  • Do you have any references?
  • Call and ask former clients if they were satisfied with the overall experience and received the desired outcome.
Get even more advice to help you plan your wedding videography at Elegala.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wear Again Wedding Dresses

Recessionistas rejoice! In these economic times, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to wear your wedding gown more than once (without looking ridiculous)? NY-based designer Sioloonim offers a couture line of white silk taffeta blouses and floor-length silk skirts that – when paired together – create a one-of-a-kind look for wedding dresses. As an added bonus, brides can get more mileage out of the top, which is simple and chic enough to be worn again for a night on the town with skinny jeans and stilettos or to the office with a pencil skirt and pumps.

Read more about these wear again wedding dresses at the Unveiled Wedding Blog

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wedding Cakes Ideas for Every Season

Take a cue from the seasons with our favorite wedding cakes ideas for spring, summer, fall and winter…

Fall Wedding Cakes

Bring out the rich, warm colors and tastes of autumn…

  • Go pumpkin - round out a fall feast with a pumpkin cake or even a tiered pumpkin pie
  • Go chocolate - serve a hearty chocolate cake covered in dark chocolate fondant and decorated with fresh or marzipan fruits and berries

Get even more ideas for fall weddings

Winter Wedding Cakes

Warm up to a decadent dessert course with these cool ideas to reflect the winter season…

  • White on white – adorn an all white cake with marzipan snowflakes or swiss dots, or top with fresh white poinsettias or stephanotis
  • Get rich – serve a decadent chocolate cake or cheese cake with raspberry sauce/filling, and decorate with chocolate covered cherries or strawberries.
  • Top it off - use a decorative snow globe or snowflake as a seasonal topper

Get even more ideas for winter weddings.

Spring Wedding Cakes

Summon the taste of spring with light flavors and delicate colors…

  • Coconut Confection – coconut frosting and fillings make a quintessential spring treat
  • Crazy for carrot – carrot cake with cream cheese icing is another springtime fave.
  • Light and fluffy – go with angel food cake and fresh strawberries or strawberry cream
  • Whimsical adornments – decorate with bright, fanciful details like ribbon, swiss dots or swirl patterns.

Get even more ideas for spring weddings

Summer Wedding Cakes

When it comes to a summer wedding cake, invoke warmth, sunshine and fun…

  • Light and Fluffy - serve something light, like angel food cake topped with whipped cream and berries
  • Fresh adornments - top traditional wedding cake with fresh tropical flowers like hibiscus, or decorate with shells and starfish
  • Spoon it out - serve light sorbet or gelato
  • Add a cherry - have a do it yourself sundae bar (just make sure you have a way to keep the ice cream cool)

Get even more ideas for summer weddings

Consult the Elegala.com wedding cakes guide for even more cake ideas, tips, and advice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

21 Creative Wedding Ideas

There is nothing wrong with the traditional white wedding, but sometimes it is nice to makes yours stand out from the rest…

Today´s weddings are all about options that reflect your personalities and style. We´ve compiled a list of our favorite non-traditional or unexpected wedding ideas to incorporate into every aspect of your big day.

Ceremony Ideas

Location
If you don´t host your ceremony in a house of worship or in the same location as your reception, you can get creative with your ceremony location and exchange vows at sunrise on the beach or at sunset from the rooftop of the tallest building in your metropolitan area.

Grand Entrance
Make your entrance especially unique by being escorted by your beloved pet or by arriving on a horse.

Reception Ideas

Venue Type
Think outside the banquet hall and bring your celebration to a naturally beautiful venue like a garden or museum. Your guests will enjoy strolling around picturesque grounds or appreciating timeless works of art.

Seating Arrangements
Add some visual interest to your setting by interspersing different shaped tables throughout the room or seating your guests at long tables for a family-style affair.

Catering Ideas

Ethnic Cuisine
If you have a strong heritage, have visited a favorite world destination together, or even just have an affinity for a particular variety of cuisine, revolve your menu around that ethnic specialty.

Family-style
Offer delectable comfort foods with a twist, served up family-style – a great icebreaker for your guests.

Seasonal
Take inspiration from the season and serve a menu that offers a theme of seasonal favorites.

Flowers & Decor Ideas

Au Natural
Consult Mother Nature for inspiration, and bring the outdoors in. Natural objects like stones, leaves, pinecones, even twigs can add an organic aesthetic to your reception décor. Place in rustic containers or scatter amongst pillar candles for added ambiance.


Consult your Inner Child
For the kid at heart, fill decorative bowls with your favorite candies – such as jellybeans and M&M´s - in your wedding colors.

Entertainment Ideas

Ceremony Music
If "Here Comes the Bride" doesn´t suit your style or personality, choose a song that does. There is no written rule that states you can´t make your grand entrance to a rendition of your favorite Beastie Boys´ song.

Non-traditional Instruments
If you desire live music over a DJ, consider tying your musician selection to the theme or location of your event. A beachside bash naturally lends itself to the sound of steel drums, while a trumpet quartet will sound impressive in an elaborate cathedral.

Photography Ideas

Creative Shots
Hire your photographer to follow you throughout your entire day (leading up to the "Do Not Disturb" sign, of course). While it may make you feel anxious to have someone photograph you as you get ready, these shots will help you to remember the joy and anticipation of every part of your big day.

Cake Ideas

Cake-free
If cake isn´t your favorite dessert, then don´t feel the need to serve it to your guests. Apple crisp, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie, cupcakes, or even glazed doughnuts are a hit at the dessert table.

Sugar-free
The end-of-meal offering doesn´t have to be made of flour and frosting. Think savory instead, and visit your local cheese shop to have them construct wheels of cheese in tiers and stacked to look like traditional wedding cake.

Attire Ideas

Wardrobe Change
Today´s brides are opting to wear not one dress, but two! Wear an elegant gown while you exchange vows, then slip into something a little more comfortable to round out the evening.

Anything but White
A white wedding dress symbolizes innocence and purity, but if that´s not your style, feel free to bring out your colorful personality by adding a splash of color to your attire. You can be as subtle as a colored sash and jewels or as bold as a fuchsia-colored dress.

Stationery Ideas

Ethnicity
If your heritage is important for you to represent on your big day, do some research and find a stationer who offers multi-cultural invitations and announcements.

Creative Touch
For more intimate, casual gatherings, request the honor of your guests´ presence in an innovative and entertaining way. Here´s an idea - have your invite printed on a balloon so guests have to blow them up to receive the message.

Transportation Ideas

Grand Entrance
If the size of your bridal party doesn´t warrant a stretch limousine, consider arriving on horseback, on the back of your husband´s motorcycle, or in the passenger´s seat of your dad´s antique car.

Favor Ideas

Something Useful
Give your guests something they can enjoy for years to come. A small bag of seeds to plant will remind them of your big day every time they smell the flowers.

Donations
With a high emphasis on karma these days, give something back and make a donation to your favorite cause in lieu of knickknacks. Your guests will appreciate the altruistic gesture.

Get even more creative wedding ideas at Elegala.com - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Plan a Fall Wedding – 15 Ideas for Fall Weddings

Looking for autumn-spiration? These tips and ideas for fall theme weddings will get you started towards planning a wedding with a fall twist.

Prepare for Variable Weather

1. Fall weather can be unpredictable: what starts as a sunny warm morning can turn into a brisk chilly evening. Be prepared for both extremes. Have portable heaters available (if your wedding will take place outside), and dress the wedding party in layers.

Plan Your Fall Wedding Flowers and Decorations

Use your decor scheme to tie together the fall theme. Here are some tips:

2. Pick your color palette - you can go with the traditional colors of the season: reds, oranges, browns, rusts, and yellows, or make a rich, interesting twist to the autumn color scheme by incorporating jewel tones. For added pizzazz, mix in some metallics: gold, copper, and bronze.

3. Seasonal blooms - popular fall wedding flowers include montbretia, hypericum, mums, sunflowers, roses, and daisies.

4. Get back to nature - use simple décor to subtly enhance the season's natural bounty. Use the autumn harvest for inspiration; think gourds, pumpkins, squash, gold dipped fall leaves, bales of hay, jugs of cider...you get the idea.

5. Go fall glam - you're not confined to rustic and casual in the fall. Create a posh autumn ambiance, and drape lush velvet (a traditional fall/winter fabric) in a rich chocolate brown or gold throughout your reception space. Accent the scene with antique broaches, crystal candelabras and stemware.

Plan Your Fall Wedding Menu

You cannot go wrong with seasonal standbys: turkey, red potatoes, corn bread dressing, green beans, and honey glazed carrots. Here are some additional tips and ideas:

6. Family style - re-create a traditional thanksgiving feast by incorporating your family recipes into your wedding menu and serving the meal family style (if your guest list is small).

7. Hearty proteins - choose a hearty meat that will pair with heavier side dishes - turkey, roasted quail, rib roast.

8. Keep it elegant - you can serve traditional fare in sophisticated, creative ways - present soup or veggie puree in mini shot classes or hallowed out gourds, or warm apple cider in glass mugs with cinnamon sticks.

Fall Invitations & Stationery Ideas

9. Add a fall motif - such as an acorn or maple leaf - to your stationery suite

10. Consider color - use paper or inks in traditional fall colors – browns, rusts, deep reds, orange.

11. An added touch - insert a sprinkling of silk fall leaves into each envelope

Fall Venue Ideas

12. Outside splendor – the season seems to call for an outdoor, rustic setting affording prime leaf peeping views. Some ideas: parks, orchards, vineyards, farms, ranches, barns, mills, or the grounds of an historic inn or mansion.

13. Room with a view - if an outdoor setting isn't an option, find a venue boasting a clear view of the fall foliage or countryside.

Fall Wedding Cakes

14. Go pumpkin - round out a fall feast with a pumpkin cake or even a tiered pumpkin pie

15. Go chocolate - serve a hearty chocolate cake covered in dark chocolate fondant and decorated with fresh or marzipan fruits and berries

Get even more fall wedding ideas and advice for fall weddings at Elegala.com – Elegant Galas Made Simple

Friday, September 04, 2009

What are some of the most affordable wedding flowers?

Your floral budget can certainly run the gauntlet. On average you should expect to spend about 8-10% of your overall wedding budget on the flowers. While this is a good estimate, you can modify many floral elements to determine the actual amount you will spend on your wedding flowers. Factors such as the types of flowers you choose, whether or not they are in season in your area, and the number, size and complexity of the arrangements,all influence your final cost estimate.


Some flowers tend to be moderately priced -they are:


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


On the other hand, these flowers tend to be expensive:


Lily of the Valley
Calla Lily
Orchids
Magnolias
Peonies
Gardenia
Hydrangea

Get more tips on how much wedding flowers cost

Thursday, September 03, 2009

How much does a professional wedding planner cost?

You may think your wedding budget’s too maxed out for hired help, but the good news is that most wedding consultants will work within a variety of budgets and can customize a planning package that serves your needs. While many orchestrate entire events from start to finish (which can be pricey), most can be hired for specific services such as vendor selection or day-of coordination. Learn more about the different types of wedding planning services

Your cost will ultimately depend on what you hire them for, so start by making a list of things for which you’d like the help of a professional – i.e. finding and booking all your vendors, or just making sure things run smoothly during the final days. Then get in touch with a few to find out what they’d charge for those services. Use the elegala.com local vendor search to find recommended wedding planners in your area.

How does the billing process work?

Different planners have different billing methods: some charge by the hour (anywhere from $40-$100+), others charge a percentage of your entire wedding budget (10-15% is typical), still others charge a flat fee depending on the services you need (package rates run the gamut).

Can a Wedding Planner Help Save You Money?

Hiring a pro to assist with your plans can actually be a wise economic decision. Need convincing? Here are a few ways a wedding planner can help you save some serious headaches – and cash:

  • Set Your Budget…And Stick To It Once you set your wedding budget, your planner will help you stick to it. Be open about any budgetary constraints during planning sessions. Once you’re on the same page, your planner can help you determine what’s most important to you and make spending choices accordingly.
  • A Friend Indeed A good wedding planner will get the most for your money by choosing the best vendors. As industry insiders, wedding consultants have built a network of reliable professionals and can make recommendations based on your style and budget. This can save countless hours of research and potentially avert costly mistakes (you can rest assured knowing Johnny Photographer isn’t going to skip town with your photography deposit).
  • Prime Negotiator Your wedding planner will review all vendor contracts before you sign on the dotted line, catching any hidden fees and ensuring your needs are covered. As repeat clients, planners may even score you some vendor discounts.

Learn more about how a wedding planner can save you money...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Are Cash Bars at Weddings Ever OK?

Weddings are expensive, and brides and grooms are looking for any way to cut wedding costs - and rightfully so. Shelling out nearly $30,000 to host a party in these tough economic times just feels frivolous and wasteful. But sorry brides and grooms, a cash bar is never an acceptable money-saving solution. Think about it this way: would you ever charge your pals three dollars every time they grabbed another beer at your Superbowl party? People at your wedding reception are still your guests, even if the event is not held in your house (like said Superbowl party), so they shouldn't be asked to pay for anything while they're there.

Some couples think providing non-alcoholic beverages gratis while charging guests who wish to upgrade to an alcoholic beverage is perfectly acceptable, but here's another analogy: Imagine serving all of your wedding guests free soup for dinner at your reception. Now imagine offering optional lobster tail, but forcing guests who wish to eat lobster instead of soup to shell out $30 for their meal. Surely you can see why this shouldn't be done.

If you cannot afford to host a four or five-hour open bar, there are plenty of less-costly alternatives that won't offend your guests:

1) Offer beer, wine, and soft drinks only
2) Offer a full bar for cocktail hour, then switch to beer and wine.
3) Decide on one type of drink to serve - either a specialty cocktail, champagne, one type of beer or wine. Most venues will charge significantly less to serve only one type of alcoholic beverage.
4) Choose a wedding venue that allows you to bring in your own alcohol. Believe it or not - there are plenty of venues that do not have liquor licenses and will allow couples to bring in their own. Anything unopened can be returned for a full refund after the wedding. You may need to get a little more creative with your venue with this option and choose a mansion, museum, or a facility who's main business is not generated from weddings and special events.
5) INVITE LESS PEOPLE TO YOUR WEDDING! This is the most effective way to cut wedding costs across the board. The significant savings you'll experience with a smaller guest list will allow you to treat those who you do invite with courtesy and respect.

Get more wedding etiquette advice at Elegala.com

Monday, August 31, 2009

How to train your new husband

Now that you’ve found the perfect man, you’ll want to keep him that way - if you can. With training treats and lots of praise, you’ll be able to stand him for days and days. The new husband training kit comes with butter toffee candy treats and a reward guide with tips on how you should reward your new husband for good behavior, such as:

  • One treat for putting the seat down
  • Two treats for giving up most of the closet space
  • Three treats for understanding that women are “born to shop”
  • Four treats for learning the line “Whatever you say, dear”

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that these will work…but you can surely hope!

Learn more about these husband training treats at the Unveiled Wedding Blog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wedding Photography Tips


As one of the most important decisions you will make concerning the big day, planning your wedding pictures should be considered with care. We’ve compiled a list of wedding photography tips to get you started towards capturing these priceless memories:

Select Your Photography Style

How do you envision your wedding photographs? Wedding Photographers generally fall into three stylistic categories: traditional, photojournalist, or a combination of both. Traditional photographers are practiced in obtaining great portraits and posed shots. For more candid shots that document the day’s emotions and all the behind-the-scenes action, you may lean towards the photojournalistic style of photography (a hot trend for today’s weddings). For brides who simply cannot decide, seek a wedding photographer who can offer the perfect mix.

Consider the Cost

This really is one area in which you should avoid cutting corners, as your photographs will be one of the few keepsakes you can actually take from your wedding. Expect to allocate at least $1000 to your wedding photography budget (the bottom line in metro areas will be even higher). If budget is a concern, consider ordering the most basic package, but avoid hiring an inexperienced photographer to save money.

Hire your Wedding Photographer

Do your research. Compile a list of potentials and commence the “meet and greet.” When meeting with potential photographers, be sure to review his or her work and remember to consider the importance of personality. Your photographer will capture some of the best shots behind the scenes, so you must feel comfortable in working with this person and inviting them backstage. Trust your instinct: if you find anything disagreeable about working with this person, keep looking. And don’t forget to get everything in writing.

Plan the Wedding Pictures

Well before your wedding day, make sure you have considered the must-have photography shots and their execution. You should discuss these details with your photographer so that he or she will be familiar with the site location, the VIPs of the wedding (attendants, parents etc.), and the best and most un-obtrusive way to get these important shots.

Consider every aspect of your wedding day and how you would like it captured. From the pre-ceremony preparation, to your walk down the aisle, to your “I Dos,” to your first dance and finally to your departure, make sure to discuss the perfect shots for each special moment. Throughout the planning process, be in the lookout out for images that catch your eye, and consider bringing clips to your photographer.

Get even more wedding photography tips at Elegala.com

Thursday, August 27, 2009

33 Best R&B Songs for Your Wedding Reception

If you're looking to set a sensuous vibe at your wedding reception, look no further than a playlist full of R&B wedding songs. With smooth base lines and sultry lyrics, R&B songs of love and devotion are perfect for moving, grooving, and romance on the dance floor. But with decades of songs to choose from, the only hard part is narrowing your playlist down. Consider this list of the best R&B wedding songs your starting point

R&B Wedding Songs
These passionate R& B wedding songs have fitting lyrics and sultry melodies that will suit every component of your wedding from walking down the aisle through to the last dance.


  • Never - Jaheim

  • Forever My Lady - Jodeci

  • Sweet Love - Anita Baker

  • Caught Up in the Rapture - Anita Baker

  • Spend My Life with You - Eric Benet & Tamia

  • Nice and Slow - Usher

  • You Got It Bad - Usher

  • Ribbon in the Sky - Stevie Wonder

  • You Mean the World to Me - Toni Braxton

  • Always and Forever - Heat Wave

  • On Bended Knee - Boyz II Men

  • Never Let Go - Faith Evans

  • Angel of Mine - Monica

  • For You I Will - Monica

  • The Sweetest Thing - Lauren Hill

  • No Ordinary Love - Sade

  • You - Jesse Powell

  • The Cool in You - Babyface

  • By Your Side - Sade

  • I Swear - All-4-One

  • Make it Last Forever - Keith Sweat

  • Here and Now - Luther Vandross

  • Every Beat of My Heart - Brian McKnight

  • Back at One - Brian McKnight

  • Saved the Best for Last - Vanessa Williams

  • Crazy Love - Aaron Neville

  • All My Life - K-Ci and Jojo

  • Suddenly - Billy Ocean

  • No One - Alicia Keys

  • Hello - Lionel Richie

  • Saving All My Love for You - Whitney Houston

  • Everything - Mary J. Blige

  • Family Affair - Mary J. Blige

Get even more great R&B wedding songs for your reception and a complete list of popular wedding songs at Elegala.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Religious Wedding Readings Samples

If you’re a traditional couple at heart, you’ll want to incorporate some religious texts into your wedding ceremony. This list of religious and biblical wedding readings that have inspired brides and grooms for thousands of years will get you started.

COLOSSIANS 3:12-14

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8a

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.

EPHESIANS

Submit yourselves one to another as the fear of God. Wives, show reverence for your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own Husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wife, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkles or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own body; He that loves his wife loves himself.

For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is a profound one and I am saying this as it refers to Christ and the Church; however, let husband love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respect her husband.

THE SEVEN BLESSINGS

From “The New Jewish Wedding”
By Anita Diamant

“We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, expressing our appreciation for this wine, symbol and aid of our rejoicing.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, realizing that each separate moment and every distinct object points to and shares in this oneness.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, recognizing and appreciating the blessing of being human.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, realizing the special gift of awareness that permits us to perceive this unity and the wonder we experience as a man and a woman joined to live together.
May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with each other and in harmony with their environment.
From the Divine, source of all energy, we call forth an abundance of love to envelop this couple. May they be for each other lovers and friends, and may their love partake of the same innocence, purity, and sense of discovery that we imagine the first couple to have experienced.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, and we highlight today joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, delight and cheer, love and harmony, peace and companionship. May we all witness the day when the dominant sounds through the world will be these sounds of happiness, the voices of lovers, the sounds of feasting and singing.
Praised is love; blessed be this marriage. May the bride and bridegroom rejoice together.”

WEDDING PRAYER
By Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.

Amen

Get even more wedding readings for your wedding ceremony at Elegala.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Write Your Wedding Vows - 3 Steps


Looking for ways to personalize your wedding ceremony? Consider incorporating your own carefully chosen words into this momentous occasion, and build the foundation for a life-long relationship. Writing your own vows is definitely an ambitious undertaking. Not only must you determine the perfect words to say, but those words must be rehearsed and recited in front of your closest family and friends on a day that will be one of the most important of your life. Follow these easy steps to pen and recite beautiful vows from the heart.

Step One - Before you put pen to paper, consider these factors:

Get approval -
Talk to your officiant to make sure personal vows are even allowed. Some religions object to non-secular expressions during the wedding ceremony. Even with the go-ahead, submit your personalized vows to your officiant for review before the big day; he or she may have specific objections or even helpful ideas.

Establish an estimated length -
Your audience will find it odd and even comical if one rambles for 5 minutes will the other says 10 words.

Be succinct -
Overly lengthy wedding vows may lose your audience and will only increase the potential for error. Review them in front of someone else. You can rehearse with each other, or if you'd rather keep them a surprise, read your vows to a trusted loved one.

Step Two - Decide What to Say:

Consult your past -
Time for a trip down memory lane. Start jotting down the details of special firsts in your relationship-first meeting, first date, first kiss, first "I love you," etc. What qualities made you fall in love in the first place? Are there special milestones in your relationship that that have helped bring you here today?

Envision the Future -
What challenges and achievements to you foresee in the future, and how do you expect to meet those things together?

Complete Me -
Sure, it's a line from a movie-but there's a reason for its now cliché status. What characteristics does he/she bring out in you? How does he/she make you a better person?

Use the right words -
Compile your notes, memories and reflections, and begin turning words into sentences. Consult your thesaurus for the perfect expressions to reflect your thoughts. Some words to get you started: love, trust, support, strength, encourage, respect, cherish, admire, value, commit, pledge and promise.

This article offers even more advice on what to include in your wedding vows

Step 3 - Say it With Heart:

Have a cheat sheet -
Even if you plan to memorize them, the nerves may kick in when the big moment arrives. To avoid a potentially awkward scene at the wedding ceremony - bring a cheat sheet just in case.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

9 Honeymoon Travel Tips

Essential travel tips from Jessica Good, owner of Passport Boutique in Boston’s Harvard Square…

Remember this isn’t like another vacation – it’s your honeymoon. You will have the memories (and photos!) from this trip for the rest of your life so you’ll want it to be great.


Organize it
Pack small items like swimwear and lingerie in their own bags. That way you won’t have to search through your luggage to find them when you want them.


Play it safe
Make a copy of all important documents like passports, licenses and itineraries and keep them organized in a document holder. If your real ID is ever lost or stolen it is much easier to recover with a copy.


Give thanks
When you arrive at your destination send something back home to the people who helped you the most at your wedding. Going to Hawaii? Ship your sister a lei as a thank you for being the best maid of honor. As a small gesture send brief but thankful postcards to parents and close friends – they will really appreciate it.


Don’t lose it
Bring a carry-on bag that will hold enough essentials in case your luggage is lost. You don’t want to arrive in Bora Bora and while your bikini arrives in London


Get the rest of Jessica's honeymoon travel tips at Elegala.com!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wedding Dresses Ideas for Every Season

Take a cue from the seasons with our favorite wedding dresses and attire ideas for spring, summer, fall, and winter...

Summer Wedding Dresses and Attire
Think breezy dresses with airy silhouettes and light fabrics for a summertime affair...

  • Lighter fabrics: for the wedding dress – think organdy, linen, chiffon, crepe, georgette or any light-weight silk. Bridesmaids dresses in linen, eyelet, or seersucker will ensure your girls are comfortable. You may want to forego tuxes and dress the guys in traditional cape cod style – khakis, blue sport coats and colorful ties like those from Vineyard Vines, or morning suits for a more formal affair.

  • Simple silhouettes: opt for a slip dress or sheath – as opposed to a voluminous ball gown. Keep your veil simple as well – look for airy, not poufy.

  • Dare to go barefoot: a casual outdoor setting can be made more so with a barefoot bridal party

  • Add color: summer is a time to incorporate some color into your ensemble.

Get more advice on finding summer wedding dresses.

Fall Wedding Dresses and Attire
Embrace fall with rich textures and luxurious accents that complement the season...
  • For the bride: 1. off white - cream or off-white wedding gowns accent a richer color palette. 2. lace up - antique or vintage lace adds texture to a rustic setting

  • For the ´maids: select jewel tone bridesmaids dresses in rich fabrics such as brocade or velvet

  • Stay comfortable: be prepared for chilly or warm temps. Strapless dresses with wraps, capelets or stoles are a safe bet


Winter Wedding Dresses and Attire
Add some sparkle with glamorous gowns that glisten like new fallen snow...
  • Rich fabrics: warm up to velvet, satin, brocade, and heavy silk

  • Add a layer: if your wedding dress is sleeveless or strapless, add a wrap, shrug or cape in white or in one of your wedding colors

  • Winter white: dress the wedding party, flower girl and ring bearer in winter white for a chic, clean look.

  • Black tie: formal attire at an elegant winter wedding is always a classic


Spring Wedding Dresses and Attire
Embrace the outdoors with floral elements and touches of color...
  • Loosen up: feel free to relax the dress code a bit, especially if the wedding will take place outside

  • Lighten up: lighter fabrics like lace or cotton create a perfect springtime look

  • Wedding gown: add some color with a sash or detailed embroidery

  • Bridesmaids dresses: 1. pastels are a springtime classic. Keep yours fresh by choosing a color and allowing each of your maids to select a different hue. Or go in another direction with a bolder turquoise, fuschia or mango. 2. avoid satin shoes – they don´t hold up well under springtime showers

  • The guys: they´ll look seasonably appropriate in tan suits, colored shirts and ties. For a formal evening affair, a basic tux always works.

Get even more wedding dresses style tips and budgeting advice, and browse thousands of designer wedding dresses

Monday, August 17, 2009

Looking for wedding ideas? Borrow them from other brides!


They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We couldn't agree more. Let's face it, original wedding ideas turn only turn into wedding trends after thousands of brides say "I want that," and proceed to copy it into their own weddings. So if you're looking for the next hot wedding idea, look no further than other recently planned real weddings for inspiration. Here you can view wedding pictures and read real stories for tons of wedding ideas you can "borrow" from brides across the country.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Got Cold Feet? How to Cope with Pre-Wedding Jitters

“Cold Feet” – the phrase sure packs a dirty punch when it comes to wedding planning. We’ve all heard the stories; we all know it happens…we just hope we don’t find ourselves as the next glaring “Runaway Bride” headline. So what if the thought of walking down the aisle yields feelings on the chillier side of euphoria? Don’t panic. Most of the time, feelings of fear just signal a case of pre-wedding jitters. But just to be sure – better check your symptoms…

This article on pre-wedding jitters addresses these feelings and offers insight on whether they're merely a case of cold feet - or reasons to call off the wedding.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tweet the Old Fashioned Way

Turn wedding favors into a thoughtful way to honor friends and loved ones with ceramic Bird Notes. Hand-crafted and painted in Peru by female artisans, the colorful birds are about the size of a grape and come with a small blank scroll rolled inside the belly, upon which you can write a short personal note to each guest. The tiny birds, which can also be purchased unpainted then decorated to match your wedding colors, will make a pretty picture when arranged on a favor table or even tied with ribbon to a tree at an outdoor wedding.

Learn more about these unique wedding favors at the Unveiled Wedding Blog...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wedding Flowers Ideas for Every Season

Take a cue from the seasons with these inspiring wedding flowers ideas for every season...

Winter Wedding Flowers and Decor

Winter theme weddings can be uber chic and ethereal. Use these ideas to create your wonderland...

  • Color palette - new-fallen snow - use whites and creams accented with silver or gold; winter sparkle - ice blue or navy accented with silver; black tie- black is especially suited for a winter wedding when paired with white, silver or gold.

  • Go glam - deck your halls with crystal detailing for a sparkling winter effect- adorning linens and chair covers or sprinkled over table tops. The result is deliciously glam and oh so fab.

  • Liberal use of candle light - the glow will add warmth and elegance.

  • Holiday theme - decorate with potted evergreens, pine branches, wreathes, poinsettias, ornaments, bells, or twinkling white lights.

  • Added interest and texture - incorporate holiday greenery or tiny crystals into your arrangements.

  • Creative bouquets - instead of flowers, carry tea lights, votive candles or cascading bells.

  • Tossing alternative - have your flower girl throw silver glitter or sprinkle fake snow.
Winter Flowers In Season
  • White stephanotis, poinsettia, holly, amaryllis, camellias, roses. View a complete list of seasonal winter wedding flowers
Spring Wedding Flowers and Decor

The tulips are blooming, the temperatures are rising - what a perfect time for a wedding! Get inspired with these ideas for spring flowers...
  • Color palette - green and white - an elegant accompaniment to a garden setting; yellow and green -another fresh, natural color pairing; preppy - combine hot pink with green or mango (think polka dots and gingham); chocolate brown - this trendy hue works well for spring - pair with pale blue or pink.

  • Go wild with patterns - create a playful effect - think gingham, polka dots, eyelet lace, swiss dots and stripes

  • Add some greens - grasses and greenery are a natural for outdoor garden settings. Drape over arbors and incorporate in arrangements

  • Creative containers - put your arrangements in simple, homespun containers like wicker baskets, watering cans, teapots, or urns.

  • Potted plants - potted arrangements create a natural, organic look. Best of all, you can plant them for a timeless reminder of your wedding
Spring Flowers in Season
  • Classics include tulips, daffodils, lilies (especially calla lilies and easter lilies), magnolias, gardenias, hydrangeas, gerbera daisies, apple or cherry blossoms. View a complete list of spring wedding flowers
Summer Wedding Flowers and Decor

Set the stage for a sunny summer wedding with vibrant colors and inspirations from the great outdoors...
  • Color palette - bright and bold - hot pink and deep red or mango and fuschia; nautical - navy and white is a clean summer classic, accent with touches of yellow, red or gold; seaside - combine aqua with beige, peach or white

  • Go casual - summer weddings lend themselves to a casual decor scheme - fitting of a backyard barbeque. Think checked table clothes, benches and picnic tables.

  • Go natural - incorporate natural decor elements like fruits, vegetables, even insects (like ladybugs or dragonflies, not necessarily roaches!)

  • Get lit - light up an outdoor evening reception with lanterns or torches.

  • Fruits - fruits like lemons and limes look whimsical and chic when filled in tall clear vases

  • For a beach look - incorporate shells, sand, and sea glass in your arrangements
Summer Flowers In Season
  • Abundant flowers are always in style at a summer wedding. Use bright and cheerful blooms like sunflowers, peonies, hydrangea, mums, daisies, dahlias, zinnias, and roses. Or create a breezy, airy look with white on white - using roses, stephanotis, calla lilies, snowball mums and daisies - and incorporate a touch of blue - like blue hydrangea. View a complete list of summer wedding flowers
Fall Wedding Flowers and Decor

Get autumn-spiration with these flowers and decor ideas with a fall twist...
  • Color palette - colors of the season - adhere to mother nature's fall color palette: reds, oranges, browns, rusts, and yellows; jewel tones - make a rich, interesting twist to the traditional autumn color scheme; mix with metallics - gold, copper, bronze - for added pizzazz

  • Back to nature - use simple decor to subtly enhance the season's natural bounty. Use the autumn harvest for inspiration; think gourds, pumpkins, squash, gold dipped fall leaves, bales of hay, jugs of cider...you get the idea.

  • Go fall glam - you're not confined to rustic and casual in the fall. Create a posh autumn ambiance, and drape lush velvet (a traditional fall/winter fabric) in a rich chocolate brown or gold throughout your reception space. Accent the scene with antique broaches, crystal candelabras and stemware.

  • Autumn harvest - add pears, apples, cranberries to your arrangements

  • Natural texture - incorporate leaves, acorns, sprays of wheat

  • Creative containers - hollow out pumpkins or realistic fake ones, or use stained wooden boxes, terra cotta pots, or rustic lanterns

  • Tossing alternative - have your flower girl toss leaves or acorns instead of flower petals
Fall Flowers in Season
  • Popular fall flowers include montbretia, hypericum, mums, sunflowers, roses, and daisies. View a complete list of fall wedding flowers

Get even more ideas and advice to help you plan your wedding flowers

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Getting Married? Plan for a Healthy Financial Future Now

If every couple devoted as many hours to strengthening their relationship as they do to planning their wedding, U.S. marriage statistics would boast a brighter tale. The high divorce rate proves combining two lives in wedded bliss requires more than a knack for stamping a monogram atop every unembellished surface. So just what is the key to a healthy marriage? A healthy financial portfolio, apparently. Financial woes are one of the main stressors in a marriage and a primary cause of divorce.

It’s easy to see why love and money don’t always mix. Polite society has banished the subject of money, which joins religion and politics in the prohibitive club of taboo discussion topics. Commingling the concept of dirty, cold, hard cash with that of pure, virtuous love is therefore decidedly uncomfortable. Single people grow accustomed to treading the financial landscape alone during the first phase of adult life, and suddenly marriage enters the equation. But rather than addressing the financial impact of “me” becoming “we,” the topic becomes the proverbial pink elephant in the room.


In a perfect world, an honest financial discussion occurs long before the sparkling diamond adorns your left finger. But if you’ve been negligent, and you know who you are, there’s still time to lay your financial cards on the table. A wedding is often the first big ticket item for which a couple plans and saves, and it provides an obvious opportunity to bring this taboo subject into the open.Now’s the time to set a precedent for your financial future. Elegala.com's list of financial planning tips for to-be weddings offers advice on what you need to do now to avoid some of the major roadblocks confronting couples when balancing their mutual checkbook...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Something Blue for the Modern Bride

Gone are the days of the tired blue garter. Temporary tattoos are an interesting alternative to “something blue” for the modern bride. As more and more members of the tattoo generation are tying the knot, a chic, temporary tattoo may just be the perfect wedding day accessory to showcase a trendy personality.

These blue temporary tattoos from I Do Tattoo (TM) come in eight wedding-themed designs ranging from hearts and doves to wedding rings and champagne flutes. Two tattoos of your chosen design (one for practice and one for your wedding day) will arrive in a keepsake blue folio that has also been screen printed with your tattoo in scratch-resistant silver ink, so you’ll always remember what you wore as your “something blue.”

Learn more about temporary tattoos for weddings at the Unveiled Wedding Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wedding Welcome Baskets - What to Put in Them

With the emergence of destination weddings and guests often spread all over the country, savvy couples are taking advantage of a golden opportunity to offer a warm welcome and set the tone for a fabulous series of events. Wedding guest baskets are a nice added touch, immediately comforting the travel-weary by making them feel right at home.

What to Put in Wedding Guest Baskets

Include some essentials that will make their stay more comfortable—such as bottled water, snack items, mints, tissues etc. Think about what items you often wish for when staying at a hotel. This is also a great place to include relevant information for your wedding guests - phone numbers for the families, other guests staying at the hotel, a wedding itinerary, nearby attractions and local maps.

Also consider including items that are reflective of your wedding location. Use your wedding welcome baskets as a creative way to tie everything together and introduce guests, many of them visiting for the first time, to the area. Getting married in Maine? Throw in some maple syrup! Or Texas - how about a miniature cowboy hat or a packet of spicy chili mix? You get the idea….Use this opportunity to be creative, and make your wedding a memorable event - from arrival to departure!

Get even more tips for your wedding welcome baskets at Elegala.com!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

5 New Wedding Dress Designers You Need To Know


Move over Ms. Wang - these emerging wedding dress designers represent the next class of high-style designer names to remember…

In the world of wedding fashion, your name is your trademark. From couture one-of-a-kind dresses to breezy ready-to-wear styles, these five new wedding dress designers are all making a name for themselves in the world of wedding fashion.


Here's a sampling from the list at Elegala.com:


Tamara Catz - the island fashionista who creates breezy beach wedding dresses.

Miosa Bride - the custom husband and wife duo who create couture wedding dresses that perefectly fit a bride's body type and style.

Deborah Lindquist - the green pioneer who designs a highly stylized line of eco-friendly green wedding dresses.

Suzanne Perron - the New Orleans southern belle who creates once in a lifetime traditional wedding gowns in white and ivory.

Mariana Leung - the embelishment artists who's custom designs begin with intricate wedding dress embroidery.

Get even more style tips, trends, and advice for wedding dresses

Monday, July 27, 2009

His Bachelor Party - How to Deal...

So you just overheard your man’s buddies brainstorming the dreaded bachelor party….ugh. There’s nothing like the vision of a beer-goggled groom-to-be ogling scantily clad women named after inanimate objects that makes even the most grounded woman shudder in her stilettos. It’s no wonder why the traditional bachelor party isn’t high on a bride-to-be’s list of exciting wedding-related milestones. Here’s the reality: no, you can’t throw a tantrum to halt the festivities, but you can take a few steps to make sure your guy’s final send-off doesn’t leave you wanting to off your guy.

Here are five tips to help you cope with your fiance’s bachelor party.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hiring a Wedding Planner - How to Find Your Perfect Match

Once you’ve determined what services you’d like to hand over to a pro – scout out a few in your area. The elegala.com local vendor directory is a great place to start. Then schedule some phone or face-to-face consultations with a few that strike your fancy.

Ask the Right Questions

During the consultation, you need figure out whether you’ll work well together. It’s best to come prepared with the right questions:

1. The Know How – Does the planner offer all the services you need? Come prepared with a list of things you’d like help with, and review your list together.

2. Money Talks – Does the planner’s service fees work within your budget, and is the planner able to commit to your total wedding budget while planning your event?

3. The Right Connections – Does the planner have a network of reliable professionals and can s/he refer you to those that match your style and budget?

4. Prime Negotiator – Will the planner be able to help you save on any aspects of your wedding – either by negotiating the best prices, scoring vendor discounts or obtaining added extras?

5. Etiquette Guru – Is the planner knowledgeable on etiquette matters, and can s/he steer you in the right direction?

6. Trend Savvy – Is the planner in-the-know on the latest wedding trends and styles?

7. Straight Troubleshooter - Can the planner coordinate all logistics with vendors and the wedding party to ensure everything runs smoothly? With a professional on hand – you should be able to enjoy your day like a guest and leave the details to them.

8. Personality Plus - In the end, it’s all about a positive relationship and trust. Do you like this person? Try to get a sense for how well you think you’ll work together.

9. Always the Professional - Ask to see the planner’s business license, professional organization membership or any indication that s/he is a certified business professional and not just moonlighting as a wedding planner.

10. Seal of Approval – Ask to see reference letters. Be wary if s/he cannot provide any.

Sign on the Dotted Line

After you’ve determined that you would like to work together, it’s time to sign the contract. Make sure that all services discussed are listed on the contract along with the total cost. Also make sure a pre-discussed cancellation policy is included on the contract.

Get even more advice on hiring and working with a wedding planner

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wedding Budget Etiquette - Who Pays for What?

Tradition states that the bride’s parents are responsible for fronting the bill for the wedding reception; but these days, the bride’s parents, groom’s parents, and the couple themselves all contribute to the wedding pool. That said, it helps to come to the budgeting table prepped with the traditional list of which side pays for what. These conventional “rules” can then be adjusted according to your financial situations:


Wedding Costs Paid by the Bride and/or Bride’s Parents:

  • Ceremony rental fee
  • Bride’s dress and accessories
  • Ceremony flowers and décor
  • Bouquets for bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Photography and videography
  • Engagement party
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon
  • All vendor services for reception, including food, beverages, décor, and entertainment
  • Groom’s ring
  • Invitations and stationery
  • Transportation for bridal party to and from ceremony and reception

Wedding Costs Paid by the Groom and/or Groom’s Parents:
  • Marriage license and officiant’s fee
  • Groom’s attire
  • Bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres for ushers, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers
  • Honeymoon Travel
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Bachelors’ dinner
  • Both of the bride’s rings
Costs Incurred by the Wedding Attendants:
  • Their own attire, including shoes and accessories
  • Their own lodging for the wedding (if necessary)
  • Bridal party hosts bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Groom’s party hosts the bachelor party
Get even more wedding budget and wedding etiquette advice at Elegala.com - Elegant Galas made Simple

Friday, July 10, 2009

Creating Your Wedding Guest List - Getting Started

It’s one of the first tasks you face as a bride-to-be, but tackling the guest list can be a breeding ground for teary confrontations with your fiancé and showdowns with your future mother-in-law. We’ve broken it down to 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Use Your Budget To Determine The Target Guest Count

Savvy brides know the key to staying within budget is trimming the guest list. But why work backwards? Once you’ve talked with all financially contributing parties to determine your total wedding budget, you can estimate how many people you can afford to invite to the affair.

  • First - Divide your total budget in half to get your target food and beverage cost. (couples typically allocate about half of their wedding budget to reception catering)
  • Next - Divide your total food and beverage cost by the amount you expect to pay per guest. Cost per guest can range anywhere between $35-$250, depending on location, menu selection and bar options. To zero in on your estimate, think about the type of reception you think you’ll have – a sit down five course meal? a casual buffet? an open bar? soft drinks only? You may want to check out some catering packages at venues you’re interested in to get a better idea.
  • Finally – divide your total food and beverage budget by your estimated cost per guest, and arrive at your target guest count. This is how many people you can afford to invite to your wedding.

Step 2: Factor Venue Size

If you already have your heart set on a particular venue, you’ll need to factor capacity into the equation. Even if your budget will allow you to invite 250; trying to squeeze that many people into a venue that fits 150 will not go over well – we promise. So if money is no object (lucky you!), then your target guest count is as simple as your venue’s capacity.

Step 3 – Divvy it Up

Take your target guest count – let’s say 150 – and divide it amongst the hosting parties – typically the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents and the bride and groom. Giving each host the same number of invitees may seem the equitable solution, but this may not work if one side of the family is significantly larger than the other. Those funding the majority of the wedding (traditionally the bride’s parents) may also feel they should have more say in who attends.

If there’s no straightforward way for you to divide it up, you should consider hosting an informal gathering or planning session with both sides of the family. Present your target guest count and discuss together how many each side will need. Allowing all sides to participate in the discussion will help arrive at an equitable solution everyone can live with.

Step 4 – Start Making Cuts

So you’ve tallied all the names and are still 25 people over the limit. It’s time to pull out the pen and start making cuts! When determining who stays and who goes, avoid picking and choosing, as feelings may get hurt. Instead, follow an all or none policy, making sweeping cuts across the board – i.e. all first cousins, but no second or third cousins, or no one under 18. If you run into stumbling blocks while making cuts, our advice on how to cut down your guest list will help you determine whether to extend the invite or save the postage.

Get more advice on planning your wedding guest list at Elegala.com

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wedding Videography Terms to Know

Videography technology has evolved drastically over the years, and there is a lot more to it than just “fast forward” and “rewind.”

We’ve compiled a list of terms to know before your videographer hits the record button:

Analog Cameras/Footage

Analog is about as archaic as your home VCR. Once the industry norm, this format is rapidly becoming passé. VHS tapes (the product of analog cameras) have a shelf life of about 15 years when stored properly, although the quality will still tend to depreciate.

Digital Cameras/Footage

The new standard in video technology, digital cameras offer many more functions than analog. And because they are more receptive to light, less distractive additional lighting is needed. The original footage does not lose its quality when transferred digitally.

Digitization

The method of transmitting your wedding-day video onto a computer’s editing system.

DVD

Also known as Digital Versatile Disc. DVDs are the product of digital cameras, and they offer increased picture quality and the ability to easily navigate between scenes.

DVE

Also known as Digital Video Effect, but more commonly known as special effects.

In-camera Edit

Practice where raw footage is shot as neatly as possible to reduce the need for editing later.

Linear Editing

Editing process in which the tape taken from the camera is edited down using multiple VCRs. This method is becoming out-dated with the onset of less expensive computer-based systems.

NLE

Also known as Non-Linear Editing System. Done on a computer-based system or a stand-alone editing appliance, this method of editing allows for more creativity at the click of a mouse.

Outtakes

Raw footage that didn’t make the cut onto the final version.

Raw Footage

Original recordings that have not been edited.

Video Capture Card

Computer hardware that converts videotaped recordings into digital footage, then turns it back into videotape format to be viewed on any VCR.

HD Video

Video that is offered as an alternative to standard TV videos and is best viewed on HDTV. Resolution of HD video is 78% higher than VHS, 60% higher than DVD, and 51% higher than standard TV, leaving you with a result that is extremely clear.

Get even more wedding videography tips, trends, and budget advice at Elegala.com