So you are planning a wedding! CONGRATULATIONS! We plan to be at lots of weddings, and have even planned a few of them ourselves over the years. (I believe I personally have been a bridesmaid 8 times in addition to planning my own wedding). So while there is a lot to learn, here are a few tools that might be useful to take with you on your journey to marital bliss.
1. Theknot.com budget tool. You have to create a login, but it’s completely free to use the budget calculator at theknot.com, which means you can type in your total budget, number of guests, and size of wedding party, and the calculator will create a sample budget for you to get started with. Then when you actually start to purchase items, enter the real cost into the calculator and the budget automatically readjusts the amounts you have in your other categories. So for instance, you budgeted $1500.00 for a dress, but you find the dress of your dreams in your size off the rack for $800.00, the calculator will put the extra $700 into the categories you have left. Want to put that extra money into your photography (wise choice – we say), no problem. Just type it in. This saves a lot of calculating and helps you determine if paying $2000.00 for a wedding cake will blow the rest of your budget. Theknot.com has lots of other features, but this was my favorite feature way back in the day when I got married, and it only has gotten better since then.
2. Myregistry.com – it’s an online wedding registry that allows you to register for anything that is sold on the internet, no matter which site it is sold at. This will be particularly handy if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, as they prefer to buy gifts ahead of time or give you cash so they don’t have to carry your gifts around while they travel. It may not be as useful if most of your guests are local, as they will probably prefer to buy you something they can bring with them – and some at the last-minute.
3. Get a wedding planning calendar, like the one on wedalert.com. This will help you gauge when you should be looking for photographers, reception venues etc. I am sure there are lots of these out there, this one was for a 9-12 month engagement.
4. Start thinking now about marriage counselling. My wedding ceremony venue required it, and most pastors will offer this service for little or no charge. It is great to learn to communicate well and get to know each other better before the stress of planning a wedding overwhelms you both. It’s no fun to find out after the wedding that he doesn’t want kids when you do, because you never bothered to ask.
5. New to wedding etiquette? Check out the etiquette advisor tool on marthastewartweddings.com. This tool will walk you through wording your invitation, creating seating charts, etc. Of course, you get to decide for yourself how formal you want to be, but this can be helpful for first time wedding planners as a guide.
6. Best tool of all – talk to us at Captured Emotions. We are happy to point you in the direction of a DJ we enjoy or florists who do beautiful work. Of course, you use them at your own risk so do your homework – but we’ve been around a while and can make some suggestions of who to look at first. We are a little biased when it comes to wedding photographers, however, so don’t look for many suggestions in that department.
Have your own favorite tool? Leave a comment here and let other brides know what really worked for you.
What fun we had taking outdoor winter engagement pictures. While Alicia and Rich met at church, when it was time to pop the question, Rich proposed in Binghamton, NY’s beautiful Wolfe Park and Alicia said YES! So it only made sense to take their engagement portraits there as well. We have said it before here on this blog, but giving friends and family a glimpse into the special moments you share as a couple wins big points.
Anyway, check out the beautiful pictures and enjoy a few of our tips for taking great outdoor winter portraits.
Tips For Amazing Outdoor Winter Portraits:
1. Get a cute scarf, hat, gloves, etc. and plan on taking your pictures wearing winter gear. We want you to look happy and in love, rather than frozen. Also, wear layers. That way you can add and subtract warmth as needed throughout the session. And finally, pick bright colors to contrast with the winter foliage.
2. Bring a hot drink. It’s nice to have some coffee or cocoa waiting for you between locations.
3. Talk with your photographer ahead of time so she (or he) knows more about what kind of couple you are and what makes you, well, you. Since your engagement session is a part of your wedding package at Captured Emotions, this will have the added bonus of helping us make your wedding portraits even better as well!
4. Choose Captured Emotions as your photographer. This seemed like a given if you live in the Binghamton area, but it had to be on the list. If you don’t live in the Binghamton area, we are happy to travel so feel free to consider us anyway. If your “destination wedding” is in Boise, Idaho that’s fun too.
5. Wear a good makeup foundation. Standing in the cold will make your cheeks and nose rosy, which is adorable, but you can temper that effect by applying a good foundation before you hit the cold.
6. Have fun out there! Posed smiles are nice. Genuine joy is catching.
Upstate New York in winter is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Chances are, if you are reading this blog you already get to live here, so take advantage of it while the snow lasts.
Your wedding day is one of the most exciting days of your life. As you prepare for the big day, here is some last minute advice.
1. Eat. Plan a set of light meals for your wedding day. Even though you may feel too nervous to eat or too busy to eat, having a lite amount of food will help you feel your best. By the time you get to your reception rolls around, don’t make the mistake of nibbling and then wandering to visit guests. You may find your excellent waitstaff clears your plates and shuts down the buffet before you get back to it. One bite of wedding cake all day will not sustain you!
2. Try to schedule some alone time for yourself on your wedding day. Take a bath, go out to coffee on your own, or find some other way to enjoy a moment alone, collect your thoughts, and be peaceful. It will help alleviate those pre-wedding jitters if you know this is a calm decision.
3. Assign a wedding coordinator or stage manager for your wedding rehearsal. I can’t stress this enough. On the day beforemy wedding I was bombarded with questions at the rehearsal that reay stressed me out. If I had found a coordinator and told them my plans then they could have ordered everyone around and I could have just prepared for the day. If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, choose a friend or relative who is bossy, organized, and a good listener.
4. Flow with the changes. Things will not go as you planned. Sometimes they will be better than you hoped, sometimes not, but the details do not matter as much on your fiftieth wedding anniversary, so what is important is your marriage, not your planning.
5. Enjoy yourself. This will be one of the top days you remember for the rest of your life.
It seems to be the big trend these days, “going green” so we thought we would brainstorm some ways to make your wedding more earth friendly. Here’s what we came up with:
1. Use leaves collected in autumn as your “rice” substitute. Not only are they colorful, they are certainly biodegradable and add a touch of class to a fall wedding.
2. Instead of driving away in a limo – find a rickshaw, or take a bicycle built for two. We think this would be fabulous, as long as you don’t have far to go, and you change into your “going away” outfit. Poofy gowns and bicycles may not be a winning combination.
3. Make a unity candle holder out of recycled materials – like a log from your yard or some stones
4. Rather than cut flowers, consider having bouquets made from potted flowers that you can save and plant in your yard after the ceremony. Use potted trees, shrubs, and plants to decorate the church and reception site and use them all in your own landscaping. Why not keep them forever instead of just throwing them away?
5. Sew the garter from something you already own – a handkerchief, your mother’s wedding dress, your christening gown, etc.
Those are ideas we came up with. Leave us a comment and tell us if you have any more to add!
In this economy, or let’s face it, any economy, if you are planning a wedding, money is one of your major concerns. So let’s talk about realistic ways to cut down on cost and still have a wedding you are proud of.
Choosing which items to cut back on is a very personal decision. But here are some ideas, and some cuts to avoid we think you should know.
- Limit the number of guests at the reception. We think this is pretty self explanatory. The fewer people you have to feed and water, the cheaper your event will be.
- Have a cash bar instead of an open bar. This decision is pretty dependent on the amount of drinking your friends and relatives are accustomed to. It certainly saves you money, big money, but it may feel cheap after the fact if people weren’t able to have a good time because they didn’t know to bring cash.
- Don’t have a full dinner reception. This is tricky if your reception venue requires you to use their caterer, but I have always been partial to a dessert reception. Get married at sunset and then provide special coffees and teas and a whole host of desserts which includes but is not limited to the wedding cake.
- If you don’t mind getting up REALLY early, have a morning wedding with a brunch reception – eggs and pancakes are much more cost effective than steak and chicken. Just keep In mind that you will have to get up while it is still dark out to have your hair and makeup ready for a brunch reception.
- Hire a DJ rather than a live band – maybe. Check the prices. You really get what you pay for when it comes to wedding entertainment so you may find it is generally cheaper to get a DJ over a live band, but if all you want is a guitar playing acoustic melodies then you may be able to find a musician to do that for a similar price.
Ideas to avoid:
- Don’t do your own hair and makeup. Having someone else do these for you is a pleasant experience, so enjoy it. You don’t get married very often and you need to have some luxuries, even on a tight budget. Plus, you will be the centerpiece of most of the wedding pictures so you need to look really nice.
- Don’t forget to do your nails – even if you aren’t usually a manicure kinda gal. This is one you can probably do reasonably well yourself or ask one of the Bridesmaids to do if you are trying to save money. You will probably have lots of pictures with your hands in them, because that is where the rings are.
- Don’t cook the food yourself. One bride I knew stayed up all night before her wedding making spaghetti dinner for all of her guests to cut down on the cost. Don’t do it. It is not worth it. If you want a homemade meal, give your spaghetti recipe to cooks you know and have everyone bring some with them. There will be food for all and less stress for you.
- Don’t elope to save money. It will definitely save you money, but part of the fun of a wedding is sharing the day with people who love you. Don’t rob your friends and family of the privilege. If you must elope, have a surprise wedding instead. Consider renting a back room of a restaurant, a ballroom, or a park for a “family reunion” or a “surprise party”, invite the family and friends, and then surprise them with a wedding when they arrive. You pick an officiant and a photographer (Captured Emotions, perhaps?), they get to share in the day, and you have your low maintenance wedding. You could even wait until after dinner to spring the surprise and then all your guests will have paid for themselves! (this is little bit tacky though so consider carefully)
Have more money saving tips you want to share? Leave a comment and let us know.