I don’t know about you, but when I was planning my wedding, sticking to the budget was darn near impossible! I couldn’t believe how quickly things added up! And as of recently, with our economic situation, saving money is top priority on the “to do” list! In effort to help all of you with your wedding budget, I thought I would post some tips on how to save some $$$.

Cut That Guest List

The easiest and most efficient way to slice your wedding budget in half is to shrink your guest list.  Food and beverage costs are charged per person, and whether you choose to serve filet and caviar or vegetable pasta and chicken wings, the cost is going to multiply by the number you are feeding. Also consider things such as table linens and centerpieces, chair set up fees, favors, cake cutting fees…- the cost of these services is based on the number of guests at your wedding. Fewer guests mean less spent on these wedding standards and more money available for a luxurious honeymoon or a down payment on a house.

Consider the Time

The most desirable dates and times (ie. Saturday nights in June) come with the highest price tags. Consider throwing your bash during the off-season – a Sunday afternoon in January can be equally elegant and romantic if done right. Along the same lines, host an event that does not coincide with a meal time and offer a menu entirely of hors d’oeuvres and/or desserts.

Enhance Your Surroundings

Expensive décor is hardly necessary when Mother Nature does the work for you. A springtime garden wedding hardly needs additional floral arrangements, while an ornate church may be breathtaking on its own. Many facilities are decorated for the holidays, so holding a December wedding may provide you with gorgeous poinsettias and garland free-of-cost.

Keep It Simple

The words “elaborate” and “expensive” go hand in hand, but “simple” does not necessarily equate to “low end.” Intricate details on your wedding cake and in your flower arrangements take more time and therefore cost more. Minimal adornments keep the presentation elegant and chic – and won’t break your wedding budget.

Enlist a Pro

Hiring a wedding coordinator to save you money sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes you have to spend a little to save a little. Once you’ve set a budget, a wedding coordinator will work with you and his/her network of preferred vendors to make your dreams come true within your budget.

Cut the Extras

With everything from photography to transportation, never surrender to the upsell. A custom photo album or cable TV in your limo might sound like a good idea at the time, but if it is not at the top of your priority list, chances are you can live without it.

Learn the Lingo

A little extra research will pay off in the end if you know what you are talking about. There are so many industry terms that are associated with everything from invitations to videography, so if you know what you are dealing with then you will know what you really need.

Something Old and Borrowed

Nowadays, anything retro screams chic, and borrowed items will help you save on wedding costs. Add a sentimental touch and honor your heritage by wearing your mother’s wedding gown, donning your grandmother’s veil or jewelry, or simply using old family photos as table décor. Not only will you add a hint of personalization to your already memorable occasion, but you’ll save a pretty penny too.

Get Crafty

Recruit a few talented friends and family members to help fashion your wedding. A graphics guru can create your stationery, a crafty friend can assist with favors and centerpieces, and a musically inclined relative can provide ceremony music. Assigning these roles to guests will give them an important role in your wedding day and help you to mind your wedding budget.

Think Double Duty

Make your each of your wedding-day components work for you, not against you. Bridesmaids’ bouquets and ceremony arrangements can be transplanted as cake table décor, and favors can be artfully displayed as centerpieces for your guests to take home at the end of the night. Aside from cutting down on waste, you’ll also get the most bang for your matrimonial buck.

This list was found on elegala.com.



I recently found this list on theKnot.com and thought it’s definitely something that all you brides should know about your wedding stationery!

Mistake #1: Trying to incorporate every aspect of the wedding into the invitation design

While it’s good to give your stationery a personal element (like your venue’s amazing chandelier), less is more. “We’ve had brides who are adamant that we include the lace pattern of their dress, the architectural elements of their venue, and a motif based on their floral arrangements all in the same design,” says Matt McNary at Hammerpress in Kansas City, MO. Instead, work with your stationer to choose one.

Mistake #2: Missing typos

Ask your grammatically inclined friends to look over the invitation proof and read it carefully. You’d be surprised at what you could miss. Erika Firm at Delphine in Rancho Sante Fe, CA, told us about a bride who accidentally spelled her groom’s name wrong! The invitations printed and shipped out to guests (even though the bride and groom and both their parents reviewed and approved the proof). Take a note from copy editors and read from right to left so you don’t accidentally gloss over something that’s wrong.

Mistake #3: Using too much color

We’re all about making invites pop with bold and bright colors (think: a yellow chevron pattern or pink dahlia motif), but don’t get carried away. Always balance bright colors with something neutral, and make sure the text is visible. Kristy Rice of Momental Designs in Scranton, PA, suggests a palette of three to five colors, with one or two being neutral, such as ivory, white, gold, or tan.

Mistake #4: Addressing the envelopes yourselves

Addressing the envelopes takes time, and many stationers offer the service at little or no charge. If you decide to do it yourself, don’t do it all in one sitting. Give yourself plenty of time to avoid making any mistakes.

Mistake #5: Giving guests too much time to reply

Give guests too much time to RSVP, and they’ll get lost. Set the deadline no more than three or four weeks after they get the invitation. “Any more than that and they’ll forget they even have an event to respond to,” says Rice.

Mistake #6: Over-ordering

Keep in mind that you don’t need an invitation for every person, so take a look at your guest list and figure out how many houses you’ll be sending invites to before you give your stationer any numbers. It can cut your order in half.

Mistake #7: Or…not ordering enough

On the flip side, you don’t want to be stuck having to order more. Order at least 25 percent extra to ensure you have enough for late additions, lost invites, and keepsakes. “It is very expensive to go back to print with letterpress, engraving, or offset printing,” say Kristen Armstrong and Cheree Berry of Cheree Berry Paper in St. Louis, MO. And ask for extra envelopes too, in case of any addressing mistakes.

Mistake #8: Forgetting to put stamps on the reply envelope

It’s an obvious one but an often overlooked detail. “Seriously, it is near impossible to steam open an envelope once it has been sealed,” Armstrong and Berry say.

Mistake #9: Purchasing postage without weighing a sample

We know you’re excited to order the invites and check another thing off your list, but weighing it at your local post office first will save you the headache later. “No one wants to deal with the hassle of invitations returned because of insufficient postage,” says Rice.

Mistake #10: Waiting too long to hire a calligrapher

You should book your calligrapher when you book your stationer so the two can work together from the start. Hire too late, and you may have to pay a rush fee.



The Cash Bar Issue

Yes, weddings are expensive. Yes, couples should be on the lookout for budget saving tips. Yes, weddings are expensive – I know.

Proper etiquette says that under no circumstances should you ever consider hosting a cash bar at your reception. Of course, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. So, if a full bar is not within your budget, consider these alternatives:

  • Host a soft bar, in which guests can order champagne, beer and wine – or offer both a soft bar and cash bar (that’s what we did for our wedding).
  • Find a reception site that allows you to bring in your own alcohol; you will save serious cash, and anything unopened can be returned for a full refund.
  • Cut down the size of your guest list – the only significant way to reduce costs in the first place.

Information found on eleGala.com.



Gift-giving Etiquette

Yes, everyone likes to get gifts, and weddings are a perfect occasion for gift-giving. Friends and loved ones customarily honor the commitment of the newly betrothed by showering them with gifts. As the happy couple, just remember to always feel privileged—not entitled. Here’s some useful wedding gift etiquette advice:

  • Do not print registry information on the invitation. (Honestly, I have a lot of couples do this. Some find it much easier to directly inform the guests rather than having them seek out the info themselves.)
  • Do publicize your registry information by word of mouth.
  • Don’t explicitly request cash gifts; your close friends or family numbers can inform guests of your preferences if asked.
  • Do return all gifts – even shower and engagement gifts – if the wedding is called off (so don’t be tempted to use any gifts until after the wedding!).
  • Do respond to each gift with a personal hand-written thank you note within two weeks of receiving the gift (or within 2 weeks of returning from your honeymoon).
  • There is no special formula for determining the appropriate amount a guest should spend on a gift. The idea that each gift should cost as much as one plate at the reception is an impractical misconception.

Information found on eleGala.com.



Attire Etiquette

Rules for modern wedding attire have evolved with the times, but there are still traditional standards for fabrics, lengths and styles. Here are some guidelines:

The formality of your bridesmaids’ dresses should match that of your wedding dress. Although traditionally the dresses were the same length as the wedding gown, the rise in popularity of tea- and knee-length bridesmaids’ dresses has relaxed that rule. As long as the fabric and overall style matches the formality of your floor-length gown, shorter bridesmaids’ dresses are perfectly acceptable.

For evening weddings, guests should dress for a nice dinner or event – which includes suits (or black tie) for men and sophisticated dresses or skirts in for women. Lengths can vary according to the style of the event and location. Female guests may now wear black, but never white.

Information found on eleGala.com.



Asking For Money – Are Money Showers Appropriate?

What is the proper etiquette for monetary gifts? Is it ever appropriate to ask for them? Are “money trees” and “money showers” considered in bad taste? What if I receive an invitation requesting a monetary gift?

Asking for Monetary Gifts
You’re planning a bridal shower, and let’s face it – most bride and grooms have been living together for three years, already accumulating at least two blenders and a toaster oven. What they could really use is some extra cash (they’ve been dying to remodel their bathroom.) However, blatantly asking for specific gifts – monetary or otherwise – is in poor taste. Just imagine an invitation that reads: “I could really use some new shoes – please send me some strappy sandals.” (Just because Carrie Bradshaw got away with it does not make it ok!) What you can do is let guests know if they ask that the bride prefers cash gifts. Send shower invites without registry information; inquiring guests will ask where the couple is registered, presenting a perfect opportunity to respond with the bride’s preference. Some guests will still prefer to give a tangible gift, so the couple should register for a few items. Avoid drawing attention to the cash with a “money tree,” or other cash-displaying gimmick, so guests bringing tangible gifts don’t feel awkward. Simply display all cards and gifts together for the bride to open and acknowledge.

Bottom line? The happy bride-to-be should always remember to feel privileged, not entitled.

Giving Monetary Gifts
You’re sorting through your mail, and to your dismay discover a shower invitation with a cutesy rhyme such as…

…To make it easy for you
and avoid a shopping spree
We thought that we would have instead,
a little money tree…

Although this presents a clear breach of etiquette, it does not justify an uprising of the etiquette police. Pointing out another’s faux pas is just as rude as the original blunder. Here are your options:

Bring a monetary gift – If you choose to participate with a cash donation, give whatever you feel comfortable giving. The shower host will start the tree off for guests by tying a bill or small envelope on the tree, and guests will follow suit. There is usually no way to tell who gave what amount. In this instance, bring a card separate from the cash for the bride.

Bring a tangible gift – I say this with caution, because you don’t want to appear as if you’re protesting the shower theme. However, if you’ve put a lot of thought into selecting something memorable for the bride, take pride in presenting her with a thoughtful gift to acknowledge her upcoming nuptials.

Information found on eleGala.com.



Inviting partners and guests

If an invited guest is married, engaged or living with a significant other, that partner must be included in the invitation. A single invitation addressed to both individuals should be sent to spouses or couples who live together, while separate invitations should be sent to each member of an engaged or long term couple who don’t live together. Inviting single guests with a date is a thoughtful gesture, but one that is not required. If you are inviting a single guest with a date, try to find out the name of your friend’s intended date and include that person’s name on the invitation. Otherwise, inner envelopes may include “And Guest,” indicating that he or she may bring any chosen escort or friend.

Inviting Children
To invite or not invite the little ones – this is a situation that can quickly get ugly. Make your decision and stick with it – then inform your guests through carefully addressed invitations:

Children over 18 who are invited to the wedding should receive their own invitations – regardless of whether or not they live with their parents. If you don’t send them an invitation – it’s clear that they’re not invited.

Children under 18 who are invited to the wedding should have their name included on the invitation. If you’re inviting Joe and Mary Smith without their two little ones, their invitation should read “Joe and Mary Smith.”

If you’re still worried that some guests may add write-ins on their reply card – print the names of those invited on the reply card as well.

I’ve also worded the reception invitations as, “Please join us for an adult reception following the ceremony.” This sounds formal but not rude.

Guests Who Ask to Bring a Guest
Your guests should know better! It is never appropriate for a guest to ask to bring a date, and you have every right to politely say no. However, if you discover that a guest is engaged or living with a significant other, you should extend a written or verbal invitation.

Invitations to out-of-town guests
Many brides ponder whether or not it’s appropriate to invite long distance guests for whom it may be impossible to attend. Use your best judgment. Is this person truly a close friend who would want to attend your celebration? If so, failing to extend an invitation may be insulting. Remember, these days friends and family are often spread all over the country, and people are accustomed to traveling. On the other hand, if you haven’t spoken in years, an invitation may look like no more than a request for a gift. In those cases, send a wedding announcement instead, which carries no gift-giving obligation.

Information found on eleGala.com.



Learn the proper etiquette when it comes to weddings and family issues.

As one of the biggest and most potentially stressful events of your life, getting engaged and subsequently planning a wedding brings with it an onslaught of questions. As times change and weddings evolve, traditional rules of etiquette have followed suit, only adding to the confusion.

To gain perspective, first understand that “etiquette” is above all about treating people with courtesy and making them feel comfortable. When an etiquette question arises, consider the feelings of those who will be affected.

Family Etiquette

Introducing Your Parents
If the bride and groom’s parents have not met prior to the engagement, tradition dictates that the groom’s family calls and introduces themselves to the bride’s family and arranges a meeting. If the groom’s parents do not make the first introduction, then the bride’s parents should. Nowadays, who makes the first call is irrelevant; all that really matters is that the parents meet. If meeting face to face is impossible, a letter or phone call will suffice.

Introducing Divorced Parents
If the groom’s parents are divorced, the parent with the closest relationship to the groom should take the first step in meeting the bride’s parents. If both sets are divorced, the parent closest to the groom should first contact the bride’s suggested parent. If no one begins the introduction process, the couple should step in and ensure that everyone meets, while refraining from forcing potentially awkward situations.

Your In-Laws
The groom’s parents often feel left out of the planning process. To avoid this, invite your future in-laws into the initial dialogue. You should immediately inform them of your ideas regarding location, date, size and style of the wedding. Take queues on their desired level of involvement, and include them accordingly. Let them make offers to pitch in with finances or planning. Above all, keep them in the informed throughout your engagement.

Information found on eleGala.com.