Category Archives: Wedding

Planning a Wedding That Doesn’t Kill Your Budget

If you’re planning a wedding and you’re concerned about your wedding budget, there are several ways to save. The keys to successfully planning a budget-conscious wedding are having the abilities to be creative, flexible, and opportunistic.

“Proces Of Hiring A Wedding”

Think of this scenario: You wake up in the middle of the night with a craving for ice cream. All grocery stores are closed, so you run through the options in your head. You can go to the all-night convenience store or coffee shop and pay a premium price for this craving or you can settle for the granola bar in the back of your pantry. Then the thought occurs that you could have planned ahead while grocery shopping earlier that week and had your ice cream at a fair price. The same shopping options exist for every part of your wedding. Do you pay premium prices? Do you plan ahead? Or do you simply do without? There are no wrong answers, but planning ahead can almost always offer the most bang for the bucks.

The key trick in saving money for your wedding is flexibility. Think about your wedding date. It’s probably a mild Saturday evening in late Spring or early Fall. I’m no Nostradamus, it’s just a fact that the vast majority of couples choose the same dates for their weddings. You can slash your overall wedding costs significantly by changing your wedding date away from Saturday evenings in May, June, September, or October. Go crazy and avoid Saturdays altogether and have a raging Friday night wedding or a relaxing Sunday afternoon wedding. You might not think these date/time adjustments matter, but vendors’ schedules are much less likely to be full on a Sunday afternoon in August or a Friday night in March. This availability can translate into staggering deals if you shop around. I’ve seen $10,000-$15,000 weddings (combined vendor cost) reduced to $2,000-$3,000 with every component of the wedding staying exactly the same, including the venue. The difference? An 11am ceremony time on a Saturday in June versus a 5pm wedding the EXACT SAME DAY. An unexpected perk to avoiding Saturday evenings goes to your guests who can now plan a weekend after your Friday night bash or before the Sunday nuptials. That Saturday night wedding breaks everyone’s weekend in half. Having schedule flexibility is huge for all vendors, but specific savings can also be found for each part of your big day.

Wedding venues: The venue is usually the costliest of the wedding investments, but that only means it is also the biggest opportunity to save money. If you want elegance, maybe avoid the country clubs and golf courses and find a shady park or beach and spend a fraction of your budget on elegant tables, string lighting, and candle-lit centerpieces. If you’re quirky and fun, bypass a regular venue and rent an old theater or local art gallery. Think outside the box. Depending on the size of your guest list, you can find venues that aren’t considered traditional, but will more than fit your needs. Private residences and local restaurants might fit your needs perfectly. With any non-traditional venue, be sure to get all the details. Some places may require additional insurance or have restrictions on attendance, food/drink, etc, so be sure to be thorough in your interviews. If you are looking for a traditional venue, many times finding a location that can host both the wedding and reception is ideal. For both convenience and cost, this option almost always is preferable to separate locations. If you opt for a church wedding, keep in mind that some churches offer weddings a low or even no cost. Call around and you might find a great deal

Caterer: The ideal way to cut food/drink costs is to time your wedding between traditional meal times. Having a 11am or 2pm wedding allows you to escape providing full meals and instead serve small appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, etc. If you opt for this cost-cutting schedule choice, be sure to indicate to guests when type of food/refreshments will be served. Most people will grab a bite to eat before or after the wedding if they know in advance that only snacks will be available at the wedding. If you must serve food, shop around. Some venues require you to use their preferred caterers, so know this in advance. Sample each caterer’s menus and ask them how savings can be found. Many times a limited menu with more appetizer options works well. If you decide to serve a meal, buffet style usually costs less than plated meals. And keep this question in mind: How was the food at the last wedding you attended? Most people don’t remember. Find a balance between quality, service, and price.

Cake: There are reality TV shows dedicated to cakes. Amazing, beautiful cakes are everywhere. Now for the life-changing reality: Its still just dessert. I know, that sounds harsh and emotionless. But its sugar and eggs and flour, and you’re in a market than can charge thousands of dollars for a, yes, dessert. Think about your reasoning behind the cake. Its fun and you want photos of the cake-cutting and subsequent cake-smashing. You can accomplish the same thing with a small but still elegant cake. The photos look the same, and the crowd still gathers around. And when the smashed cake is wiped from the groom’s face, all the guests are served cute little wedding cupcakes or pieces of sheet cake that have been cut and are ready to serve immediately. Buy a pretty little cake for the two of you, or for the bridal party, and ask your baker to make a sheet cake or two, or cupcakes, of the same flavor as yours. Everyone enjoys the cake and you enjoy cutting your cake budget by 50% or more.

Photographer: Many couples make the mistake of forgoing a professional wedding photographer and hiring Uncle Harry because he always has a camera, and he’ll be at the wedding anyway. Or a niece in high school just bought a really expensive camera and took photography in high school. Remember that your photographs are likely going to be the only tangible reminders of your wedding. When the cake and songs and flowers are long gone, you’ll have your photography to enjoy and share for years to come. You want a photographer with wedding experience to ensure all angles are covered and all poses are ideal. This doesn’t mean you have to blow your entire budget on photography, however. Search photographers’ websites, and only contact those whose photos fit your style. When speaking with the photographer, request a quote that excludes prints, albums, or other photo products. Get the edited photography on a disc or flash drive with a copyright release that allows you to print your photos. Most photographers’ profit lies in the printing, so you can save that money and print economically at your own convenience. If a photographer doesn’t offer this, move along. There are plenty that will offer a no-prints option.

DJ: The DJ is the vendor that some deem unnecessary and others regard as invaluable. I think both are true depending on the type of wedding and reception you want. If you want a quiet, relaxed ceremony and reception with soft music in the background throughout, just find a venue with a sound system and plug in an ipod playlist of soft grooves. If you want your reception to be a party, then hire a DJ. DJ’s styles and levels of interaction vary, so keep this in mind. If you want someone to keep the guests dancing, get someone outgoing and fun. Like the photographer, don’t skimp too much and hire the high school tech geek down the street with the loud sound system. Weddings are unique, and you want experience. Ask for deals and compare prices. No real tricks here other than shopping in advance.

Florist: Flowers are beautiful and can enhance any wedding. They also sit in vases and soak up water. Each couple needs to decide whether a little color is pretty or more elaborate floral arrangements are necessary. If you find a venue that is attractive on its own, consider skipping or reducing the floral decorations. Many florists advise boosting the greenery in arrangement and using the actual flowers strategically, which makes a lot of sense both artistically and financially. Some couples are now opting for artificial flowers in lieu of actual flowers. This can be cheaper and offer the advantage of preparing months in advance. They also last forever, so your investment doesn’t end up in the compost pile the next day. If you decide to go with real flowers, check independent florists first, as they can often work with your budget with more flexibility than a larger retail chain.

Videographer: Have you ever visited a friend and been subjected to watching their wedding video? It’s painful. Now, with the development of high-def and superior editing, today’s wedding videos are more like Hollywood features than handheld camcorders of the 80’s. they can also be very expensive. The real question is need. After the first few weeks of being married, will your wedding DVD ever be seen? Aside from distant relatives visiting or an anniversary viewing, it likely sits on the shelf. Most budget-minded couples skip the videographer, but if you really want video then find a company that uses multiple cameras and edits in a style you enjoy. Be sure they know the style you want and ask them to work with your budget.

Other: There are several other ways to save that simply didn’t fit the other categories:

Wedding favors are cute, but often sit in the backseat of your guests’ cars and ultimately get tossed. If you have a budget for them, find something personal (a small framed photo of the wedding couple, a small package of candy or mints, etc). Find something fun or quirky, but cheap. Search online for many creative options.

With any wedding, avoid placing disposable cameras at guest tables. The idea is great, but the execution is horrible. You’ll spend hundreds on these outdated cameras, and hundreds more to develops photos of kids’ feet and empty plates. Don’t even consider this for your wedding!

Limousines: Beautiful and elegant, but really only use if transportation is needed. Hiring a limo to drive you three blocks doesn’t allow you to relax or save money. If you’re travelling across town and want to splurge, go for it. Ask for wedding specials, and find a service that will allow you to use the minimum amount you need. Don’t get locked into a six-hour minimum when you only need three.

Honeymoon: If you’re wanting a honeymoon but don’t have a big budget, consider registering for your wedding with a travel agent instead of a retailer. Your guests may gift you a vacation instead of cutlery! If you’re considering a small wedding, think about a destination wedding for the two of you (or small family), and combine your wedding and honeymoon instead of a reception. Sometimes this is more economical than couples think and provides a romantic and less expensive wedding option.

Craigslist: OK, this isn’t a wedding component. But Craigslist can be your best friend. You can find vendors, dresses, wedding locations, and much more in one convenient site. If you have a particular skill, service, or item, consider using the site’s barter section to trade for wedding services. Trading your unused timeshare for a wedding photographer or bartering your automotive repair business to obtain catering can be empowering and budget-saving. Read through the section and find ideas that may help you save.

Hopefully a few of these suggestions give you ideas on stretching your wedding budget. Weddings are beautiful, amazing events and should be celebrated, not agonized. Enjoy the process, and remember that this is YOUR big day. Build the wedding you want, and let your guests enjoy the ride with you.

Amazing Las Vegas Elvis Wedding

“Viva Las Vegas!” sang Elvis Presley in 1964, as Lucky Jackson in his 1964 movie Viva Las Vegas. While the legendary singer/movie star may have moved on, there’s no shortage of ordained Vegas ministers that look remarkably like him! Couples wanting to be married by the King himself have a variety of wedding options to choose from, including 12 complete packages all for under $299.

1. $177 – “Love Me Tender Elvis Package” available from the Wee Kirk O’ the Heather Wedding Chapel

For over 70 years, the Week Kirk O’the Heather Wedding Chapel has been marrying lovebirds in Las Vegas. Up to eight guests of your choice can watch as Elvis walks the bride down the aisle and performs two songs. The package also includes a CD with five candid photos (including the copyright), the use of a bouquet, music, witness and a souvenir wedding scroll.

2. $185 – “Elvis Memories” Special available from The Elvis Wedding Chapel

Boasting the “friendliest service, the best value, and the best “Elvis” in Vegas”, the Elvis Wedding Chapel has been featured on “The Girls Next Door”, “Wild Weddings”, CNN, PBS, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and other television shows. This wedding package includes limo transportation to and from your hotel, a fresh rose presentation for the Bride, two songs performed by Elvis and a DVD of the ceremony to capture the memory of your special “Elvis Vows”.

3. $199 – “Love Me Tender Elvis Wedding” available from Mon Bel Ami Chapel

Although not available on Saturdays, this wedding package does offer great value to couples wanting to tie the knot in front of Elvis. Included in the price is your favorite Elvis Hit sung by the King himself, a long stem rose for the bride, a boutonniere for the groom and a complementary ceremony photograph with Elvis on a CD. In addition to Sunday through Friday availability, a maximum of ten guests are permitted.

4. $199 – “Viva Las Vegas Elvis Wedding” available from Graceland Chapel

Be serenaded by Elvis as he sings the famous “Love Me Tender” melody, and then dance away to the classic “Viva Las Vegas” theme song after exchanging your vows at the Graceland Chapel. A long stem rose and boutonniere are included in the package, as is professional photography (prints sold separately). In addition, not only will you leave with your own wedding license, but you’ll get a copy of Elvis and Pricilla’s too! English, Spanish and French ceremonies are available at Graceland Chapel.

5. $199 – “Viva Elvis Package” available from The Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

Providing excellent value for the price, this wedding package actually includes the minister’s fee! (A $60 value), as well as a generous digital image package (13 professional prints, including copyrights), a six-rose fresh flower bouquet and courtesy limo service for up to eight. As if this wasn’t enough, Elvis will perform two songs and you’ll also receive a copy of Elvis and Pricilla’s marriage certificate.

6. $267 – “Burning Love Elvis Package” available from the Wee Kirk O’ the Heather Wedding Chapel

The bride and groom and up to 12 of their guests will enjoy a mini-concert of three Elvis songs after a beautiful wedding ceremony. Literally translated from Scottish, as “The Little Chapel of the Lucky Flowers,” Wee Kirk O’the Heather is Las Vegas’ original wedding chapel and is a historical landmark in the city. Also included are eight candid photos on a CD (with copyrights), a fresh three-rose bouquet for the bride, a souvenir wedding scroll and a witness, if needed.

7. $269 – “It’s Now or Never Elvis Package” available from Vegas Adventure Wedding Chapel

When it comes to your wedding, Vegas Adventure Weddings promises to “take all the stress out and put all the adventure in!” and this package does not disappoint. After arriving in a courtesy 2007 Superstretch Limousine (transportation provided for the bride, groom and up to four guests), Elvis will walk the bride down the 27 foot chapel aisle for the ceremony. Post “I-do”s, the newlyweds and their guests will enjoy three songs performed by Elvis. A single fresh rose presentation and boutonniere, as well as 12 photo images of the event on a CD (with copyrights) are also included. The best part of this package is the option to add on the lighting of 50 candles for an incredibly romantic atmosphere for only $40 more.

8. $275 – “The Elvis Wedding Special Package” available from Loveland Wedding Chapel

This Vegas wedding package perfectly merges the beauty and elegance of the hotel chapels with the affordability of the “Las Vegas strip chapels”. Not only will you enjoy a hearing Elvis perform three songs, you’ll also get to watch the performance time and time again with the video of the event which is included in this package! Also included are 25 digital photos, a silk bouquet for the bride and a boutonniere for the groom, and the use of the chapel for up to 20 guests.

9. $288 – “Elvis Wedding Package” available from Lily of the Valley Wedding Chapel

Located immediately across the street from the Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau, the Lily of the Valley Wedding Chapel believes in blessing your marriage, family, friends and associates. With 70 pictures and video, this wedding offers the most generous photo and video package of the “Under $299 Elvis Wedding Packages” of the group. In addition to hearing Elvis sing three songs, you’ll also get to dance with Elvis as well as receive gifts and pictures signed by Elvis. A bridal bouquet and boutonniere round out the floral package, and if you need a witness the chapel can provide one, too. Notary, planning, and pre-marital counseling upon request and both Romantic religious and civil ceremonies are offered. Please note that the minister’s fee is an additional $250 on top of the above listed wedding package fees.

10. $295 – “Elvis “Hound Dog” Wedding Package” available from the Elvis Chapel

As if enjoying Elvis perform three songs of his choice isn’t enough of a treat, you’ll get two pairs of Elvis sunglasses presented by Elvis while exchanging special “Elvis Vows”… and it will all be caught on the DVD video included in the package price! Also included are 35 high resolution digital photos on a CD and the option for a live Web Cam to capture all of the hip-shakin’, Hound Dog action for those at home. Other package amenities include a six rose bouquet for the bride and a copy of Elvis and Pricilla’s marriage certificate and complementary round-trip limousine service for up to six people. While gratuities extra, taxes are included in the listed package price.

11. $299 – “All Shook Up Elvis Package” available from Vegas Adventure Wedding Chapel

This Vegas Adventure Wedding Chapel package includes all of the amenities in the “Now or Never Elvis Wedding Package” listed above (including courtesy limousine transportation for up to six and three songs performed by Elvis), with the added romance of walking down a 27 foot aisle covered in rose petals and a two fresh rose presentation for the bride (and a matching boutonniere for the groom). Double the amount of photos are included on a CD (24 images in total) which alone makes this package worth the upgrade. You can also add on the lighting of 50 candles to create an incredibly romantic atmosphere for an additional $40.

12. $299 – “Blue Suede Shoes Elvis Package” available from The Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas

Elvis vows, a three song mini-concert and a first dance to an Elvis song of your choice truly epitomize the Vegas wedding experience! You’ll be able to relive this entertaining wedding experience again whenever you choose with the high quality DVD of your ceremony, 25 Professional Digital Images (including copyrights) and the five 4×6 prints included in the “Blue Suede Shoes Elvis Package”. Also included is a six rose fresh flower bouquet, a copy of Elvis and Pricilla’s marriage certificate, a live Web Cam of the event, and courtesy limo service for up to eight people. And best of all, the minister’s fees are included in the package price!

All of these 12 Elvis Vegas wedding packages offer great value, low-stress and an all-inclusive option for couples wanting to exchange vows in front of the King.

When choosing an Elvis wedding package in Vegas, however, you should be aware that many packages do not include taxes or gratuities. The minister’s gratuity is typically around $60, while performers, limo drivers and photographers will also expect a tip. Your tip, of course, should reflect the level of service you feel you received and take into consideration the overall price paid for your wedding package.

Prior to confirming a wedding package you should always ask the wedding coordinator what the final price is for the package after taxes, and what he/she recommends as an appropriate gratuity.

You should also remember that wedding packages and pricing are subject to change without notice so it’s best to contact the chapel directly for the most up-to-date wedding package information.

What To Look For In A Wedding

Recently, my cousin became engaged, and I will be his best man. Naturally, the subject of who will be his wedding videographer came up. His answer was simple: what should I look for in a wedding videographer? Being in the business myself, I would like to shed some light on the subject.

Experience

When you look for a wedding videographer, look for someone who is constantly shooting weddings. On average, a busy wedding cinematographer will record about 20-35 weddings per year. Above 35 weddings could be overkill.

First of all, make sure that your videographer has done more than thirty weddings. If s/he has done more than fifty wedding, it could be easily considered an experienced videographer.

I wouldn’t really put much weight if the videographer says that he or she has two, three or five years of experience. It does not really matter. What matters is how many wedding he or she has done. The more the merrier.

Why is experience so important to me? Because in DSLR video, focusing is extremely important and difficult, and practice makes master. Unless your taste is for video that goes in and out of focus, you should look for a videographer what will keep your video in focus.

One vs Multiple videographers

Ask if the videographer can show you videos that he or she has done alone in a wedding. And then work that they have done with 2 or 3 videographers. This is really important.

Depending on your budget you may want to go with only one wedding videographer instead of multiple ones. Watch samples of his or her work while shooting a wedding video alone. Ask what is the best position he or she adopts during the ceremony and the reception.

Ask to see work while working with several videographers as well. How they position each camera during the ceremony and reception.

Ask to watch excerpts of a wedding video more than a highlight. Many wedding videographers emphasize in the highlight more than the wedding video itself. I have seen videographers missing important parts of the ceremony because they are working to get an exotic angle down from the aisle floor or with the slider. They do this just to create more production value to their highlight to show future clients.

DSLR

Another important matter to discuss is their equipment. If you are paying a wedding videographer, let say more than 2000 dollars, check that they are using DSLR cameras, preferably canon cameras.

There are many, but many videographers still using regular HD cameras, which give you acceptable image, but not cinematic look like DSLR cameras would give you.

Lights

Ask about lighting. Discuss about the lighting at the ceremony. Churches usually have good lighting, but if the church it not well illuminated, ask the wedding videographer how they deal with low light situations.

It’s really important to ask about lighting for the reception. How do they plan to use them and what type of lighting equipment they use?

Reception halls are usually very dark, which makes wedding videography very challenging because you have to manage good lighting while not killing the mood. Confirm that your wedding videographer will have enough lighting for introductions, first dance, dance with parents, speeches, cutting the cake – the all the important moments of the reception.

Ask about lighting while dancing. Check that they do not use too much lighting that could kill the mood of the reception, or the lighting the dj or lighting specialist are using for your wedding. But, make sure they use a good source of lighting to illuminate your guests dancing.

Sound

Image quality is just half of your wedding video, sound is the other half.

A wedding video with bad sound could damage the quality of the video.

Ask the wedding cinematographer how they capture sound during the ceremony and reception, specially if you are getting married at a church, which has a lot a reverberation. Just make sure they mic the officiant or officiants, the groom and podium. They should be able to capture good sound from anywhere people will be talking or singing.

Make certain that they put a microphone on the singer, or at least put a recording equipment close to them if they do not have more lavaliere microphones or there are more than one singer.

Sound at the reception hall:

The reception is very noisy. People cheering, talking, etc. Talk to your videographer and make sure they get the sound from different sources like plugging their recording device right from the dj or band. Wedding videographers must also capture ambiance sound (ambience sound is important to get reactions from your guests)

Being unobtrusive

One important matter to discuss is how they work. I have seen videographers who are very obtrusive, so much, that they have 2 or 3 videographers very close to the bride and groom while doing the first dance or when they are dancing with their parents. They are very obtrusive in a way that it is impossible for the wedding photographers to capture a decent picture of the couple. Many videographers, trying to capture exotic angles or images for their highlights, become noisy and noticeable during the wedding ceremony and during the reception. Make sure they are respectful, unobtrusive and share a good working relationship with the photographers or any other vendor.

Video Length

Ask how long your wedding video will be. I have heard of wedding cinematographers that charge a great amount of money for their service, but only provide a 5 minute highlight and unedited raw footage. If you pay a couple thousands more, they give you 20 to 30 minutes wedding video. They reason that a video of more than 30 minutes could be boring and people would not enjoy it. I am one of those wedding videographers, who does not believe that. I think that the client could get a nicely edited wedding video of the entire wedding without being boring. If you would like to jump to certain part of the video, there are always the chapters. Just go to the scene selection on your dvd or blu ray and select whatever you would like to watch. Don’t take me wrong, a shorter version of your wedding video is awesome, and we do offer it. In fact, we were one of the first studios to introduce this concept, but I just don’t think that it should replace a long version of your complete wedding video.

Turnaround

Ask about the turnaround of the work. There are many studios that promise a first draft of your wedding video in five or six months. In my opinion that is too long. I provide a first draft of a wedding video within 2 months from the wedding day, so I can’t really comprehend six months.

Check how the final product is delivered. Many companies that are still providing their clients with dvd only, and what good is it to record something in hd if it will be delivered in standard definition. Other wedding videographers will charge extra for blu rays. So make sure you know the final format. Even if you don’t have Blu-ray, make sure you get Blu-rays.

The Process Of Hiring A Wedding

Although most people have attended a wedding, that doesn’t mean that they will know the process when it’s their turn to go down the aisle. Below is a step by step guide on the process of hiring a wedding photographer.

Step One: Hiring a photographer.

This can be a daunting task even for someone who follows hundreds of wedding photographers blogs. It is recommended that you hire someone within the state that you are getting married. Most wedding professionals travel all over and even if they do not live in the area you are getting married they have most likely photographed there before. Ask them to Narrow your search down to five wedding photographers that you really like. They can be in several different price brackets at this point. Begin communicating with them-choose three you want to meet with in person. The in person meeting is huge because the photographer will be with you the entire day and you want someone not only competent in wedding photography but someone you know you can get along with and wont mind having around. After your meetings you can then choose your photographer.

Step Two: Choosing a package

Hopefully you spoke with your photographer at the meeting about what kind of coverage they offer, and what kind of coverage you will need. Let them help with this they shouldn’t sell you more than you need, but they also should be there to cover all the important moments that will happen on your wedding day. Wedding photographer typical day is 8 hours just like any other professionals work day. That said often 10 hours of coverage is needed in order to begin with the bridal prep and end well into the reception. Your wedding photographer should help you decide if you would like a wedding album (recommended so that your memories are secure in print and digitally) and they should talk you through if they give you the rights to the wedding images or if they keep the digital files etc.

Step Three: Deciding how the wedding day works

There are two models for the photographer on wedding day… the first one is traditional, and the second is with a first look. These models are how we structure the time needed and schedule of the day for photographs.

Traditional: Photographer will come and start with the details at the hotel. Dress, shoes, invitation, rings, bridesmaid dresses, perfume, jewelry, and flowers. After those details have been photographed the wedding photographer will turn their attention to the women and their photojournalistic getting ready photos. This is where the wedding photographer begins to capture moments and build the story of the day. After the bride is in her dress an experienced photographer will often have a first look with the parents-so dad and mom will come in and see their baby girl for the first time in her wedding gown. Meanwhile the second photographer is with the men and taking candid shots of them tying their ties and just hanging out being men before the ceremony. As the bride walks down the aisle at the ceremony the second photographer is taking shots of the grooms expression, and the main photographer is photographing the processional with the bridesmaids and the bride walking down the aisle. After the ceremony the wedding photographer will (with help from the appointed family member) gather up the full family for their portraits. The wedding photographer will begin with the brides side of the family and break it down until the smallest family breakdown (mom and bride, dad and bride, siblings and bride) have been photographed. The wedding photographer will then move onto the grooms family and do the same thing starting with the biggest grouping and breaking it down to the smallest groups. When that is finished it is time to photograph the bridal party. An experienced wedding photographer should be able to get three different posed bridal party shots done in 15 minutes. From there the photographer will photograph just the group of men, and then just the group of women. These two groupings should only take 10-15 minutes and the wedding photographer should know exactly how they want each member of the party or grouping to stand. From there the wedding photographer will take a few portraits of the bride, then the groom, and finally finish up (this whole thing from family to finish should take an hour) with the bride and the groom together. At this point the wedding photographer turns everyone over to the coordinator and the band or DJ. They are in charge of how the reception flows. The wedding photographer will photojournalistic capture the moments from this point on. Even the formalities like the first dances, cake cutting, and bouquet throwing are done in a candid style.

First Look: The Wedding photographer will still meet you at hair and makeup and do the detail shots first. But after the bride is ready the wedding photographer has scheduled the day so that there is an hour and a half of photo time before the ceremony. It begins with a private viewing of the bride from her parents, and then the photographer has chosen an intimate spot with good light for the groom to see his bride for the first time in her dress. The wedding photographer will tell the bride and the groom how to walk to each other before so that they can be in the wings with their long lens getting great emotional moments. After this (generally 15 minutes) the bridal party will be gathered for the bridal party pictures, the women, and the men pictures. This will be about 30 minutes. Finally about 45 minutes before the ceremony the family will be photographed. The bridal party and bride and groom should be finished 30 minutes before the ceremony with all pictures as guests begin to arrive and often the bride doesn’t want to be where she can be seen by everyone. After the ceremony the bride and the groom can take a few moments to be husband and wife and the photographer can take pictures with little to no direction. Then the bride and the groom are able to go to cocktail hour with their bridal party and talk to all of their guests. It is recommended that in the traditional line up of a day there is a receiving line so that you meet all of your guests and don’t have to do it at dinner time. In the first look scenario you can do that at cocktail hour. Again the reception is photojournalistic and candid based for all events.

Step Four: What happens after the wedding

The wedding photographer hopefully explained how they work already in a meeting or in an email. After the wedding many wedding photographers will edit a photographers favorites set within several days and send you an email as well as post them to their blog/FB sites. If the wedding photographer is very busy make sure to ask what their turn around time for all of the wedding photos are. Often times a month is a reasonable amount of time. Also chat with them about their process for culling down the set of final images. It is very important part of a wedding photographers job to edit through and choose the best photos as we have the ability to process thousands of high-resolution images but it is often overwhelming for you the bride to process through that many which is why it is important that we are presenting only the best one of each of the images we take on the wedding day. That will be more than enough wedding images. Talk to your wedding photographer about how they send you the final set of images is it via web or is it via hard drive.

Step Five: The wedding album

If applicable one of the last formal business interactions (as hopefully you are friends at this point) is the wedding album design. Most wedding photographers will begin by creating a version for you telling your wedding story. Then from there you can make changes, edit it, and perfect it to be your favorite images. The wedding album is to take your readers in 10-40 years through your wedding day, so it is often best if you do not choose the images if you let the photographer choose the images to work from. Then as said you can make changes to the album. Wedding photographers are storytellers and this is where their final vision and style can be really seen. In your initial meeting with wedding photographers you saw their album style and hopefully choose someone whose design elements you liked and whose overall feel of the wedding day story through the albums you related too.

Aisle Runners for Weddings

The aisle runners for weddings have been used now for centuries. In earlier centuries when there were very few paved roads the guests would walk into the wedding location and leave a track of dirt and mud. It was considered improper for the bride to walk through this dirt and mud with her dress hem dragging behind and getting soiled. Hence they were initially used to prevent the bride’s wedding dress from getting soiled. However as times changed and the dirt brought in by the guests reduced they started being used to make style statements.

In many wedding locations they are now being used to define the aisle. They hence provide a ‘regal’ touch to the most important occasion in a couple’s life. They are available in different varieties. Hence there are aisle runners for weddings available for winters as well as separate ones are available for summers. The winter ones are usually used to protect the wedding gown of the bride while the summer ones are used to define aisles in outdoor and garden weddings.

However despite the many benefits of them there have been quite a few unfortunate incidents where the bride has found herself tripping along with her precious wedding gown due to a poorly fastened one. The poor fastening of those can also reflect in the wedding photographs. Poorly fastened ones can become displaced due to the procession and since the photographer is usually clicking photographs from back of the wedding hall the poorly fastened ones for weddings will definitely show up in the photographs.

In case you are planning to use them you must also be careful to use plywood boards or boards made of any other solid material under them especially if yours is an outdoor wedding. The cloth aisle runners for weddings without such boards underneath will cause the heels of your wedding shoes and the heels of your bridesmaids’ shoes to plunge into the grass or mud.

Choosing the Right Aisle Runners for Weddings:

There are various types of those available in the market today. You can get fabric, plastic and even customized, hand painted ones. Hence according to the setting of your wedding you can choose among a wide variety of those.

Fabric Aisle Runners for Weddings:

The fabric ones are extremely popular for indoor weddings as well as for outdoor weddings. Albeit for the outdoor weddings they must be reinforced with a plywood board or any other board made of sturdy material to prevent the heels of the bride and the bridesmaids sinking into the soft ground.

They are also available in a wide variety. They are available in delicate lace designs as well as delicate silk designs. They are also available in sturdier options like vinyl and polyester. Hence choosing the right ones will ensure a smooth flowing wedding both indoors and outdoors.

The lace and silk design fabric aisle runners for weddings are more suited for indoor weddings where there is hard floor and they can be securely fastened. The vinyl and polyester fabric one is more suited for outdoor use. However the silk one must also be thick to withstand the click of high heels on the hard ground below.

The sturdy aisle runners for weddings are also perfect for indoor weddings especially if the carpeting is not perfect and you would like to hide the imperfections in the carpets. They are typically used to enhance the appearance of the brides and hence must be chosen with care. However they must also be subtle so that it does not distract attention from the bride onto the floor.

Plastic Aisle Runners for Weddings:

Plastic aisle runners for weddings are also quite popular with to be wed couples. They come in different designs and colors. The brightly colored plastic ones are used to liven up and otherwise black and white ceremony. They are quite study and hence can be used both in indoor as well as outdoor weddings. They however are not very friendly to the heels of the brides’ and bridesmaids’ shoes so check before your purchase or rent the plastic aisle runners for weddings so that you do not slip on your important day.

Customized Aisle Runners for Weddings:

There are also customized fabric aisle runners for weddings available which the couple can customize with their names. They thus add a personal touch to the wedding and different look to the wedding itself. You can also have your initials embroidered or embossed on the fabric ones. They can also have hand painted portraits of the couple. You can become extremely creative with the fabric ones hence let your imagination run wild to make your wedding extra special.

Rent or Buy Aisle Runners for Weddings:

After deciding on the type of aisle runners for weddings you want you have to decide whether you wish to purchase or simply hire it. The ones especially the ones made of silk or lace are quite expensive and usually never used again. Hence it is best to hire the expensive fabric aisle runners for weddings. While hiring them always ensure that you get complete information about the costs not just of hiring but also of any damage sustained. Many aisle runners for weddings providers charge extra in case the aisle runner has been dirtied hence clarify such costs upfront before hiring the aisle runners for weddings.

In case you plan to purchase them then you must be willing to make a considerable investment and also depute someone who is responsible with setting up them before the ceremony and also removing them after the ceremony is over. Since the best ones can be quite expensive you definitely do not want your precious aisle runner to fall into someone else’s hands.

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

You want your wedding photographer to capture everything that makes your day special, to capture you at your best, to deliver photographs that live up to your expectations. Here are 10 tips for selecting wedding photography that you can live with throughout your new life together.

  1. A reputable wedding photographer should have a physical location. A physical location where you can find them when you need them and where you can meet with them safely is important. Brick and mortar wedding photography studios build trust within the community and with their clients. If your wedding photographer does not have a local address (not a PO Box) that they will share with you, it’s a good reason not to trust them. They might work out of their house, but do you know where that is? A physical office or studio is paramount to them being trustworthy. Would be you be willing to have a random stranger come to your house, or for you to go to their house? It’s safer and more reliable to choose a wedding photographer with a studio or office you can visit and where you can find your photographer.

  1. A good wedding photographer should help make your day go more smoothly. Aside from a dedicated wedding planner, your photographer is the only vendor who is going to be spending the entire day with you. A good wedding photographer should make things easier for you. They should solve problems. Your wedding photographer should be flexible. They should be able to adapt and thrive in difficult situations. Find out more about their abilities and ask about a difficult lighting scenario, bad weather, or other catastrophe and find out how they dealt with it in the past.

  1. You need your wedding photographer to be focused on you. When you meet with any wedding photographer for the first time, do they ask about you, get to know you, and find out what you want? Or do only they talk about themselves and what they do? Find a photographer who is willing to spend time getting to know you so you know they understand you and your needs. This is the best way to find out if they are a good fit for you.

  1. Your wedding photographer should be knowledgeable and helpful. They should offer suggestions about options you have for different things, provide advice on scheduling and setup, be full of ideas, and be ready to make your day and your planning easier. A good photographer is big on planning. Your photographer should work with you before an engagement session to select clothing and location. Your wedding day photography should be scheduled as part of your day rather than as an afterthought. Photography does not have to be inconvenient – it can be a fun and integral part of your day.

  1. It might sound strange, but not all wedding photographers are the same and not all photographers are a good fit for every client. If your wedding photographer meets you and finds out about what you are looking for and then tells you that they don’t think they would be a good fit for you, it might be surprising, but it’s nothing personal. Wouldn’t you rather a professional be honest about this than trying to change to meet your needs? Sometimes photographers realize that what they specialize in is not the same thing a client wants. Photographers don’t want to make you unhappy, and if a wedding photographer thinks you might be happier with a different style of photography or with a different situation, we will tell you before you book so you are not disappointed later.

  1. Price is NOT the most important factor when choosing a wedding photographer: You definitely get what you pay for. Photography is like anything else in life: You get what you pay for. It is not logical to think you can hire someone for little to no money and get the same results you would get if you had spent twice what you paid. Price is normally a factor when it comes to quality. Photographers who charge more are usually backed by their reputation, their brand, and their experience. You should also understand that your photographs will become the lasting memory of your wedding day. There are two things you should spend money on for your wedding, it should be your venue and your photography. People will probably not remember the food, you will only wear your dress once, and most of the other things are not huge investments anyway (flowers, music, makeup). You will look at your wedding photographs regularly – perhaps even every day – for the rest of your life. Shouldn’t your wedding photos be great?

  1. Your wedding photography studio should be insured and licensed as a legal business. Many venues actually require insurance from vendors working there. Camera equipment is expensive and you should make sure your photographer is fully insured by a reputable insurance company to make sure you are protected. Many photographers are just individuals with cameras and maybe a slick website. Make sure your photographer is backed by a legal, legitimate business.

  1. Your wedding photographer should have backup equipment and a backup plan. Mandatory: Cameras with two slots for memory cards that can be written to simultaneously in case one card fails, backup cameras and lenses, a data backup plan including offsite backups, and a disaster plan. Protect your investment. If your photographer only has one camera, it’s not enough.

  1. Multiple photographers with your package are much better for you than having just one. Your wedding photographer should have multiple photographers on staff in case someone get sick or God forbid injured. A lone photographer cannot be in enough places at once to possibly cover a wedding day adequately. For all but the smallest weddings, your wedding photographer should have at a minimum a photographer and assistant/second shooter. Anything less and you will be missing out on important moments, angles, and opportunities.

  1. Your wedding photographer should NOT dump a disc of photos on you and disappear after the wedding day. Some photographers will sell you a disc of high resolution photos, give them to you, and that’s it. Your wedding photographer should provide value-add services and products after your wedding day – for example, photo books or albums, photo prints, and wall art. Other services you should look for are in-studio viewings and selection, retouching and editing services, and gift options. A photographer that shoots photos for a disc is going to give you a result that is a completely different set of photos than a photographer who is shooting with an album in mind or to create artwork. You are going to get a much better selection of photos from a photographer focused on artwork and an heirloom album than one who is going to shoot-andburn a disc for you and call it a day. Will you really want to spend time and money designing your own album? Probably not. Make sure your photographer provides you with personal usage rights for the images, but you do not need raw files or ultra high resolution photos if your wedding photographer designs for you an amazing photo album, gives you a disc of JPG digital negatives, and offers print, artwork, and design options after the wedding. Consider what you really need and talk to your photographer about what they provide.

If you choose a wedding photographer who you get along with, whose portfolio or example photographs you enjoy, who offers products you want, and whom you feel you can trust, your wedding photography experience should be a positive one.

Photography is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding, and you owe it to yourself and your future legacy to invest in selecting a good wedding photographer instead of just the cheapest photographer you can find.

Cheap Wedding Venues

These 6 top money-saving tips on cheap wedding venues are the result of extensive research coupled with experiences from couples who have benefited from them. These strategies have helped them spend less on their wedding while still ensuring that they have their dream wedding and wedding pland.

1. The wedding date

Take some time to choose and agree on a wedding date that falls during the wedding off-season period but still holds special meaning to the both of you. The off-season period may differ depending on the country you are going to celebrate your wedding in. It could mean certain months of the year, certain days of the week or even certain times of the day. You can easily negotiate to secure cheap wedding venues during the off-season period when the business is not as competitive.

2. Number of invited guests

Your wedding is the most important day of your life. You want this to be an unforgettable and memorable event. Of course, it’s your wedding! Both of you will have to agree on who to invite to your wedding. The number of invited guests will decide the choice of cheap wedding venues.

3. Combine the venues of the wedding reception and ceremony

You could save a lot of money if you have your wedding ceremony and reception at the same place. Don’t forget that you have to be mindful of the number of guests invited; especially if the ceremony and reception is held in an enclosed area like a chapel or hall. However, you could always avoid this restriction by having a beach wedding!

4. Cheap wedding venues that are just right for you

Once you have determined your wedding date and the number of guests, you can start looking through a list of cheap wedding venues and pick the one that suits you best. The following cheap wedding venues can offer you a unique and cheap wedding with the right planning:

• At a park – Start from the list of parks you two are familiar with. You would usually have some special romantic memories in one of these parks so it would be especially meaningful to get married here. This option will also save you the expenses of at least the facilities hiring fee.

• By a river – A riverside wedding is quite special and unique. A River Foreshore is so beautiful that your wedding will be romantic for you and enjoyable for your guests. Remember to check with the local council for any restriction to have your wedding at the river foreshore. You can also choose to have your wedding on a River Cruise liner. This unique experience may become the highlight of your town.

• At the beach – Many of you dream of a beach wedding. The crashing waves and sand beneath your feet; everything is just so naturally and amazingly beautiful. The beach is one of the most popular cheap wedding venues. You could make this experience even more memorable by having a sunset beach wedding ceremony followed by a simple wedding reception, which would also definitely cut down your wedding expenses. Keep in mind that getting married at a public beach or a private beach may have different restrictions. Confirm and adhere to these restrictions as part of your wedding ceremony and wedding reception plan. Make sure to include cleaning up after the event as another part of your plan too.

• Your backyard – When you decide to have a private and small wedding, a backyard wedding is at the top of the list. The savings will include wedding venue expenses and also food and beverages. Your backyard would already offer beautiful and natural floral arrangements. All you need to add is a bit of party decor to make it even more beautiful. Your choice of food could be from catering; or you could mix it up and do a wedding barbeque or even a tea party! Of course, having your wedding in your backyard may involve a lot of work. However, with careful planning and a bit of creativity, you can turn your backyard into the fairytale wedding of your dream. It is definitely well worth the effort.

• Local community halls – Another option for cheap wedding venues is the local community halls. These are usually available for hire at a very low rate. Besides, they tend to be equipped with tables and chairs which are available for rent. Inquire about their preferred vendors who give other facilities for any event as you can often get a very special rate if you use their regular vendors. When you need to invite a bigger group of guests, a local community hall would usually be a more affordable option.

• Institution halls – Many universities and colleges have big campus halls which are available for rent to hold the wedding ceremony and reception. Some cities also have city halls which are available for rent. Take some time to check these out. This is definitely another option for a cheap wedding venue that’s worth exploring.

• Churches – Walking down the aisle at the church symbolizes the beginning of a new life with your spouse. This is especially meaningful for Christian couples. There is no specific rental fee if you choose to use a church chapel to carry out your wedding ceremony before proceeding to use the church hall for your wedding reception. However, you should present a voluntary gift to the church for making use of the facilities.

• Any new venues that are less popular – Look for restaurants or hotels that have recently opened. They are usually more open to negotiations and can offer a good discount. This could work out to be a win-win situation for both parties as a perfect wedding reception would help them to promote their future business, and you would reap the benefits of reduced costs without compromising on quality.

5. Work out the total expenses

Decide on your wedding venue option from the list of cheap wedding venues available. Then remember to work out the total expenses required. The expenses may include the rental of tables and chairs, decorations, stage set up etc. You should also consider the type of wedding menu.

6. Have a Backup Plan

Cheap wedding venues may save you thousands of dollars. But no one can guarantee you perfect weather on your wedding day. Therefore, I cannot stress enough that you should always have a backup plan if you have chosen an outdoor wedding venue. Having said that, you should not let a little rain ruin your perfect day.

Wedding Plan

Make a Wedding Plan

Immediately Upon Engagement Decide on a Wedding Date

There are people you really want at your wedding. Give them as much notice as possible that they should set aside the date for you. If the wedding will involve travel and an over-night stay for guests, it’s important to let them know that as soon as possible. It will be helpful for you to get early feedback on who may not be able to attend the wedding.

Set your budget

Your budget is the single biggest wedding decision to make after the decision to get married itself. Consider the range of projects you need or want to take on during your first year of marriage: honeymoon, buy a house, start a family, start or continue post-secondary education, buy a car, travel. Calculate the cost of these projects. The wedding costs will compete with these other projects. Calculate the money you will have from all sources for the wedding and your other projects. This will help establish the maximum amount of money you can spend on the wedding. From this calculation, all other spending decisions about the wedding will follow. It’s a terrible idea to borrow any money from any source for your wedding.

Select your bridal party.

There are hundreds of details involved in planning the wedding and in getting through the wedding day.Your bridal party can be a huge help in handling these. Everything from RSVP tracking to picking up the flowers can and should be delegated. Can every member of the bridal party afford a bridesmaid’s dress or a tuxedo? Is every member of the bridal party physically fit and mature enough to shoulder the responsibilities involved? Be objective.

Choose your theme. [modern, vintage, classic, rural, contemporary, etc.]

It’s your wedding. Within reason and the bounds of good taste you should have what you want regardless of who will pay some of the expenses. Have faith in your own judgment and taste.

First Review & Planning  Session

All the above should happen almost immediately. Once you square away these 4 foundations of your wedding, what follows are estimated time frames for everything to follow. Buy a binder, a hole punch and index tabs to collect & organize these details. Start a spread sheet to track all expenses. This is your wedding plan. Check it & update it often.

12-18 Months OutCeremony Location

Your caterer may have suggestions about where to hold your ceremony. You may have seen a pretty location yourself. Since many couples no longer get married in a church many reception locations have a “chapel” or an additional area for a wedding ceremony, . A wedding arch decorated with flowers can make a ceremony setting take shape almost anywhere you want. Will a botanical garden or public park permit wedding photographs? At what charge? What is Plan B in the event of rain?

Reception Location/Caterer

This choice will be a function of a number of things: how many guests you are having, how far they have to travel, what kind of wedding (cocktail, plated service, etc.), your budget and what you both like.

The number of weddings in almost any part of the country is greater than the number of available beautiful reception venues. That means competition for venues and rising prices in a seller’s market. (It’s called supply and demand). Will a venue permit an outside caterer? Is the outside caterer charged for permission to serve food there? Is there a kitchen that the caterer may use or will food be brought to the venue already prepared hours before dinner? Will a kitchen have to be set up on site? Is the venue air conditioned? Does it have sufficient washrooms, coat check & racks with hangers, parking?

For outdoor weddings, caterers should have a list of beautiful and functional venues. Consider having your wedding on the property of a friend or relative. As farm weddings & country weddings become ever more popular consider rural venues that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture or a local 4H club can suggest.

Cottage weddings on a distant lake are more remote. Consider the expertise of your caterer in providing service well off the beaten path. How well equipped are they for off-site catering? How will the location impact the need for overnight accommodation? Will you need late night transport between the cottage and hotels? Are there Bed & Breakfast Inns in the area where guests can stay close to the wedding? Could the wedding be held at such an Inn instead of at the cottage? Parking and washrooms are critical for a cottage wedding, as is the potential for tense neighbour relations due to traffic congestion, trespass and late night noise.

DJ &/or Band

Your music choice will be a big part of how your celebration turns out. If the music is  too loud older guests will leave early. If you choose the wrong genre of music for your demographic it’s no fun. Before you pick a DJ ask if you can drop in on an event he is spinning the tunes for. You’ll get a pretty good idea if that D.J. is  for you. The same selection process applies to a band. Attend an event where they will play.. Ask for references and establish firm ground rules about arrival/set-up time, alcohol or drug use before and during the event, dress code, flirting, electrical & space needs, frequency & length of breaks. Plan your play list. You will need to feed the D.J. or band members, (& any other support staff you hire for the wedding). Make sure the caterer provides for this at an agreed upon price.

Photographer

Most photographers have a portfolio you can see to get an idea of their style. Packages with a set price are a good idea even if you are not budget conscious. Give your photographer a copy of the wedding day schedule and make sure he/she can stick with it. Most delays at weddings are the result of a photographer who falls behind & can’t stop taking one more shot. You will delay the rest of the wedding if you let the photographer take charge of the schedule. Your guests will be waiting.

Videographer

A nice addition to your wedding memories.

9-12 Months Out

Wedding Dress

Sometimes, brides pick a wedding dress FIRST. But, more often, other  factors such as theme, location, time of year and entertainment sway the dress decision. It may not be your dream to buy a wedding dress that someone else wore before but the potential savings are considerable. After all, you will wear this dress but once. On the other hand you will see it in pictures of the wedding for the rest of your life. You have a right be beautiful on your wedding day.

8-10 Months Out

Bridesmaids Dresses

If you can, get all the girls together for a full day of dress scouting. Keep budgets in mind and go for a style that will flatter a variety of body types. There is no excuse for any member of the wedding party to dress like a tart.

6-9 Months Out

Groomsmen Attire

Quite often the groom will get his rented tuxedo for FREE, since you ordered so many outfits.

Wedding Flowers

Make sure you have a budget in mind before you see your florist. Packages are always available and there is a big range in price, depending on the type of flowers you select and the complexity of the arrangement. Make a list of everyone who will need flowers that day so that you don’t forget anyone. Are flowers to go on each guest table, the head table, buffet or other tables? If the wedding will be on a property that your family owns, can the garden be planned a year before the wedding to coincide plant flowers that bloom in time for the wedding?

Centerpieces

You will need a rough idea of how many guests are attending. This tells you how many tables will need centerpieces. Although tall centerpieces are striking, they might make it difficult for guests to see each other over the arrangement. Try for a low, simple arrangement that adds colour but doesn’t take up too much space on the table. This is critical for platter or family style service.

For rural or cottage weddings, centre pieces made from birch bark, wood, or natural fibers can be charming. Remember to consider the colours of linens, flowers, dresses. The centre pieces should complement these items. Can you make the centre pieces yourself with help from your friends?

Decorations

If you plan an elaborate themed wedding, you may want the help of a professional wedding decorator. These professionals have access to props and materials that you may have trouble finding. For simple decorations, like tulle and ribbon, you probably have at least one artistic friend that would love to help. Consider lighting as part of the decorations.

Order Invitations and Send invitations.

You need to spend real time considering who to invite without offending any friend or relative. Before inviting anyone you haven’t seen or spoken to in years remember that your wedding should be spent with people you care about and who care about you. Be diplomatic when Mom wants to invite her 200 year old great aunt that you’ve never met. But, be realistic as well.

Proofread the invitations several times. It’s hard to correct a printing error on something already in the mail. If the wedding will take place at a cottage or other hard to find location, include a map. Make sure that GPS or Google maps actually help find the location. If they don’t, your map & directions should tell people not to use them or else they will get lost. The map should include a “Help” phone number to call on the wedding day. If you create a web site or Facebook page for the wedding, refer to it in the invitation.

Dress Fitting Check

Make sure to weigh yourself before each fitting, so you can keep track close to the wedding day.

Your Wedding Plan

Schedule an evening with your fiancee to track how closely you have kept to your original budget and schedule. If you are way off course, now is the time to correct it.

4-6 Months Out

Book Bridal Shower

Although it’s usually a friend or family member who holds this event for you, you should be consulted on the date and location to make sure you will be available that day. You need to balance your role as a guest with your role as the bride at your own shower.

Book Bachelorette Party

This event is also hosted and arranged by a close friend or relative. Don’t schedule it too close to the wedding day. Hangovers are not the best way to start your wedding day!

Book Bachelor Party

This party has a reputation for getting out of control. Plan such entertainment as poker, for example, that will keep guests cool and calm.

Master or Mistress of Ceremonies

The seamless flow of the wedding day, both ceremony and reception, will depend on your M.C. He or she has real responsibilities. These include making sure: that the schedule is followed, that guests and suppliers arrive in the right place at the right time, that photos don’t run over time, that dinner service is explained, that guests are invited to the buffet table by table, that guest speakers, (including whoever will say Grace before dinner), are introduced and don’t run over time and that toasts are presented according to a planned sequence. This is a critical job and cannot be assigned to anyone immature or inarticulate.

3 Months Out

Taste Tests with your Caterer/Venue and your Baker.

A great chance to get a peek at your wedding dinner. Chances are you won’t notice food at your own wedding.

Hold Bridal Shower

You need to balance your role as a guest with your role as the bride at your own shower. Be diplomatic in giving an opinion on shower food and décor. Showers are generally held with little or no alcohol. It’s unforgivable for anyone to be drunk at a shower.

Hold Bachelorette Party

This will be your last wild ride for the foreseeable future. Have fun and remember the good times.

Hold Bachelor Party

More fun with the guys – enjoy this blast from the past.

Dress Fitting Check

Oops! Time to get back on the stationary bike and eat more salads.

4 Weeks Out

Begin to Finalize Details with Your Vendors.

All your guest responses should be in by now. Finalize guest numbers with your caterer or venue.

Final Dress Fitting Check

Yahoo! It fits!

Make sure you fill out your data sheets with all formalities for your DJ/Band: Music choices, bridal party names, dos and don’ts, etc.

Make salon appointments for manny, peddy, makeup, tanning, hair, etc.

1 Week Out

If you haven’t done so already finalize your timeline with your DJ, venue, caterer, photographer, florist and planner (if you hired one). The final timeline should be e-mailed to all of these suppliers. There are no excuses for being late or falling behind schedule.

3-5 Days Out

Pick Up Tuxes

Make sure you pay all your vendors, or prepare the cash/cheques for all your wedding day vendors.

Give the list and chequess to your Best Man or Maid of Honor, so that you don’t have to worry about these on your wedding day.

Wedding Day

YOU MADE IT! Be thrilled by the centuries of tradition & the love that you have just shared. Enjoy the day of your dreams.

Next Day

Leave for your honeymoon.

Take some time off from all the rush and just enjoy each other!

Two Weeks after the Wedding

Thank you cards for wedding presents

Check your gift cards to make sure you don’t leave anyone out. Get a friend to help double check.

Get Married at Sea on a Private Wedding

A Romantic Boat Wedding will be remembered most nostalgically forever in the hearts of all your ocean loving guests. Getting married at sea is fun, easy and even cost-effective.

For the price to get married at a special venue, then chauffeur the party over to a pricey reception hall with all its expenses, well…, you might as well have all that done on a boat, save lots of money and really enjoy yourself! Heck, even if you were to get married on the beach at your special ocean wedding location, a boat ride would be high on the list of honeymoon/vacation activities, so by getting married on a sailboat you would collectively save that expense and have the whole boat for private use for all your guests. Perhaps a ‘Money Tree’ with the sailboat as the donation theme: pitch it as “funds for a fun time for all”–use a bucket with a sailboat picture taped to it, or a boat’s life-preserver with sack attached to the hole to hold the booty… use your imagination.

OK, maybe a Money Tree & directly asking for money AT the wedding is a wee bit tacky, but to work out collectively the cost details of certain wedding/reception & other destination activities with the folks in the destination wedding party is a great way to pool the resources & get the best ‘Bang for your Buck.’ So if the theme is “getting on the water,” figure how much each would have to pay to take a sail by themselves versus all involved pooling the funds and chartering the whole boat for entire wedding party.

Or, just consider the thrill of the time on the water a wedding gift to your wedding party–a treat to be remembered far more fondly that a stuffy indoor wedding.

For those who love the call of the sea, feel the pull of the endless horizons & dream of sailing away themselves someday, a wedding at sea on a private wedding yacht is an irresistible choice!

A Wedding at sea can vastly range from a humongous cruise ship to getting married on a Stand Up Paddle board. Let me take this moment to advise – steer clear of the ‘Floating Las Vegas Hotels’ and convince the adventurous watery souls to come to Maui for these types of wet & wild weddings… Read on!

I’d like to focus on weddings on a privately chartered boat, where the whole boat is at your disposal, whether you are a party of 80 on a custom composite catamaran or just the two of you & perhaps a few close loved ones on a lively mono-hull sailboat that really feels like your own personal sailboat for a day.

You can have a ‘Hip & Nautical’ Minister perform your wedding vows & the essential wedding photography to capture the absolutely stunning wedding on the water scenes. Most reasonable wedding planners will offer their full wedding services at sea for their normal land based prices, although you may need to extend your photography coverage longer than a quick & simple beach wedding since they can’t jump ship for the duration of the voyage. However a typical two-hour wedding sail will only require an hour & a half of photography, just a half hour more than a normal simple beach wedding.

As far as the reception part goes, that can totally depend on the budget. The very same dreamy ocean sailing wedding experience can be done with very basic ‘bring your own’ reception snacks to save expenses or you can really treat your guests to an un-apologetic multi-course meal with all the gourmet trimmings.

Here on Maui you can find a 50 foot race-class boat of slight vintage, but still a thoroughbred in the racing circles to offer lively sailing for a standard two-hour sunset wedding sailing cruise or the four-hour sail featuring ‘The Plunge’ where the bride & groom say their vows, dive in & kiss under the water in front of an underwater video camera! Wedding party couples can also ‘take the Plunge’.

There’s a bargain catamaran of nearly 50 feet that can offer the same stunning ‘Maui’d on the Sea’ experience for intimate parties of up to 6. This means a cat that can normally accommodate up to 50 passengers will make wedding parties up to SIX feel like they are very special. Then for larger parties of up to around 80 you will find an impressive fleet of modern catamarans that feature receptions that range from cost-effective to lavish multi course gourmet feasts.

In most desirable Destination Wedding ocean locations you will find similar types of retired racing boats and catamarans of many types or even SUPs and wedding officiates that are Hip & Nautical enough to perform your dream wedding at sea. As we sailed over 20,000 miles from Los Angeles to New Zealand and all throughout the South Pacific, we often were impressed at the previously famous racing sailboats & big cats that are now whisking away dreamy watery wedding parties to live out their wildest wedding dreams on the water.

The average cost of a wedding in the US as of 3-1-2014 is currently just over $30,000. The most expensive Big Cat charter with the lavish multi course gourmet feasts, live music, photography, video and the full wedding ceremony is only half that, while a good ‘ol cost-effective charter that includes all the above but with a more modest reception can be done for less than $2000.

So if your dreams involve a highly responsive racing sailboat that can take a zephyr of wind & present an exhilarating sailing experience or the stable sailing platform of a big catamaran, the perfect wedding yacht with full wedding services can be found for a lot less than one may think. Enjoy a truly Magical Wedding aboard your personal Dream Wedding Ship–a perfect start on your own voyage of Love!

If you will be having a Destination Wedding consider coming to Maui and get Married on a Private Wedding Yacht. Contact the Maui Marrying Muse for all your Maui Destination Wedding Planning Wishes. A ‘Tried and True’ locally based Mom and Pop – One Stop Shop!

Bobbie Jo and this article’s author Roger Curley have a deep connection to the ocean and the Tropical Islands they have sailed to and lived among during their nearly 4 years of Sailing Adventures with their son Robin aboard their ‘ol 51 foot sailboat ‘Hipnautical.’

We Bring the “Spirit of the South Pacific with the Soul of Aloha” – Joining loving couples in the deepest expression of Love!

Prior to our Sailing Adventures I enjoyed the experience of a 30+ year career in Hollywood’s Film, TV and Audiophile recording industry while Bobbie Jo has been performing Harp and Vocals at Wedding Ceremonies for over 30 years as well.

Take the Stress Out of Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding and getting married should be a wonderful memorable experience. Without great planning, your wedding can be stressful and you can quickly feel overwhelmed by the escalating costs, the family politics and the sheer volume of what you need to do. To ensure your wedding goes without a hitch and you remain sane throughout the process follow these simple wedding planning tips.

Enlist help

Recruit your most creative, organised, enthusiastic friend or family member to help you plan your wedding. This will immediately cut your stress and your workload down by at least half. That is, if you are able to fairly delegate and share the responsibilities.

Use the following ‘wedding planning things to do’ list to help divide the responsibilities between you.

Things to do:

Book the church or wedding ceremony venue.

Give yourself ample time to plan for the wedding and for guests to ensure they are free on the day. Anything from one year to two years is usual for an advance wedding venue booking.

Apply for the licence:

Depending on where in the world you are, the rules re marriage licences will vary. Ensure you are compliant and do whatever is required according to your states laws.

Set the budget:

The size of the budget will determine every other action action you take in planning your wedding, so spend time practically working out an accurate wedding budget based on what you can afford and what you believe is reasonable to spend on this one special day. Parents of bride and groom may offer financial support. Do not take this for granted. If parents do announce they will cover the cost then they will presumably set the wedding budget for you. Ensure you respect the limit imposed.

Once you have the budget you need to divide it up to cover the many costs associated with wedding planning and execution.

Things to consider are detailed below:

  • Guest List
  • Who is coming?
  • How many can you afford to cater for?
  • Should they attend the marriage ceremony, the cocktail hour and the wedding party reception or just the reception?

Some people have only close friends and family for the wedding ceremony and include a larger guest list for the evening reception entertainment which may include work colleagues and casual friends. Children are a consideration as some prefer not to have children at their wedding while others are more than happy to encourage a family wedding environment. If you are including children in your guest list remember to accommodate their needs when catering the reception and planning entertainment.

Wedding Theme

Most brides like to have a ‘theme’ for their wedding, even if only to establish that it will be a traditional white wedding theme. When considering a theme for your wedding consider what reflects the personality of you and the groom and what can easily be managed within the scope of the wedding budget.

Popular and trending wedding themes for 2014 and 2015 include rustic wedding, shabby chic weddings, country garden (tea party) style wedding and all things vintage.

There are many resources you can access online and offline (wedding magazines) for ideas on creating the perfect themed wedding. Create a wedding ‘mood board’ with your favorite colors, fabric, flowers to set a tone for the wedding and to help collate your thoughts. If you are hiring a wedding planner, she or he may create a mood board with you.

Marriage Ceremony Venue

Knowing your wedding theme will help determine where you want to get married. Select somewhere that sets the tone for your themed wedding. A small chapel or church for a traditional wedding for close family and friends or an outdoor garden ceremony for a more rustic, country themed wedding. Weather will be a factor as will guest numbers and budget.

Wedding Reception

When deciding where you would like to hold your wedding reception, evening party or cocktail hour consider how your guests might travel from the ceremony venue to the reception and how long they might be at a loose end in between.You may need to budget for transport for guests, allow for ample parking and prepare detailed directions. For guests who have to travel some distance to attend your wedding, you may also need to arrange overnight accommodation or provide a list of local hotels.

Once your budget, theme, venue and guest list have been determined you can enjoy choosing the details that will make your wedding unique to you. These include:

  • Wedding invitations – personalized
  • RSVP Cards
  • Save The Date Magnet or card
  • Wedding Programs
  • Menu
  • Table cards
  • SeatingChart
  • Postage stamps

You can buy a wedding stationery suite that will include co-ordinated items for all the above or you could make your own! There are lots of online resources to help you to create your own wedding invitations. These include wedding invitation templates, printables and craft items. If you are making handmade wedding invitations, allow yourself sufficient time to do so.

  • Caterering including beverages
  • Flowers including bridal boquet, ceremony venue flowers and center table arrangements
  • Decorations for ceremony and reception – ribbons, flowers, bunting, balloons
  • Bridal Dress, underwear, reception outfit, shoes, jewelry, accessories
  • Groom suit, cuff links, accessories, shoes
  • Bridesmaid dresses, shoes, nails
  • Paige boy suits
  • Best man outfit
  • Hair dressing, makeup fees
  • Car Hire for bride, groom, family
  • Wedding cake
  • Bobonierre
  • Wedding favors
  • Gifts for brides mum, bridesmaids, best man etc.
  • Hotel room hire
  • Honeymoon