Photos are the memories of your wedding that last a lifetime! Don’t make these wedding photo mistakes.
There are so many elements to planning a wedding, and at times, it can feel like you’re writing a check or checklist every day for something new. When an opportunity presents itself to save you some time or money, think it through! This applies to your dress, food, DJ and of course, PHOTOS. Whether you are a photo aficionado or completely clueless on the topic, you could accidentally make one of these seemingly harmless mistakes:
- Having a Friend or Family Member Be Your Photographer
Unless they take photos professionally, having a friend or family member double as your wedding photographer is definitely not your best option. So many times, couples have that friend from college who always liked taking photos, or that uncle with a nice Nikon, and trust them enough to capture their big day. They feel it is a great way to include someone special in the wedding while also saving a few bucks. Unfortunately, you will later realize there is a noticeable difference between the amateur and trained eye. If you are looking to save on your budget, look elsewhere. These photos will be displayed in your home (and probably a few others!) for years to come. You want your wedding photos to be beautiful, timeless, candid, and all the other things that you could have hoped for. Let your friends and family be guests at your wedding. Their awesome camera can come too, but leave the big stuff to the pros.
- Choosing Photographer B Over Photographer A Because they are $1,000 Cheaper
Before you cut loose photographer A, look at what their price includes. Keep in mind – you get what you pay for. If Photographer B is $1,000 less while offering the exact same package as Photographer A, and you like both of their work equally, you found yourself a steal! However, if there is a $1,000 difference, and you are not as big a fan of the more affordable portfolio, it’s time to renegotiate with the photographer whose style you LOVE. Going back to that point about looking at these photos for many years to come, it may be worth it to spring for the platinum package if it means you will get photos you love to post, print and frame.
- Not Making a ‘Must-Have’ Photo List
Some photographers are great about requesting this and as tedious as it sounds to sit down and make a list of every photo you’d want at your wedding, it is so worth it! Your wedding day will be a whirlwind, and over in the blink of an eye. You won’t notice until you get the proofs that you didn’t take one photo with your Grandma the entire day. Make sure to take the time to outline all the photos you want to take with family and friends, don’t assume you will catch them at the reception.
I hope these tips have helped and will be remembered when it comes to your wedding photographer decision making. While there are many important decisions to be made when planning your wedding, the photos are one of the few things that will last longer than just that night! Be smart when choosing your photographer and make sure you don’t miss out on capturing any of the memories made during your special day.
A wedding bouquet is one of the few things that will be completely and specifically designed just for you, learn how to make it perfect.
A bridal bouquet is something that you can really express yourself with. Whether you want real flowers, fake flowers, no flowers, a trailing bouquet, a posy bouquet, or anything in between, it is one of the few things that will completely and specifically be designed for you. Surprisingly enough, the bouquet needs to match your dress, in both color and style, and can really affect the way you look on your big day. So here are some things to keep in mind:
- Choose your dress before the bouquet. You can have an idea of what type of bouquet you would like, but style makes a huge difference. The dress you pick may not go with the style bouquet you had always imagined.
- Bring Color Swatches! There are a million different shades of white out there. Bring a swatch of your dress to make sure, if you’re having any white flowers, they don’t clash with the color of your dress. Also, bring swatches of your other color(s) so you can be sure to match them as best as possible. Especially when it comes to your bridesmaids bouquets, they need to match their dresses too!
- If you want real flowers, consider which ones are in season. If you want flowers that are out of season, they will be much more expensive if they’re even available. For summer months, look into some sunflowers, hydrangea, or star gazers, for spring: orchids, cherry blossoms, or freesia, for winter months: roses, holy berry, or carnations, and for autumn: irises, zinnias, or chrysanthemums. However, there are some flowers are not really affected by the seasons, lilies are one of these exceptions.
- If you are going a different route, like a brooch bouquet, make sure there is a very clear understanding of what you want, and what kind of a look you want to stay away from.
- Your bouquet is also a good place to put your something old or borrowed. If you’ve got a family heirloom, like a handkerchief, or a brooch that you want to add to a floral bouquet, see if your florist can incorporate it. Most of the time, items can be added to the stems and can make a beautiful, and very personal, addition.
- The more traditional you are going with your dress, and wedding in general, the more traditional your bouquet should be. Traditional bouquets are most often a round/posy bouquet or maybe even a teardrop.
- If the focus of your dress is on the bodice, you should probably stay away from a round bouquet, since that will draw attention away from your dress. Try looking into an arm or trailing bouquet, both are very beautiful but sit a little differently so your dress can still be seen.
- Make sure to take some pictures of your bouquet beforehand, especially if you have a specific place to put it during the reception. Your photographer is going to have plenty of things to take pictures of that night and you don’t want to later realize that you don’t have any pictures of the bouquet you designed so perfectly.
- Keep in mind that you are going to be holding on to your bouquet for a pretty good amount of time, so make sure it’s comfortable for you. Try not to make it too heavy so it doesn’t hurt your wrists and be sure that it has soft fabric around the stems so it doesn’t poke you or irritate your hands.
- Take the time to see what each flower and color represents, and match it to how your feeling. For instance, roses represent love, white chrysanthemums are for truth, ivy for fidelity, and if it’s your first and only love, put some lilacs in it. The world around you may never know all the meaning behind your flowers, but you and your partner will.
- It is important to remember, different flowers work better with different arrangements. Longer stemmed flowers, like calla lilies, tend to work better with cascading or arm bouquets, whereas irises and tulips work better in the posy bouquets.
- Consider your body shape when designing your bouquet, as well. If you are really tall, try and stick to a longer bouquet to help elongate yourself and to keep with the line. If you are really short, stick to something a little smaller and compact.
If you find all of the flowers and bouquet designing a bit overwhelming, another idea is for just the bride to have a bouquet and to have the bridesmaids hold on to something different. Not only does this lessen your stress of matching flowers to dresses, but it also makes your bouquet a little more special, and provides you with a little bit more money to spend on your own. Also, keep in mind that if your bouquet is something you plan on preserving, you don’t have to throw it! It’s yours, do with it what you please. You may want to consider getting a small, simpler bouquet to throw later in the night and then you won’t have to worry about it. I hope these tips on picking out the perfect bouquet have helped ease your mind through at least one of your many wedding planning decisions!
Don’t let your money go to waste, provide your guests with favors they will love!
We all know that planning a wedding is very expensive, we want to ensure that every cent is put to good use! Spending your wedding budget on favors that will be tossed is hard to stomach. The growing trend is providing wedding favors that your guests will actually want. Here are some of the cutting edge ideas we are starting to see!
It doesn’t get any cuter than individual succulents for a spring or summer wedding. Not only are these plants cute and lively, they are also one of the easiest to care for. Your guests will have no trouble at all keeping them around long after your special day is over. Whether mini or not, succulents are eye catching, unique and also add a great pop of greenery to your wedding.
First it was cupcakes, then cake balls, then macarons, now the next big edible wedding favor is donuts, or donut holes, for a late night snack! You want to be sure to go with cake style donuts as these hold up longer. Some couples go so far as to add a coffee station to go along with their special end of the night treats. As we all know, people love food. It’s hard to go wrong with a delicious wedding favor!
- Homemade Salsa
Yes, that’s right, salsa. Why not “spice up” your big day! Hot sauce or salsa is another great edible idea for the low-key backyard, outdoor or summer wedding. Simple to make and easy to store! Gifting your guests with salsa in a cute personalized jar will leave them with something to remember your special day even after their spicy treat is gone.
Let your love shine! With the 1920’s-1930’s Gatsby inspired celebrations gaining popularity, moonshine matches a theme or is great by itself! While actual real moonshine is illegal in the Unites States, the apple pie moonshine version is great for a fall wedding!
Honey is a “meant to bee” sweet favor for a rustic, country, or shabby chic wedding. This inexpensive favor has a long shelf life and can be personalized with cute labels, ribbons, burlap or fabric.
I hope these wedding favor trends have helped make your decision easier. Be creative! Any favor can be made special with a little personalized touch on the packaging. It also doesn’t hurt to remember that the key to most people’s hearts is through their stomach!
If you don’t ask the right questions before booking your venue you could be facing thousands of dollars in additional charges that could have been avoided.
Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful and time-consuming, not to mention, very expensive! One of the biggest and costliest decisions, when it comes to your special day, will be choosing your venue. That is why it is important for you to know the right questions to ask when shopping for your venue. These questions can help ensure you are getting everything you want, and most importantly, they can save you a significant amount of money! So don’t stress, we are here to help, take a look below at the five questions to ask before booking your wedding venue!
- Does the Venue Supply Tables and Chairs?
Believe it or not, there are several venues out there that may not supply tables and chairs for your event. A question like this may be easy to overlook, but renting tables and chairs is no small expense and can add up very quickly!
-Chiavari chairs are the most common and desirable for weddings, these chairs can run up to $10 per chair to rent. White garden chairs are another common wedding chair, averaging at about $4 per chair. 120-inch tables seat 10 people and typically rent for about $10 each. In the end, it will cost you about $11 per guest if you were to set up with chiavari chairs and round tables with seating for 10. If you have 150 guests, that already an additional $1,650!
- Does the Venue have China, Glassware and Silverware?
This information is not always presented at the beginning when getting a quote from a venue or caterer. Unfortunately, most independent venues do not supply china, glassware, and silverware and these necessities can end up being extremely expensive.
-On average, china, glassware, and silverware can cost $5 to $10 per person, depending on what type of event you are having. If you have 150 guests, that can add up to an additional $750 to $1,000.
- Does the Venue have a Dance Floor?
There is no better day to celebrate and dance than your wedding day, but your guests are going to want to join you! Make sure there is room on the dance floor for both you and your guests to enjoy your special day.
-A 20 by 20-foot dance floor can cost you about $1,000.
- Does the Venue Supply Table Linens and Linen Napkins?
If the venue you are looking at does not supply tables and chairs, like we talked about previously, it is likely that it does not supply linens either.
-Napkins start at around 75 cents each and liens, for the average 120-inch table, go for about $17 each. You must also keep in mind, you are responsible for covering more than just the tables for your guests’ seating. Buffet tables, cake tables, gift tables, registration tables, and whatever else you may have will also need to be covered and should be added into your cost. A 150 guest wedding will consist of about 22 tables and 150 napkins, bringing the price for linens to around $486.50.
- Does the Venue Charge for Parking?
If you are having your reception in or near a downtown area, there is a good chance your venue either charges for parking or requires valet service.
-Parking could cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per car. If you calculate a 150 guest wedding by one car per two guests, you would have 75 cars, averaging an additional cost of $750.
We hope we didn’t scare you too much with all of these big numbers! As you can see, the necessary items for your wedding can add up fast! If you don’t ask the right questions you could be facing thousands of dollars in additional charges that possibly could have been avoided. Be informed, ask first and save money!
A walk through of the 5 types of beverage service options you can choose from for your wedding reception.
Wedding planning requires a lot of work and decision making. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the vendors you are considering and proposals you are reviewing. No matter where you go for your wedding reception needs, a major question you are going to encounter is “What type of bar service would you like”? While the question is simple, the answer may not be, especially because alcoholic beverages can be one of the most expensive parts of your reception. Don’t stress, we are here to help! There are 5 types of beverage service options you can choose from and we are going to walk you through all of them in order to turn your difficult decision into a breeze.
- Non-Alcoholic Bar
While choosing not to serve alcohol at your wedding is not for everyone, it is an option and believe it or not, there is a way to make it fun! You can serve “Mocktails”, offer a soda bar, flavored lemonades, and even ice cream shakes. Don’t be afraid to provide your guests with something unique or even create a signature non-alcoholic drink. Just because you aren’t going to have alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t have fun serving your guests!
- Cash Bar
This is easy to understand, with a cash bar all of your guests will be paying for their own drinks. Even though the explanation is simple, there are still some important questions you need to be sure to ask your caterer when choosing this option. While you are choosing to have your guests pay for all of their alcoholic drinks, be sure that you are providing them with non-alcoholic beverages. You don’t want your guests to end up getting charged every time they order a soft drink or any kind of regular beverage. You may also want to consider the option of combining the cash bar with one of the fun non-alcoholic packages from above. Combining will allow you to provide your guests with a fun non-alcoholic drink station while still giving them the option to opt for alcohol on their own dime. Either way, everyone is sure to enjoy themselves no matter what their preference.
- Consumption Host Bar
A consumption host bar is one of the options that allows you to host all of the drinks at no charge to your guests. This is where things get a little more complicated and a little more thinking has to be involved. We know you want to provide your guests with everything you can, but we also know everyone has a budget. The real catch with this option is that you don’t know what your final bill will be until the end of the evening, scary right? While this may not worry everyone, for those of us trying to make sure we stick to a budget, it could make you a little uneasy. Don’t worry, that’s why we are here, below is a way to figure out a rough estimate of how much this option will cost you in the end. Do the calculation below in order to determine whether or not you think this option will be right for you. Remember, if you have your heart set on fully hosting a bar for your guests, this is only one of two options, so even if after further investigation this is out of your price range, all hope is not lost!
Consumption Host Bar Calculation (for a 4-hour event) Get the consumption drink price for beer, wine, and a mixed drink, add them together and divide by 3. This is your average drink price. Divide that number by the price for the 4 hours of bar time, that will give you the number of drinks per person. For example lets say beer is $5, wine is $6, and mixed drinks are $7, that gives you an average drink price of $6. If a 4-hour bar is $24 then we divide 24 by 6 and get an answer of 4 drinks per person.
See, the calculation is simple! The only catch here is, only you know the drinking habits of your guests. If you think there is no way each person will drink more than 4 drinks, this might be the right choice for you budget wise. If you have a lot of heavy drinkers attending, this option is probably not your best choice and it might be time to scroll down and look at the open bar option.
- Open/Host Bar
As mentioned previously, this is your alternative option when you plan on taking care of all your guests’ drinks for the evening. With the open bar option, you are paying a fixed price, which allows you to accurately calculate your budget and provide your guests with free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for the night. Most venues and caterers will offer different levels of open bar, which are typically charged by the hour. The longer you purchase, the less expensive each drink becomes.
- Partial Cash Bar
We’ve mentioned budget a lot, and for those of you stressing about it, this option is our gift to you. We know you want to offer your guests everything you can in order for them to have the best time possible at your wedding reception. If you have your heart set on providing your guests with drinks but your budget does not seem to be in agreement, there is a way to please both. There are a few different options when choosing a partial cash bar. One way is to use drink tickets, you can offer each guest 1 or 2 drink tickets to redeem at the bar. If your guests want additional drinks after they use their tickets, it would be cash. There is a way to make the ticket option fun, you can print nice tickets with your wedding logo, pictures, or fun quotes. If you choose this option you might as well go all the way, make the tickets something you are happy with, really incorporate them into your all around wedding theme. If the drink ticket method is not for you, you can go with the maximum bar spend option. The maximum bar spend option allows you to put a fixed amount towards the bar tab and once that tab is reached, it becomes a cash bar. None of these options sound like something you like? Luckily, we have one more for you. Our last option is to host an open bar for only a fixed amount of hours. Let’s say you’re having a 5-hour reception, you may choose to host the bar for the first 3 hours then let the bar switch to cash for the last 2. There are many different options when it comes to choosing a partial cash bar, the only thing left to decide is which will work best for you.
There you have it, the 5 types of beverage service options you can choose from for your wedding reception. So now, take a deep breath, decide what you really want to offer your guests, take a look at your budget, and make it work! It is possible to please your guests and your wallet. Wedding planning isn’t easy, but your wedding should be one of the greatest days of your life. Find an option that works best for you so that you are able to enjoy your special day to the very fullest!
6 fun and practical wedding reception food ideas that will help maximize your budget and your guests’ experience!
While a lot of hard work and planning goes into your wedding day, food is always a major part of every occasion and something your guests remember. In order to ensure the menu of your special day gets rave reviews, here are a few fun and practical wedding reception food ideas that will help you maximize your budget, as well as, your guests’ experience.
- Mini is Still Big
Small bites have a big impact! Sliders, cones, tacos, savory lollipops, soup sips… we could go on all night. Going mini allows your guests to enjoy a variety of unique flavors without getting them so stuffed they can’t show off their dance moves. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun, small food options allow your guests to keep it moving all night long!
- Family Style
Plated dinners are always nice, but sometimes they can feel a bit too formal and hinder the fun of moving around and socializing. If you are totally against a buffet or stations, family style is an option you may want to consider. Going family style is a little more casual, but not quite the buffet line. Your guests will be able to pick and choose the foods they like while also being encouraged to interact with one another. If you are not fully convinced family style is the way to go, you can always do a semi-family style dinner. A semi-family style dinner consists of having a plated entrée for each guest while having fun sides come out on platters, it’s the best of both worlds!
- Variety, Variety, Variety!
Stations are a great way to offer your guests an interactive experience, get them up and moving, and give them a wide selection of food. These are not your parent’s stations, it doesn’t have to be the same old carving and pasta stations. Get a little crazy with an Avocado Martini Bar, Pulled Pork Tacos Station, Risotto Bar, Chicken and Waffle Station, you get the idea. Be creative, there are no rules when it comes to the foods you choose for your special day!
- Comfort is Always Cool
Comfort can be casual or upscale and it’s a fun way to get your guests to experiment a little bit. Comfort food can be great, delicious, and memorable. Take the classics and give them an unexpected twist. Try Cajun Spiced Roasted Chicken, Greek Meatloaf, Loaded 5 Cheese Mac and Cheese, Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwich Station, Texas Chili Bar, Chicken and Waffles, Champagne and Fried Chicken, nothing is off limits. Incorporating foods everyone loves into your wedding reception with a sophisticated twist is something all of your guests can enjoy, don’t be afraid!
These days, when it comes to events, the drinks are as important as the food. It doesn’t matter if you are doing beer and wine or a super-premium open bar, it’s easy to make it fun! Make an effort to do a custom cocktail or two, your guests will definitely want to try the drink they can only get exclusively at your wedding. Also, offer local craft beers to make the bar a little more interesting. Oh and by the way, did you know frozen cocktail popsicles are a thing now? YUP, who wouldn’t want to give that a try?!
- Finish Strong
You’ve planned every detail up to this point, just when your guests think the night is done, hit them with your one final touch, DESSERT! There are several ways to do this, depending on your preference, but here are a few of our favorite ideas. Passed warm beignets or warm chocolate chip cookies, passed assorted chocolate truffle lollipops, mini milkshake shots, a chocolate fondue station, we could go on, but we think you get the idea. Be sure to finish like you started, STRONG. Nothing tops off a great night like satisfying your sweet tooth.
Always remember, be creative. Any food can be made into a wedding food with the help of your caterer. It’s your special day so if you like it, have it! Don’t be fooled by classic weddings of the past, there are no rules to the type of food you have to serve at your wedding reception.
A wedding caterer brings more to the table than just delicious food. Make sure you consider these 5 things before choosing a caterer for your special day!
The quality, presentation, and timeliness of the catering service you choose for your wedding day will have a significant impact on the experience of your guests. While everyone might not remember all the details of your special day, they will remember the amazing array of food they indulged in or the signature cocktail they enjoyed exclusively at your wedding. Keep in mind, it’s not just the food and beverages that the caterer will impact. Items like linens, china, glassware, silverware, and other catering equipment are all aspects that also need to be considered when choosing your caterer. This is why choosing your caterer is such a crucial part of your wedding day preparation!
In order to make sure everything is taken care of and that you will not run into any surprises, here are 5 things you should consider before choosing a wedding caterer.
- Food and Beverage Flexibility
The first thing to consider when choosing your caterer is FLEXIBILITY. It is important to make sure your caterer is flexible! You should have the ability to make changes to the menu and add your own special touches. The caterer should offer a nice variety of options but also be flexible about making changes or substitutions. Tell the staff what you like and have special hors d’oeuvres and cocktails offered just for your event.
- The Bar
Next, THE BAR. Drinks are as important as food these days, especially at big events like a wedding. Whether you are offering beer and wine or a super-premium full bar, there are some easy ways to spice it up and make it fun. Offer local craft beers and some fun and interesting cocktails. Have your caterer put together a couple of specialty cocktails for you to taste. It is always fun to have a custom cocktail exclusively made for your special day, and yet another way to leave an impression on your guests. It is also important to make sure you think of those people who don’t drink! It’s always nice to have a fun non-alcoholic drink available, this way everyone can feel as though they are joining in on the celebration with their fancy glass in hand.
- China, Glassware, and Silverware
Does the caterer provide china, glassware, and silverware, and is there a fee? When choosing a caterer for your wedding this is something that may not come to mind right away, and with the distraction of delicious food and drinks, who could blame you. Believe it or not, when it is itemized, china, glassware, and silverware can run $10 to $15 per person for a wedding! If you are not prepared for that expense, it could be quite a surprise. If the caterer you are considering does provide this, make sure that it includes all of the items you need and that there are no additional fees. The caterer knows exactly what food and beverages will be at your event, as well as, how much, which also means they know exactly what they need. It will be hard for your guests to eat if they don’t have enough forks. An experienced caterer will supply not only what is needed, but also, plenty of extra so you are sure not to have any shortages. Choosing a caterer who provides this service will offer you piece of mind and leave one less worry of any miscommunication.
Does the caterer offer or provide linens? This is yet another important aspect to consider that can be easily overlooked. Remember, all linens are not created equal! Make sure the linens offered or provided by the caterer are floor length linens. Nothing is worse than seeing the legs of the buffet or seating tables at a wedding. This is your wedding not a high school awards dinner, every detail matters and should be just as important to your caterer as it is to you. Again, it is better to get this through one source in order to eliminate any confusion. The less you have to deal with the better.
- Who is the Caterer?
Lastly, who is your caterer? There is a BIG difference between a true catering company and a restaurant that offers catering. True catering companies cater every day and have the know-how and equipment to handle special events, and there is no event more special than your wedding! You want to make sure your caterer has the staff and equipment to take care of your event. Make sure the key people involved in the planning are going to be at your wedding to make sure it is executed properly. Sure it would be nice to have Emeril Lagasse or Rachel Ray cater your wedding, but I doubt either one of them will be in attendance to make sure your event goes without a hitch. When it comes to catering, think local and stay away from the giant chains. A true local company with catering as its main focus will dedicate the time and effort truly needed to make your special day as perfect as you imagined it.
Remember, no day is more memorable than your wedding day! A wedding caterer brings more to the table than just delicious food. Make sure you consider these 5 things before choosing a caterer for your special day!