Monday, May 31, 2010

Pros and Cons of the Ipod Shuffle

It is certainly becoming the new craze to ditch the DJ and go with an iPod playlist for the wedding reception.  While this is a great way to save money, it's important to consider the extras you will need to run this show on your own.  Like all DIY ideas, it is absolutely crucial that you test it out before the big day.  Here are some things to consider...

  • An Emcee- you need someone to announce the important events of the evening including:
    • entrance of the wedding party
    • first dance
    • father daughter dance (and other planned special dances)
    • call tables up to the buffet line
    • cutting of the cake
    • tossing of the bouquet/ garter toss
Make sure this person has a lot of personality- preferably that goofy uncle or a family friend who knows a lot about you.
  • A microphone & speakers- you can rent an AV package with these items for less than $150.  This sounds like a lot but compare that to $800 + for a DJ.  Make sure your AV equipment includes a hookup for the iPod and that the speakers transmit 100 ft or so from the source.
  •  Make sure you put together a really good variety of songs.  DJs know how to feel out the crowd, so you'll have to anticipate how your crowd will act.  I generally recommend 4 feel good, high energy, dance worthy songs for every 1 slow song.  Oldies always go over well at weddings, so I would also recommend 1 oldies song for every 1 newer song. 
  • Put your own flavor and personality into the playlist.  This is probably the major pro to doing the entertainment yourself- you're in charge and you can really think about what you enjoy dancing to.  Have fun with it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wedding Week Checklist

After you've worked so hard to square away all of the details of your wedding for some 8-12 months, it might seem that it's smooth sailing in that final 2 weeks or so. Everything should be locked in at this point, schedules have been created, deposits have been taken care of, etc. However, that last week before the wedding is when all the little tedious and easy-to-forget things pop up. Here is my list from my wedding week (September 2008)...

Tuesday, September 16

Pack for next 4 days & Honeymoon, go down to bay (I had an at-home wedding at my in-laws), PASSPORT!
Make list of who needs to be where at what time
Confirm times with all vendors, what I owe
Confirm #s with rehearsal dinner and caterer
Arrange for transporting of gifts while on honeymoon

Wednesday, September 17

Hair cut 1pm
Shop for Bridesmaids lunch
Go tanning
Finish making wedding favors & place cards
Box up things that need to go to the church vs things that need to go to the reception

Thursday, September 18

Prep/ cook for Bridesmaids lunch
Set up bars
Set out flowers for hair & cake, pick up corsages & boutonnieres (as late as possible to stay fresh- put in fridge immediately)
*I made my own bouquets and centerpieces so I picked up corsages & boutonnieres from a florist and set aside my flowers for cake and hair so I wouldn't forget
Set out all jewelry/ accessories for wedding day

Friday, September 19

Set up for BM lunch 7:30-8:30
Nails 9am
BM lunch 11-2:30
3-4:30 get ready for rehearsal
5-10 rehearsal/dinner
Set out all checks for vendors

Saturday, September 20

Shower, wear button down shirt 8-8:45
Hair appt 9-10
Breakfast 10-11
Dress & makeup 11-12:30
Pictures begin 12:30
Relax and enjoy the day!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Budget Wedding Flower Fix- May

This brief tutorial will help you to incorporate expensive flowers into an low budget wedding for your centerpieces.  This wedding centerpiece is very affordable, coming in around $20.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Myths About Saving on Weddings

It can be very tricky learning how to make certain alternative routes work to save you money on your wedding.  In actuality, some of them can and do, but many of the themes and ideas can really end up costing as much, if not more than the traditional route.  Make sure you do a full cost comparison before you are lead to believe that something is the least expensive option.  Here are some to keep an eye out for...

The hors d'oeuvres wedding

When it works: limited variety of options, very little seafood and meat, lots of dips and things that can be scooped as opposed to little finger foods that are individually prepared, served in buffet dishes- not passed

When it doesn't work: too many options (more work for the chefs), individually prepared apps with meat and seafood (i.e. bacon wrapped scallops, roast beef on a crostini with a dollop of horseradish mayo, crab balls, etc), lots of passed apps (more waiters, more work)

The "At Home" wedding

When it works: very small guest list (smaller tent, less rentals), perfect weather (maybe you don't even need a tent!), lots of helping hands (so you don't have to pay for prep and clean up)

When it doesn't work:  lots of guests= lots of money for rentals (a large tent costs more than $2K!  Probably what you would have spent on a banquet hall).  Also, don't forget you'll need to rent silverware, linens, tables, chairs, dance floor, porta johns, etc.  If the weather is bad, you might end up paying for side covers for the tent (another several hundred dollars), as well as an archway/tunnel tent leading to the bathrooms so guests don't get soaked.  If you haven't considered how you're going to get all the tables, settings, etc set up and broken down, that costs a lot of money for hiring a crew.

Alternatives to the Wedding Cake

Ahh, the cupcake tower.  This is a HUGE misconception in the wedding world.  Cupcakes need a lot of individual TLC.  They are frosted individually and decorated individually, then stacked on an intricate tower often times with a fake display cake on the top.  Intricacies= Money.  Don't be deceived into thinking that cupcakes are a cheap alternative.

Photo credit:

When it works:  family and friends make a variety of pies the day before the wedding; having a small display cake and a large sheet cake behind the scenes to feed everyone; having a candy station using a variety of chocolates/candy bought in bulk and displayed in fun jars/ vases

There are definitely a lot of great and creative ways to save money, just make sure you think of all the caveats and work involved before you take that plunge!

Monday, May 3, 2010

All Those Extras

Isn't it the best feeling in the world when you're tallying up the last of those wedding costs and you think "We did it!  We figured out how to squeeze everything into our tiny budget!"...  And then the week of the wedding rolls around and you realize how many little extra costs there are and what they add up to.  Don't let yourself get caught in that web of stress- plan ahead and take note of these extra costs that you might not have thought about...

  • Stamps ($0.41 per invitation-- no wait!  You should provide that RSVP envelope stamp for your guests... that's almost an extra dollar per invite!)
  • Tips (limo driver, officiant, makeup, hair and nails, catering crew, bartenders)
  • Additional Decor (centerpieces for the buffet tables and bar, cake table, etc)
  • Vendor Meals (don't forget to feed the photographer, DJ, officiant, etc)
  • Bridesmaid Luncheon (it's generally in good taste to throw a little get-together to show your appreciation to your bridesmaids)
  • Guest Bags (if you have out of town guests, you could provide little snack/goodie bags, but you should at least provide itineraries for the weekend)
  • Alterations (try to work that into the price of the actual dress-- it's generally a good idea to take a package with unlimited alterations, rather than paying for the alterations separately.  You never know how many times they'll need to take it in or let it out!
  • Little accessories (ring bearer pillow, flower girl basket & petals, flowers for bride's hair or cake table if using
  • Disposable cameras for the guest tables
  • Additional prints/ photo albums
  • Thank You Notes
  • Honeymoon (Obviously you already thought of this one!)