Thursday, August 28, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Programs Highlighted

For a time, wedding programs were seen as nice but not necessary. They were an item that budget conscious brides often omitted or provided reluctantly to those guests who requested one. That is changing. Programs are seen as integral to the ceremony and as keepsakes for the wedding.

Programs are a way to share information about your wedding ceremony with your guests and for many of those guests, are a lasting keepsake from your big day.

 • Program design is taking center stage rather than a plain typed sheet of white paper. Tri folds on excellent quality paper stock with font styles that match those chosen on invitations are being seen a more and more wedding ceremonies. If it is an outdoor wedding, the programs are printed as fans for guests to use.

• No longer just done on plain paper, today's programs feature designs or photos or sketches. The colors on the programs are chosen to match or compliment the wedding colors or themes.

• Brides and grooms are hiring graphic designers to create their wedding monogram which in turn becomes the centerpiece for invitations and other wedding papers including programs, napkins, thank you notes and even cake tops.

 • Programs can be personalized with a quote that is important to the couple, or poetry or song lyrics.

 • Program backs provide a place to explain floral dedications to departed loved ones, or are the place for a heartfelt thank you to guests for sharing the couple's big day.

• Programs should be handed out by greeters as guests enter the facility. They could be placed on individual chairs in the ceremony venue, but having greeters for guests is a nice touch.

• In addition to listing the names of the members of the wedding party and the couple's parents, grandparents and special relatives, some brides have asked that the guest list be printed on the program. It gives guests a chance to see who is in attendance that they might know and insures that the program will be kept and not tossed.

• Many programs include a personal note from the couple that talks about why a particular song was chosen to be played in the ceremony, a transcript of the personal vows that the couple have chosen.

• The program is a schedule of events in the ceremony, any communal responses required of the guests, and an opportunity to explain any ceremony addition that is part of a mixed cultural tradition.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Wedding Dollars

National statistics show a wide disparity in the cost of a wedding.  It all depends on where you live.  According to PARADE magazine in 2013 gown costs ranged from on average - $804 in Alaska to $3,027 in Manhattan.  That should be no surprise, just as it shouldn't surprise the couple that weddings require cash outlay.  What does surprise some couples is how fast and easy a budget can be exceeded if one is not careful.

Try to avoid the mindset which says, "I'll only do this once so I'll charge it now and pay it off later".  Once the wedding budget has been established, spending wisely and saving widely should be the guide.

·         Some couples start with a wedding piggy bank.  Get a large one (without the easy access of a cork in the bottom) and resolutely empty all the change into it every day.  If you have to smash the pig to get at the $$ you are less likely to spend from the pig.  Pulling out the cork or plug to grab a handful of change is too easy and too tempting.  With two people depositing change every day and an engagement of say 6 months, the pig should be full.  It won't pay for everything but the symbolism and daily ritual will keep you mindful of your budgeting vows.

·         Some couples consider a wedding day loan.  With interest rates fairly low, it might make sense for some.  Couples with adequate financial resources take out a wedding loan for convenience rather than necessity.  It makes it clear how much $$ is to be spent.  However, if one is taking out a loan out of need, it may not be a great idea.  It is a bad way to begin married life together, especially if either the bride or the groom or both are also handling paybacks on college loans.  Before a couple considers a wedding day loan, they should think long and hard about its impact on their lives.

·         One of the best ways to manage those wedding dollars is to establish a separate wedding planning account.  Whether it is funded by the couple or with parental contributions, that account is a good way to manage the funds.  It is too easy to get off budget when expenses are paid by a variety of credit or debit cards.  A wedding only account makes it clear where the money is going.

·         More and more couples are considering wedding insurance with covers accidents or damage at the ceremony or reception, and provides protection on a wide range of events like damage to the wedding gown or the failure of vendors to honor their commitments.  Investigate the various options covered and vet the company before signing on the dotted line.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Name Changes

Don't forget to add this task to your to do list.  There are lots of places that need to know that your name has changed (or the groom's name if he is taking yours or you are joining your last names with a hyphen).  Be smart and wait to make the changes once your post wedding address is firmed up.  It's simpler to change both names and addresses at the same time and far less confusing for the organization involved.

Places requiring an update on your personal identification are: Social Security Administration, your state drivers license or ID card, voter registration card, credit cards, military ID, passport. 

You will need to notify  these organizations and businesses:  banks, mortgage holders, landlords, employers human resources department, health care providers, insurance companies, utilities, US Post office, attorneys, licensing boards and any clubs to which you belong.

The following documents will also need to be updated:  your will, any deeds you have for property owned, any vehicle registrations you have and any legal contracts that bear your signature.

We also recommend that you obtain a few certified copies of your marriage license.  Social Security will need a copy and other entities might.  Just have copies available in case they are needed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Your Paper Trousseau

Here is a quick review of all the items that make your wedding paper trousseau.  Whether you choose to include all the items or not is purely your choice, but it is good to consider each item and then include or reject it according to your needs.  What is important to remember is that the way you present yourself on paper will give your guests a clue about your wedding.  You can spend a small fortune on elegantly printed paper stock if you wish, but you don't have to.  Most experts will agree that aside from the invitations and thank you notes, all other items are nice but optional.

The full paper trousseau can include the following:  invitations, place cards, programs, thank you cards, announcements, save-the-date cards, escort cards, RSVP cards, reception cards, menu cards, cocktail napkins, cake napkins, dinner napkins, printed hangtags for favors or personalized favor boxes, personal letterhead which includes your name, address, email, phone number(s) and wedding date for all vendor confirmations and a guest book.

Generally all printed items carry through the theme of the wedding with similar print styles and colors.
You can arrange with the US Postal Service to purchase wedding themed postage stamps for the mailings.  There is no surcharge for official stamps.  Or you can arrange with a commercial printed to have custom printed stamps that reflect your choice of design but expect to pay an additional charge for customization. 

You can order custom sealing stickers for invitation envelopes as well.

Paper trousseau items can be lovely,so if there is where you choose to invest some funds, that is your choice.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Tipping for Wedding Services

Who should I tip and how much is a usual question our consultant's are asked.  Our advice is preceded by a reminder that tipping should always be about a job well done.  Consider this basic premise when allocating dollars for tips and increase or decrease from the following guidelines based on the service provided.  For simplicity sake, it is usually best to entrust tips to one person - the bride's father or the best man on the wedding day and to have the amonts prepared in advance and in labeled envelopes for distribution wherever possible.

Here are some service providers and suggested guidelines for gratuities.
  • ·         Hair stylists - 15% -20% of the fees, plus 5% for the shampoo assistant.
  • ·         Makeup artists - 15% to 20% of fees
  • ·         Valets - $1 -$2 per car to be divided among all valets
  • ·         Coat Checkers - $1- $2 per coat to be divided among all checkers
  • ·         Chauffeurs - 15% - 20% of transportation bill
  • ·         Catering staff - up to 20% of catering bill to be divided among all staff
  • ·         Bartenders - 15% to 20% of bar bill if tipping by guests was permitted as in a cash bar, or up to 30% if guests were not permitted to tip.
For officiants at ceremonies and musicians/soloists check with your ceremony site contact about the usual fee.  If they say "free will offering" here are usual guidelines. 
  • ·         For civil ceremony officiates - $50 - $75 - and for religious officiants the same.  The best man can handle distribution of these for the couple.
  • ·         Ceremony soloists or pianist/organist - $35 to $75
Even florists, photographers, videographers, bakes, seamstresses may sometimes deserve tips under extraordinary circumstances.  Remember to include a line item in your wedding budget for tips to insure that no one will be forgotten.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Seven Tips from Wedding Planners

Professional wedding planners and designers from WEDDINGS BEAUTIFUL WORLDWIDE (WBW) have lots of helpful hints for brides as they plan their weddings.   While they may not guarantee a bump free road, some preplanning can minimize the likelihood of problems on your big day.

*If you really can't afford a wedding designer or have dreamed of doing much of the wedding planning yourself, consider hiring a wedding planner that offers a "week or day of" coordinator.  Especially if your wedding is large and will be held at multiple locations, the coordinator can be a life saver and will insure that all the plans will be carried out without bumps.

*When looking around for a wedding site, consider a single location for the ceremony, the reception and hotel accommodations.  It will not only minimize travel complications, but may turn out to be more cost effective than having guests and the wedding party traveling all over town to get to events.

*Attend bridal shows early in your engagement.  They can be fun and the source of super ideas and resources.  Don't plan on attending too many, that will only result in information overload.  Pick a couple early on in your planning phase and then stop.

*Number the backs of RSVP cards to correspond to the guest address lists.  When the cards come back to you you'll know who has responded and who hasn't, plus it will help to decipher illegible handwriting.

*If your wedding venue has multiple weddings on your weekend, check to see what rentals the other brides are using.  You may be able to use rented greenery or tables and chairs at a special rate.  You won't know until you ask.

*Bring extra shoes in your wedding case.  You have chosen your wedding shoes clearly, but you never know.  Bring heels, a pair of wedges and a pair of flats.  Heels have been broken just before the trip down the aisle.  A few pairs of footwear options are very reassuring.

*Pack your emergency kit.  Include tissues, double stick tape, medications, sewing kit, scissors, band aids, and breath mints.  Also tuck in a single knee high nylon stocking.  It works wonders to remove deodorant marks on dresses.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - New Versions of Old Ideas

Today's brides find themselves wanting both a tie to traditions and a wedding that reflects their unique view of life.  Our brides have shared their concerns and wishes with our consultants over the years and this is what we have learned from them.

*It's the bride's big day.  That's true, it is a big day for her.  The bride is the centerpiece and every bride is beautiful.  But wielding that concept can easily slip into "It's all about me and what I want" mentality.  When in fact, a wedding is "our" big day.  The bride wouldn't be a bride without the groom and he would not be a groom without his bride.  This is a day to celebrate the couple and the new family they are creating.  A wedding is the union of two families and this event is a celebration of that reality.

*Guests need favors.  They really don't need to take home a box of candy, or flower seeds, nor are they likely to plant a tree that they got from a wedding (the parents of the bride may or the couple may).  Most guests would prefer to nibble on wedding cake at the reception and not carry a slice home in a beautifully wrapped package.  Really think through the whole concept of favors.  If you love gifting guests, go for it and find the perfect picture frame or monogrammed bottle of wine or handmade truffles.  But guests don't need a gift.

*The groom can't see me before the ceremony.  Yes he can!  Especially if you have multiple venues to drive to as part of the wedding day plans.  More and more couples complain that the day goes by in a haze as both bride and groom seek out guests and go from event to event.  Some of the most meaningful time couples have spent is time together before the wedding.  Dressed in their wedding garb, they take the time to be together, to contemplate what they are about to do and to relish in their love for each other.  He will think the bride is beautiful in her gown whether he sees her before she walks down the aisle or as she does.

*This is THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE.   No it isn't!  It is an important day, but your life together is just beginning.  There will be milestones throughout your lives together.  Your life will be filled with many memorable and important days.  This one is the first - not the only.