Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Following the Royal Wedding? You can now..

I don't normally spend much time thinking about what the Royal family is up to, but there are millions of us girls who are and will be fascinated by the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  Due to my love of all things "wedding," I am no exception.  I have a feeling this will be about as grand as a wedding can get, and I can't wait to see the photos.  Until then, if you are one of many who can't get enough and must know every detail... have I got the perfect website for you! 
Check it out here The Royal Wedding

This site has all of the details, from the service and reception to a biography of Catherine, including some adorable childhood photographs.  This is an official site organized by Prince Charles' press operation, and even includes the link to the Facebook and Twitter accounts as they continue to update loyal royal followers on the progress.   

There you go ladies: Save the Date... Friday 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey!  

I wanted to add this post just for fun!  Of course I try to pass on money saving advice to savvy brides, but who knows?  Maybe I'll see an idea and be able to translate it into a cost saving option and pass it on to you!  I doubt it, but a girl can dream!  

Trying to keep wedding costs down? Keep the guest list under control...

If you are planning a wedding and having trouble keeping it within a reasonable budget, consider lowering your guest count.  If you haven't already mailed the invites that is.  After all you can't uninvite someone once you have sent them an invitation.  No matter how much your family, and his college buddies, annoy you!
While some costs involved in the wedding are one flat rate regardless of the head count, such as the DJ services, some venues, or your gown and his tux, most of your expenses will be based on the number of guests you have.  Think "price per person" for food, cake, tables and chairs, and even the little things such as chair covers and favors.  It will add up quickly if you invite 200 instead of only 150. 

Photo from Splendid Affairs, taken by Kat Forsyth
I've made it easy for you and researched some of Chattanooga/Cleveland areas wedding companies rates and what they charge you per person.  This is based on 50 guests, or 7 tables with 8 guests per table and will give you an idea of how much you'll spend by adding just 50 more to your guest list.  Keep in mind also that some of the prices are an estimate on the low end, especially for items such as centerpieces, dinner, and favors which can vary quite a bit...

7 Table rentals @ $8 each                                                   $56
7 Tables linen rentals @ $11 each                                        $77
50 Chair/covers @ $6 per chair                                            $300
Tableware/napkins @ $7 per guest                                       $350
Table centerpieces @ $50 per tables                                    $350
Dinner for 50 guests @ $25 + 20% gratuity                          $1500
Wedding favors @ $3 per guest                                           $150
Cake @ $3.00 per guest                                                      $150

                                                                                Total    $2933

The total comes to nearly $3000 or about $60 per person, and could be so much more depending on the caterer you choose and how extravagant your centerpieces and favors are.  It also doesn't include the invites you pay for per person.  If you are already spending $30,000 on your wedding then maybe an extra $3000 is not a big deal, but for the bride on a tighter budget, it makes a huge difference.  That is money that can be spent on a fabulous honeymoon, or for the practical bride planning for the future: you two will be that much closer to a down payment on a house! 

Honeymoon cruise: Shutterstock 2010

So think wisely when making out the guest list, keep the head count down and save! 

As always, leave your comments, suggestions, and ideas for me.  I'd love to hear from you!
Til next time...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wedding gown for $100? It is possible...

David's Bridal has just launched a collections of assorted bridal gowns, and all are $100 or less!  
Here are just a few examples of the lovely gowns offered by David's Bridal 

Images from DavidsBridal.com

Also available are bridesmaids dresses for as low as $29.99 and flower girl dresses as low as $39.99!  What a steal!   Click here for the Bridesmaid's dresses

Images from DavidsBridal.com

And here for the selection of Flower Girl dresses
These styles are available online only!

While you are there, take advantage of free shipping on orders of $99 or more until 1/30/11.
So hurry and shop!
 ***Update!  I checked out the link and David's Bridal is currently running a $99 or less sale through 3/15/11 so there is still time to take advantage of these great gowns at an unbelievably great price! ****

Leave a comment and let me know how you're shopping experience was, share your gown and dress ideas here on $ave the Date!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Save the Date Announcements

What better way to start off our "Budget Wedding Tips" than with the Save the Date announcement cards!  Here are our picks for $ave, Splurge and Skip:  

Our choice to $ave:  Vistaprint.com


Photo previews from Vistaprint.com
  This site has it all!  Save the Dates, Invitations, Thank You Cards, even T-Shirts and Magnets.  There are lots of template choices in very pretty and modern designs and more than likely you can get all of your items in a matching pattern.  Everything is customizable and super easy to do.  They have several "Free" offers,  shipping is quick, reasonably priced and you can track your order until it arrives.  Save the Dates from about .80 each with envelopes, and the more you buy the less you pay.  Vistaprint = Your best bet to $ave!  

Want them for free?  Another option is a Save the Date Email, create your own or templates are available online.  Definitely a more contemporary way to do things, but just about everyone has an email address, even Grandma!  Make it fun and creative by emailing a photo or video of you and your fiance in the video Ecards available from The Knot

Have you got a little more to spend?  Save the Date magnets are quickly becoming popular, especially when you can add a photo of the two of you to make it even more memorable.  Why not Splurge on some of these pretty designs available from Wedding Paper Divas:

Previews from WeddingPaperDivas.com
Wedding Paper Divas has many design options and the magnets start at about 3.79 each. 

What to skip... 
 Anything you find on a "Free Printable Designs" website.  This is probably a no brainer, but I thought I'd bring it up anyway.  On these sites your options will be limited, designs are usually a little cheesy,  and you will still end up spending on paper, ink and envelopes what you could've spent on a nicer version done professionally.  Now, if you have the software and design skills to DIY your Save the Dates and make them look great, I say go for it! 

A few extra tips for you:
  • Choose postcards and you will save on postage stamps because they cost less to mail.
  • Be creative, since its not the formal invite you can make them as fun or as fancy as you'd like.
  • Do not include gift registry info on the Save the Date, it's not considered polite.  
  • Try to include the city/area you will be holding the wedding so out of town guests can start making arrangements as soon as possible.
  • Include your wedding website info so they can stay up to date until your big day
  • Make sure you truly want to invite a person before you send the announcement, once you mail it you can't un-invite them when your guest list grows too large!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why are cakes so pricey?

As you plan your wedding day, you are inevitably going to be surprised by just how much things cost.  The wedding cake is certainly one of those things.  After all its only flour, sugar, eggs and a little butter, right?  Not so fast, there is way more to it than you think!   Read on, from a blog I posted originally on my vendor's website from MerchantCircle.com...

As a baker and cake artist, I know first hand what goes into baking and decorating a cake.  To keep up to date on the latest trends (yes there are trends in cake, have you seen some wedding cakes from the 80's ;) I have read countless articles on how to choose a baker for your wedding cake.  Of course there are those that give great advice and those that seem to know little to nothing about actually making a cake for such a special occasion.  The latter seem to give out more poor advice than good advice, so I would like to clear up just one of many wedding cake myths that some brides may have heard or read.  So, is the cost of the wedding cake going to be cheaper if I order sheet cakes and use a dummy display cake?  Is is cheaper to order mini cakes or cupcakes?  I doubt it, and here's why:

The cost...
 Every bride is on a budget, or at least the brides in the real world are.  I mean, David Tutera can't surprise us all with a free wedding.  But you should know what is realistic when it comes to paying for a custom made cake.  Sure, the ingredients can be expensive for a fresh baked cake, but the time that goes into buying ingredients, mixing, baking, cleaning, mixing buttercream or making fondant is only the beginning.  Easily 4 -5 hours can go into creating just a small two tiered cake.  Imagine that multiplied by 3 if you order a larger cake.  Basically, the times will vary depending on the baker, but many don't just have the size you want laying around in the freezer ready to decorate.  (Well, some do, but that is a grocery store cake and not exactly what is considered a fresh baked, custom designer cake)  Baking is its own art form, or even considered by some to be a science, but that's only the beginning.  Once baked, it is the decorating that really takes the time and talent of someone special; someone who is willing to put long hours into making a beautiful cake just for you to enjoy with your guests.  I won't reveal any decorating secrets or timelines here, but every bride should know that it is not just cake, and it takes a lot of time and work to make one beautiful.

Wedding cakes by Sweet Art Cakes

The myth...
     Now that you know a little about what goes into creating a custom cake, its easier to see why some of the other options will not be cheaper.  The great ones are way more than just flour, sugar and eggs.  The dummy or display cake comes up a lot in articles about saving money, but unless you rent one already made your baker has to take the time to decorate it, plus creating the actual cakes to be served.  Cupcakes and mini cakes are becoming very popular at casual and upscale events.  But, the time it takes to bake and decorate 100 cupcakes can be just as time consuming as a 3 tier cake.  Also, if you think ordering a "simple" cake with save you some money,  be aware that you and your baker may have a different opinion on what "simple" is.  What looks like a perfectly smooth cake with just a plain ribbon,  still took a lot of time and talent to create.

When you begin shopping, compare the price per serving, that is how nearly all bakeries and cake artists determine the price of a cake.  Depending on where you live, you could pay as little as $2.00 per serving, or as high as $8.00-$14.00, and even more.  If going to a grocery store is all that is in your budget for cake, then that is fine.  Just do not expect to pay grocery store prices for a custom made cake.  If you want a designer cake, you will have to pay the price. 

But be realistic about your entire wedding budget... if you can't afford to buy cake for 200 people, should you really be having a wedding with 200 guests?  Can you imagine taking those 200 people, all dressed up in their dresses and suits, to a fine restaurant to have dinner, and then expect to buy them dessert for $1.00 per person?  It doesn't work that way, even Burger King charges more than that for a slice of pie!

Looks good, huh?  Sure does; but not many brides are serving these for dessert! 
There are other wedding cake myths out there, I look forward to debunking those as well, so stay tuned...

Til next time, thanks for reading and feel free to send comments and suggestions!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Choosing Your Wedding Day

It has finally sunk in and you're ready to get started. 
What do you do first? 
Why, Save the Date of course! 

As early as possible, choose your wedding date.  Make sure your man has some input on this one, too.  Be respectful of both families and choose the date together.  You wouldn't want your wedding day to be the same day his sister's baby is due, that would be awkward.  He doesn't want to get married on Super Bowl Sunday because he's liable to have plans (don't worry, you're invited).

First things first; talk it over:
  • Spring?  Fall?  each season will have its pros and cons (I'll go over this later so check back)
  • Be conscious of out of town guests, they may need lots of time to plan for a trip.
  • How big is your wedding?  Can you realistically plan for 300 guests in 6 weeks?  Give yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare.
  • Is your heart set on a certain venue or vendor?  Make sure it's available for the day you choose and have back up dates in mind just in case. 
  • Again, make sure your date doesn't conflict with another friend or family member's special occasion or event. 
It may be hard to please everyone, but choose wisely and start the planning off on a high note.  Think about it, do you want your new sister in law going into labor during the reception?  I doubt it!  That would totally be stealing your spotlight :) 

You said YES! Now what?

He asked..
You cried...
You said YES!
He cried! 
(In a good way we hope)
So now what?

 First, update that Facebook status to "engaged"!  Just kidding, that can wait.  Tell Mom first at least! 
What you shouldn't do is dive right into the wedding mags and start picking out table centerpieces.  Take a few days to let the good news sink in.  Enjoy being engaged, tell family and friends, show off the ring (or exchange it, we know no one's perfect), and relish all of the sweet attention.  Once you start planning, there's a big chance that you'll get so consumed that you'll forget that you are supposed to be Happy!  That's right; you should be Happy, not tearing your hair out or tearing up at the thought wearing Aunt Mae's dress.  Unless of course Aunt Mae has awesome style, and in that case you'd be happy to.
So, all the serious planning can wait a few days while you two declare yourselves officially "tying the knot".  Believe me, you are not only going to receive plenty of "Congrats" but more unsolicited advice that you can handle.  Be prepared to smile, nod, and say "thanks" or better yet: "no thanks".

Ok, now you can update that Facebook status.  After all, you're no longer "In a relationship", you're "Engaged <3"  :)

~ Stay tuned, I'll be quickly blogging away and filling the new site with lots of planning and budget tips.  I hope you'll check back soon.  Please feel free to leave comments, too.  I'd love to hear from you. ~