Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Parents Don't Have to Pay for Your Wedding

I woman emailed me recently that after paying for her daughter's college and graduate school degrees as well as living expenses and a car, she and her husband decided that they can only give their daughter $10,000 towards her wedding.  The daughter thought this was too little an amount and the mother was asking me what she should do - give her more money or not?

My answer was that if they can afford to give their daughter $10,000 towards her wedding that's very generous.

I don't know where the couple is getting married and she didn't mention the groom's family contributing money but either way paying for your child's wedding is not a mandatory parenting duty like clothing and feeding your child when they're young.

Don't look in your parents' bank accounts.  You don't know what their savings looks like and what they can afford to spend on your wedding.  If your parents are able to give you money towards your wedding that's wonderful.  Thank them with a big hug.  But don't make them feel like bad parents if thier gift doesn't live up to your expectations.

No one should go into debt to pay for a wedding - not you and your groom or your parents.

If you have to cut back on the scale of your wedding make the necessary cuts, and then for a future anniversary make it a grander celebration and renew your vows.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ordering a Custom Wedding Dress

While a custom wedding dress by Vera Wang can run you tens of thousands of dollars, a custom wedding dress from a non-famous designer can cost a lot less.  I remember looking into having my wedding dress custom made my a dressmaker who worked full-time at Vera Wang and the price of the dress she was going to make me was a quarter of the price of the Vera Wang version.

If you're having trouble finding your dream wedding dress you may want to look into having a professional seamstress/dressmaker design and make your dress.

But how do you find a reputable person?  You can ask friends and search local wedding directories online and in local wedding magazines.  You can also do a Google search but if you find someone through a Google search you should thoroughly research that person/company via non-Google methods.

Always check references and ask to see a portfolio too.

You have to truly trust the person you hire to be able to create your dream wedding dress and if you're not 100% on the idea then keep visiting local salons and order a dress you find there.  It's not worth risking $1000+ and your peace of mind.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Royal Wedding Related Tip: Your Parents and the Wedding Budget

The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton have indeed taken over my life and since their press releases come out while I'm just waking up I'm exhausted, but I didn't want to miss another post, so here goes:

The couple announced through their press office that the royal family and the Middleton family will be picking up the tab for the wedding, while taxpayers will cover security and transport.

Now I think it's safe to say that no one reading this blog will have to worry about tax payers paying for any part of their wedding, you probably will have a discussion with your parents and his as to what their contributions will be.

Through media reports we learned that Kate's parents have offered to pay for their daughter's wedding dress and the couple's honeymoon and I'`m assuming Prince Charles and the Queen will pay for the rest of the wedding.

Divind the budget by category is a great idea, however your parents should be told what the estimated cost will be for the specific category they are paying for.  So if mom and dad say we'll buy you your wedding dress you should talk to them about how much a wedding dress will cost and what they think it will cost.  You don't want to find a $5000 designer gown and then find out that mom thought you'd find your dress off-the-rack for less than $1000.

This tip follows all wedding categories from invitations to flowers to photos to music.

And here's another reason I'm so tired:  We just launched royalwedding.aol.com a comprehensive website dedicated to covering the royal wedding from every possible angle. Hope you'll check it out!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shopping for a Wedding Venue

You  may have heard that Kate Middleton was spotted leaving Westminster Abbey this week so the newspapers are speculating that Westminster Abbey will be the location of her wedding ceremony.

Every bride should visit ceremony and reception venues before signing a contract.  The exception for this of course if you're having a destination wedding, in which case I suggest hiring a wedding planner who you trust to vet locations for you.

Bring along a list of questions to ask the location manager and don't be afraid to ask any and everything that pops into your head.  Better to know the answer before paying a (non-refundable) deposit and signing a contract.

Some brides will look at several locations and narrow the list down to their top 3-5 and then bring their groom and parents to take a look and check out the space.  You may also want to do this with several vendors, especially ones your fiance isn't that concerned with like the florist.

I dragged Dave to 10 locations in one weekend and I think we saw a dozen florists and I could tell that after the 3rd or 4th appointment he really didn't care and just wanted to go home.  It would have been better for me to vet the locations and vendors and only take him to my top 3 picks where I would have had his complete attention and interest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slideshows for Your Bridal Shower, Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding

My daughter hit some button on my computer and all of a sudden a slideshow appeared with photos we had taken and there was music playing.  The photos seemed to be in a movie format with closeups and pans.

I'm sure you and your fiance probably knew that such technology existed but in case you're like me (and Dave) and didn't know it's a great find!

Lots of couples make slideshows of their life together to play at the rehearsal dinner or wedding and bridesmaids will put a slideshow together of the bride and groom as children through adulthood as part of the entertainment for the party.

I always thought you had to hire someone to do this but I guess you don't.  You may want to consult your wedding band or DJ for slideshow playlist suggestions.

I do know couples that have played slideshows at their wedding reception but my personal opinion is that it's better to have a slideshow at a pre-wedding party and wherever you do show it keep it brief -- 5-7 minutes max.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Time to Plan a Royal Wedding!

And while I'm not actually involved in the royal wedding plans I am covering ever detail of it on aisledash.com.

Here's what real brides can take away from the royal engagement and wedding:
  1. If you're still shopping for the perfect engagement ring maybe you want to get one that looks like Kate Middleton, or another princess bride.
  2. There will be a lot of decor and wedding details that you can get inspired by -- it's just a matter of time until we learn what those details are.
  3. A royal wedding will follow a different format from American weddings, maybe you want a similar format for your big day:  Formal ceremony in a house of worship followed by a luncheon with a limited number of family members and close friends.
  4. If getting engaged in Kenya is not in the cards, why not book a safari honeymoon?  I'll have details on where Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed (and got engaged) in Kenya tomorrow on aisledash.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jessica Simpson's Ruby Engagement Ring

I'm sure you've heard that Jessica Simpson is engaged to Eric Johnson and that the groom proposed with a ring that has a ruby as the center stone and diamond side stones.

It used to be that sapphires were the colored stone of choice for brides and grooms looking for something different (Princess Diana, Monica on Friends), but you can get an engagement ring with any colored stone - sapphire, ruby, emerald, etc...

Try on colored stones at the jewelers as you begin your search for the ring. And if you're already wearing an engagement ring maybe you want to try on some wedding bands with colored stones instead of diamonds.

Don't be afraid to be different from your friends.  Get the ring or band that suits your personal style.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weddings Styled for Photo Shoots

Many sites and magazines feature beautiful reception settings with an "Anthroplogie" feel.  You know what I mean - a long wooden table set in a field with mix matched china and chairs.

To rent these items for one arrangement is probably not too pricey but if you need 5, 10 or even 20 of these tables and other details your budget just got bumped up a lot.

While these images are beautiful, unless you can really afford it, they are for inspirational purposes only.  You can take elements of the image like the antique china or rustic feel and incorporate those elements into your wedding.

Just because you may not be able to afford everything you see on a page doesn't mean you shouldn't tear it out or bookmark it and show it to your vendors. They'll be able to help you bring your vision to life at a price you can afford.

Remember, you should not go into debt to pay for your wedding.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Engagement Photo Session

It's very common these days to have an engagement portrait session where your wedding photographer takes photos of the two of you.  Sometimes the couple may use the pictures on their save-the-date cards or wedding website, but I think it's just nice to have them framed for your home - and your parents' homes.

Until you have kids you are probably not going to splurge on a photographer to take formal photos of you and it's really nice to have great pictures of you as a couple for your family albums.

Check out portfolios of wedding photographers and click through wedding blogs to see what other couples have done to capture great engagement photos.  Splurge on a great outfit that you'll wear again and make him get dressed too, and go get your hair (and makeup) done.  After the session, since you're all dressed up, make it date night or why not host an informal engagement party.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cost of Wedding Goods and Services

I overheard a conversation today where a woman was explaining to a male co-worker that she spent $200 on a pair of shoes.  His response was that shoes cost $20, where would you even find $200 shoes?  It reminded me of when I was engaged and my grandparents were comparing the cost of goods and service for my wedding to what they paid for in 1945 when they were married.

Grandma thought my wedding dress would cost no more than $250 since her dress cost $25 and grandpa and his brother couldn't imagine why a cake would cost more than $50 since it's made of "flour and eggs."

Don't be surprised if your parents and his experience some sticker shock when it comes to meeting with and hiring your wedding vendors.  Your parents were probably married 25 years (or more) ago when the average wedding cost no more than $10,000.  And how often are your parents hiring caterers and photographers and musicians for an event with 100 people or more, right?  They, and you, are probably not aware of what the going rate is for each type of vendor.

It's important to be upfront and honest with yourselves, your parents and your vendors as to what you can really afford.  Look to wedding magazines and wedding websites as a guide on how much you should be spending on different details of the wedding.  And don't be afraid to ask recently married friends and relatives for ballpark figures on what they paid so you can learn if you're being over charged.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

It's Important That Your Wedding Shoe Fits

I was a commentator at today's Wedding Central If the Shoe Fits contest where one lucky bride won an amazing prize package for her wedding.  The idea of the contest was 20 brides searching through 250 wrapped boxes to find a pair of designer wedding shoes that fit perfectly.

There were 11 pairs of designer shoes and when a bride found a pair that she tried on and thought fit she would bring it to the judges who would decide if the shoe indeed was a perfect fit.

As I watched each girl try on shoes I noticed that some tried to squeeze their foot into a shoe that was obviously too small or try to slide their foot back to keep it on.

When you're shopping for shoes for your wedding day make sure that you find a pair that truly fits you.  You don't want something too small or too big no matter how fabulous they are.  Remember that you'll be wearing them all day and night.  You'll be posing for photos in them.  You'll walk down the aisle in them.  And you'll dance the night away in them.

Once you find a pair that does fit don't forget to break them in in the weeks before your wedding.  Walk around the house in them to get used to them and remember to score the bottom of the soles and heels so you don't slip and fall on your big day.  You may want your groom to follow the same advice.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wedding Trends: Avoid a Cookie-Cutter Wedding

I gave a talk this evening at the Wedding Salon's Bootcamp at Dylan's Candy Bar.  I mentioned a number of trends for 2011 regarding fashion and wedding style but the first thing I said was:  While there are indeed trends we are seeing for 2011 weddings, the most important thing to know about wedding style is that the #1 trend year after year is planning the wedding you want and personalizing the details.

The only way to avoid the dreaded cookie-cutter wedding is to plan a wedding that reflects you, your groom and your families.

Everyone will wear a dress.  Everyone will have some type of wedding ceremony.  Everyone will have some type of party and most likely there will be some type of cake that the two of you will cut.  So as you can see all weddings will have the same elements, but it's how you tailor these elements to reflect your style  and your likes that will make your wedding unique.

Friday, November 05, 2010

FREE Tickets to The Wedding Salon Bootcamp on Monday, November 8th

I've been asked to speak at Monday, November 8th's Wedding Salon Bootcamp event at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York.  I'm one of several wedding industry experts who will talk about a variety of wedding planning topics including style, trends and how to work with various vendors.

If you're interested in going you can get free tickets by visiting weddingsalon.com and  entering the promotional code WTDC.

Remember when you attend wedding events always bring a pen and paper to take notes and don't forget to take business cards from the vendors there.  Also, don't be afraid to ask questions -- you're probably not the only one with the one you're thinking.  And there's never such a thing as a stupid question!

Since the event is at Dylan's Candy Bar there are sure to be plenty of sweets to enjoy -- Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Bridesmaid Gifts They Will Love

Have you ever been a bridesmaid?  Now honestly, how many times did you wear a bridesmaid dress again?

I have one bridesmaid dress that I never wore again and then as maid of honor at my sister's wedding I re-wore that skirt and top as a bridesmaid at a friend's wedding.  But actually I just wore it for the photos because we didn't walk down the aisle.  After formal portraits I changed into a different dress I had fallen in love with at a vintage store a week before the wedding -- with the bride's permission of course.

Anyway, the point is that I never wore these dresses again and you probably won't wear any of the bridesmaid dresses you've had to wear again either.

Did you get a gift that went with the dress like a necklace or earrings?  If you're never wearing the dress again when will you wear the accessories?

My point is that when shopping for bridesmaid gifts treat each of your bridesmaids to a meaningful and personal gift.  You don't have to get them all the same thing.  And like a wedding favor it's better to put your money into something that your friends will use and enjoy.

And as for how much to spend on bridesmaid gifts that's up to you.  If you're buying each girl something that she will truly enjoy I'm sure they won't compare notes behind your back and guess how much each item cost because they'll be so touched that you spent time thinking about getting them something special and not some token gift that either matches their never to be worn again bridesmaid dress or is some generic bridesmaid gift item they saw in the back of a bridal magazine.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Marriage License for Your Destination Wedding

Once you pick a destination for your wedding you must find out how one gets married there, whether it be a state or another country.  Remember that each state in the U.S. has its own laws regarding obtaining a marriage license and every country in the world has it's own laws too, so don't assume you can just land at an airport, go to a government building and get hitched the next day.  In some cases a blood test is required, others may insist on a residency requirement and some may have a waiting period of 24 hours or more before a license can be used.

To save yourself the time you may opt to get legally married in the city/state you live in before or after your wedding.  This doesn't mean that the civil ceremony isn't a special occasion.  You can invite your parents, siblings and/or closest friends to bear witness, get dressed up and even go out to eat after the "I dos."

Some couples choosing to get married abroad, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, will have a civil ceremony before they leave for the country they are getting married in to avoid residency and other legal requirements.

And look at it this way, now you'll definitely need a second wedding dress!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Bridesmaid Luncheon or Tea Party

You may have read about a bridesmaid luncheon or tea in a wedding planning book but I don't think I know anyone who planned or attended one.

A bridesmaid luncheon or tea is a party the bride hosts in honor of her bridesmaids as a thank you for being her support system while planning her wedding.  When I was planning my wedding I decided to host a tea party for my 'maids.  Unfortunately things got busy between planning my sister's shower and wedding and my wedding within a few months of each other - and my grandfather passing in between - that I decided to cancel the bridesmaid tea.

But if you can swing it it's a nice way to spend non-wedding planning time with your closest friends.  And if tea isn't your thing you can make it a day at the spa or another outing but make it something about your girls and not your wedding.

This party may also be a good time to hand out bridesmaid thank you gifts, especially if the gift is something they can wear or use at the wedding.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Your Engagement Ring Can Be Any Style YOU Want It To Be

A friend got engaged a few weeks ago.  Her fiance bough her an antique ring they came across while vacationing upstate.  She loves it.  It's very deco and unique and when she took it to her local jeweler for sizing he told her that it was not an engagement ring.  Her sister said the same thing.

Your engagement ring can be anything you want it to be.  It can be a colored stone instead of a diamond.  I even know two women that chose rings that are more in the style of an eternity band than a traditional diamond engagement ring.  And you know what, their rings are lovely and what's more important is that they love them.

You are the person that has to wear the ring daily and it's a gift from your future husband, so pick a style that reflects your personal style and tastes.  It doesn't matter if others do or don't like your engagement ring as long as you do.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin