Posts in the 'Liz' Category

BAB Classics: Ask Liz: The Wedding Things You Just Can’t Do

Food and money. Man, oh, man. Isn’t that the broke-ass life? You always try to have enough of both, but what about when you’re trying to throw a big ol’ party? That’s where the stakes get raised, and some good, timeless advice from erstwhile BAB team member Liz, of Silver Charm Events, swoops in to soothe the nerves.

Dear Liz,

My fiance and I LOVE a good party. We have budgeted for 150 guests at our wedding, but there are more than 150 people that we want to celebrate with us. The long and short of it is: we cannot afford to feed everyone. We are having a great local cover band, and we would like to send out secondary invitations for those acquaintances to join us, after dinner has been served at the reception. Is is tacky to ask an additional chunk to come at 8:00 for dancing and drinks but not the ceremony and dinner? How should we word those invitations so as not to offend anyone?

Signed, 

Down to the Count

Make ‘em fit, or leave ‘em out. Anything else is asking for trouble.
(Courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Dear  Down,

Not to be harsh, but I don’t really see that going over very well. Basically, you’re saying that you don’t like them enough to invite them to your wedding and pay for their meal, but just enough to hang out with them when it’s going to cost you less money. It’s not what you mean, but it’s definitely what you’re saying. And I don’t know if you sent Save the Date cards to them, too, but if you did, eyebrows are definitely going to rise, just like their expectations did.

So, what to do, what to do? A couple of things, I think. Figure out how much each additional person would cost you, and look at the various pieces of your budget to see where you can make some cuts to accommodate. One step down for your meal, or one less appetizer? Stick to beer and wine and a specialty drink? Don’t go top shelf on the liquor? I don’t know what you’re doing now, but there are almost always places where you can cut and still be comfortable with what you’re getting.

And, realistically? Not everyone is going to be able to attend, anyway. I’m not the biggest fan of B-listing potential guests, mostly because it’s a lot of work, but try and make it work for you. Send your invitations out early enough to the 150, and then for every “No” you get, send one out to the B list.

But, I would definitely do a budget check, first.

The only other option is to not invite them, period. And, yes, this means that you won’t have everyone you want at your wedding, but most couples face that reality, sooner or later. You’re really not doing them, or yourself, any favors by sending out a half invite. Invite or do not invite. There is no “try.”

“That’s so funny! Together, we spent over $3,000 to be in our friend’s wedding!”

Dear Liz, 

 I am a bridesmaid in my childhood best friend’s wedding. I knew I’d have to shell out some bucks, but I had no clue how much I was expected to spend… until now. She’s had an engagement party, a bridal shower, a honeymoon shower, and now her two-day destination bachelorette party is coming up. I told the Maid of Honor that I wasn’t sure I could go if it’s going to cost me more than $300. She has already booked the hotel, but every time I ask her for the total amount I am expected to shell out, she dodges my questions. This has happened three times, so far. It’s getting to be frustrating. I’d hate to cancel last minute on it, but she really won’t communicate with me. Plus, it’s a surprise for the bride, so I can’t talk to her about it. I also have to have a minor surgery a week before this shindig. I don’t want to jeopardize my recovery process by going on this weekend trip, either. My question is, do I stay or do I go? I feel that I will risk the friendship of not only the bride, but also the Maid of Honor (who is another childhood friend) if I didn’t show up. I wasn’t at her bridal shower (same day as my grandma’s 90th birthday party) so I feel obligated to go to this bachelorette party. Yet at the same time I don’t know how I will be physically after this surgery, and I do not want to go broke because of this bachelorette weekend. If I do not go, how do I break the news to the maid of honor? This is really stressing me out!

Signed,

Bridesmaid Bummer

Dear Bummer,

Bottom line? You can’t go. I’m really sorry, I know you want to celebrate with your friend, I know you’re worried about your relationship with her and your other friends. But you will be a week out from SURGERY, and if you’re talking about a “recovery process”, then it isn’t that minor. Not only is it a really good excuse, it’s a really good reason. Plus, it’s not going to help your stress level, before or after surgery, if you’re worried about how you’re going to cope, financially.

Being a bridesmaid is expensive. The last time I was one, about 4 years ago, it cost me over $1,000, and I see girls in my weddings spending that and more. I was honored and thrilled to be a part of my friend’s day, as are all the other bridesmaids I’ve met and known. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it. But, that’s not a small amount of money — it just isn’t — and that should be taken into consideration.

So, how to tell the MOB? Tell her that you’re having surgery the week before, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel after it, or what you’ll be physically able to do. So, you can’t go. If you think you can pull it, give her $50 – $100 to buy a round of drinks at the party, or figure out how to get it to the bride, with your name on it.

What are the tricks you used to afford all the guests you want? And, what do you think about Bummed’s predicament? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my little part of wedding world, visit my website at www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

BAB Classics: Ask Liz: Alcohol and Office Guests

In light of the multitude of questions The Broke-Ass Bride has received as of late regarding alcohol and your reception, specifically how much, we’ve decided to bring back this classic post by Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events. Plus, you get the bonus of etiquette surrounding inviting your office crowd!

Beer for Everyone! Seriously.                         (Courtesy of One Love Photography)

Dear Liz,

Our wedding is next weekend, and we’re providing the alcohol. We’re just serving wine and beer for 100 guests, but how much should we get?

Signed,

Bar Verklemptkeeper

Dear Bar,

More than you need. But start here: On bottle of wine per two people per hour; two beers (bottle or keg pour) per person per hour. I use Martha Stewart’s calculator, and it hasn’t let me down, yet. But let’s talk about  “hours” for a minute. Hours and ice. If you’re shutting down the bar early to assure that your guests get home alive, my recommendation is to buy enough alcohol to cover that last hour, anyway. Better to have too much than not enough. You can always return what you don’t use – ask your bartender not to open any bottles before he or she pours them.

Ice. Ice melts, which is only one of the things that drives me nuts about nature. Martha calls for one pound of ice per person per hour, but  if using for both cooling and pouring, I’d get another half pound.  Ask your bartender to go a little easy on the ice, too.

 

Dear Liz,

I work in an office setting and I am getting married in 42 days, I want to give out invites but I don’t want anyone to be offended if I don’t personally invite them, so I was going to just give one to the office staff as a whole rather than personal ones. What do you suggest?

Signed,

The More the Merrier

Dear Merrier,

Ooh, that sounds like a fantastic idea! Probably the best way to keep of track of who’s coming is to send out email invitations, through e-vite or pingg, or one of those. Not sure what Emily Post (or Martha) would say about that, etiquette-wise, but I’m down with it.

 

So, what do you peeps think? Would you send a wedding e-vite to your office guests, or give them all an individual one? Are you inviting anyone from work at all? Let’s talk about it in the comments…

 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Ask Liz: The Wedding You Want

 

Dear Liz,

My fiancé and I have been together for 8 years and have a 3 year old daughter. He proposed to me 1 year ago and we are wanting a Las Vegas wedding.  He has been married before,  so he is wanting me to plan everything. I am torn between wanting a simple elopement and having a small nice wedding. Either way I want the dress and I want my dad to walk me down the aisle. I can’t see spending thousands of dollars on a wedding when we are pretty much married already, but then, I do want the actual wedding. My question is, how many people regret having the extravagant wedding and spending thousands of dollars, is it really worth it? Please help!

Signed,

Un-bling the Ring

 

Dear Ring,

Wedding cost regret is pretty subjective. It depends on your definition of  “extravagant”, it depends on whether or not you wanted a big fancy wedding in the first place, etc. Every couple couple has a budget, and no matter how big it is, someone gets bummed if it gets broken – but, hey, I warned  them that it would. But I digress. That being said, please keep in mind that you, specifically, don’t have to  spend multiple thousands of dollars to get what you, specifically, want. If you don’t want to have an overly expensive wedding, you don’t have to – it’s not an either/or situation. Keep the guest list to family and/or a few close friends, and you can have your dress and your Dad walk you down the aisle, without the stress or the debt. Dresses are easy, so all you need is an aisle. Vegas is a good choice if you’re looking to keep it cheap and keep it small – destination weddings keep your guest list manageable. You don’t have to high-tail it to the Elvis Chapel of Love, either, you can get married at one of the hotels. You could get married at a park, or in someone’s back yard. My point is, you have lots of options for saving money while you’re having the wedding you want.  Look at each carefully, and decide which one works for you. No pressure, you  can take some time with that.

So, this is my last regular column for The Broke-Ass Bride.  First of all, unending gratitude to Dana for this gig, and to YOU, for sending in your questions and coming back every week for the answers!  For the past three years, I’ve loved having the opportunity to help you feel better about planning your weddings, and to show you better ways to plan their weddings, too. You want to have a wonderful day, and you will. I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it one more time: Wedding planning isn’t just a check list, it’s also a state of mind. Be patient, and be patient with yourself. You have  time to find what you want, the way that you want it.  The last vendor you meet with is not the only option you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you feel like you’re driving yourself crazy, simplify the solution. Remember – Planning your wedding isn’t  an obligation, it’s a choice, so please choose to enjoy the ride. Look for the Fun. Embrace the Pretty. It is just one day, but it’s a day where you get to look gorgeous, bring in a bunch of cool stuff, and, most of all, be surrounded by everyone you love. It’s going to be a great day. Believe it.

As for me, I’m working on some new projects this year, so like the Silver Charm Events Facebook page to learn about them as they come up. And, follow me on Pinterest.  I’m always around, and I’d love to hear from you. Thanks again, for everything.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Complicated Parents are Complicated

Got a question? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

Photo by Fondly Forever Photography

 

Hey Liz, 

I’m getting married in April and my parents have had a rocky, nasty relationship for the past few years, which has led to their not so wonderful relationship with me. They are once again together, against the advice of most of our loved ones. Now, my mother wants my father and her to walk me down the aisle together. She sprung this on me after she insisted on paying for multiple aspects of the wedding. I’m very torn on how I feel about anybody walking me down the aisle, but I feel like I have no choice considering their financial contribution. 
I was just wondering if it is proper etiquette to go with her wishes. 

Signed, 

A Long Walk Down the Aisle

Hey Walk,

The good news is that etiquette has nothing to do with it.  The bad news is that it’s all about being honest with yourself and your feelings about the situation. I know – FUN. Basically, what you’re asking is if it’s okay to tell her that you don’t want them to walk you down the aisle. And, yeah, it is. You do have a choice, no matter how much money they gave you. But, every choice has consequences. Yes, you’re probably going to hurt her feelings and possibly cause a little extra drama. Yes, you might feel guilty that they’re helping you pay for the wedding and you’re rejecting them, but I’m not sure there’s a reason to.   If you let them walk you down the aisle, though, are you going to resent them for “forcing” you to do it, and resent yourself for going along with it? Because if you do decide to go along with this, you need to take responsibility for your choice and you have to let the resentment go. Otherwise, it is going to fester, forever.

And, if you’re trying to figure out how to tell your Mom “No,”, keep it simple. You want to walk down the aisle alone, that’s how you’ve always pictured it – you walking down to your fiancé, alone. You don’t have to be angry, just clear and final. You may have to repeat it a few times, but stick to your guns, “This is what I want.”  Make sure to acknowledge your parents and their help in some way during the wedding or reception, though – that part is where etiquette comes in.

 

Dear Liz, 

So I have the start of a big problem with my future in-laws. They are starting to brainwash my future husband into thinking they get to plan our wedding. His family was bummed I didn’t involve them in picking out the cake, or my wedding dress and such. They aren’t contributing money – they want us to use what was leftover from his sister’s wedding last July. Now his dad wants to take him suit shopping and help him pick out his rented tux. 

I know i’m going to hurt some feelings by telling them that their ideas just don’t fit into my vision. Is there an easy way? I don’t want to look like a Bridezilla but I have a feeling i’m going to have to be to get my point across.

Signed, 

From Zero to ‘Zilla

 

Dear ‘Zilla,
I’m not sure where the “brainwashing” is coming in. Plus, that word is a dangerous one to use when you’re describing  him, mostly because it implies that you’re now facing off against each other. They are brainwashing him, which means he is against you. Trouble.
Rule #1 – You’re a team, and you need to see yourselves as a team. Team members stick together, team members agree on a plan and stick to that, too, so you have to give him the benefit of the doubt, just as you would expect him to give you the benefit of the doubt. Once he starts turning into the enemy in your head, you’re screwed.
Think about this in another way: You also have to remember that these are his parents, and like most parents, they want to be involved in their child’s special day, no matter how much control they have on the outcome. And since they don’t have any control on the outcome, there’s no problem. Look, wedding planning wedding causes a lot of emotional pressure, and it is easy to feel like you’re fighting a war. But, you’re not fighting a war, you’re planning a party! Brides become Bridezillas when they feel like they are losing control of their wedding, but you’re not, and you’re not going to.
Deep. Breath.
When his parents ask questions or offer their own ideas, just tell them you and their son are doing it another way, and you’re really happy with those plans. Full stop, emphasize the Happy. Remember, they don’t have any control on the outcome.
Finally, you should let the tux shopping thing go.  Decide, as a team, what type of tux he is going to get, and then let him go shopping with his Dad – it’s something that Dads and sons do.
Are you having trouble with your parents or in-laws? Or, just trouble with my advice? Let us know in the comments below! And if you want to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit me at www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Getting Married – How and Where, Exactly?

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

Dear Liz, 

I have a burning question! My  fiancé and I have been engaged for over a year. We are so ready to get married but we just don’t have the financial means right now. So a friend of mine who is ordained said that she would marry us. This is a great option for us due to our lack of finances and our lack of patience. I’ve never heard of this type of wedding until my friend said that she could do it. I’m a little embarrassed that I am so excited to get married but have absolutely no idea about how this process might work. What I do know is that she will be signing papers for us but what I don’t know is with those types of ceremonies is it typical for the couple to exchange vows or to even call it a ceremony or is it simply just signing papers? Please help me.!!!!

Signed, 

Blinded By The Aisle

Dear Blinded,

She’s ordained to perform your ceremony and sign your marriage license as the legal witness to your marriage. Sadly, that’s th best I can explain it. I’m a wedding officiant, too, which makes it even sadder! The  rules in every state are different as far as getting your license and how.  Here in California, for instance, the couple needs to appear together at their county courthouse in order to get a license. The officiant gives it to sign after the wedding ceremony. Vows are an essential part of it, and they have to include  an acknowledgement that the two of you have freely chosen to be married on that day. You can make your vows, and the rest of your ceremony, as simple or as elaborate as you want. But you need to start the legal process first, so google “Marriage license (your state)” to find out how.

 

Dear Liz, 

We got engaged on New Year’s Eve. When I told people at work last week, everyone was really nice, but they kept asking me if we’d picked a wedding date and venue, yet. I guess it’s a standard question, but I keep thinking that we just got engaged, do we have to start planning the wedding right away? I said this to the last person who asked, and she told me that I should start thinking about it, because all the best places get booked up quickly. I didn’t want to spend forever planning my wedding, my sister took over a year to plan hers and it looked and felt like hell. But, I thought I’d have more than a couple of weeks! Now I’m panicking that I’m not going to find a good place. Do I really have to start looking now?

Signed, 

Rushing Past the Ring

Dear Rushing,

Don’t panic, it’s not useful. Congratulations on your engagement,and welcome to the show. If you do want to get married this year, then, yeah, you should probably start searching for a venue now-ish. You know, at least before the next round of brides joins the pool after Valentine’s Day! I’m kidding, sort of, although it does seem that venues are getting booked up faster every year. That being said, it also depends on your definition of a “good” venue. So, that’s the first thing you and your fiancé  should do – figure out what kind of place you want to get married at – indoors, outdoors, ballroom, barn? And, how many people you’re inviting. And, if either of you had your heart set on someplace specific. And when you can actually do this thing – come up with three dates that will work with your  schedules.That’s a conversation over dinner.

Don’t panic, plan. If there is a specific venue you like, call them and ask about availability ASAP. Tuesday-Thursday are the best days to reach the right person. You could get lucky and the first place you see is the one you love, but be prepared to let the process take a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And  - deep breath – try not to get frustrated. The next “wrong” place brings you that much closer to the right one. Annoying cliche, but still  true.

So, who’s “marrying” you? Are you feeling the pressure to get your venue locked down? Got questions of your own? Let me know in the comments below. And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Liz

Ask Liz: Over-scheduling Your Destination Wedding Guests

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

Dear Liz,

We live in Los Angeles, and I’m planning my wedding in Lake Arrowhead on Labor Day weekend, about three hours away. We’re both from New York, so most of our guests are coming from the East Coast. I’m worried about how to keep everyone entertained and make sure they’re having fun that weekend. Most of them are arriving on Friday, and the wedding is on Sunday. The hotel lodge has a lot of activities – kayaking, boat tours, field walks – and I’m trying to figure out what I should sign them up for, and when, when they’re not attending the wedding. I’m also thinking about scheduling a welcome cocktail reception or dinner that Friday night, but should I do a breakfast or lunch on Saturday and Sunday, too? I feel that if  I don’t structure their time outside the wedding, they’re going to end getting bored. What should I do?

Signed,

Destination Nowhere

Dear Nowhere,

Couple of things: First, most people see destination weddings not just in terms of the wedding, but also as a personal vacation. They are there for you, yes, but it’s also a chance to get away! So, go easy on them. You do want to provide opportunities to hang out with you, but you don’t want to mandate a strict itinerary. The last thing anyone wants to feel forced to do, after a 6-8 hour flight, is get dressed for dinner! So, keep it casual. A get-together that first night is a great idea, but let them know (via email, wedding website, invite insert, what have you) that’s it’s okay if they can’t make it. A nice touch would be to add something about how late the restaurant or room service is open that night, just in case they’re hungry when they do arrive. You can even schedule another (casual) get together on Saturday, after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Otherwise, pick one thing that you really want to do and book that as a group activity – like the boat tour, for example – and invite them to join you. But, definitely let everyone know that kayaking, the guided field walks, and whatever else the lodge has to offer is available, and they can contact the lodge if they are interested.

Second thing: Don’t worry that your guests are going to get bored. It’s not as easy as you think, getting bored at a wedding. There are people each of them is looking forward to reconnecting with, and there are new people to meet.  There’s an unfamiliar and beautiful location to get to know and enjoy. There is a ton of stuff to do, if they want to do any of them. Or, they can relax, and not do anything, which might be the best wedding “favor” of all.

So, how are you “structuring” your destination wedding? What’s the one “fun” thing you want to do when you get there? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Your Wedding vs. Your Catering

Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what’s up!

First of all, I want to give a shout out to the all the Newbie Brides and Grooms out there. Welcome to Wedding World. It’s very pretty, you’re going to love it!

Photo by Robin Dini Photo

Dear Liz, 

My partner and I are deciding between having our wedding at an upstate location or in the city (New York). We could do a Central Park wedding at 11am with 100 people, then go to a restaurant and do a lunch/brunch with 40 people? and then meet the rest of the dinner folks at a rented venue with music and passed food. But then I thought what if all 100 people go to brunch/lunch after the ceremony and then we pay for only 40 of those people, and the other 60 pay for themselves. Is that a bad idea?
 
Signed, 
A Forty-Percent Solution
Dear Forty,
Yeah, no, you can’t really do that. First and foremost, you’re going to get some serious etiquette-related blowback on that, and I think you probably know that! For another thing, the logistics of making sure that only certain people are paying for their meal would be insane – just think about it.
I totally get that you want to have all 100 people at your wedding/reception, but you don’t think you can afford to do that. This doesn’t have to be so complicated. Invite 40 to the ceremony, invite all 100 to the appetizer reception that night. Sounds a lot cheaper that way, too.

Dear Liz, 
I’m planning my wedding in Rhode Island, and to save on catering, I’m opting (or trying to opt) for a cocktail reception with lots of yummy hors d’oeuvres instead of a full sit-down meal.  We’re hoping to stock the bar ourselves and hire a bartender, as well.Today I received a catering proposal from a company who wants to charge us $10,000 for a cocktail reception for 100 people.  That’s $100 per person for 4 hours of snacks and drinks! When I told her I was hoping to spend around 1/3 of that, she said “We’re not the caterers for you” and told me to check out a local grocery store. Am I crazy to expect to not spend more than $3,000-3500 for this?
Signed, 
Catering Cash Chaos

Dear Chaos,
No, you’re not crazy, that caterer just can’t work with your budget. That’s all. Keep looking, but next time, tell them what your budget is before you ask for a proposal. A little perspective: $100 per person for 100 people over  4 hours, breaks down to $25 per person, per hour –  2-3 pieces and a drink (or two)? That’s maybe a couple of bucks more than you would pay non-happy hour at a restaurant, if you think about it. Plus, and I haven’t seen the proposal, obviously, but it sounds like they’re not only charging for the food and drinks, you’re also paying for staff and labor,  people to make it, maintain it, serve it, and then also clean up after it. So, they’re including that in your $25 per hour price, too?

“Go to a grocery store,” is kind of (!) a snotty response, but seriously, if you want to cap it at $3500, you’re going to have to think small and simple, because that’s only $35 per person. Definitely supply your own alcohol and limit the bar menu. Think less types of appetizers, or more appetizer stations, or less passed appetizers. Consider having the food dropped off and set up,with a couple of staff to monitor it and clean up.  Before you despair, I’ve found restaurants and caterers here in L.A. who can swing that, so Google “(Your city) catering drop off menu,” and go from there.

And, FYI, this is why the answer to the question, “Is a cocktail reception cheaper than a sit-down or buffet dinner?” is, “Not necessarily.” Sorry about that.

How are you managing catering for your wedding? Or do you have questions about catering your wedding? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you want to learn a little more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,
Liz

Ask Liz: In The Beginning, There Was The Wedding Budget…

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

Dear Liz,

How do I put on a wedding with only $6,000 to spend?

Signed, 

6k or Bust

Dear Bust,

How? Carefully. Think, small, pretty and on sale. The important thing is to stick to a budget. My rule is that 50% – $3,000 in your case – should be reserved for your ceremony and reception site fee, AND your catering. Don’t let it go over that amount. The best way to stay under a low budget is to keep our guest list short, or in Wedding World parlance, “intimate.” Each guest is a meal, a favor, and a piece of cake. 10 guests is a table that needs a centerpiece.  Venues – Google state parks and city-owned venues and historic sites and museums in your area. Bonus points if they have chairs and tables you can use. Restaurants with large private dining rooms. Restaurants are also a great source if you have to/want to bring in your own catering – start with your favorite ones. And, if you’re bringing in your own catering, bring in your own alcohol and limit the choices.

The other 50%. Flowers – small, elegant, and seasonal. Photographer – again, the “rule” is 5 -10% of your budget so that’s $600, at the highest. I’m in L.A, and that’s umm, tough out here, and it sounds like it would be really, really, really tight elsewhere, too. Google, it in your area, though – Never scoff at Google, there’s no point.  Try not to settle on quality, pics are one of the few things you’re walking away with. But, don’t expect an album, don’t expect unlimited shooting hours, think 4-6 hours, max. Work with them, so they can work with you. Cake – coordinated roughly 100 weddings, cake always gets left behind. I’m serious. Go small, cut the cake into even smaller pieces. Attire! Wedding dresses are always, always, always on sale, everywhere. Right now is a good time to shop, because they are clearing out 2013 styles to make way for 2014. 2013 was very pretty, so no pouting. You can not afford Vera Wang. You may not be able to afford pre-owned Vera Wang. You will be able to find something that looks fantastic on you.

I know I left some points out, but feel free to ask questions in the comments. I also have a Budget Wedding Tips Pinterest board  if you want to take a look.  All I can add is if you start to freak out (as one inevitably does) that you’re not finding stuff you can afford, take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Keep looking. I have time.”

 

Dear Liz, 

When I should I send out wedding invitations?

Signed, 

ASAP on the RSVP

Dear ASAP,

It depends on how many guests are coming from out of town. Three months if that’s less than 25%, four months if it’s more than 25%. Plane travel isn’t getting any cheaper! Save the Dates are great, but people generally wait until they get the invitation to book their flight and hotel.  Set your RSVP date for at least three weeks before you have to give your final count to your venue/caterer, because you will have to track down AWOLS, people who have “forgotten” to get back to you. That’s “will have to,” not “might have to.” That being said, make sure your guest list spreadsheet includes email addresses and phone numbers.

So, how are you swinging your wedding for $6k or less? Worried about your wedding guests from out of town? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Liz

Ask Liz: When Regional Wedding Costs Attack!

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Dear Liz, 

I  saw your Huffpost live interview and was drawn to the name “broke ass bride” as that is what myself and my partner are, broke ass brides! We live in Brooklyn, NY and want to get married in NYC. Our wedding is set for September 2014 and the planning is in full swing. BUT my Dad is unable to pay and the two of us make just enough to live in NYC. We want to have 150 people at an outdoor venue, great food, music, and drinks! We have no idea how we are going to make this happen, especially since I  got an email from a beautiful venue in Brooklyn that starts at $315 a person! Are they insane?? We do have our eyes set on an inexpensive venue upstate , but our concern is that it’s a raw space, we do not know the area, what about vendors? We are nervous that we are going to have to call the whole thing off because we don’t have enough money. I have considered having our wedding sponsored, too. How does that work? Is that possible?

Signed, 

Broke in NYC

Dear NYC,

You do live in THE most expensive wedding market in the country, so the prices you’re seeing don’t surprise me. The upstate venue sounds MUCH better, and it’s not time to panic, yet. I pinned the transcript for a teleclass I taught about raw (bare) venues, so that will help a little. As far as finding vendors up there, ask the venue – they will have a list of preferred vendors that you can start with. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the big picture, start with the details. Focus on the trees right now, not the forest. Finally, all I know about getting anything sponsored is that you have to have the outreach/attendance numbers to make it worth the sponsors investment. I believe Dana did a little bit of that, so she might be able to you in the comments. Or, is there anyone else who’s done this?

Dear Liz, 

My biggest challenge is finding an affordable venue. I keep going back to a Community Center, but it’s not what I’d like. Help!

Signed, 

Suffering and Settling For Less

Dear Suffering,

You know, as I get older, I’m finding that all cliches are true. Probably why they are so annoying. So, here’s another one: It’s only settling if you give up. I know you might be tired of looking, but that’s not the same as running out of options. Suggestions from my past and current weddings? Local historic and art museums tend to be inexpensive – the wedding in the pic above was at the Monrovia Historical Center. My 4/14 bride is getting married at an Elks Lodge with a cool banquet center. Women’s clubs. Google “(state) owned wedding sites.” Check out the park system a couple of towns over from you. You’d be surprised what you can find in a park.  I don’t know how large your wedding is, but there are private homes you can rent –  I’m looking at vrbo.com and airnb.com for my November ’14 couple. Public golf courses, or very small ones. Women’s clubs, again,with banquet centers. Heck, just Google “(city) organization banquet halls.” Also a good search to find out where they have their banquets, too. Non-profits always go for the cheaper venues. You’ll find a better place – it’s always darkest before the dawn, etc.

So, where did you find your inexpensive venue, and seriously, is there anyone out there who is getting their wedding sponsored? Do tell in the comments below. And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of wedding world, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz