Posts in the 'Liz' Category

Ask Liz: Self-Catering Rules

Ask Liz: Self-Catering Rules

 

Photo: Andrea Chesley

Dear Liz,

How to do your own food (with a bit of help from willing friends/family) for your reception??? Food item suggestions and logistical tips especially!

Signed,

Self-Serving

Dear Self-Serving,

Funny thing is, I  talked to someone this morning who catered his own wedding, and he did not have fun with that.  Logistically, it’s a nightmare. You have to buy the food (for 100 people), then store the food before you can cook the food (for 100 people), wherever that’s going to be. Then you have to figure out when you’re going to cook the food (for 100 people) before or in between getting ready to get married, getting married, and whatever you have to do after you get married – take pictures, talk to your guests, and generally enjoy your wedding without worrying about the food. Plus, how you’re going to serve it, where you’re going to serve it, and who is going to serve/monitor it? A buffet will not relieve you of that responsibility. And, even if it’s for less than 100 people, you still have to figure out when and where you are going to do all these things. It’s not less work, it’s definitely not less stress, it’s just less food.

So, the first thing you need to do, way before deciding on a menu, is address each of the above points, every single one. When, where, how and who? And, remember that everything is going to take more time than you think. And everything takes longer if you have less people to manage it.

Menu? Keep it as simple as possible. No more than two entrees, no more than two side dishes, plus a salad. Stick with stuff you already know how to make, or that you and your family and friends can (and will) practice cooking before your wedding. Good but simple food. Not a lot of chopping, not a lot of ingredients, not a lot of steps.

Hey, you asked.

It’s doable, but obviously, I’m not recommending it! If you’re trying to save money, there are tons of restaurants – probably some of your favorites -that will cater less expensively. If you want to serve a particular dish, you can make that and add it to the buffet. But, if you are determined to do it yourself, don’t ignore everything you’re going to have to do in order to pull it off.

Does anyone reading have any experience catering their own wedding, or helping someone else do it? If you’ve got something to add, let me know 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

Budget Wedding Myths That Need to Die

Last week on Facebook, a friend of mine, who’s also a wedding planner, linked to a blog about a $6,000 wedding. It was on her personal page, and it definitely wasn’t one of her weddings – that’s well below her usual clients’ budgets.  She wasn’t posting it because of  the budget, at all, she was focusing on the potential griminess of the Doritos bar the couple created. Yes, these are the sort of conversations we vendors have while amongst ourselves. We also talk about shoes a lot, but that’s a discussion for another day. Anyway … Budget Wedding Myths that Need to Die It was a very cute hipster wedding in a loft in Brooklyn. The bride wore Converse and a $300 dress, of course. The groom wore a bow tie and tight pants. It really did look like a lot of fun, and I personally, would be all over that Doritos bar.

But  $6,000 for a 100-guest wedding?

Photographer? $2,400.

Their clothes and accessories? ~$1,500.

The loft? They found it on Airbnb, $1,100 for 3 days

Rentals? $860. Metal chairs, uncovered plastic tables, and a small stage. I’m not judging, this is what they had, per the pictures.

Servingware? ~$300 Dinner?

Not included in the breakdown, because they got a, and I quote, a “huge” discount from a caterer friend.

Dessert: Ditto.

Videography? Ditto.

DJ: Ditto.

Appetizers from Whole Food? Also not on the budget breakdown.

The bar? Not even mentioned.

Decorations: DIY, pom-poms, spray-painted bottles with flowers in them, put together by family and friends.

Material costs, even? Nope.

At this point, I was gritting my teeth. Basing the actual cost of this wedding on prices in L.A., which are significantly cheaper than New York? At least $10,000-$15,000 is missing from this budget. Which is just … GRRRR … NOT FAIR.

And not helpful. Because, come on, you guys. Why don’t you have friends who are caterers, bakers, videographers and DJs? Why can’t you rent a loft from  a company that, in my experience, is fairly adamant about not renting for large private events? Why can’t you spend two days setting up and a whole day breaking down for your ceremony and reception ? Don’t you have space to spray paint 50 mason jars and store the flowers to fill them? Why come you can’t figure out how to only spend $6,000 — or less — on your own wedding?

The Myth of the Budget Wedding is that if it’s this cheap and easy for them, it should be just as cheap and easy for you, too.  But, trust me, this wedding was not that cheap, and definitely not so easy. I give the bride credit for acknowledging how lucky they were to have those hook-ups, though, I really wish they’d been more upfront about what they spent and how much they saved. Actually.

Is it possible to have a fantastic wedding for $6,000? Of course it is. But you need to have realistic expectations about what’s possible, what stuff costs, and how much time and energy you have or are willing to put in. Is it worth it? It will be. So, what do you think? Do you find these myths as frustrating as I do? What are you doing to realistically stay on budget, yourself?  And, if you’d like to find out 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

The High Cost of Wedding Fear

Former BAB advice columnist / current wedding planner extraordinaire Liz Coopersmith, of Silver Charm Events, stopped by to give you guys a boost this week! Guys, there’s no reason to feel fear about or shame toward your wedding. Really, honestly and truly. It should be a very happy time in your life, because hey! You’re in love! And you’re getting married! And yes, there’s a lot of bullsh that can surround a wedding day, but don’t let that get you down. Liz explains why:

steve and bridget

From Bridget & Steve’s Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding. Credit: EPLove

I talk to a lot of brides every week, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a lot of you exhibit two very disturbing emotions when it comes to your weddings: Fear and Shame.

It’s in the way it takes me at least a couple of tries to find out how much your budget is.

Or, in the reverse, getting upset that you’re spending so much of your/your parents/whomever’s money on one day, when you could use it on a downpayment on a house, instead.

Or, the sideways look you and your fiance give each other when I ask how you met.

Or, when you tell me how much certain family members need to be kept away from each other, or, kept away from you. And then follow up, five minutes later, by saying it’s not that bad … but seriously, everyone has to be on opposite sides of the room.

Or, how you keep giving in to what your parents or your friends want you to do, instead of standing up for what you want. Are you being a doormat?

Or, not giving into what your parents/friends want you to do, and standing up for what you want. Are you turning into a Bridezilla??

You can’t win, because you won’t let yourself win. You’re ashamed of where you are, so you won’t allow yourself to be happy with what you have, whatever that is right now.

Researcher Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” Shame is built out of the fear that you won’t be understood. And I’ve noticed that a big reason that people don’t feel worthy of acceptance and belonging is that they don’t really think that they can ever get what they want. Not really.

I understand – there is a lot of pressure to make your wedding the best and most perfect and most beautiful day of your life. And (GASP!) there are not supposed to be any limits – financial, personal, logistical – on the best day of your life! That’s what makes it such a great day, right? Poor people don’t have beautiful and perfect days, only people with unlimited budgets do. You can’t have a beautiful and perfect day if your families are always at each other’s throats, only people with close, well-behaved relatives can. Do you deserve to live happily ever after if you met online and not through a Random Act of Fate? What will happen if you tell the truth? You want to impress your family and friends, and most of all, you want to impress yourself. It is a lot of pressure, and completely unrealistic.

The cost of wedding fear is that it focuses on what you don’t have, and on hiding what’s not there. It’s a waste of time. Plus, it makes you feel like crap.

So, what’s the cure?

1. Be honest, with yourself and with anyone else you’re dealing with, wedding-wise. Just … be honest. The more you try to hide what you’re afraid of, the more control you give it. And, eventually, it’s going to have to come out. Are you worried about being judged and rejected by potential vendors … who don’t know you? It’s business, not personal. If they can’t work with you, for whatever reason, then you can’t work with them. If they are going to be mean or snooty about it, then you really don’t want to work with them, right? Which brings me to …

2. Don’t go in looking for a fight; don’t walk into the room expecting resistance. What you look for, you will find. I’ve met with many brides who will, in one sentence, tell me they have a limited amount of money, and then tell me that’s not enough for them to have the wedding they want, and then ask me, “You can’t work with that, can you?” This is before I’ve even opened my mouth to reply. I get it – you’re rejecting yourself before I get a chance to do it, but don’t assume. Same thing with your family and friends. Tell them what you need and what you want, and then see what happens. Don’t be defensive, just have a conversation.

3. Remember that you are not alone. Not even close to being alone. If you’re facing a wedding planning problem, there are tons of other couples facing the same thing. Find them online and and seek empathy and sympathy. And solutions, too.

4. Some things will not change, but they can be worked around. If your parents couldn’t be in the same room with each other before you started planning your wedding, odds are then they won’t be able to on your wedding day. You’ve been managing your family for years, and you know how to deal with them — or not deal with them — so they don’t drive you insane. Keep doing that. The historic house you love is not going to drop their rental rate by a couple thousand dollars on a Saturday night. You are probably not going to win the lottery before then, either. Accept it. You might not have Ivanka Trump’s budget, but you’re not so broke that you can’t have a beautiful wedding day, and the love surrounding you will be free (Aww!). It is what it is. If you can’t afford Saturday night, what about Friday or Sunday? Less guests? What about a cocktail or dessert reception? Figure out what you feel comfortable with and go from there.

5. Use what you have to get what you want and need. You think you don’t have anything, or not nearly enough? You’re so wrong. If you have access to the Internet, you can find a local bridal show and see what’s possible. If you’ve picked your venue, you can ask for photographer and florist recommendations. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. If anything, you have too many choices. Keep looking until you find the best option for you.

6. Be grateful for what you do have. A fiance who loves you, and who you want to spend the rest of your life with, no matter how you met them, or what type of reputation either of you had during the Bush administration. Friends and family that are happy and eager to help, even if they won’t back off (they mean well, I swear). One day to celebrate that with all your favorite people in the world. Pollyannish? Sure. True? Totally.

7. Don’t twist yourself into knots. Many a bride has overextended her budget, her patience, and her good will trying to overcompensate for a perceived lack of … whatever. Pull the brakes anytime you hear yourself saying, “I don’t want them to think … ” or “I know it’s still not going to work, but … ” Full stop. Turn around. Find an option that doesn’t make you hyperventilate. Ask for help if you need it. Take help when it’s offered.

8. Finally, give yourself some credit. You’re sitting there thinking, “HowamIgoingtodothishowamIgoingtodo thisHOWAMIGOINGTODOTHIS?”Look around! You are doing it, the way everyone does it: One step at a time.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Liz

BAB Throwback: Summer’s Over! So, What Did We Learn?

Happy Friday, BABs! I hope you’re all nicely recovered after a long weekend, and a short workweek that felt like eternity (or was that just me?). Our darling erstwhile advice guru, Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events, wrote this bad boy back in early September of 2011, but as I was scrolling through the archives I found it to be as relevant as ever. One sure can learn a lot by putting some serious time into other people’s weddings. Sure, some trends have come and gone in the time since, but the solid advice still holds true.

BAB Throwback Summers Over What Did We Learn

From May 25th to September 5th, I coordinated 8 weddings. Here are pictures from half of them, but that’s five full-service, three day-of. Basically two a month. I had the chance to learn a lot and confirmed even more that I already knew. Here’s a few new tidbits of wisdom, in no particular order:

Give up THIS for a year? Hah! That’s funny!

If you find yourself looking at some glorious wedding thing and thinking, “Well, if I gave up Starbucks/the gym/cable for year, I can afford this,” DUDE. Run. Away.

And again I say to thee: Give yourself plenty of time on your wedding day. My most relaxed brides this season were the ones that listened to me and scheduled their prep and pictures so that they had an hour or more to chill before heading down the aisle.  Nothing I like more than a relaxed and laughing bride, and there’s nothing you’re going to like more than being one.

Don’t they look so pretty, waiting for you at the venue where they belong?

You will not need your flowers until you start taking group pictures. Rather than have your florist make a separate trip to your hotel room and then go to the ceremony site to set-up, wait to get your flowers until you get to the ceremony, too. Yes, I have had brides and bridesmaids who’ve left bouquets at the hotel. Guess who had to go get them?

You can’t really see it, but I swear these  are in alphabetical order. (Courtesy of Hazelnut Photography)

Once you finish your place cards, alphabetize them before handing them over. Once you finish your place cards, alphabetize them before handing them over. ONCE YOU FINISH YOUR PLACE CARDS, ALPHABETIZE THEM BEFORE HANDING THEM OVER. Thanks!

If you know that you’re going to have a difficult time with your family, bring back-up. Someone who will confirm what you said, what you want, and who you would feel embarrassed if you all of a sudden went off on your parents in front of. You don’t want to know how many times this summer I stood behind one of my brides nodding, “Oh, no, she’s got it. It’s going to be fine.” It helps.  And remember, if all else fails, find an excuse to walk away before you explode.

Don’t be surprised  if everyone doesn’t make it to the rehearsal. This does not seem to be as big a problem on the East Coast or in the middle of the country.  Of course, no one else has the 405 and 101 and 10 and 5 freeways that we do, and the endless time-sucking fun that occur on them. Might have something to do with it. Odds are everyone will make it to dinner, though.

For the breaking glass ceremony, use a light bulb. If you don’t want a light bulb, believe it or not, amazon.com has the glasses, in any color you want. Remember Charlotte and Harry’s wedding on “Sex and the City”? Sometimes he just can’t break it on the first try. Or the second. And it’s funny, but it’s funnier when it’s not happening to you.

A great trend I’ve seen at a couple of weddings this year — invite all your guests to join you halfway through your first dance song. People love that, and it makes me bounce up and down with glee every time I see it. Nothing rules like a full dance floor, you know?

I have yet to coordinate a wedding where the amount of money the couple put towards the bar did not run out. But it’s usually around the time that you would do last call, anyway, so it all works out. Thumbs up!

So, what did you lean from planning your wedding this summer? Share in the comments below!

 

BAB Throwback: To See Or Not To See … That Is The Question

Yes, I know. The first look has been a Thing for a few years now, and granted this post was originally published Nov. 12, 2010. However, the debate is still real, y’all.

BAB Throwback to see or not to see that is the question

From the moment you put on THE dress, you’ve been anticipating the look on his face when he sees you at the end of the aisle. You’re going to look so beautiful, and he’s going to be so proud, and happy, and excited to see you. You two are going to be grinning at each other so much you can hardly hear the minister pronounce you married.

It’s tradition, and it’s the way that most brides think that they’re going to see their grooms for the first time. But more and more, I’m watching couples decide to go with another alternative — The First Look.

Here’s how it works: Your photographer usually begins about three hours before the ceremony, starting with shots of you putting on THE dress, make-up, hair … all the “getting ready” stuff. While you’re doing that, your photographer’s second shooter is over with the guys, taking their pictures, and then about an hour or so into it, everyone meets in the middle for pictures of the wedding party and family. And that’s when you see each other for the first time.

Most photographers make it into a special event, at a secluded place where it’s just the two of you. And once they get that special shot of him seeing you for the first time and you two smiling at each other like whoa, you can hang out together and talk, and get to spend some time alone. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, that’s going to be hard to come by for the rest of the day, trust me. Then you finish photos with the rest of the gang.

Real Wedding: Summer & Peter's Family-Friendly Destination Tahoe Beach Wedding

From Summer & Peter’s Real Wedding. Credit: Lauren Lindley Photography

Practically speaking? It’s a real time saver. Most of your pictures are done before the wedding, which means you can join your guests for the cocktail hour and enjoy those appetizers you’re paying $X per person for. There’s less family wrangling because it’s a little easier to tell everyone to show up early at an appointed place and time rather than try and track them down after the ceremony. If you’re a blubberer and worry about crying your way down the aisle so much that you worry your guests, the first look might be for you. And since you can make that moment between the two of  you special, these are the reasons why brides of mine have done it.

Emotionally speaking? Well … that’s up to you. Not all of my brides want to do a First Look, because that moment walking down the aisle is just too important and vivid for them. I have one bride that won’t talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance — that’s how excited she is about him seeing her from the end of the aisle. And I’m grinning as I write that, because that love and anticipation is really what that first moment is all about, no matter where and when you choose to do it. Which is just cool, you know?

And if you do want to wait, of course, it’s fine. You make it work like everyone’s always made it work — separate wedding party pics before the ceremony, and then use the cocktail hour for family pics after the ceremony. Have your wedding planner or a friend bring you a sample of cocktails and apps during the photos, and then join your guests at the reception. Like with most wedding things, (and in life, actually), whatever it is that you mind is what matters. I’m not “Team See” or “Team Not See,” I’m team YOU. Either way, I’m probably going to tear up when it happens. Like always.

So, which team are you? When is your intended going to first see you on your wedding day?

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz: Managing Your Wedding Expectations & Owning The Wedding You Can Afford

Got a question for our wedding planning guru Heather? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz: Managing Your Wedding Expectations & Owning The Wedding You Can Afford

 

Via.

Dear Liz,

I really like the idea of asking a friend to be a stage manager for the wedding, or possibly hiring a professional as a day-of coordinator. The venue where we’re getting married has their person, who is the one managing both the catering and the venue logistics.  She said she wouldn’t recommend bringing a planner in, since they tend to be grumpy,  and she’s got it covered. Should I just trust that she’ll do what we want?  We have a meeting well ahead of the rehearsal to discuss exact timing for the ceremony, for example, and her staff will even set up all the centerpieces and escort cards if we leave them there. Or, should I risk stepping on her toes and bring in someone who’s just focused on us? Am I worrying too much, or should I just appreciate the level of service the venue is offering?

Signed, 

Day-of Dilemma

Dear Dilemma,

I’ve worked a few weddings where after a couple of meetings I kind of think, “Okay, well, why am I here?” And the answer is “insurance.”  Having someone there who, as you say, is just there for you, and be your advocate in case the things you’re really worried about (whatever those are) go wonky. You don’t want to worry about anything, you want to enjoy the day, and you feel that having her there will make that happen. From your venue manager’s perspective, however, that’s great as long as they aren’t going to question her at every turn or try and fix a system that’s not broken.  This is probably what she meant by the word “grumpy”! So, be very clear with your friend – if you do decide to “hire” her – as to what her responsibilities should be. I’d focus on three things: Vendor management on the day of, bridal and wedding party wrangling, and break-down – what needs to get tossed, sent back to whatever company it came from, or carried away by friends and family. That’s always a scramble at the end of the night, especially if you have a deadline to get out of the space. But, most of all, make sure she asks the venue coordinator how she can facilitate what is already being done. How can she help them help you?  That’s the way that everyone wins.

Dear Liz,

How do you manage inviting groups of people like colleagues, sports groups, etc, when some are close friends but you don’t really care about inviting some other members (and much less their partners who you’ve only met once and were incredibly rude)? How do you compromise between keeping an intimate atmosphere at your wedding and not ruining your life at work afterward?

Signed, 

Picking Teams

Dear Teams,

If you really, truly do not want someone at your wedding, do not invite them. It’s your wedding, you don’t have to make any excuses before or after, and you may be worried about expectations that they don’t even have. “If I invite one member of the soccer team, I have to invite them all.” No, you really don’t. For the most part, people know where they stand with you. But, if you feel that in your particular circumstance, it’s going to cause problems for you that you just don’t want to deal with, then you have to change the way you look at it: You invited them because you “had” to, but you don’t have to hang out with them all night. Like relatives you haven’t seen since you were 12, you can stick them in the corner, go by and say Hi at some point, and enjoy the rest of your wedding. But seriously, if you are going to resent that they are there at all, and that’s going to color how you feel about them on either side of your wedding day, DO NOT INVITE THEM. Now is the time to be honest with yourself.

Dear Liz,

My in-laws expect a very traditional wedding and with our current financial situation, we are in no place to pay for it. I’ve had to cut corners here and there to stay respectful, and also to keep up proper etiquette. Do you have any words of wisdom for dealing with pushy in-laws who refuse to offer any help or monetary contributions, just endless criticism?

Signed, 

A Pain in the MIL

Dear Pain,

Own your wedding: “I love what we have planned, this is the wedding that I want.” “But you need to have a four-tiered wedding cake! “No, I want cupcakes instead, and I love the ones from this bakery. This is exactly what I want.” And then, change the subject to something non-wedding related, or get away from them. You love your wedding, you love everything you have planned. “How could you like this?” “This is what I like.” Smile while you’re saying it. If they get belligerent, “I understand how you feel about it, but I don’t want that, this is what we’re doing, and I love it.”  Do NOT apologize, do not let the words “I’m sorry” cross your lips.  It makes you sound guilty, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. Do not say, “Well, it’s all we can afford,” because that could put them on defense and then you’ll never get rid of them ! Affirm what you’re doing, that you’re doing what you want, and then get the hell out of dodge.

How did you decide who to invite from your office? Are the parental units giving you a hard time about your wedding choices? Let us know (and feel free to vent your own wedding woes) in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out a little more about me and my part of wedding world, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

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