Posts in the 'Guest Bloggers' Category

Ask Heather: Non-Spendy Alternatives for Flowers

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Image courtesy of Photo Pink

Dear Heather,

I refuse to spend big bucks on flowers. What else could I use?

Brittany

Dear Brittany,

The possibilities are endless, and I love non-floral decor. I even have a tag on my business blog dedicated to this very topic. Because I have faith in your ability to Google for images, I’m only going to include a handful of links in this answer. Mostly, I’m just going to throw out options.

When it comes to centerpieces, my favorite floral alternative will always be candles. They can be floating candles or clusters of candles or only a couple of candles surrounded by petals (yes, flowers, but way cheaper than whole flowers). The key here is to make sure your venue allows open flames. Some do not, and it would suck to get your heart set on something that’s forbidden.

Other centerpiece options are stacks of books, feathers, silk fake flowers, paper flowers (there are *tons* of tutorials out there for making paper flowers, including one on my blog involving coffee filters or this one in The Broke-Ass Bride archives), or vases with glass beads or other items (maybe ornaments with your wedding colors for a Christmastime wedding) inside them. Or, heck, you could just use pretty colored vases, sans filling.

For bouquets, I found a Pinterest board devoted to eco-chic floral alternatives. There’s also a lovely post on Offbeat Bride devoted to nontraditional bouquets. For those who don’t feel like clicking on those links, some of the options include ornaments (again!), brooches (BAB’s own Christen had a brooch bouquet!), feathers, and paper flowers.

When it comes to general decor, I love the look of fabric pennants or streamers. I did tissue paper pomanders for aisle decor at my own wedding, which is what’s pictured at the top of this post. There are also many options for using balloons, or fabric back drops (think photo booth), or tulle hanging from the ceiling, tied in a stylish way. Gah! So many beautiful options!

Are you a fan of non-floral options? What are you planning on using? Let us know in the comments below!

DIY or DIE: Pretty Personalized Bunting with Daydreaming Bride

BABs, I’m so excited about how rockin’ the DIY or DIE projects have been lately, and today is certainly no exception. Nodlaigh, aka Daydreaming Bride, is in da hizzy to show us how to make super easy (and cheap!) personalized bunting. Guys, this could work for anything from your engagement party to wedding decor to a banner for a thank-you card photo to general home decoration. And since it won’t cost you a pretty penny, you could easily make a few of ‘em! And keep an eye out, because Nods is going to be joining us to give us some great wedding inspiration from time to time. And without further ado …

For those of you watching your pennies for the big day, today’s post is one for you. I’m going to show you how to make personalised and colourful wedding bunting for next to nothing!

DIY or DIE Pretty Personalized Bunting with Daydreaming Bride

You can use whatever colours and fabric styles you wish to suit your theme — I’ve gone for an eclectic and vintage vibe using luxe velvet and cord fabrics mixed with colourful accent patterns.

What you’ll need:

  1. Fabric scraps to match your theme: I actually used fabric samples I’d ordered for free when I was looking into decorating our living room last year. For the lettering I used an old pillowcase past it’s best. If you needed to buy some fabric then you could certainly source some samples for less than £1 (~$1.67).
  2. Ribbon: I sourced mine from Ebay. It’s £1.88 (~$3.14) for 25 metres but I only used 1 metre.
  3. Iron-on adhesive: I used Heat n’Bond no-sew adhesive. It is £1.50 (~$2.51) for 0.5 metres but I only used about a quarter of that.
  4. Sewing kit: just a needle & thread is fine.
  5. Good scissors and a pen.
  6. Access to a printer and an iron.

Even if you had to buy the fabric, Heat n’ Bond and ribbon new, you’d still only be looking at just over £1.50 (~$2.51) per metre of bunting — cheap as chips!

And it couldn’t be any simpler to put together, taking me less than an hour all in. For those sewing phobes out there, you could very easily make it a complete no-sew project by using iron-on adhesive for the ribbon instead of sewing it.

Instructions for Pretty Personalized Bunting

  1. Cut your fabric to size and lay out to gauge which pieces are best to use.
  2. Type out the text you require for your bunting. I went with “Mr + Mrs”. It’s crucial to make sure the text is oriented back to front so that it’s the right way around for the finished product (You can do this in PowerPoint using the 3D rotation function under ‘Format’). In terms of font, I’d advise to use one that’s easy to cut out — some of the script fonts are lovely but not the easiest to work with. I used Aharoni.
  3. Arrange the Heat n’ Bond over the text, paper side up.
  4. Trace around the letters onto the paper side using a pen or pencil.
  5. Cut out your letters and place paper side up on the fabric you’re using for the lettering.
  6. Apply the iron to the paper side of the letters in order to bond them to the fabric. Use a medium heat, no steam and place the iron on the letters, as opposed to swiping it back and forth, to avoid moving the letters.
  7. Cut out the letters with the fabric now adhered to the back.
  8. Map out where you want the letters on the coloured fabric squares and peel back the paper.
  9. Apply the iron to bond letters in place, once you’re happy with the placement. Ensure the shiny side of the letters is facing up.
  10. Arrange your fabric pieces for one final check to ensure you’re happy with the final design.
  11. Cut ribbon to size to allow enough room either side to affix the bunting.
  12. Pin in place and sew the ribbon onto the fabric squares.

And you’re done!

I told you — it’s so easy!

Would you give this a try? What colours would you go for?!

 

Happily Invites You to Its Crazy Cat Party + Mega Giveaway!

Guys, I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled Five for Friday because our friends over at Happily are stirring up some major awesomeness re: wedding planning. And they’ve been doing some pretty baller giveaways, but today’s is by far the mostest bestest. I’mma let them explain, but first, there’s this:

You good? Good. OK, now we’re going to let them tell you allllllll about the fluffy goodness that’s in store!

Happily’s in the midst of developing a top secret wedding planning app — and one that’s being powered by the largest collective of top wedding planner professionals. Ever. (As far as we know.) So instead of getting a pretty-but-not-quite-pragmatic app designed by an established wedding empire looking to expand into tech, it’s being designed by wedding planners for anyone is in need of planning his or her wedding.

The result: a powerful app that’s pragmatic, super easy to use and even a little on the addictive side. And guess what? They’ve just hit a major milestone and are celebrating with a crazy cat party, giving out a slew of glamorous and cute objects featured in their recently released Ultimate Cat Wedding Video. {You watched it above. Because I would never make you wait for that.}

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But they’ve saved the best for last.

Today, Friday, they are are offering a $3,000 wedding planner package for brides and grooms alike.

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What it includes:

• 12 monthly planner meetings with an experienced, top Happily wedding planner

• 12-Hour Day of Coordination Team on your wedding day

• Customized Wedding Planning Templates

• Rehearsal Coordination (one of the few things brides think they don’t need until it ACTUALLY HAPPENS)

• Vendor Concierge

• Venue Concierge

• Personal Assistant (4 hours/month)

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

Give them some love! Socially. No, really, freak them out. Every like, regram + @happilywedding tag, follow, re-pin, #HappilyFreakOut comment and subscribe counts as an entry into the contest. Contest runs until midnight 8/15/14.

Happily Wedding Feeds

Twitter: follows and comments #HappilyFreakOut EACH count as an entry into the contest

Instagram: follows, regrams + tag @happilywedding and comments #HappilyFreakOut EACH count as separate entries for the contest

Pinterest: follows, re-pins and comments with #HappilyFreakOut

YouTube: subscribe and comments with #HappilyFreakOut

Facebook:  likes and comments with #HappilyFreakOut — each count as an entry!

Want to sign up to become an alpha tester for their new app? Go HERE.

Go forth, ye Broke-Asses, and comment/follow/like/pin/repin until your heart’s content!

Ask Heather: Tipping Vendors – Who and How Much?

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Image courtesy of Randy Hershfield

Dear Heather,

I’m reading mixed messages about tipping vendors! Help!

Tiffany

I’d like to know about the vendors as well! Photographer, DJ, baker …

Charlie

Dear Tiffany and Charlie,

I’m of the opinion that the only vendor you truly need to tip is your wedding planner, ideally around 40%.

Okay, just kidding. Well, sort of ;)

Technically, you don’t have to tip any of your vendors, in the same way that tipping waiters, waitresses, baristas, hair dressers, etc, is not required {Eds note: TIP YOUR SERVERS/BARTENDERS at restaurants, damnit. They live on that shit.}. But it’s a really nice thing to do and it helps you to not look like a jerk. One thing to watch out for, though, is whether a tip is already included in your contract. Caterers will often include a gratuity in their fees, so unless they provide truly exceptional service, watch out for tipping twice. Note that “service fee” and “gratuity” are two different entities, though. The former usually goes straight to the company, whereas the latter is distributed among service staff.

There are some folks who maintain that if a person owns their own business, there’s no need to tip them since they’ve already charged what they wanted for their service. As a business owner, I think this is nonsense. The fees I charge are based on how much time I think I will invest in doing a particular event times an hourly rate I think is fair. If I go above and beyond a couple’s expectations, a tip on top of that amount is always appreciated. And I always try to exceed expectations.

With all of this said, there are still no official guidelines. In general, I’d definitely go with 15-20% for your hair stylist and make-up artist. Those are two of the most often tipped pros. If the gratuity is not already included in your catering bill, I’d also go for 20% of your food bill, to be split amongst the catering staff (host, waiters/waitresses, etc). Bartenders also deserve a tip, but if you intend to provide a tip, perhaps you could politely request that they not have a tip jar on the bar, to avoid double-tipping. Other folks to maybe tip include photographer, videographer, transportation, musician/DJ, officiant (often ends up being a donation to their place of worship), and planner. Alas, I cannot tell you exactly what to tip, since every single person tips differently. Give my best friend and me the exact same restaurant bill and we’ll likely tip the waiter a different amount. So, the exact amount is up to you, but if anyone goes above and beyond expectations, they deserve a little something extra.

As you likely are realizing, tipping really adds up! In addition to forking over some cash, another way to show your thanks is with gushing, enthusiastic reviews posted on sites like WeddingWire. If your vendors aren’t listed on any review sites, go ahead and email your appreciative feedback to them and give them permission to post it on their website (social media shout-outs are great, too!). Every review you give one of your vendors increases the odds that the next couple who comes along will hire them. And never underestimate the value of a well-written thank you note with an excellent photo of you and your new spouse. Trust me – vendors will be touched by the gesture. Especially if it’s accompanied by a glowing review. *Ahem.*

Which vendors are you planning to tip? Has the amount you’ll need for tips been a shock to your budget? Let us know in the comments below!

DIY or DIE: Make Your Own Damn Wedding Cake with Lizzy Pancakes

All right, darlings, it’s time for one helluva DIY or DIE sesh up in this bish. Put away the scissors and tape and glue, grab an apron and get your booty in the kitchen to make your own damn wedding cake. Yup, you read that right. We’ve got Lizzy Pancakes here getting elbow-deep into some confectionary awesomeness to show you how to rock your wedding dessert the broke-ass way: By taking it on yourself. It’s no secret wedding cakes are pricey, and you can absolutely go the route of having a “display” cake to slice ‘n’ smash, with a variety of other desserts for actual consumption or having a big ol’ sheet cake hiding in the back. But even those tiny l’il display cakes will cost you a pretty penny, where as these bad boys (if you have most of the basics on hand) should only run you around $27 for the ingredients. UM. HELLO, SAVINGS. Let’s do it!

Make Your Own Damn Wedding Cake with Lizzy Pancakes

Hello, Broke-Ass Brides, my name is Lizzy and I’m the blogger in chief over at Lizzy Pancakes. I’m getting married in just a few weeks and have committed to make my own cakes. Yes cakes. To save money and to make things way more interesting, the cakes I’ll be making are bride and groom cakes, and our main dessert is going to consist of doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts here in Denver. The cakes are for aesthetic and traditional purposes — you know, when I lure my fiance into a false sense of security and smush the cake in his face while our family and friends watch.

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If you’re having a small wedding, or if something like this would be a good fit for your party, making your own wedding cake is super easy. You know that smooth, beautiful layer of fondant? Not difficult. You’ll breeze through it and spend the rest of the day absorbing compliments.

I made a traditional moist chocolate cake because I knew if it was kept airtight, it could be made up to two days in advance which is essential to maintaining a sane bride. If chocolate isn’t your thing, I highly recommend Amanda’s white cake recipe.

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What you’ll need:

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

For the fondant

*Don’t buy pre-rolled fondant. It is difficult to unroll, often cracks, and it’s just lazy, you guys.
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

How you’ll do it:

Prepare the cake:

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Prepare the frosting:

You really want the frosting to be room temperature. You should set it out before you start the cake to make sure. Don’t try microwaving it, even on low. You risk making it too soft and messing with the consistency of your frosting.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Easy peasy!

*If you really want to skip this step and buy frosting from the store (I’m not judging you), simply add ¾ cup confectioners sugar per container because cake decorating frosting should be a little bit stiffer.

Prepare the fondant:

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To find out how wide your fondant needs to rolled out to, take a ruler and measure the width of the cake (that’s easy! It’ll be 8 inches since we’re using 8-inch cake pans) and the height after the layers are stacked. Add them together. Your fondant needs to be rolled out so that a circle at least that wide can be covered.

Lightly dust your work surface with confectioners sugar. If you’re using using black fondant, pick up your fondant more often during the process because you can’t use white confectioners sugar without messing with the color.

Take the fondant out of the box and wrapper. Knead it on the sugared surface until it is soft enough to roll with a rolling pin. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

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Roll out the dough until it is wide enough and about a ¼ inch thick.

Assemble the cake:

After you have let the cake layers cool completely (I mean it — completely!) take a long serrated knife, place your hand flat on the top of the cake, and cut the natural dome off of the cakes, making them completely flat and even. If you move slowly, this shouldn’t be too difficult!

Put a dab of frosting on a cake stand, preferably a rotating one, but it’s not essential. Place the first layer smack in the middle of the stand. Take a big scoop of the frosting and plop it right in the middle. Using an offset spatula (you can grab it at the grocery store) spread the frosting at least a ¼ inch and up to ½ inch thick.

Place your second layer carefully directly on top of the first layer. You really only get one real shot at this, so look at it from above and center it before putting it down. Take the remainder of your frosting and spread it around the sides and top of the cake. Though you should try to spread it evenly, this doesn’t need to be pretty — it will be covered by the fondant.

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To place the fondant on the cake there are two methods. All of the YouTube videos will show you a draping technique, where you fold the rolled fondant in half over the rolling pin and use that to transfer it to the cake. I’ll tell you what, though, I simply picked mine up and placed it carefully over the top. There is just a tiny bit of wiggle room to center the rolled fondant after you’ve put it on the cake, so don’t panic if it’s off-center.
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To smooth the fondant down and create sharp edges, use your hands to lightly press the fondant up against the sides of the cake. You may need to keep one hand on the excess fondant spilling over the sides so you can really mold the fondant to the shape of the cake without tearing or stretching it. Once you’ve used your smoothing tools to mold the fondant, run your pizza cutters around the bottom edge of the cake. Then use the side of the pizza cutter to lightly tuck the edges of fondant under the bottom to create a nice clean look.

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If you want to add flowers, this is really easy. To avoid sticking stems into the actual cake, take some extra fondant and roll it into a ball. Cut your flowers so that they have ¼ inch to ½ inch of stem and arrange them in the ball of fondant as you please. Use extra frosting to stick the ball to the cake in the position you’d like and voila! professional looking cake decorated with fresh flowers!

Storing the cake:

You should make your cake layers up to two days in advance. If at all possible, you should delay assembling the cake until the day before. I say this because once it’s on the cake stand, there is no moving it to an airtight cake transporter. One way to avoid this is to use a cake stand with a glass dome on top. As long as it’s airtight, you can assemble the entire cake up to two days out.

If you want to give your wedding a homemade feel, this is a great way to achieve that. It ends up being much less expensive than having a professional do it and you can brag ALL. NIGHT. LONG about making it yourself.

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Good luck on your cakes! If you need help or pointers along the way, holler at me at www.lizzypancakes.com or tweet me @lizzypancakes.

LP

DIY or DIE: Modern Geometric Table Numbers

geonumbersstyleBAB

Why hello again!
It has been a little while …
And I’ll be damned if I didn’t suddenly develop an all-consuming lust love for geometry since we last hung out.
Not to mention a serious crush on a certain little piñata.

geonumbers7BAB

It started innocently enough …
A few week ago I decided to try my hand at making a modern geometric monogram, which led to a few arrows (there’s a pun there somewhere, right?), which led to these table numbers and soon I will have an entire styled shoot on my hands. Or a wedding. Or a graduate degree in mathematics. Or a very bright scrap yard.

geometricheartBAB

But before I get even more carried away, I thought I should pop over here and share the graphic goodness with y’all Broke-Asses.

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These geometric table numbers are super simple, crazy cheap, and supremely satisfying once you rip the tape off, and see all those perfectly straight little lines making all those perfectly adorable little triangles. Best of all, this technique is easily applied to a whole host of other wedding projects! And as you can probably surmise from my prolific experiments, it might be a little addictive.
Consider yourself warned.

So are you ready to transform a few 2x4s?
First, here’s the visual of what you will need for this project:

geonumberssuppliesBAB

Just a few notes: Originally I was going to use 2x4s, but once I was at Home Depot, I decided to splurge and use 3/4” birch instead. This came out to about $1 per block. I cut my birch to 6” tall at home, using a hand-saw and a mitre box, because The HD employees were too grumpy to be bothered that day. I think you could have your mom ‘n’ pop store do the cuts, be more patient than me at the Home Depot, or do what I did. You have options. Not pictured above: Regular 1” painters tape which comes in handy for centering your numbers and taping off the block edges.

Okay. That’s it. Ready. Set. Sand.

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I think these free-standing little numbers are a fantastically fun way to add a pop of color to your tables, while helping direct your guests where to sit. They would also be a great modern wedding prop and would be an adorable way to display your wedding date in engagement photos, wedding photos or as decor in your venue.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your tape and get busy!
OR grab this discount code (GEOCRAZYBAB) and pay me to color inside the lines while you keep your paws clean!

See y’all next time!

Ask Heather: Bridal Shower Timing and Folks Who Assume They’ll Be Invited to the wedding

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Image courtesy of Thecupcakelicious

Dear Heather,

How soon is too soon to have a bridal shower? A year? Six months? All of my bridesmaids will have to travel to the city where the shower is being held.

Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

In part, this depends on how long of an engagement you’re having. Obviously, if your engagement is only five months long, that will somewhat limit when you can have your shower! Based on your question, though, I’m going to assume your engagement is fairly long.

In general, most bridal showers are about 1-3 months prior to the wedding, but I’ve definitely seen some happen as far out as six months beforehand. I wouldn’t stretch it all the way out to a year. Part of the fun of bridal showers is that they help ramp up the excitement for the wedding day, and if it’s too far out, some of that thrill will have died down for the guests. I also wouldn’t wait until too close to the wedding, so attendees don’t have to travel twice – once for the shower and once for the wedding – in a short time span.

In addition to worrying about how far in advance the shower can happen, also take into consideration anything that might affect people’s availability, the biggest of which are holiday weekends. And realize that, no matter how much deliberation you put into choosing a date, some folks won’t be able to attend.

Dear Heather,

How do I handle friends who haven’t made the guest list but very clearly assume they will be attending?

50Peach

Dear 50Peach,

This will be the fastest answer I’ve ever had to compose, because Offbeat Bride just tackled the issue of uninvited folks RSVPing, as well as loving ways to tell people they aren’t going to be invited, and I agree with everything they said. The one thing I’ll stress — in addition to being gentle but firm in your response to these folks, be flattered! Apparently they think your wedding is going to be so fantastically awesome that they really want to come!

How about you? How far in advance did you have your bridal shower? And did you have anyone who wrongly assumed they’d be invited? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask Heather: Seating Chart Drama and a 3-Hour Wedding

Seating chart

Jennifer Yin via Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Heather,

How do you handle a seating chart with multiple family situations and conflicts making it mind numbingly hard!?

Shelby

Dear Shelby,

You have two main strategies here: (1) Seat people wherever the hell you want and assume that they are grown-ups and can handle themselves for a single day; (2) Knock yourself out and do your absolute best to cope with various family drama. I will warn you right now: No matter which strategy you choose, you will piss someone off. The key: Don’t let this bother you. Weddings breed craziness. Don’t get sucked into it.

Since you’ve written to me, I’m assuming  you’ve decided to not go with Option 1. My suggestion: Post-It notes in many different colors. Use one color for the drama-free folks. Use different colors for each “warring faction.” Seat like with like and use the non-drama folks as buffers. Do a sweetheart table so you don’t have to deal with offending folks who aren’t seated at the head table. Put as many tables equidistant from the sweetheart table as possible, so you don’t have to deal with Uncle Jack complaining about how Aunt Jane was seated closer to you than he was. And use table names rather than numbers, so Phyllis can’t throw a fit that Margaret’s table number was lower, and therefore better, than hers.

Again, you’ll likely make someone angry. Know that you did the best you could and if they can’t put their differences aside for one meaningful day in your life, they can suck it. So neener.

Dear Heather,

My ceremony and reception are both at the same garden, and I only have three hours to do everything. We’re doing a buffet, and this amount of time doesn’t include set-up or clean-up. How do I fit it all into a few hours?

Tiffany

Dear Tiffany,

That’s a fairly tight amount of time, which will make sticking to a timeline absolutely critical. First off: Make sure you start your ceremony when you’re scheduled to start it. Brace yourself, though, as guests will inevitably be late. Unfortunately, those folks will just end up missing part of the ceremony. I’d also suggest doing a first look, so you can get most (if not all) of the posed pictures out of the way prior to everything starting. This will obviously need to be done offsite, but this isn’t the end of the world. You’ll get plenty of non-posed onsite shots during your shindig.

Twenty to 30 minutes is probably a fair amount of time for a garden ceremony, assuming you aren’t doing a bunch of readings or an elaborate unity ceremony. You’ll likely need to cut the cocktail hour down to a cocktail half-hour. This leaves you with about two hours to go. Appoint someone to emphatically shepherd guests from the cocktail area to the reception, and have your wedding party announced as soon as possible. Trust me: Once you start entering, people will get their butts into their seats. If you can skip toasts, that’s great. Otherwise, do them while folks are in line for the buffet. Ideally, guests would be seated for toasts. Realistically, you’re on a timeline here!

Obviously, you and your spouse should be first in line for the buffet, or someone should have already put your food-laden plates where you’ll be sitting. If you can, have multiple buffet stations, since this will cut down on waiting time for your guests. As soon as you and your spouse are done eating, segue into the cake cutting. Yes, some folks will still be eating while you’re cutting your cake. That’s okay. Right after cutting the cake, move into your first dance and parent dances. After a couple of songs where the dance floor is open, do your bouquet and garter tosses. This will hopefully leave about a half-hour of dancing after the official traditions are done.

I’d also suggest doing some sort of no-host party after the reception is over. My husband and I went to a local bar after our reception had ended, and there’s nothing quite like walking into a bar wearing a wedding dress. This also has the advantage of continuing the party without you having to pay for it. Our guests were thrilled to have somewhere “official” to go, and my husband and I were happy to have somewhere we could go, have one drink, then head back to our hotel and collapse.

How about you? Did you struggle with your seating chart? How did you eventually make it work? And what sort of timeline would you use if you only had your venue for three hours? Let us know in the comments below!

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