Posts in the 'wedding advice' Category
Photo: Lauren Lindley Photography
You know it — your wedding money is being thrown around fast and furious. Hundreds, thousands of dollars. Tens of thousands of dollars. Not all at once, mostly. But the word “eventually” looms closer every day.
So, what I’m trying to say is this post isn’t so much about budgeting as it is about stress relief. And a lot that means getting ahead of the stress in the first place.
Do This One Thing
Put all your payment due dates, with the current estimated cost in whatever calendar you look at the most — the one in your phone, the one on your wall, the one in your wedding notebook. Do it right now. Set or write an alert for a week or a couple of days ahead of time, whatever works for your schedule or will work with your bank account. Not so far ahead that it’s easy to forget (like a month before) but close enough so that you have enough time to pull together the funds, if you need to. You know how you are, so proceed accordingly. Bonus points for noting the method of payment, too.
Do This Other Thing
Any payment you can automate, do it. I take automated payments from my couples, and odds are your venue, you photographer and most of your other vendors do, too. Combining it with your alerts will keep you on track, or give you time to change tracks (or credit cards) if you need to. Also, Venmo is a great way to pay vendors quickly and easily right from your phone. It’s the app of life, y’all.
So, you’ve taken care of the wedding payment trees, don’t ignore the forest that’s your wedding budget! Have one place — an Excel sheet, a Google Doc spreadsheet, heck, a Word document — where you list the total cost of all this stuff! One place where it’s all accounted for, all added up and where you always know what you’re spending and what you’ve spent. When you can see the big picture, you’re setting yourself up to make the best choices, and take many, many deep breaths of relief.
So, what’s your calendar of choice? Do you have any questions about automatic payments or wedding budgets? 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,
Credit: Lucky Photographer
The first step to having a grown-up wedding is acknowledging that you’re a grown-up. And that your guests and family are grown-ups. Marriage is the second most grown-up thing you can do. So, you might as well start now with the day that’s going to start it all off. In the immortal words of Monica Geller, “It sucks, you’re going to love it.”
You’re saying Yes … to Everything.
Your wedding is not something that’s happening to you. From the cost, to the menu, to the dress, to the guest list, to the decorations. With a shrug, with a frown, with an enthusiastic clapping of hands. You opted in. It’s a big day, and a big undertaking and it’s easy to do it now and resent the hell out of it later. So, remember:
You can say No … to Anything.
Easy to write, not so easy to do. I get yelled at a lot for this one. “I can’t say no to my parents [insert this thing they really want here], it’s impossible.” Nothing is impossible, but yes, some things are hard. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, you’re afraid you’re going to sound like a rude jerk. We covered this a little last week. Most people are not great at conflict, whether they are used to it or not. Be clear that you don’t want it, thank them for the suggestion, if there is an alternative that you like, hype it. Don’t be defensive, smile, change the subject. Works, I swear.
Your Guests are Adults. They Are Also Human Beings in Your Spotlight.
It’s mostly you on stage, but it’s not just you. Everyone wants to get it right, so everyone can enjoy the day. Back your guests up where you can — directional signs, someone standing by to help them find their place card. They do need to know where the restrooms are, they don’t have to be assigned a particular seat at a particular table. No one is going to freak out if you’re serving Coors Light and $5 wine instead of their choice of martini cocktails. Don’t think babysitting, just think “flow.” You cannot please everyone, but you can make it easier for them to enjoy themselves. What would you want if you were a guest? What would need? Make sure that’s covered.
Get Clear About Your Wedding Responsibilities
What goes into your wedding day must come out. When? Someone has to do it, and if it’s not you, then who? What are you allowed to do, and what are you not? Hint: If it has to be stuck on anything, sprinkled, lit or hung, ask first. How long do you have your vendors? When do they need to get paid? What do they need from you to do their job? Don’t assume they will stay later than asked and not get paid for that, or come earlier, or bring more equipment. Don’t make the day harder for them, because it’s going to end up being harder for you. That’s not going to be a good day.
You have a destination — your big fun, love- and joy-infused wedding day — and you are on your way. You have to give it some time, but you’re going to get there. You don’t have to worry about whether you’re doing it, because you’re doing it. There are plenty of maps and resources to help you. Course corrections can be made — they are not the end of the world or evidence that you are a crappy pilot. And when you get there, ENJOY THE DAY. That’s an order. It’s what adults do. And in the meantime, go easy on yourself, I can guarantee you’re doing a lot better than you think you are.
So, how are you taking a deep breath and putting on the big girl pants when it comes to your wedding? What do you think of my advice? Let me know in the comments below! And if you would like to learn a little more about me and and my part of Wedding World, come visit me at www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,
Credit: Life’s Highlights
Last week, I got an email from a bride who didn’t have a problem yet, but was anticipating a huge one. She and her fiance want a small wedding, surrounded by their good friends and close family. She was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen once her mother got ahold of the list. What if her Mom insisted on inviting the 120 family members that she would probably want to add to that list? There’s a ton of you worried about the same thing. I know there’s a few (unnamed) couples on my roster who are, for sure.
So, how to combat that? For starters, stop thinking about it as a battle. It’s a wedding, its not a war. And if you keep looking at everything as a potential conflict, that’s exactly what you’ll find. I’m not so zen that I’m saying the guest list won’t be an issue. I…have parents, too. And what I (eventually) figured out was that it’s easier if you manage their expectations of your expectations. You’re not going to be able to avoid the conversation with them, but you can certainly put it into context.
Get specific with your numbers
Sit down with your fiance and make a list of everyone the two of you want to invite. It won’t take long, but go over it a couple more times to make sure you didn’t miss anyone, and that you included their significant others. Now, given that list, how many more people are you willing to have at your wedding? So, say you come up with a list of 50 people, or 25 couples. Are you willing to have another 50 people at your wedding, to bring it to 100? Another 25 people to bring it to 75? Think about it as people, and think about it as tables. 50 people is five tables, 100 people is 10. What feels right to you?
Be straightforward, and tell the truth: “We want to keep the guest list to 100 people, and we have 50 people that we want to invite. Can you help us and give us a list of the 50 people you want to invite by [make up a date in the next couple of weeks]?” This is what we want, this is what we have so far, this is what we’re asking from you and here’s the date we need it by. We really appreciate your help! DO NOT under any circumstances, apologize. You’re not being mean, you’re not being rude, DO NOT get defensive. Just state what you want, which is a wedding with this number of people. Ask for their help. And then change the subject as quick as you can. Check in a couple of times before your deadline. Be prepared to have the conversation again. Express gratitude for their help as often as you can.
Bonus points: Get specific with the costs
For extra credit, if you’ve already booked a venue and/or caterer, figure out out how much it is going to cost per person and for the entire group, and give that to her, too. So, say, your venue is $2500. if catering is $75 per person, plus tax and service (30% here) = $97.50 per person, or $14,750 for 100 people. See? You’re trying to be reasonable by sticking to a reasonable budget, whether they’re paying for it or you are.
They’ll be thinking about those numbers while they’re going over their own list. And, again, Do NOT apologize! No, “I’m really sorry about this.” For one thing, that’s a lie. For another, you’re not doing anything wrong. Ask her for help. Thank her for her help. Take a deep breath, and smile.
So, really, how many of you are facing a massive guest list from your folks that you don’t want? Got any questions about my advice? Let me know in the comments below!
See you at the end of the aisle,
Have a few spring weddings to attend? Dress for the Wedding compiled some gorgeous dresses for those nearing nuptials.
Photo: Chris + Jenn Photos
On Hey Wedding Lady, a husband surprises his wife with a vow renewal on a lake, a gorgeous gold gown and a freaking flower crown. Guys, take note.
You guys know I have a thing for mugs. Aisle Perfect found 10 more liquid of life (read: coffee) delivery vessels to show off your status.
Want to seriously save on your wedding flowers? Kiss My Tulle has a great step-by-step on how to makeover those supermarket bouquets.
Credit: Kiss My Tulle
One of our tried and true BAB tips is to opt for a sheetcake vs. an ornate tiered wedding cake. The BrideLink has a great tutorial for a faux tiered cake for display.
If you’ve thought about convertible bridesmaid dresses for different styles but the same color scheme, check out this post on Emmaline Bride that breaks down why it may be your best option for your gals.
For a whole ‘nother twist on bridesmaids bouquets, check out these great options on Chic Vintage Brides.
The Budget Savvy Bride offers up another one of her brilliant budget tips.
Credit: The Budget Savvy Bride
One thing I see over and over again are couples who have issues with a vendor’s performance, and don’t quite know how to proceed. For instance, I just heard about a wedding photographer who has not delivered prints for a wedding that happened two years ago. Can you imagine?
Here are the steps I suggest you take when you have a conflict with your vendor, and you are not yet ready to hire a wedding lawyer. Please note that these are general steps. Every case is different.
1) Gather all of your supporting documents. Hopefully you have a contract with your vendor. This will likely be the most important document. Whether you have a contract or not, gather all of your emails, text messages and voicemails. You really want to organize whatever correspondence you have with your vendor. If you have a relevant voicemail on your phone, note that you may need to have that message officially recorded so that a court may listen to it. At the very least, be sure to transcribe it for now.
2) Review the documents. Try to find the place where the vendor agreed to do whatever s/he did not do, or did negligently. For instance, with the wedding photographer example, you would try to find the place in the documents where the photographer agreed to deliver the photos by date “x.”
3) Draft up a demand letter. Draft a letter, and attach all relevant documentation. Keep the letter professional, and leave your emotions out of it. Even when there is conflict, you will still catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be polite, but firm. Be sure you clearly spell out all relevant facts in chronological order. In your concluding paragraph, specify what you want. For instance, using the above example, if you want your photographs, then specifically ask for those. If you want your money back, then ask for that.
4) Include a response time. Give the vendor a reasonable deadline to respond to your letter. I personally, generally, like 2 weeks. Make it clear to the vendor that if the conflict is not appropriately handled, then you will proceed with contacting an attorney or filing a lawsuit.
5) Send the letter. Send the letter via fax (yes, fax machines still exist!), or email and send a hard copy. You might also consider sending it via certified mail. You want some kind of verification that your letter was received.
6) Be patient. Wait for a response. Hopefully you will get one, by your deadline. This can be a frustrating time. Also, demand letters are the first step, and not always productive. Try not to think about the wait too much. During the wait, catch up on your blog reading.
7) Follow up. If you don’t get a response by the deadline, follow up. You can follow up by sending a concise letter or email and attaching the initial demand letter. Simply stating something to the effect of
“Dear Vendor: I have not received a response to my letter of December 28. I remain prepared to file a lawsuit. Kindly let me know if you have any response.”
You know your vendor, so apply the follow up principle according to his or her personality and what you think will be the most effective language. Don’t forget to be polite, though!
8) Consider your next steps. If you still don’t receive a response, or the response isn’t what you wanted, considering filing a lawsuit or consulting with an attorney. Contact your local small claims office to determine if the amount of damages fits into the jurisdictional cap, which varies by state. In California, for instance, the cap is $10,000, with some exceptions. Other states have caps of $5,000. The information will likely be set forth on the court website.
If your claim is more than the jurisdictional amount, then it would be advisable to consult with counsel. Although small claims cases are generally informal, and friendly to non-lawyers, non- small claims cases are much more complex.
You should not hesitate to move forward if you feel you’ve been wronged. There are finite time limitations on causes of action. So, don’t delay in proceeding with whatever course of action you
As always, you can consult with an attorney. Your case may be too complex for small claims court. And, if you do go to small claims court, the key to winning is having an organized and succinct argument with supporting evidence. A wedding lawyer can help coach you to success.
Christie Asselin is a sixth year, California licensed, litigation attorney with a background in personal injury and business disputes. In 2012, she began to explore legal issues related to weddings including vendor negotiation, and contract review. She loves all things weddings and has a personal and deep love of Gwen Stefani’s wedding gown. She also adores Oceana roses, and cathedral-length wedding veils. You may visit her website at: yourweddinglawyer.com.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information stated above is general legal information, and not legal advice. Please also note that the author is admitted only to the California State Bar, and to no other state. Attorney Advertising. This communication may be considered attorney advertising. Previous results are not a guarantee of future outcome. No Attorney Client Relationship. The use of any content provided in this article and your provision or submission of any information while using this site will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Ms. Asselin. Please be aware that any information that you provide by reason of your use of this article is not privileged or confidential. The content of this article is provided solely for informational purposes: it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax, career and/or other professional
I’ve never had to have the best. Growing up in a small, rural town that suddenly turned into a McMansion Mecca where housewives hauled a whole two kids around in Hummers, I learned by middle school the cool kids table was closed unless your purse cost a car payment, and I thought it was shitty.
When I started planning my wedding, I assumed my blah-ness toward brand names was going to make things a heck of a lot easier. No, not for me.
I don’t have to have the best, but I sure like to be the best.
I’m an overachiever. A perfectionist. A control freak. I may play to my strengths, but I’m quite accustomed to achieving at high levels, both personally and professionally, in most everything I do, and nothing sickens me more than letting people down.
I don’t see my wedding as “all about me” or even as “all about us.” I see it as a communal celebration among our friends and (large — on both sides) family. We plan on a large reception because, for us, it’s a way to tell the people who have fostered our relationship and been with us through hard times and great times and fun times and confusing times how much we love them and how grateful we are for their role in our lives, and I am so scared of letting them down.
I don’t have to have the best, but I want to be the best at planning a wedding.
I want to make my best friend happy and my mother proud and not to step on anyone’s toes and not to make anyone feel left out or slighted or uncomfortable in any way. I want everyone to say it was SO meaningful and SO beautiful and SO fun. I’ve broken down in tears because I’m worried I’m not going to be pretty enough and might be a disappointment to the people who’ve told me I’ll make a beautiful bride (WTF, right?) Hell, I’ve worried over my vendors not having a resume/portfolio-quality opportunity and feeling like they’ve wasted their time with us. I’ve let myself get so consumed with stress and worry that I literally told a photographer whom I’ve known for about eight years that we weren’t going to be able to afford a wedding “worth her talent” to shoot. I told someone that I wasn’t good enough for them. When the hell has that ever happened? (Answer: never.) She wrote me back to tell me the very thought was pretty absurd, and she was right. She explained that her very favorite thing was capturing the love of two people whether it was an intimate elopement or a ballroom fete.
That was a major turning point for me.
Sometimes you’ve got to put down the Pinterest and back away from the bridal mags and really question what you want, why you want it and what you’re willing to do for it.
I want to marry the man I love.
I want our friends and family to celebrate with us and have a blast.
I want to look flippin’ phenomenal.
That’s not an incredibly tall order because, guess what? Just because your place settings look like a picture in one of those magazines that panders to the Wedding Industrial Complex doesn’t mean you’re more married to someone who loves you enough to want to spend their whole life with you. Paying for peonies over carnations (seriously, wrap four carnations together and you have a peony look for less) sure doesn’t make the occasion more fun for your guests. This whole website is peppered with ways to save money and still get the style you’re hoping for.
Yes, having a wedding on a budget takes some work. I can’t guarantee there aren’t going to be tears; I’ve shed my share, but I realized that I was so worried about people I love and who LOVE ME picking apart our choices and offerings that I forgot to remember that a person who does that isn’t very nice and, frankly, isn’t worth my effort to impress. A person who loves you isn’t going to do that. My mantra became (and still is) “This is NOT a Competition.”
This is about love.
Really, that’s it.
It’s about love. It’s about two people expressing that love. It’s about two people expressing that love and promising forever. It’s about two people expressing that love and promising forever and sharing a celebration with other people they love, but the root of everything is love, love, love.
Perfect flowers and chandeliers and candles isn’t beauty; it’s aesthetics. I love aesthetics. I want aesthetics. I’ve freaked out because aesthetics cost money, but I channeled my inner Martha and whipped out a few of the DIY mercury glass bowls and reminded myself that I am smart, creative, resourceful, AND I have a really awesome man who’s there to encourage me every step of the way. I’ve got this!
And you do, too.
It’s easy to get bogged down in what you can’t have when you’re watching your dollars, but take it from me: this whole thing is a lot more fun when you focus on what you do have, and I hope above all else, it’s love.
Photo: Chasing Glimpses
Weddings are complicated creatures. There are a there a lot of things about your wedding that you can extrapolate from real life, and a lot of that you can find out by asking obvious questions. But there are also the unknown unknowns, the stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know. And you don’t — or wouldn’t — know, because you haven’t done this before.
As a wedding planner, finding your photographer is always the next thing on our checklist, after your venue and a caterer. For one thing, it’s usually the next most expensive line item on your budget. Your wedding pictures are the only permanent thing, other than your spouse and your ring, that you’re taking away from your wedding day! But wedding photography is filled with unknown unknowns. What is that you don’t know that you don’t know about your wedding photography?
Choosing a Good Photographer
Like most art forms, “good photography” is subjective. So, first of all, look for pictures and styles that personally appeal to you. Look for pictures that are focused, whose subjects are are well-lit, against backgrounds that don’t distract from the photograph.
There are also no standard costs for photography, though here in Los Angeles, you can expect to throw back a few thousand dollars. When you’re deciding between photographers that you like, try and compare apples and apples. What services do they each provide, what are you getting for what you’re paying? How many hours on site? Are engagement pictures included? An album? A disk of pictures? And if one photographer doesn’t offer one apple that another does, ask how much it would be to add it. Either way, you’ll be able to find a great photographer in your price range. But don’t settle — sign that contract knowing that your pictures are going to be beautiful.
And, seriously? Choose a photographer that you like. They are going to literally be in your face all day during your wedding and you’ll be dealing with them after the wedding while they’re finishing your pictures and albums. You need to be okay with that.
How Much Time and Work is Invested in Your Pictures
There’s the lead-up to your wedding, the consultations about what pictures you want, the ones you don’t and discussing (several times) the general flow of the day. Engagement pictures usually take 2-3 hours. They are at your wedding for 8-12 hours. If you don’t have a planner, they’re going to be running the day with help from your DJ. And, depending on your venue and your guest count, there could be two photographers. And, no kidding, those photographers are going to take thousands of pictures. So, after your wedding, thousands pictures have to be sorted in chronological order, duplicates and blurry shots have to be deleted, and the rest have to be edited and touched up before you even see them. Raw images are not an option you want. So, it takes a few weeks! And, how fast you get your album after that depends on you and how fast you can pick the pictures you want in it.
About Those Pictures On Your Wedding Day …
As you’ve probably figured out if you’ve been reading for a while, I’m into wedding timing. How to manage it, when to ignore it, and when to pay very, very close attention to it. Pictures take a lot of time. Assembling everyone, for one. Posing. Posing again. Different locations, different shots. Groomsmen wander back to the bar, other people blink during group shots. This can eat up the time you have between hair and makeup and leaving for your venue, and it can definitely make your cocktail hour hectic! You don’t have to do it (you don’t have to do anything) but talk to your photographer about taking pictures of you and your fiance before the wedding, and getting as many group shots as you can after that. Less pictures during the cocktail hour, more of a chance for an appetizer and a drink, and to marvel in wonder that, WOW, you just got married! Ask your photographer about other ways to streamline the day. Trust me, they’ll have a ton of suggestions.
Are starting to look for photographers? And if you’ve already picked yours, how many did you talk to before you made a decision? Have you decided to do a first look? Let me know, along with any questions, in the comments below!
And if you would like to find out more about me, and my little part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.
Credit: Elizabeth Bates Photography
It can be a cruel world out there for brides on a budget. So much of the pretty can be out of reach, and it gets exhausting trying to keep up with the Joneses. Bridal Burnout can take place way early on, because there is a butt-ton of brain juice going into your wedding. That’s why, here at The Broke-Ass Bride, we stress the importance of priorities and focusing your energy in the areas that matter most to you, rather than tossing your hard-earned cash at something you don’t necessarily care a great deal about. The Wedding Industrial Complex has a way of pre-shaming brides into having the biggest, the best and the prettiest, and the this and the that and just the absolute MOSTEST BESTEST.
And also why I want to bring attention to this really shitty thing that happened around the web this week. Our girl Jessica at The Budget Savvy Bride posted a great wedding tip in her series of budget wedding tips — which includes advice on cutting the guest list, bringing in your own booze or even doing non-floral florals. The particular tip in question? No. 18: DJ your own wedding. You know, like set up the iPod to rock the soundtrack to your reception. Not unheard of, right? Well, Jessica did it for her own wedding. We’ve had many Real Weddings featured that have done the same. I mean, I did it. Hell it’s something we’ve been suggesting on BAB since 2010, y’all.
But once Budget Savvy Bride’s tip hit Facebook? A massive shitstorm of vitriolic vile flooded the comments … from “professional” DJs. One even went so far as to use “#killyaself”. UM. Really? Budget Fairy Tale compiled some of the other putrid spew that came forth from this.
If having a big ol’ dance party isn’t your thing, and you’re just not that into the music, DIYing your wedding music is a really great way to provide ambiance — and even just make sure you get the version of a song you want, because not everyone has a copy of Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” laying around — without shelling out the big bucks that it takes to have a professional, whether it’s a DJ, band or a fucking opera singer, at your wedding. But hey, man, if you can afford it and it’s a priority for you, DO IT. But there should be absolutely no shaming involved.
Weddings are super, super personal. And they should be. They should represent you as a couple, and they should be something you’re comfortable with. Because, really, what good does it do you to host a party that you don’t want to attend? No good at all. Really.
But here’s the thing for us bitches on a budget: We put priority on different things. Tiffany and Justin totally cared about booze, so they got married at a brewery. Kate gave zero fucks about real flowers, but wanted literature — hence, her book flowers. Courtney and Carli got married in the morning in the loft of a barn. Bianca bought her dress for $10 and it’s still one of my all-time favorites while her groom spend $200 on his duds. Each wedding is different and special, because each couple is different and special. Weddings are personal.
No couple, ever, should be made to feel bad about the decisions they make for their wedding, as long as it’s right for them and their circumstances. Family may be involved, for some, and not for others. Budgets may be huge for some, and not for others. And sure, some weddings might not be super amazing for all the guests, but it’s not really about the guests. It’s about celebrating love.
And if a vendor, or anyone really, gets pushy and especially if they dare venture into being condescending or start shaming you? You might not want to work with them. Know who you’re hiring. It’s important, because it’s your money.
As Liz once said:
“A lot of time brides feel pushed to do this or that, but really, there aren’t any “haves” in Wedding World, just “wants.” If you don’t want to spend the money, and you don’t see the value of it, don’t do it. That goes for all of your future wedding choices, too.”
So, let’s stop being assholes about the decisions people make for their own weddings and appreciate the differences and similarities we all have. Let’s not compare ourselves to the next person, nor expect them to measure up to us.
Credit: Powell Pictures
So, I’ve been checking in with my 2015 couples a lot this week. March’s backyard wedding was relocated to another backyard. May wants a photo booth. I’m looking at venues with July #2 this weekend. June #1 is in way better shape than she thinks she is. And, actually, so are you. Remember that the next time you start to wonder.
What’s been interesting is that each of them asked about managing their wedding party. And managing their families. Or, rather, managing their wedding party and families’ questions and expectations.
There are just so many of them, you know? Wedding party and family members. And questions.
When is the bridal shower, where is the bachelorette party? Should all 10 of your family members wear the same color as your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen? When should everyone, or anyone, fly in for the wedding? And on and on.
Should you let them choose, or just tell them what to do?
Well, yeah, definitely one or the other.
But here’s the thing: It’s up to you, what they get to choose, and what you want to dictate. And it doesn’t always have to be one or the other. Most of the time, wedding-wise, people want (cough, cough, NEED) direction. But if it’s something that’s not a big priority for you, it’s okay to let them make the choice .
But let them know one way or the other. And if the answer is, “This is what we’re doing,” remember to smile and say “Thank you.” And if it’s “Whatever you want to do,” give them a deadline to let you know, well, what they’re going to do. Every choice needs to come with a deadline. Every mandate needs to come with gratitude and a smile. Got it? Now go forth and plan …
What’s the last detail your wedding crew has thrown back to you? And which way did you decide to go. Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,