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Archive for January, 2010

My friend and bride-to-be Jen is having favor issues…should they even have favors? If so, what the heck should they give? And how much should they spend? All valid questions in today’s wedding world. Favors seem to be one of those minor details that can tend to give couples more than minor stress…but they don’t have to. Jen has a few ideas in mind, so I want to break them down into pros and cons to help make the decision easier.

Charity donations-

Jen wants to make a donation in her guests’ honor to savetheelephants.com. Sound silly? Maybe. But I love it. And I love it merely on principle. I love being able to take something that is characteristically materialistic (i.e. wedding favors) and turning it into something better…any opportunity we get to give to worthy causes, yes, yes, and YES. 🙂 If you want to make a donation, I suggest picking something meaningful to you as a couple. Have you both volunteered your time with Habitat for Humanity? Did you adopt a kitten or a puppy at your local shelter? Something that is meaningful to you will also be meaningful for your guests. Added bonus: You are in COMPLETE CONTROL over the cost. Want to donate $300? $500? That’s exactly how much you’ll spend. There will be no surprise costs that are easily found in providing wedding favors, like shipping, packaging, etc. And that is a beautiful thing.

Candy buffet-

I love candy buffets simply because they involve candy. ha. Candy buffets are always a big hit at the party, but they are also usually a big hit on the budget. Glass jars or canisters can get pretty spendy. And fancy cookies, truffles, and candies can certainly run up the bill fast. But YOU CAN DO IT CHEAPER. Find cool bowls and jars at places like Goodwill. Or check out the marketplace on weddingbee.com. Tons of brides go there to sell stuff they bought for their wedding and can’t use anymore. Their loss is your gain! And remember that the candy is going to be EATEN. While those expensive ribbon candies that were made to match your colors and the M&Ms stamped with your monogram look extremely pretty, they will be gone before you can say, “Look how pretty my candy buffet is.”

Make cookies! Include yours and your groom’s favorite candies growing up…or candies you like to share together now. Again, the more personal you make it, the more meaningful it will be to your guests. It won’t just be a pretty candy buffet, it will be an extension of you as a couple. Plus, you don’t want to take any attention away from your fabulous cake, right? 😉

Mix CD’s-

Custom mix CD’s are a relatively inexpensive way to share a little bit of your personalities with your guests. You can put “your song” on them, the song you’re walking down the aisle to, the songs you sing to each other in the car, songs that tell your story, etc. The con? not everyone is going to love the songs you love and that CD may make a better coaster than anything else. But that’s not the point. They’re songs the two of you love and songs that represent you. Maybe include a “reference sheet” with the CD, explaining what each song means to you.

Photo Booth-

Photo booths are awesome. They add another element to the party and give your guests a great memento to take home and remind them of how much fun they had on your big day. they can act as wedding entertainment, favors, and a unique guest book (have the booth print 2 copies…one for your guests, one for you to keep in an album). The only problem? Financially, photo booths are hard to justify as they can run you $1000 and up to rent. If you can compensate that cost over several elements, like the guest book and favors, it might be worth it. But definitely sit down and decide how important an element of this cost means to you. Gotta have it? Cut back in other areas, like photography. Since you’ll be swarmed with photo strips documenting you and your guests at your reception, maybe cut back on the photographer time at your reception. If you can swing the cost, a photo booth is guaranteed to be a big hit. 🙂

So what do you think? How did you give favors that were meaningful and on (under?) budget? Whatever Jen and her fiance choose, from saving the elephants to a photo booth extravaganza,  I have no doubt that they will be perfect…and perfectly inspired by them. 🙂

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Rustic, elegant, and understated describe this Greeneville, TN wedding for Tosha and Will. Featured on Style Me Pretty last month, this wedding is too cute not to share! From ring bearer pillows made out of their old love letters to their deliciously sweet dessert reception, this wedding has all the charm, and none of the fluff that usually runs up the bill. Take a look at some of their unique elements below!

Ring pillows out of love letters? Doesn't get much more romantic than that!

The couple saved gobs of money by tackling many DIY projects themselves, including this table assignment board, made out of plywood and painted with chalkboard paint.

The couple strung black and white photographs of all the couples in their lives, giving their decor a personal and sentimental touch.

Bouquets made out of garden roses (for Tosha) and baby's breath (for the bridesmaids) kept flower costs low. Flowers used on the tables were provided by Tosha's grandmother's garden. And how cute are those gray bridesmaids' dresses? They're even cuter knowing they snagged them for a deal at of all places, Target. 🙂

Tosha's gown was one of her biggest "splurges," though she found it through Bride Power, a company that searches for designer dress samples in stores across the country.

Opting for a dessert buffet instead of a fancy sit down dinner saved the couple tons of money. And who doesn't like dessert? The answer, no one. 🙂

For more pictures of this adorable wedding, head here.

Happy Planning! 🙂

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Some of the most common ways brides and grooms go over budget are things that a lot of people don’t even consider in the budget, but can result in you wondering, “where the [expletive] did all of our money go?!” These include things like hair and makeup (including trials! Some brides need multiple!), gym memberships to get yourself in bridal shape, spa treatments for your bridal party, etc.

Plan ahead by first including these items into your budget. After you’ve done that, sign up for groupon.com immediately. If you haven’t yet discovered this little gem, it is a site that offers amazing discounts on products and services in your city/town. Most popular offerings include theater tickets, classes (like yoga, pilates, art classes, etc.),  spa treatments, salon services, discounts on sporting events, bars, restaurants, boutique stores, gyms, concerts, and more! There is a new deal every day (yes, EVERY DAY!) and every time I receive the groupon e-mail, I think of how handy these deals would be for wedding planning.

%50 off a new bridal hairdo? Yes please! 40% a yoga class and facials for me and my bridal party? Oh yea. 60% off drinks and appetizers at a local hot spot for some pre-wedding libations? uh-huh! 45% off that gym membership I keep telling myself I’m going to get? Absolutely. And even $75 worth of goods for $35 at a local boutique store to get attendant’s gifts for my bridesmaids? Awesome! There are endless ways to utilize the deals offered through groupon for your wedding…and beyond!

So take advantage and sign up!! 🙂

Happy planning!

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I’ve got pie on the brain lately. After getting some seriously amazing pie supplies for Christmas and subsequently making not only a beautiful, but delicious (if I do say so myself) apple pie last week, it has become my new mini-obsession. And just my luck, this morning I found another great idea for pies to use as favors, or at your dessert table (remember the pie pops I raved about recently?).

For your pie pleasure today, I bring you Pie in a Jar!

I can’t get over how cute these are!! And surprisingly cost-effective! Buy mini mason jars in bulk (you can find a dozen for $8.49 here!), refrigerated pie dough (or make your own easy crust for event cheaper!), and filling (use fruits that are in season to spend the least), and you’ve got creations that are as fun to look at as they are to eat!

Find the whole tutorial at Best Bites here! The best part? You can make these babies way ahead of time and freeze them!! Talk about knocking stuff off the list early! 🙂

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Let’s be real. Your best girls will most likely never wear those bridesmaids dresses again…unless you get creative. Most bridesmaid dresses, though pretty, just scream “toss me the bouquet!!” and re-wearing them just isn’t an option. So I challenge you to scour the racks of the good old department stores and boutique-like chain stores for dresses that may not always be the cheaper option, but your BM’s are sure to shell out a few extra dollars for something that they not only feel more comfortable in, but will certainly wear over and over again. And you’re sure to have a beautifully unique bridal party look, worthy of your most important gals. Below are just a few that I’ve found on sale now!

Anthropologie. $89.95

White House Black Market. $158.00

White House Black Market. $168.00

J. Crew. More colors! $98.00

J. Crew. All colors on sale! $69.00-$99.00

Macy's. $99.00

So do your girls a favor, and find them bridesmaids dresses they’ll love to wear year-round, not just on your special day. 🙂

Happy planning!

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