Bridal Bargains

1. Have a budget.  A budget will force you to prioritize.  If having a great photographer is important to you, but your cake doesn’t matter, then spend your money accordingly.  It will help you plan ahead without going overboard.  Everything seems important in the moment and advertisers play on our emotions to make us feel like we deserve it all on this day.  We DO deserve a special day, but no one deserves to be in debt.

2.  When you were a girl, you may have dreamed about your husband, your dress, your flowers, but did you ever dream about your calendar date?  Didn’t think so.  A venue on a Friday night can be $1,000 less than Saturday.  Any month but June can also be less, and not just for your venue.  Other vendors follow the rule of supply and demand.  Since demand is up in June, florists, bakers, and photographers may charge more also.

3.  Location, location, location.  Besides the day of week and month of your wedding, you can also save money by choosing the right location.  If you can find a venue that allows you to choose your own vendors, you will be able to save money.  Try nonprofit venues, such as churches, parks, and museums.  You’ll save money and feel better that at least the money you are spending will be going to a good cause.

4.  Think about the time of day you want your wedding.  It would be poor taste to have a 6 pm wedding and not serve dinner, but a 2 pm wedding could serve light hor dourves and be splendid.  Also, a cocktail hour would not be necessary for an afternoon affair.

5.  Try cupcakes instead of cake.  Not only are they adorable and trendy, cupcakes are $2 a piece compared to a tiered cake that can be up to $10 a slice.  Want that traditional cutting of the cake ceremony?  I found that Food Lion offered simple yet beautiful wedding cakes that you could use as the top layer.  They only come in buttercream not fondant, but really, buttercream tastes better anyway. 

6.  Wedding dresses are only worn once.  You can wear a Vera Wang gown that costs $9,000 or a Vera Wang gown that has been worn once for $900.  http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com/dresses/by-designer/Vera-Wang-wedding-dresses.html

7.  Ask the photographer if you are able to buy the CD of all images.  For me, buying the CD and printing my own images was cheaper than ordering an album and prints.

8. Flowers can be ordered from on-line florists who work in bulk to save you money.  The choices are limited, and you must designate a volunteer to be in charge of delivery, but they are a way to save money.  Here is the package I like for a wedding party of 6.  http://www.fiftyflowers.com/product/collections/Alluring-Peruvian-Lily-Wedding-Flowers-Box-~-20-Package-_24214.htm

9.  I do recommend hiring a professional DJ.  A DJ provides atmosphere music and entertainment but furthermore acts as MC of the event and helps everything run smoothly.

Overall, just remember that money does not buy happiness and that your wedding is about a covenant between your spouse, yourself, and God.  It is not about spending money to impress other people.


Blue birds, Love birds

An outdoor affair, love in the air.  What better theme for a garden reception than blue birds.  These save the date cards can double as an invite for a less formal soiree.  Seersucker suits for the men and seersucker table runners for the sweetheart, cake, and gift table at $25 a piece.  Shepherd’s hooks line driveways or aisles with blue hydrangea balls.  Blueberry Hill cupcakes serve as a visual point of interest and a sweet treat.  For a day time wedding, hang bird cages with yellow flowers in trees rather than lights and use a bird-cage as a place to keep guests’ cards.  Accent your tent with paper laterns in blue, white and an accent color.  Yellow looks great outdoors for a pop of color or lime green keeps the pallet in tune with the plants and sky of your venue a la Mother Nature.


Blue flower ball























































Your invitation is the first impression of your wedding.  It sets the tone and communicates more than just the who, what, when, and where of the event.  It communicates the style and the formality.  If you expect your guests to wear suits and cocktail dresses, then you cannot send flat copy paper invitations.  On the other hand, if you expect your guests to arrive in flip flops, you can’t send handmade paper with pearlized envelopes, calligraphy and tassels.  Just as choosing the right dress for the right occasion involves choosing appropriate fabric, you must consider the material used as well as the construction of the piece.  The sturdier, more ornate, shinier, more customized parts of the invitation, the more formal the affair.  The flimsier, the simpler, and generic, the more casual the event.  You can have beautiful in either style.  My point is just that the style of your invitation must match the style of your wedding.  Also, guests may use your invitation colors to personalize your gift, so use your wedding colors and make sure you like your wedding colors.

And, PLEASE do not mention gifts in your invitation.  It is against proper etiquette.  Where you are registered can be placed in the shower invitation because you and your parents are not hosting the shower.  Also because it is a removed hostess, and because the point of a shower is to rain down gifts upon the bride, it is acceptable for showers in most circles.  But it is never acceptable for the wedding.  It makes it seem as though you are only inviting them for the gift and not as honored guests of your most special day.

There are plenty of DIY kits available.  Check to see that your printer is compatible and buy a few extra than you actually need for mistakes.  Plan for plenty of time as printers and software seem to work great when it’s not important and seem to stop working correctly when you really need them to.  I would suggest plan on 3 hours to set-up and print for 50 invitations.   As for design, use the eyedropper tool on InDesign or Photoshop to select a color from a picture, such as a picture of your bridesmaids dresses, and voila, your custom color comes to your invitation.  Use dark color font on light color paper for easiest legibility.  Use up to 3 fonts and up to 3 colors but I suggest no more.

Include an RSVP card with self addressed  prestamped envelope in your DIY invitations.  The post office could use your support and it’s so fun to collect the cards over the following weeks.  You can create custom stamps with your photo.  Send your invitations at least 6 weeks in advance and allow 2 weeks before requesting your RSVP back.  People travel or must make arrangements to attend your wedding.  I received one invitation on my return from vacation and the deadline for the RSVP had already passed.  That’s just annoying.  The cards will also help you keep track of your attending guest list.

If your event is casual and all of your guests have e-mail, consider using Paperless Post.  The website has formal and classy casual invitations sent in virtual envelopes.  Very pretty and very green.  Check out paperlesspost.com to peruse their collection.  You must pay for each “coin”, but prices are very reasonable considering the cost of the paper option.  Plus, Paperless Post allows you to keep track of RSVP’s right on the site.

paperless invite that has virtual sheen


Moon and Lola necklaces

Get the Raleigh sensation that is sweeping the nation as a personalized wedding party gift for your bridesmaids, mother, mother-in-law or any woman on your gift list this spring.  Moon and Lola is a Raleigh designer that was featured in Real Simple last month.  You can order her acrylic monogram necklaces on her website or go to Charlotte’s in Cameron Village or North Hills to see the colors and fonts for yourself.

Charlotte's Cameron Village February 23 5-7

Macaroons in the Triangle?

The variety of flavors and colors means you can personalize for your taste and wedding colors.

Heregehty Patisserie in Raleigh on Glenwood inside the beltline and A Southern Season in Chapel Hill are 2 of the few places in the triangle to get fresh macaroons. At miette.com you can order a box of 6 vanilla or chocolate Parisian macarons. Their lavender and lemon shortbread cookies caught my eye too.  If you’re handy in the kitchen, you can make them yourself, and freeze for up to 3 months.  Check out this recipe http://www.dimasharif.com/2011/05/macaroons.html.

Tree Centerpieces

Orchids placed between branches

Silver spray painted branches in very tall glass table top vase

My very good friend Alicia planned these for her spectacular wedding.  Several of you are looking for DIY tree centerpieces pictures, well here you go.  You’re welcome.