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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.

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Tea can be more than just a beverage; it can be your bridal shower theme.  Serve hot water and a variety of tea bags (make sure you have at least one decaffeinated variety).  Offer tea enhancers like candied ginger, lemon, honey, decorated sugar cubes,  cream and warm milk.  The menu can include small ham sandwiches, raisin scones, cinnamon cream cheese on sweet nut bread, and macaroons.  For an afternoon tea, only a spoon is required so plan your menu so that a knife and fork is not required.

Decorate with china tea cups.  Include the guests in the theme by asking them to wear hats. Finally, start a new tradition, and give the bride a special tea-cup and saucer to commemorate the event.  My friend gives a tea-cup for every life event.  I have a curio shelf full of memories now.

Want to add some punch to the party?  This Charleston Tea Punch serves 12.

1 cup brandy
lemons  (thinly sliced)
12 cup pineapple (sliced fresh)
1 cup green tea (brewed)
3/4  cup  sugar
12 cup dark rum
14 cup peach schnapps
2 cups sparkling water (chilled)
750 mls champagne (chilled)
1 Combine brandy and lemons in a large bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature 24 hours.
2 Add pineapple to brandy mixture. Let stand 3 hours.
3 Combine brandy mixture, tea, and next 3 ingredients (through liqueur), stirring until sugar dissolves. Add sparkling water and Champagne, stirring gently until blended. Serve immediately.

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white fondant with black designMy cousin’s wedding this Saturday was fun and modern with a black and white theme. The simplicity of the black and white kept the scene focused on fun and not formality, especially when she added just the right amount = a small amount, of hot pink and lime green. Too much pink and green would have made the wedding feel more like a Sweet Sixteen birthday party. Instead most of the decor was white: chair covers, table cloths, linens, and lights. So as not to camouflage the bride, most tables had black cloths, which also made for a party atmosphere, as well as black bows on the chairs.
white chair cover with black bow

And most of the wedding party was in black. The bridesmaids wore black dresses and carried small bouquets of hot pink roses and lime green hypericum berries, while the men wore black tuxedos and cummerbunds with lime green ties and cymbidium orchids. Added bonus, a black cocktail dress for the mother-of-the bride was not only an easy, affordable find, but she’ll be able to wear it again and again. That’s right, don’t be afraid of wearing black to a wedding anymore. It’s not only trendy, it’s practical.

A bride could easily get lost amongst all the black and white, but that is ok for a girl who doesn’t enjoy being the center-of-attention. She still caught every one’s eye as she sparkled in a white beaded gown with a large bouquet filled with white roses, hot pink roses, lime green hypericum berries, and cymbidium orchids. Her bouquet brought the entire wedding party’s ensembles together.

white round table cloth with 12 inch wide damask runner over center

Simple, modern, and elegant

Adding a deeper level to the black and white theme, my cousin used damask on the invitations, programs, table runners, cake and flower girls’ dresses.  The Damask created a fresh, trendy yet elegant vibe, perfect for a dinner/dance reception.

flower girl black and white dress

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