Wedding Planning: Let’s Get Down to Business

Way down the road into your happily ever after, you and your spouse will both look back at your wedding and reminisce – and not just about the big day, but also about all of the big moments leading up to it. So why not get this year started off with a bang of productivity in order to reduce last minute stress and allow yourself to enjoy every second?

Nail Down the Weekend-Of Logistics

You’ve already made major headway into planning – dress? Check. Honeymoon? Booked. Obviously, you tackled the fun stuff first. But now is the time to discuss the general flow of the day with your hubby-to-be. For example, deciding whether or not you’d like to do a first look or not may seriously impact the day’s timeline, and could mean you need fewer (or more!) hours for the limo rental and photographer. Will you have a lot of out of town guests? If so, keep in mind that for some venues, securing a block of hotel rooms nearby can be surprisingly difficult, so make sure to get on top of that pronto.

Start a Journal (if you haven’t already!)

With every decision comes ten more nitty-gritty details too. Feel like you’re forgetting everything? Find a small journal or notepad you can carry around in your purse for the next few months. That way, when you’re out for drinks with a girlfriend and the perfect phrase for your bachelorette t-shirts strikes, you can jot it down. You can also keep important dates and vendor phone numbers all in one place without having to dig four months back into your email’s inbox. Check out this Kate Spade bride2be notebook – it’s absolutely adorable, and you won’t believe how cheap it is!

Figure Out Your Money Sitch Now

Do chardonnay and a calculator go together? They do now. Grab both, and set aside a few hours to really wrap your head around all of your wedding expenses. Getting on top of your finances early is so important. For example, knowing that you’re going to have to pay both the photographer’s deposit AND the balance of your dress in the same week could save you lots of stress when it comes down to crunch time. This Wedding Cost Estimator can be a really helpful tool – and eye-opening if you’re still in the early stages of planning.

Of course, weddings are insanely expensive (especially if you and the fiancé are paying for most of it yourselves), but make sure you can stomach the amount you’re charging on your credit card. Otherwise, maybe consider rolling back a few add-ons. Meaning, do you really need the “ultra-deluxe lighting package” from the DJ when your venue is already stunning on its own? Also, vendors that let you order samples before shelling out any major cash are a huge plus. You can order a variety of free samples of Save the Dates and Invitations from Exclusively Weddings here.

Checklists, Calendars and More Checklists

Now, we don’t want to steal the spotlight from your big day, but chances are that you probably have *at least* one or two other weddings this year to attend besides your own. That’s a few weekends that you can kiss goodbye to using for planning your own wedding, especially if you’re involved in throwing the bridal shower or attending the bachelorette too. Did your wedding just get once month closer in terms of planning? Don’t freak out! You’re going to accomplish SO much during the next few weeks, remember?

Our tips:

  • As long as you set mini-milestones for each month, you’ll totally be fine and motivated to keep making progress
  • Post a calendar just for wedding planning on your fridge as a visual reminder you’ll see every day in order to stay on top or your tasks
  • Don’t leave anything you can do ahead of time for the 30 days leading up to your wedding. Stuffing welcome bags for hotel guests? Addressing envelopes for invitations? Who cares if the wedding is still eight months away, get that stuff done now! That way, when your dress finally comes in and you need (surprise!) three extra fittings and more alterations than you expected (hey, just being realistic here), you’ll be glad to have all of the easy minutiae done with way ahead of time

Still feeling overwhelmed? Get our free wedding countdown planner checklist here to help keep you on track.

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30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 8

In this week’s post in our series, 30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 8, I will share three more money-saving tips: Choose a Location That is Free, Have a Signature Cocktail Instead of an Open Bar, and Get Wedding Help From Your Close Friends.

Backyard weddingThe location for your wedding and reception can end up being a large part of your wedding budget. For example, if you have your reception in a ballroom or hall you will likely be obligated to buy their “package” that would include food, beverages, etc.

You can save quite a bit of money if you have your reception at a location that is free, so that you can choose your own vendors. Read More . . .

Easy DIY Wedding Reception Centerpieces

DIY Wedding CenterpiecesIf you are planning your wedding you are probably seeing the total cost add up … and up! One way to stretch your wedding dollars is to use DIY wedding reception centerpieces.

In this post we’ll focus on the ways you can incorporate glass bottles in to your DIY centerpiece. There are lots of other DIY possibilities as well, which we will cover in future blog posts. In the meantime, check out our DIY Centerpiece Pinterest board which has over 100 photos of ideas and inspiration.  DIY Centerpieces on Pinterest

The price of the bottles can range from a couple dollars each to free! You can use soft drink bottles, beer bottles, wine bottles and “dress” them up to look great. We suggest mixing free bottles with a few purchased ones.

And you can mix cuttings from bushes in with your cut flowers to stretch their effect.

One way to create centerpieces with a square shape is to use small jars or bottles and tie them together with ribbon, twine, yarn, etc. and fill them with cut flowers in your wedding colors. DIY Centerpieces - Yellow
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DIY Centerpiece with 6 Bottles
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Another idea for a DIY centerpiece is to use a variety of bottles and fill  each with a single flower. This works especially well for long, rectangular-shaped tables.

You can use a variety of bottle colors or shades of a single color for impact.
DIY Centerpieces for Rectangular Table
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DIY Centerpieces for Long Table
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Another option, besides adding flowers to a simple bottle, is to decorate the bottles. You can use colored glass “pebbles” to add a pop of color in the water and/or add decorative paper, ribbon or yarn.
DIY Centerpieces - Using Colored Glass
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DIY Centerpieces - Decorate Mason Jars
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DIY Centerpieces - Bottle Decorated with Yarn
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The bottles can also be spray painted or dipped in paint to coordinate with weddings that are using either silver or gold as an accent.DIY Centerpieces - Bottles Dipped in Paint
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DIY Centerpieces - Painted Bottles
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And for winter weddings you can give the bottles a wintery look as shown below. See photo source below for instructions on how to accomplish this look. DIY Centerpieces - Winter
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