Save Money, Stay Classy: Now That’s Inspired

May 24th, 2011

We’re always saying our brides-to-be are our biggest inspiration, and that’s not just lip service. Check out this brilliant idea that a bride buddy of ours cooked up recently to make everyone happy without busting her wedding budget.

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Ouch! The per-plate cost for your reception is what? We’ve heard as little as $25 and as much as $175 during the past year alone. Yet the bride and groom want everyone to go home happy (and full) after the big affair. What to do?

Recently a friend of ours tied the knot with this awesome idea (THANK YOU to Cherise for this money-saving tip that keeps things all class):

  • Invite a group of your closest relatives and friends to a pre-wedding dinner to take place just before the ceremony. The bride and groom should dress up, but not in their wedding attire. This group will obviously be much smaller than the total of your wedding ceremony and reception guests.
  • You will need two sets of invitations — one for the guests invited to the pre-wedding dinner and one for ceremony and reception only attendees. For this second group, note that hors d’ouvres and cocktails will be served for the reception. (Never say what you won’t have, say what you will have.) With this heads-up, this larger group of guests — those not invited to the pre-wedding dinner — will know to eat a meal before the ceremony if hors d’ouvres won’t fill them (although so far, we’ve never met a wedding guest who could out-eat the hors d’ouvres tray).
  • On the day of the ceremony, have the pre-wedding dinner. After the dinner, the bride and groom change into wedding attire and go to the ceremony. The pre-wedding dinner guests and the guests invited just to the ceremony and reception meet up at the wedding cite to enjoy the ceremony.
  • Have a gorgeous wedding and a fun, romantic, giddy and totally inspired reception that includes everyone, yet saves the comparatively high cost of a per-plate sit-down dinner. This way you’re letting those closest to you know just how special they are and you’re not excluding anyone.

Voila! You did it…and you and your honey can still afford the honeymoon. Thanks a million for the great idea, Cherise.

Spotlight On: Tropical Wedding Favors

May 12th, 2011

Is it hot in here or is it just your wedding reception decor? Here are our summer brides’ favorite favor picks. (Click images for details and purchasing info.)

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Murano Glass Collection starfish bottle stoppers. The dreamy colors and style of this bottle stopper favor bring to mind balmy and beautiful summers in Murano, the Italian island famed for centuries for its blown glass creations.

Our brides say: “Murano glass is a wedding tradition. Our guests absolutely loved these favors and the price was right.”

Pop the Top flip-flop bottle openers. These are going fast, so grab ‘em! Decorated in beachy blue, these flip flops do double duty as handy bottle openers.  Sooo cute.

Our brides say: “These favors were absolutely perfect for my (Orlando, FL) destination wedding. Cute and fun without the tacky factor you so often see in wedding favors. Good work, favorsbyserendipity.” (Why, thank you!)

Twist cupcake wrapper in Lemon. Delicious lemon-yellow is one of our brides’ favorite colors for this festive cupcake wrapper, particularly for a summer wedding in a tropical locale. Mmmm — lemon! (Click the pic for info on this and other color selections.)

Our brides say: “My wedding was very DIY and I wanted my mother, who is a professional baker, to make our wedding cupcakes. I loved the color and style of these wrappers with all the exotic drinks. Just perfect and very professional looking.”

“Seaside” bottle stopper. Our brides are bubbling over this gorgeous and elegant wedding favor. The glass stopper is filled with sand and miniature seashells for a quality keepsake item your guests will love.

Our brides say: “We had a beach wedding but it was very upscale. These bottle stoppers communicated those two ideas perfectly: sun and fun, with a touch of class. My fiance said these were really ‘us’ and he was right.”

Book Lovers Collection starfish book mark. Simple but exquisite, with delicate detailing, this silver book mark is making a big impression among tropical wedding favors. The book mark has a tassel at the top and comes in a pretty box.

Our brides say: “We got married near home, but we wanted a tropical paradise feel. These book marks are a great choice for a summer wedding. They make a thoughtful gift.”

Get Down, Get Funky: Is a DJ Right for You?

May 3rd, 2011

As our summer brides wrap up their wedding plans, we’re getting a lot of input about the music selections for the reception. We’ve discovered something interesting.

Despite the cliche of the “wedding singer” (a la Adam Sandler) grooving his way inappropriately and sometimes humorously through reception after reception, our respondents choose DJs just as frequently as live music.

On the other hand, maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise. There are definite perks to having a DJ man the music at your reception (though ultimately, it’s your choice). Here’s what to keep in mind when considering a DJ for your wedding:

1. Recorded music is more reliable…usually. Obviously, a CD is never going to be off key or forget verses. On the other hand, the DJ you select must have clean, current copies of the music you want. Bad equipment can also spoil the effect. Before you hire your DJ, have a listen during your interview with him or her. And make sure the samples are of the music type and genre you want at your reception — you never know which part of the DJ’s collection is overused or perhaps worse, never updated.

2. It’s all about personality. Does the DJ you’re interviewing seem personable without being cheesy? Does he have any recordings of his skills in action at a real wedding? A DJ needs to know when to speak up (“Now let’s get all the ladies out on the dance floor!”) and when to shut up (you definitely don’t want a babbler making a running commentary during your father-and-daughter dance).

3. His/her work ethic counts. No matter how fantastic a prospective DJ seems, if he doesn’t show up on time, takes down his equipment early or — probably worst case, here — cancels on engagements at the last minute, run! How do you find out your DJ’s professional style? Insist upon references, and make sure they’re recent. Don’t get a printout of testimonials. Ask for phone numbers and speak to the couples in person to get the real scoop. On average, our brides call between three and five references before hiring their DJ.

4. Don’t let hidden fees sneak up on you. Ask in advance of hiring what overtime and other fees may entail. Get this — and all topics you and the prospective DJ discuss — in writing.

5. Make sure the DJ knows your genre of choice. DJs often comment, albeit briefly (if they’re doing it right), on selections. If you’re a rock fan and the DJ loves country, it may not be a perfect fit. Ask questions about what artists/bands the DJ himself might select in the genre you’ve chosen. If he stumbles or generally doesn’t seem knowledgeable, move on.

A great DJ really makes your wedding reception sparkle, so choose carefully. Did you choose a DJ? Were you delighted? Disappointed? Or did you choose live music (or perhaps not have music at all)? Leave us a comment!