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There’s no such thing as a dumb question...

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How many of you have heard this before?  We all have classroom memories of that kid who’d say, “That was so DUMB!” usually after a well-meaning student asked his teacher a question.  Well, when it comes to planning - and paying for - your wedding, there are no dumb questions!  When conducting business with potential vendors, ASKING IS KEY! 

Today, Jeffrey Brown of JaiLynn Events is hooking our readers up with critical topics to hit before you book a wedding professional or venue! If you have already booked vendors, make sure you know their answers to relevant items on this list.

Jeffrey Brown:

“When shopping for vendors, ask questions - no matter how silly they may seem.

    • - Get everything in writing - EVERYTHING!
    • - Know cancellation and postponement policies.
    • - What are the fees if changes are made after the initial contract is drawn?
    • - What are delivery and set-up charges (if applicable)?
    • - Know guidelines for returning rental items.
    • - Get primary contacts from each vendor, and try to always use those people.
    • - Discuss alternate ideas and less expensive alternatives (if possible).
    • - Confirm deposit amounts, payment options, and the date final payment is due."

Posing these questions will help you avoid potential hiccups and lead you to some very practical, educated decisions, so ask, ask, ask! 

Until next time... Happy planning!

P.S. Thanks, Jeff!  

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How to Make Swagalicious, Affordable Candy Buffets - Part I

We are just days away from exhibiting at the TRose Bridal Show in Washington, DC and can't wait.  (Read further to find out how to get your free ticket).  Like anyone, we LOVE free stuff, so we knew we just had to give away something fun to show attendees.  We'll be giving one lucky bride a free deluxe wedding website subscription, but we're also giving something even sweeter... candy!

Candy buffets are all the rage; they're fun, fabulous, and, when done right, can be quite the affordable favor! Never wanting to leave a moment void of enrichment, we're going a step further with our color-themed candy buffet by sharing tips on how to make one on a budget.  We’ll do this over the course of a two-part series, starting with the hunt for inspired ingredients and culminating with the finished product.

1) Get Inspired!

I’m one who feeds on great ideas.  Sometimes, all I need is a jump start.  To get going, I got my color scheme solidified.  Then, I started my search on Candy Galaxy and Candy Warehouse (two VERY affordable sources for candy of different colors, types, and eras) for candies and designs with the color scheme I had in mind.  This helped me to 1) save money and drive + search time, 2) know what shapes and heights of containers I’d hunt for, and 3) get a feel for the layout of design I liked most.  I love Pinterest and have found great inspiration there as well.

2) Go Treasure Hunting

While this part took a little time on afternoon, I must admit, I had fun going treasure hunting.  Goodwill is a great place to begin your hunt for bargains. I went to my local Goodwill Store and found most of these containers - none of which were more than $3!  A couple of these gems came from my home.  After thoroughly cleaning with good ol' soap and hot H20, I dried and covered to put them away for the sweet stuff later.

      

Note: You can go clear with your containers and create a winning finish, or think outside the box. Perhaps, you’ll find a transparent vase or a fitting design or quote to put around your displayed pieces. Try to incorporate unique, theme-worthy pieces. I found this Turkish-made, food-safe gem (on the left below) at HomeGoods - one of my guilty pleasures - for a stunning $3.99!

      

3) Get the Goods & Adornments

The hardest part about buying the candy was keeping it from my husband and children.  For some of you, it may be keeping it from yourself! *smile*  Honestly, it was quite easy finding colors needed from places like the dollar store, Wal-Mart, and Candy Warehouse.  Make sure not to leave any shipped meltable candies in the sun during the hotter months!  Most of these wholesale candy-type distributors conveniently allow you to order ice packs for melt-prohibitive shipping.  Furthermore, such sites also give help to determine how much candy to buy for the amount of guests at your event.

You'll need more than just treats and containers for a swagalicious buffet!  Consider this your Ultimate Candy Buffet Checklist

- Candy and/or other treats (consider candied nuts, covered pretzels, or something favored by the Guest of Honor)
- Containers
- Risers (clear or a complementary color) - a needed addition for glam and depth if your containers are not varying heights!
- Clear scoops or tongs (depending on the size and shape of candy, you may need one or both)
- Treat bags and ties
- Table cloth
- Adornments (this will vary, but some may include: table runner, adhesive diamond accents, ribbon, printable stickers with monogram,    logo, treat name, or ”Thank You”)
- Printed monogram (for the Bride & Groom/Guest of Honor) or logo (for an organization)
- Beverage napkins
- Frames (for monograms, pictures, quotes, promotion - anything fun and relevant to your affair)
- Hand sanitizer (If you’re a germaphobe like yours truly, this is a must-have for buffet-goers. You may want to pour sanitizer into a cool, reusable pump like the one shown here for extra flair). 
- Scissors
- Craft Glue

     

Swag Tip:  Enhance your “pop” appeal with color blocking, patterns, or another trending style your Guest of Honor will love!

Check back next week as we unveil the final touches in Part II of creating budget-savvy, Swagalicious Candy Buffets!  If you’re in the DC area this weekend, please visit Team Get Wed for Less at our booth at the TRose Bridal Show - we’d LOVE to meet and treat you!  Get your free ticket to the show here with code "GetWedforLess". 

Happy Planning!

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Top 5 Links for Wedding Day Kinks

Photo credit: Outlish.com

Photo credit: Outlish Magazine

I agree - NOT  a good look! I think her aggravation came from unaccounted wedding day woes! It's my mission today to help you avoid looking anywhere in the vicinity of this on your special day. 

We recently polled our friends on our Facebook page and asked what they'd guess to be a bride's biggest wedding day fear. Interestingly, the biggest fear most brides share is not fitting into their dress! While this hiccup doesn't have an instantaneous solution (turnaround time is needed for proper alterations), I can provide you a wealth of helpful tricks to solve other wedding day mishaps in a jiffy!

Here's a round-up of our Top 5 Links for Wedding Day Kinks!

1) Wedding Dress Stains: How To Treat Emergency Wedding Dress Stains by Mary Marlowe Leverette, Laundry Superheroine

Yes, laundry experts exist! *smile*  Remember your mom's good ol' Help from Heloise books?

2) Pesky Pimples: 27 Quick and Crunchy Home Remedies for Pimples by Leslie Martin, Editor & Beauty Savant

3) Unexpected Guests: How to Deal with Wedding Crashers by Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, Writer & Editor

This is where the help of a skilled wedding planner or coordinator comes in handy! They are enlisted to do the dirty work and aren't afraid to be the "bad cop."

4) But You Promised!: When a Vendor is a No-Show by Nina Callaway, Event Planner

One of the scariest wedding day mishaps! I can relate.  The wedding party driver decided to flake the morning of a wedding I was coordinating. All was set, confirmed, signed, sealed, and, well, almost delivered. While all eventually worked out, it can still be a major stress-inducer. Here are some additional helpful tips for other missing vendor snafus not mentioned in Nina's article:

- Wedding Cake 911: Have your wedding or venue coordinator or an über reliable friend/family member attending the wedding save the day by running to the closest bakery to buy cupcakes, a small cutting cake, and a cake tier to display at the reception. 

- DJ 911: Grab an iPod, iPhone, or Droid (that's preloaded with reception and ceremony music) and dock it to speakers at your venue. Have a friend man it behind a table to remain inconspicuous!

- Limo/Transportation 911: You can book last-minute town car rentals (not a limo, but still a sweet ride for the bride and groom plus) through almost any rental agency. On weekends, airport-based car rental centers usually run around-the-clock. You can ask your planner or another über reliable to pick it up. If renting last-minute doesn't fit the bill and timing just won't work, check with a friend/family member who has a fitting vehicle to rescue you!  While the favor will be done out of kindness of heart, give 'em a nice tip anyway!

5) The Catch-All: The Ultimate Wedding Day Emergency Kit by Becca & Megan of Social Graces, Event Planners

Let's remember: The best defense is a good offense. The best cure is an ounce of prevention.  Before anything has the chance to go down, have your plan of action already prepared.  After all, the only thing we can expect is the unexpected itself! Surround yourself with problem-solvers who can help alleviate stress, try your best to remain calm, and carry on.

Until next time...

Happy Planning!

Photo credit: Weddings Illustrated

Do you have any other great tips and tricks on wedding day mishaps?  Have you encounter any of these hiccups at a wedding and want to give feedback?  Inquiring brides want to know! 

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Using Get Wed for Less to Find Your Dress

I have to confess. I’m not your typical bride-to-be. Rather than get all excited and giddy at wedding preparations, the thought of having to deal with all those details makes me break out in hives! Well, there is one detail of the whole wedding planning ordeal that gets me rather excited:  finding the perfect dress.

Get Wed for Less makes it easy that even someone as picky as yours truly can find the perfect vintage dress at one of the vendors in my backyard or online.  

Yes, you heard me correctly: I said vintage. I’m THAT bride. You know the one who doesn’t mind wearing a dress that someone has already donned. Consider it “something old”.  Vendors like J. Crew, for example, or Bhldn (a personal favorite) carry lovely vintage dresses - and lots of other styles - that hearken back to Gatsby-era days.

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Photo credit: J. Crew

For those who find the idea of wearing a used (no matter how gently) gown not so appealing, you can say yes to vintage STYLE dresses using our incomparable vendor directory.

Plus, with social media tools like Instagram and Pinterest, it’s even easier! You simply print out or screenshot your dress of choice and bring it to a vendor to see if they have anything similar with less mileage 

Whether you don’t mind thrifting or you prefer a newer dress, our guide is an indispensable source for you to find the dress made just for you!

Editor's Note: Still want more help getting started? Here are different types of gown styles, which should help as you embark on the quest for your dress. Use this 411 along with The Right Dress for Your Body blog post, and you'll be on your way!

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Photo credit: The Wedded Bliss

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The Right Dress for Your Body

Your wedding day is almost here! It's the day you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl. The scrapbooks you’ve made about the location, the food, the band, and the decorations can now all be put to use. You finally get to plan the wedding of your dreams. Of course, no wedding preparation would be complete without the search for the perfect wedding dress.

When you walk down that aisle, all eyes will be on you, so nothing short of perfection will do. I must warn you; this search will not be a walk in the park. You’ll probably have to try on dozens of dresses before you find “the one”, but when you do find it, you’ll know immediately. You’ll feel like that dress was made specifically for you. Just because the search may be difficult, it doesn’t mean you have to go in completely blind. Here are a few tips to make your journey a little bit smoother.

Step 1: Know your body shape. Are you an Apple, Pear, Hourglass, or Rectangle?

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Photo credit: www.msdianekennedy.wordpress.com

If you’re an Apple:

- You have broad shoulders, narrow hips, and slim legs.

- You’re also widest around your torso.

- Your abs and chest look larger compared to the rest of your body.

If you’re a Pear:

- You have a small bust, larger bum, and thicker thighs.

- Your hip measurement is greater than your bust measurement

If you’re an Hourglass:

- Your hip and bust measurements are practically equal in size.

- You have a narrow/defined waist.

- Your arms, chest, hips, and bum are larger compared to your waist.

If you’re a Rectangle:

- You’re straight up and down. There isn’t much variation in the measurements between your bust, waist, and hips.

 

Step 2: Once you’ve identified your shape, know which style of wedding dresses accentuates your best features.

Apples:

Look for…

V-neck and sweetheart necklines. They will draw attention upwards and away from your torso.

Empire waistlines and A-line silhouettes. High waistlines and skirts that flow away from your body will elongate you, making you look slimmer.

Knee or tea length dresses if you want to show off your slim legs.

Avoid…

Mermaid/Trumpet dresses. They’ll accentuate the widest part of you and flare at the slimmest.

Ballgowns. They won’t help elongate your body.

Straight across strapless necklines. They won’t accentuate your bust line.

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Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Pears:

Look for…

One shoulder, strapless, V-neck, bateau or scoop necklines. You’ll be able to balance out your shape by drawing attention to your upper body.

Ballgowns (maybe). With this, you’ll have to use your judgment. For some with hips that are just slightly wider than the shoulders, they can help disguise your larger bottom half. For those with hips that are more prominent, ballgowns can actually emphasize your hips and make them look even larger. I would encourage you to try it on and see how you feel about it.

A-line silhouettes. They’ll reduce attention from your bottom half because the skirt will flow away from your body.

Avoid…

Sheath dresses. They are too clingy for your body shape. You want dresses that flow away from your bottom half.

Mermaid/Trumpet dresses. They’ll put the attention on your bottom half and that’s what we want to put less emphasis on.

Halter or High necklines. They’ll create a disproportionate look on you because these necklines will make your hips appear larger than they are.

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Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Hourglasses:

Look for…

Sheath, Mermaid/Trumpet dresses. They will showcase your amazing curves perfectly.

Dresses that will accentuate your narrow waistline.

Avoid…

Empire waistlines. This high waistline won’t show off your narrow waist.

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Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Rectangles:

Look for…

Ballgowns. You can add curves with ballgowns because they’ll nip in your waist and the full skirt will flare and give the look of a fuller bottom.

Strapless, V-neck, or one shoulder necklines. These necklines will draw the attention towards your upper half and create the illusion of curves.

Empire waistlines. They’ll feature the smallest part of your torso to create a more defined waistline.

Avoid…

Halter or High necklines. They’ll make your shoulders look narrow and as result won’t flatter your waist.

Sheaths. They’ll make you look boxy.

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Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

I hope these tips will be helpful to you in your search for the perfect dress! I have no doubt you will make everyone’s (especially your future husband’s) jaw drop to the floor when they see you walk down that aisle.

Until the next shopping trip… lots of fashionable love,

Lisa

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Amelia Traver
Your wedding dress should be the most beautiful dress of all.
Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:08
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Wedding Day Makeup: Put Your Best Face Forward Walking the Aisle

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Photo credit: MNStudio

The one thing all brides have in common is the desire to look and feel beautiful on their special day; however, one thing brides usually lack when selecting their wedding day makeup is consideration of their personal style.

Countless times I’ve met with a bride-to-be for a trial makeup application and was asked for celebrity looks such as “Kim Kardashian’s smokey eyes” and “Charlize Theron’s glowing skin.” While these are enviable looks, we have to realize they work on those women because it meshes with their personality and everyday sense of normalcy. We all appreciate a woman getting out of her comfort zone and trying new looks, but your wedding day is not the day to try something new.

If you are an everyday-certified-transparent-lip-gloss girl then a Kardashian smokey eye will scare the living daylights out of you once you realize the amount of makeup that goes into executing that type of look. Makeup artists apply products with the photographs in mind, and unless you clearly communicate your personal style and makeup preferences you will walk away with a whole other face applied. When you present your reference photographs to your makeup artist, explain your personality and everyday style so the stylist can understand how much “glam” you’d be comfortable and happy with on your special day.

See Tomara in action at the Spring Cover Shoot for Beauty Etc: 

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Amelia Traver
Weddings are very important specially for the brides as they have to look their best during this time. So for that they have to ta... Read More
Friday, 24 January 2014 23:08
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How Much Does a Wedding Cost?

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The love of my life and I got married just outside of Atlanta, GA where the average couple shells out anywhere between $21,956 and $36,593 for a wedding (from The Wedding Report).  Paying the equivalent of a house down-payment was not on our agenda!  The total for our wedding (including our bling, a buffet-catered reception, a beautiful festival center venue, ceremony site, gifts, and all other associated costs) ran us just around $7,500.

According to The Wedding Report, the average US couple spends $26,000 for their wedding - sans honeymoon!  This nationwide average doesn’t take into account larger expenditures spent on wedding fêtes thrown by relatives of the bride or groom with much deeper pockets.  However, (this should set you free) knowing how much people spend on a wedding and knowing how much a wedding costs are two very different things.  Your dream day does not have to cost anywhere near that amount - even if you’re in the middle of a major city.  

The final tally of your wedding will depend on three key factors:

  1. Resources you have at your disposal
    • Work from first the standpoint of what you have available.  Such resources may include personal finances, highly reliable vendor connections, dependable friends who’ll contribute their time + talents, other-contributed funding, and online resources.
    • Cost-effective wedding websites can help greatly.  For instance, GetWedforLess.com allows brides and grooms to find top-rated vendors with the most competitive prices - saving time, money, and some stress.  The Budget Savvy Bride is a great resource with tons of inspiration.
  2. How flexible you are with your expectations and budget
    • Regarding flexibility on expectations:  
      • This is where making a list your negotiables and non-negotiables is crucial.   Are you flexible on the type of reception and vendors? Will the reception be “dry” or with alcohol?  In a decorated hall vs. pricey grandiose venue?  Will you have a simple cake or one decked out in sugar art?  Are you willing to order centerpieces, flowers, and other supplies online or in bulk?  Do you need a high-end cinematographer or can anyone with the skill to record and deliver raw footage suffice?
    • Regarding budget flexibility:  
      • There’s usually a difference between what couples have available to spend and how much of it they’re willing to part with.  Will you be willing to shift money budgeted for the reception in order to buy that dress you tried and instantly knew was “the one?”
  3. Your ability to say, “No”
    • Wedding costs have a way of getting out of hand when we have the “need to please” syndrome.  Unless one is a bridezilla, the last thing we want to do is offend people who are trying to help.  When suggestions are made that will inevitably increase costs, reply with a cordial, “If we had the money to spend on that, we’d consider it.  However, we don’t.”  Be OK with leaving it at that.

Lastly, here's a nifty tool we found online that allows your to customize your expected expenses:  Wedding Cost Estimator.  Try it out!

Until next time...

Happy Planning!

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I'm Engaged! Now What? - First Steps for Newly Engaged Couples

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CONGRATULATIONS!

As a wedding planner for some thirteen years, I'd recommend the first thing you and your fiancee do is determine is the type and size of the ceremony and reception you both desire and can afford.  A big mistake I see is assuming that the groom has no ideas.  Often the groom's input is not expected - or accepted.  Times have changed - more grooms are taking an active role in wedding planning.

Set a time to sit down and discuss these key preliminary items:

  1. The Timing:  How long of an engagement will you have?  When do you want to get married?
  2. The Budget:  What can you realistically afford -- without going into debt?  Note from the Editor:  Check back next week for step-by-step budget creation!
  3. The Tab:  Who is actually going to pay for what?  It's no longer considered to be the parents of the bride's sole responsibility; although, they do often contribute along with the groom's family.
  4. The List:  Who is really important to you that you must have as a part of your day?  Make a physical list of names. 
  5. The Must-Haves:  What are must-haves for your wedding day?  Are there specific flowers?  Perhaps a certain type of limousine?  Remember:  This day is all about you two!

After the financial aspect is agreed upon and your budget is set, it's time to meet with a wedding planner.  Of course, you can do much of the task on your own; however, most wedding planners often have connections for discounts on venues and many other vendors and can assure you of quality products and services.  Even more, keeping you as stress-free as possible is a top priority!  Honestly, while a wedding seems simple and easy to plan the details, coordination of vendors & TIMING is everything.

Keep in mind your "perfect day" is about your declaration of love and your expressions in front of those honored loved ones you desire to share the day with!

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An Ounce of Perspective Today is Worth Pounds (£'s) Tomorrow

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(Photo credit: Boogietek Photo+Cinema)

All is well in the world.  He finally popped the question as you've dreamed time and time again.  Except now, it's a reality.  You screamed the same ecstatic "YES!" as rehearsed so many times in your head.  It's time to start planning your "perfect day."

It's at this juncture, ladies, that we wrap our minds around what signifies "perfect" - for us.  If your diaries were anything like most Princess Brides, we somehow equated perfection with lots of existential things - the dress, the towering cake draped in elegance - maybe with "Mini Me's" of you and your beau atop, and a ceremony/reception site decked out to the max!  Sure, it's great to want all these things to add to your day, but their attainment will still put your definition far short of "perfect" and your hard-saved bank balance just short. 

What's really the point of the wedding? It's the celebration in which you marry your best friend, the day your two hearts commit before those most important to you, declaring hopes those hearts will beat in rhythm for life.  It's the day symbolizing your perfect love - accepting one another's quirks and imperfections, forsaking all others for the epic love of a lifetime!  At the end of the day, your pure love and respect for one another makes the day "perfect."  

Remember that when well-intentioned relatives and "experts" add in their two cents.  Remember that when you are tempted to splurge unnecessarily.  With a wedding still comes bills and the inevitable trade-off between having more for that one day or more for your future life with your love. 

Some practical steps?  Check back for some helpful "To Dos" to discuss with your betrothed!

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