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AlphaBride: The Next Big Thing in Affordable Weddings?

AlphaBride: The Next Big Thing in Affordable Weddings?

On our constant quest for all things fab, fun, and affordable, an ingenious disrupter by the name of Sterlin Barkley came to our local group of wedding professionals.  Sterlin is the founder of AlphaBride.com, an online company that is all about "redirecting the cost of love."  

Here's the quick list of highlights from why I think AlphaBride has great promise in the industry:

  1. Legit Need -- There is a solid niche in the weddings industry to offer event professionals alternative choices to advertising on overcrowded and convoluted websites or buying leads that largely go unanswered.  For example:  AlphaBride will allow enrolled vendors to receive notice when, say, a bride needs videography services.  That video vendor - and others included - can then decide what deal he is willing to offer the bride.  She not only sees his public company info + goods, but she also privately gets to sees the bottom line deal from that video pro.  
  2. Convenience -- Based on the prior highlight, the process should provide some sweet comparisons and convenience for the seeking couple.
  3. Smart -- With the current business model of AlphaBride.com, wedding professionals don't have to pay until they book a wedding. 
  4. Transparency -- Interested vendors will be able to see what discounts are being given by others, so it makes it simpler for them to determine at what rate they can throw their hat in for the intended wedding.  As the great Sherlock Holmes alluded, "The game is afoot!"

At the time of writing this blog post, AlphaBride is in beta mode.  For the non-geek-inclined, it means their tech product is in testing or sampling mode with its target audience.  Sterlin and his team are currently asking for wedding planners in the Atlanta area with interest in learning more to join them at the Atlanta Launch Party; simply email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line: "ABXO - Atlanta Launch Event."  Sterlin, we can't wait to see what comes next!  Keep us posted.  

Alrighty, Bargainistas, Beaus and Pros, please feel free to leave comments and let our crew know if you have any questions!  

Until next time... Happy planning!

Lauren

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GetWedForLess.com Produces Deal-liciously Haute Bridal Extravaganza on Sept 18th!

GetWedForLess.com Produces Deal-liciously Haute Bridal Extravaganza on Sept 18th!

Get Wed for Less is producing its third bridal extravaganza on Sunday, September 18th!  (Please keep reading to redeem special thank you gift below).

Metro Wedding Expo, a division of Get Wed For Less, is going down in less than a month at the illustrious Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park, from 12-4pm. You won't want to miss the incredible deals, FREE wedding dress giveaways courtesy of St. Anthony's Bridal, celebrity photographer photo opps, and fantastic bites and libations being dished out from the best of the best right in the DMV (that's DC, Maryland, and Northern VA for those who are not "urea"-conscious). 

We will welcome event savants and the host of the finest brides and grooms the DMV has to offer (yes, true words!)  There will be an abundance of local fave Creatives and Tastemakers to wow your socks off at #MWE (check out which local favorite wedding professionals are already confirmed to be in the house on Sept 18th here).  Get there early to catch the glam bridal gowns rocked during our Haute Runway Show -- sure to impress the most discerning of brides!  

As a special thank you for being a getwedforless.com subscriber, we would like to give you $10 off your ticket (that's almost free, friends!).  Redeem online through metroweddingexpo.com, click on Tickets, and enter promotional code GETWEDFORLESS. (You will find the place to enter your discount when you click on "Enter promotional code" directly under the ticket options).

Visit www.metroweddingexpo.com for additional event and exhibitor info (major exhibitor reveal specials are ending very soon and space is limited). It's not too late for your company to be in the spotlight! 

We hope you'll join us, and as always, Happy Planning!

Team GetWedForLess.com and the #MWE2016 Squad

 

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She's Got the Cake: An Interview on Wedding Cake Trends with Maria Velasco

She's Got the Cake: An Interview on Wedding Cake Trends with Maria Velasco

This week, I had opportunity to connect with Maria Velasco, the expert cake baker and designer and owner at Once Upon A Cake in Alpharetta, GA.  Satisfying sweet orders for decades, Maria has trained under the best in the industry and was a winning contestant in the North Georgia Cake Challenge. Maria speaks with us here about popular cake trends, the raging "naked cake," and how she got her start in baking.  

-- All photos are used courtesy of Once Upon A Cake.

GWFL:  How did you get started baking?

Maria:  Growing up, my mother never baked. I had a friend named Lisa, and I when I went over to her house, her grandmother was baking.  I found it so fascinating and just started baking!

GWFL:  Very cool.  Tell us, what are the most common trends in wedding cakes you're seeing these days? 

Maria:  Cupcake towers are very popular as well as rustic cakes like the "naked" wedding cake.  Burlap is big.  Brides are adding more color to their wedding cake.  One bride wanted yellow and grey on her cake.  Another wanted a purple cake.  When you add in color to the wedding cake, it adds that pop - it's phenomenal!  I just love that.

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GWFL:  What are the most common requests you get?

Maria:  A lot of brides are liking more intricate piping work on their cakes, like the Lambeth Method, which is a really intricate one.  Simple scrolls are not enough anymore.  Some brides go crazy and want like a science fiction cake or even an upside-down cake.  Anything goes now.

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GWFL:  That's very true - people are becoming less and less traditional.  Emily Post used to be the turn-to for most brides; now they want to go against the grain.

Maria:  Exactly!

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GWFL:  Naked cakes... they seem to be all the rage right now.  Professional bakers have been making them for quite some time, but this year, they seem to be taking off.  Tell our readers, what are "naked cakes" exactly and why do you think brides are loving them?

Maria:  Naked Cake is a rustic kind of country cake that doesn't have any icing on the outside.  There is filling between the layers, usually three or four layers in the cake and usually filled with butter cream.  It is decorated with fruit or flowers.  Not only is it great because it has less sugar, but in rustic settings, like a barn or woodsy venues, which is especially popular here in Georgia, it goes perfectly.  It's great for a country wedding and beautiful when topped with fruit or flowers.

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GWFL:  Do you have any suggestions on how to keep naked cakes fresh?

Maria:  After you bake it, wrap it up and leave it wrapped overnight to keep it moist. The cake is fresh because you fill it and decorate it the day of the wedding. 

GWFL:  Tell us about Once Upon A Cake's Naked Wedding Cake Giveaway.  How did you come up with it?  Do you need to be based in a certain area to enter the giveaway?

Maria:  Yes, wedding has to be based in Georgia.  We can up with it because we say it was a popular trend.  The cake is rustic, it's charming, and we wanted to give one away.  The details are on the site.  The bride with the most romantic story wins the cake. (Visit http://www.onceuponacake.net/contact-us.html to enter for your chance to win, Georgia brides and grooms).

GWFL:  How fitting that you're giving the cake away to the most romantic or fairy tale style wedding with the name "Once Upon A Cake!"

Maria:  Yeah! We're romantics over here!

GWFL:  I could tell when I met you and your husband years ago.  You could tell he loved his Maria!

Maria:  (Laughing) Yes.

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-- Connect with Maria >> You can email, call or text Maria at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (770) 654-9757.

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#BeatSolange Contest!

 
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Money-Saving Wedding Venue Tips - The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Savings

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You're engaged and checking around at the traditional venues in town.  You're most likely thinking, "Hmmm... can get a little expensive for a room." Sit back and give yourself a minute to think outside the box. There are many options available that might reflect your personal taste and style, cost less, and make a more memorable reception. 

Residential Communities

A lot of residential communities offer recreation/party rooms. In fact, I did a wedding reception in a apartment party room once in the Southwest Waterfront area of Washington, DC. The couple saved so much!  Let's start with their fee; it was just a few hundred dollars. The office included use of the attached kitchen, tables, and really beautiful chairs. To spruce it up a bit, I used white table cloths and went to the fabric store where I bought netting in three colors and used as overlays. I also used colored lights, made fat tulip bouquets for centerpieces, sprinkled contrasting colored petals around the rest of the table, and BAM! A few hundred dollars looked like thousands had been spent. It CAN be just that simple if the budget is really tight. 

Home Sweet Home

Also, consider a house/backyard reception - really! Don't rule out the option because you may be thinking it to be cheap or corny.  Even if not your own house, maybe a relative's or friend's whose backyard is spacious enough can be your wedding site. It does not have to be like in "Father of the Bride" (love the Steve Martin version). Think about it. What could be more personal and intimate? Dress it up by strategically placing floral designs, renting green plants, using simple, elegant dinnerware. These elements will truly transform the space when placed and coordinated just right.

Municipal and Community Treasures

Lastly, local fire house halls, VFW's, and similar type organizations often are available for rent - and are often diamonds in the rough. They can be easily transformed into beautiful settings. A lot of these venues have plenty of free parking for guests and often offer lower alcohol prices and extended hours. 

Faith-Based Buildings

If you are considering, perhaps, church halls, they now are not as strict as they once where. Some permit dancing and even a little wine and or bubbly. A word to the wise and something to consider: Be respectful as far as music at faith-based sites. While I love a little Trina and Two Chainz myself, church receptions won't be the right place for them; there are many acceptable alternate songs out there. (Smiling) Alcohol may be minimal - or nonexistent - here, but, WOW, your pockets would be a little heavier! (By the way, some of the best receptions I have done where ALCOHOL-FREE). Think creatively, think less is more, think it's your day, so it's all about creating something real that will last. 

Thinking outside the box can be challenging in finding your venue. However, it can create a meaningful, symbolic day no one will forget.

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Jeffrey Brown, JaiLynnEvents.com

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