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Everything You Need to Know About Buying Bridesmaid Dresses

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article by Ogunbowale A. Oluwatosin in

Some women have envisioned their precise wedding dress from a young age. The silhouette, the aesthetic, the designer. For others, this aspect has remained important but is a bit more flexible. If you fall into the latter camp and don't have your mindset on one of the high end designers but still want a gown that feels well crafted and unique, you may be left feeling stuck on where to go next. After all, not everyone has a budget upwards of $10K allocated simply to wardrobe. Thankfully, th...

Some women have envisioned their precise wedding dress from a young age. The silhouette, the aesthetic, the designer. For others, this aspect has remained important but is a bit more flexible. If you fall into the latter camp and don't have your mindset on one of the high end designers but still want a gown that feels well crafted and unique, you may be left feeling stuck on where to go next. After all, not everyone has a budget upwards of $10K allocated simply to wardrobe. Thankfully, this does not equate to a below par dress.

This body inclusive, sustainably minded brand is a brilliant choice for brides who want a wedding dress that's made to order and prioritizes the uniqueness of each bride. Ahead, our full review, from the backstory behind this modern bridal brand, to how it holds up to competitors, and a roundup of all their best dresses available right now.

As for their eco-friendly approach, bridesmaid dresses, wedding dresses, and mother-of-the-bride dresses are all cut to order. This model minimizes their carbon footprint because they don't have inventory sitting around that could potentially end up in a landfill. Any dresses that are returned are added to their at home try on program. They also donate dresses to the Princess Project at the end of each season, a non-profit that gives prom dresses to young women who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them. 

 

Finally, has modernized the bridal process by offering a try-at-home program where brides can pick up to three dresses to test drive at home. A model that's especially well-suited for a crisis, but also holds up beyond a stay at home order.

Discover 15 standout picks:

Lafayette Wedding Dress

If you're all-in for a bold, romantic moment, then this full-skirted gown is right up your alley. Finish off the look with a pretty barrette.

Lilith Wedding Dress


An off-the-shoulder neckline feels especially whimsical with long sleeves, which makes this option a strong pick. Leave your hair down and natural for a romantic finish.

Gelsey Wedding Dress


Getting hitched at the courthouse? This flirty frock is a fun choice that doesn't read over the top but still feels very memorable.

Antheia Wedding Dress


You can't go wrong with a sleek, simple strapless gown. This option, in particular, is especially elegant.

Dulce Amor Wedding Dress


Long sleeves and lace are a match made in bridal heaven. This gown will always feel in style.

Sedona Wedding Dress

If you're searching for a dress that translates to the dance floor, you've met your match. This bold gown offers volume, embellishment, and beautiful fabrics all in one.

Mira Wedding Dress


For the feminine, low-key bride, this timeless gown is a no-brainer. Add in a pair of shimmering earrings for good measure.

Marlin Wedding Dress


If you're a minimalist at heart, this pretty gown should pique your interest. A long veil doesn't hurt, either.

Yanelie Bridesmaid Dress


Any bridesmaid would feel confident and beautiful in this mint green dress. The ruching details and front slit offer a bold finish.

Ellia Bridesmaid Dress


At once timely and trendy, this ruffled frock is bridesmaid perfection in a dress. Wear with ankle-strap sandals and statement earrings.

Dory Bridesmaid

A sweetheart bodice and halter straps lend a modern finish to this romantic bridesmaid dress. Add in white flowers to finish.

Jane Bridesmaid Dress


Just a classic, universally flattering bridesmaid dress. what's not to love?

Leighton Bridesmaid Dress


Berry-hued bridesmaid dresses add warmth to your bridal photos. Plus, they work well all times of year.

Jinny Bridesmaid Dress


Ruffles and pleats galore! This bridesmaid dress is a total crowd pleaser.

Shanna Bridesmaid Dress


If you're having a black tie wedding, a burgundy hue is a fail proof choice. Plus, it looks gorgeous with a wide array of flowers.

 

By: Nicole Kliest
https://www.brides.com/azazie-review-5089631
 

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1 yr ago

The Complete Guide to Catering Your Own Wedding

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article by Ogunbowale A. Oluwatosin in

Weddings are becoming smaller than ever these days and as a result, we're seeing more and more couples take on the catering element themselves. Handling the food for a 250-person wedding on your own might be pretty crazy, but food for 10 people? That's fairly doable if you put a detailed plan together and set your expectations accordingly. Whether you're planning on cooking all the food yourself or coordinating directly with the food service team, here is a guide with everything you need t...

Weddings are becoming smaller than ever these days and as a result, we're seeing more and more couples take on the catering element themselves. Handling the food for a 250-person wedding on your own might be pretty crazy, but food for 10 people? That's fairly doable if you put a detailed plan together and set your expectations accordingly.

Whether you're planning on cooking all the food yourself or coordinating directly with the food service team, here is a guide with everything you need to know, from pros and cons to the cost. 

The Pros and Cons
Cait Goodman did all of the food for her Brooklyn celebration with her husband Nate, who works in the food industry. If I could do it again, I would have ordered a dessert from my favorite bakery or simplified.

Pros 
Catering your own wedding can be really fun and rewarding! It will definitely be memorable cooking with your family. Perhaps you cook family recipes; how special is that? Create a menu of foods that bring back childhood and fond memories.

It's a sign of love for your guests. Food is how we show love in my family so it felt really special to cater and serve our wedding dinner. To look my loved ones in the eye as I handed them a beautiful plate of food that I planned and prepared was the best experience. Totally worth all the effort.

Less risk in terms of COVID. When planning any event during these times, we have to be careful with the number of people we surround ourselves with. Catering your own wedding will help limit the number of people at your venue. Less staff and vendors mean less opportunity for exposure.
It is a cost effective option. If you plan and budget accordingly, you can save a lot of money on the food at your wedding think thousands of dollars!

Cons 
It's a lot of work. The stress (and amount of time and work) of catering your own wedding just might not be worth the amount of money you are saving. It's tons of work. Who wants to be working leading up to their wedding? You deserve to relax and enjoy every moment of your wedding!

Poor planning could lead to high food costs. If you don't plan accordingly, you might not end up saving much money at all. For example, if you buy all the ingredients at your local, high-end specialty food shop, you are going to pay more for the food costs than you would if you shopped in bulk. The same goes for dinnerware, glassware, serving utensils, and décor items. 

Professional vs. DIY Catering
Professional catering costs can vary quite a bit, as they are dependent upon a lot of different variables, such as the kind of food you are serving (high-cost items like caviar and lobster versus burgers and pizza), the number of people you are feeding, location, and the style of service (multi-course, plated meals, buffets, stations, family-style, etc.). Catering ranges on the spectrum. There is drop off catering, which can start at $50 per person, to full service catering, which includes food, beverage, and staff and can be upwards of $300 per person. 
Catering your own wedding can bring the cost down hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. [In terms of a] number range, it is really hard to say. It's like pricing out chicken: Chicken can be $5 or $25 (think free-range, organic, etc). There are so many variables. I am sure you can do something starting at $20 per person, but time is money and it will eat up your time.

Tips for Catering Your Wedding 
Put together a detailed timeline breaking down every detail, from when you will shop for the food to what time and day the cake is going in the oven. No matter what you do, pad in extra time because it's inevitable that hiccups will happen along the way. 

Plan both a food and drink menu.
Unless you are a professional chef, don't get too elaborate with the food and drink menu. Instead, stick to crowd-pleasing options that are easy to tackle, not crazy time-consuming, and preferably items you have prepared multiple times before. 

Plan a menu that's manageable a salad, a protein, a side dish, a starch, and a fun hors d'oeuvre or two. Divide and conquer the recipes. Homemade flatbreads are great for hors d'oeuvres. Set out a beautiful charcuterie board with bunches of grapes and gorgeous dried fruit for cocktail hour. For the protein, try braising short ribs because you really can't overcook or undercook them. For sides, roasted potatoes are great warm or room temperature. Try a veggie slaw or something pickled that doesn't get soggy after a long time.

Work backward on the recipes and plan out the prep.
As you do this, think about how you will be transporting the food (if you aren't cooking it at the venue), where you will cook the food, where you will store or chill the food if it needs it, all the utensils and supplies you will need if you're cooking it at the venue, etc. If you are traveling with the food, make sure to consider how each dish travels some items do much better than others Think: popular buffet items like salad, pasta, roasted or steamed vegetables, chicken, etc. We did a lot of prep before the dinner and completely overwhelmed our apartment sized fridge. Luckily, our neighbor helped us out by opening up her fridge!

Cook two days before the wedding.
Assign tasks to family members to make it fun and a group effort. Make sure everyone is aware of when they need to be there and briefed on your overall timeline to avoid any big delays. 

The wedding day should just be heating and serving. 
Don't forget to think about what temperature each dish needs to be served at, how you will keep the food warm, where you will reheat it if necessary, and the exact time each dish needs to start re-heating/chilling/sitting out at room temperature. 

Assign a few people to heat and serve the food.
If you're the bride or groom you do not want to be managing the food while enjoying your day. Plus, you're also going to want to assign people to help clear and clean-up after the meal is over or schedule a cleaning service to come in after the event. 

COVID-19 Precautions to Take
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, here are a few things to keep in mind if catering your own wedding:
Take everyone's temperature on the wedding day. For anyone handling the food or anything related to the wedding before then, take their temperature before they begin working. If it's over 100.4 F, kindly ask them to stay home and rest up instead. 

Only have a small group of people in charge of cooking. You don't need the entire wedding party or family involved. The fewer people you have touching everything, the better. 
Avoid buffets. You also want to avoid having guests get too close or touch the same utensils. Instead of a buffet or passed hors d'oeuvres, create a beautiful display table with individual portions of the appetizers and have a server (or a few) on hand who can manage the table. 

Hire extra servers. It will add to your costs, but adding in extra servers to handle drink orders particularly during cocktail hour will avoid a crowd congregating around the bar. 
Use single use utensils. To keep things as COVID-friendly as possible, use throw-away, individually packaged cutlery paper or plastic plates during the cocktail hour and dinner. Also, make sure you have hand sanitizer on every table. 

 

 

By: Kristin Tice Studeman
https://www.brides.com/how-to-cater-your-own-wedding-5085680

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1 yr ago

Everything You Need to Know About Throwing a Wedding Welcome Party

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A welcome party is a fun pre-wedding event that can take many forms. It serves as the initial opportunity to greet, and obviously welcome, guests for the wedding celebrations to follow.  I think of the welcome party as a 'wedding warmup. While the welcome festivities can replace a traditional rehearsal dinner or be added on to the end of one, it may also be its own distinct event, taking place on a different day entirely. For example, you might hold a rehearsal dinner for only family...

A welcome party is a fun pre-wedding event that can take many forms. It serves as the initial opportunity to greet, and obviously welcome, guests for the wedding celebrations to follow.  I think of the welcome party as a 'wedding warmup. While the welcome festivities can replace a traditional rehearsal dinner or be added on to the end of one, it may also be its own distinct event, taking place on a different day entirely. For example, you might hold a rehearsal dinner for only family and the bridal party on a Thursday night, with the welcome party following on Friday and the actual wedding taking place on Saturday. 

The event might be a chic, simple gathering with cocktails and/or dessert, or a more interactive affair. With so many options to mix-and-match, welcome parties have become a wedding itinerary mainstay.

Here, you'll find expert advice on how to incorporate a welcome party into your wedding weekend.
 

Welcome Party Etiquette:

Who Throws a Welcome Party?
Traditionally, the groom's family is responsible for the welcome party and/or rehearsal dinner before the wedding. However, full-weekend celebrations have become more popular resulting in families combining forces to host and celebrate the whole weekend as a united group.

When Do You Throw a Welcome Party?
Customarily, the welcome party takes place the date before the wedding. While they're usually evening events, many creative couples also opt for nontraditional gatherings like brunch kick-offs or luncheons. If you are having a separate rehearsal dinner, you will need to factor this into the timing. For destination weddings, this requires a bit more planning. The welcome party is intended to welcome everyone to your celebration. If you are planning a destination wedding, then you should schedule the welcome party for the day guests are set to arrive. Take into account all the travel details including hotel check-in and time zone changes so you can pad in some time for everyone to get settled and rest before the party.

Who Gets Invited to a Welcome Party?
Though there's no set rule to follow when deciding whom to invite, couples hosting a destination wedding where everyone will have to travel often choose to include the entire group as a warm gesture of gratitude. For hometown events, it's common to limit the guest list to out of towners. If you are a more low key couple, then invite your families and bridal party to an intimate dinner then move on to a bar or more lively location with friends and extended guests. You should choose a different location for the two so you don't have an awkward overlap should the dinner run long.

How Do You Share the Information With Guests?
This will depend on who gets a spot on that coveted guest list. If all of the wedding guests are also invited to the welcome party, the information can be included on the wedding website or as an insert within the invitation suite along with any other details pertaining to pre-wedding events. However, Landon advises sending separate invitations or event-card inserts if there will be a private dinner for some and a welcome party for others.

Should Food/Drinks Be Provided?
Food and beverages are customarily provided if the rehearsal dinner and welcome party overlap. However, Landon notes that it is acceptable to provide either food or drinks for a welcome event that is separate from a more intimate dinner with family and the wedding party. In this scenario, there is no obligation for the hosts to provide both.

Do You Need Décor for a Welcome Party?
Décor is an intrinsic element to any event and helps set the stage for what's to come, just as the welcome party sets the tone for the following wedding celebrations. The aesthetic is entirely up to you, whether you lean towards a mega-watt moment or err on the more casual side. I like to plan welcome parties in locations with a lot of character and play into the surroundings, especially if you and your guests have traveled to celebrate. The wedding is the place to really represent who you are as a couple. If you've chosen a destination, use the ambiance for greater impact.

Do People Give Toasts at a Welcome Party?
This is the perfect time to schedule any toasts that might be spilling over from other events like the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. If you come from a more modern family with parents who all want to speak, keep the parent toasts on the wedding day as they are likely hosting the celebration. And let friends control the welcome party. In regards to the order of the speeches, the rules of etiquette deem that the host speaks first.

Steps to Planning a Welcome Party:

Find Your Groove
The first step in planning a wedding welcome party is to find out what impression the couple wants to lead with for their guests. The direction may be dictated by cultural elements, what you love, hate, dream, etc. That's where we start. Make sure the welcome party represents who you are as a couple. It's the first introduction to the weekend and sets the tone for the celebration.

Create Your Guest List
Welcome parties are a great way for guests to meet and make friends before the wedding.  The welcome party serves the purpose of breaking the conversational ice so that the wedding day will feel more like a warm meeting of friends. Once you have a clear idea of how many people will be attending the welcome event, you can settle on a location that can accommodate that occupancy.

Mind the Details
Make a list of all the nitty-gritty details to keep yourself on task and on budget. The most commonly overlooked items for a welcome party are audio and visual, such as entertainment and/or microphones for toasts. If you are an intimate group of people, you likely do not need amplification. However, 50 plus people in a room make more noise than you might think plan for success, no one wants to miss the punchline.

Serve Food For Thought
The fare you offer guests and how you choose to present it will help set the vibe of the event.  If you are planning to invite all of the guests to the welcome party and make it a dinner, then do something different than the wedding. If the wedding is a formal plated dinner think about stations, family style, or a buffet for the welcome. If the welcome fête is following a rehearsal dinner, serve one bite hors d'oeuvres or sweets for a dessert reception and have them passed around on trays or arranged on an accessible buffet. In this situation, guests be informed that they should see to dinner options on their own and possibly suggest some restaurants. While making menu picks, keep in mind that the goal is for guests to easily mix and mingle. This is a great opportunity to have some fun and feature local cuisine or favored items that may have clashed with the aesthetic of the wedding itself.

Make It Multi-dimensional
Sure, a cocktail party can certainly suffice as the welcome event or you can kick things up a notch and incorporate an activity to get friends and family interacting with one another. From setting up boat rides on yachts to group excursions to cultural elements like a sangeet for Indian weddings or a Shabbat dinner for Jewish nuptials, the possibilities are endless. Fireworks  are  a classic trend making a comeback. It is also trending to incorporate exciting entertainment, such as a small, retro band playing covers of modern songs, or a food truck of your favorite desserts.

Word the Invites
Once you've planned the celebration, see to designing the invitations and inserts or finding the right wording for the wedding website. Use festive colors and creative verbiage to reflect any theme or activity. Also, make sure the invites convey to guests all they'll need to know to prepare for the cool events you've planned. Be as descriptive as you can, including clothing and footwear suggestions, area maps, and any phone numbers or websites that might be useful to guests when planning their time.

Have an Exit Strategy
While the welcome party will undoubtedly be an exciting kick-off event for the wedding festivities, remember that it's only the beginning of a very eventful schedule. Always have an exit strategy so you can get a good night's sleep before the wedding. Hair and makeup will be knocking on your door bright and early, and we want you to look and feel your best.

 


By: Michaela Garibaldi
https://www.brides.com/story/throw-a-welcome-party
 

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1 yr ago

We Thought We Had the Whole 'COVID-19 Wedding' All Figured Out-Now What?

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article by Ogunbowale A. Oluwatosin in

As someone who pushed her own wedding from May 2020 to June 2020, eloped, and now has the coldest of cold feet when it comes to picking a new 2021 date, my only wish is for a crystal ball that will tell me the day it becomes safe to host a ‘pre-pandemic-style’ wedding.  Knowing the possibility of that is about the same as throwing a party here in Los Angeles right now (hilariously impossible), I’ve decided to consult the next best thing: wisdom from some of the ind...

As someone who pushed her own wedding from May 2020 to June 2020, eloped, and now has the coldest of cold feet when it comes to picking a new 2021 date, my only wish is for a crystal ball that will tell me the day it becomes safe to host a ‘pre-pandemic-style’ wedding. 


Knowing the possibility of that is about the same as throwing a party here in Los Angeles right now (hilariously impossible), I’ve decided to consult the next best thing: wisdom from some of the industry’s most plugged in pros on the future of weddings, from when to how to the silver linings we can cling to while we await permission to gather again safely. 
Most are optimistic about being able to gather in some way by the end of 2021, and all have become quite creative in finding solutions for couples to continue to plan for a dream wedding, even if it requires a little more flexibility and patience than anticipated. Below, thoughts on everything we discussed from the stresses of picking a new date and finding a new dress to planning for future safety protocols that are still up in the air.

A New Date
Creative is optimistic that some level of group celebration will be possible in spring 2021.  With the announcements and success rates of vaccines and the recently approved at home rapid testing, we are definitely starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that we will start to see smaller outdoor celebrations as early as spring, with the hope that we'll start to return to the celebrations that we've come to know and love by late summer and early fall of 2021.
For destination weddings, though, the horizon may be a bit further out.  For destination and international weddings, a lot of our clients are postponing to 2022 for peace of mind. Other experts agree on fall or late 2021 as a reliable time to plan for a larger gathering and pushing destination weddings even further out. 

As far as picking a date with complete confidence, I think spring and summer of 2022 will be safe again. That said, there are so many unknown variables with this virus. Vaccines are leaving our summer 2021 very unknown.

The Guest List

Micro weddings are a welcome change and a wonderful way to celebrate with those who mean the most to you. It takes the pressure off of couples and allows them to really indulge in a dream wedding, whether it be the florals, venue, or dress, that they couldn’t have afforded if they had needed to host 150 guests. These intimate events feel extra special and meaningful.

The Dress
Not far from the top line logistics items is the question of the dress. If you already have one, do you wear it to the micro or hold it for the bigger shebang, or both? If you’re shopping now but don’t yet know what exactly the wedding will look like, how do you make this kind of commitment? 

Future Safety Protocols
One of the biggest unknowns that will realize as wedding parties become possible again will be how couples will navigate COVID-19 safety protocols.
These events may see the roll-out of overly cautious vendors, pre-ceremony rapid testing, clients asking guests to quarantine to protect elder guests, masks, and more so people can celebrate safely but continue to move forward with their lives. It means pre-vendor testing to keep our clients and their families safe. It means providing masks, sanitizing stations, to make sure that no stone is left unturned. It means proposing different approaches to food service for example, individual plated options vs. buffets or family style until things return to normal, and shifting table assignments and layouts to accommodate families and 'pods' that are staying or traveling together.

In addition to adjusting the number of guests, modify the guest experience to accommodate county advisories and guest comfort. Nobody knows what it will look like in July 2021, and at this point, I’m not worrying about anything yet. If the county tells us we need to have masks or sanitizer stations, then it is what it is. Honestly, I’m just going to leave any hard decisions up to our planner!

Silver Linings to Keep in Mind
Until the gathering restrictions become unnecessary due to public health recovery, there are some silver linings and general reminders to keep in mind.
As for keeping it all together amid the uncertainty, Podrat reminds those with planners to rely on them. We make suggestions based on what is safe for all. And if that means we postpone the date a million times (exaggeration, but close), then we do it with a calm vibe. The wedding will happen and it will still be the best day ever, no matter what the party becomes. The biggest change may be physical contact and limited dancing, but, honestly, the entire reception can be managed safely if you are smart and creative.
Remember that at the end of the day your marriage is about you and your spouse.  Whether you celebrate with 10 guests or 100, your love will always endure. I think moving forward, it’s really just about shifting mindset.

 

 

By: Margaux Lushing
https://www.brides.com/the-uncertainty-of-weddings-right-now-5095225

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1 yr ago

Micro Wedding Marathon: How Couples Can Say "I Do" With Stunning, Cost-Saving Celebrations & Everything You Need to Know About Planning the Menu for Your Mic...

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article by Ogunbowale A. Oluwatosin in

This past year, we've all seen couples downsize their large nuptials to host smaller affairs in light of the coronavirus crisis. But what about the couples who always wanted a micro wedding, regardless of a looming global pandemic? Now that these intimate gatherings have become mainstream, we're introducing you to another level of the trend: the micro wedding marathon. What's that, you ask? It's everything a real wedding has to offer, from the ...

This past year, we've all seen couples downsize their large nuptials to host smaller affairs in light of the coronavirus crisis. But what about the couples who always wanted a micro wedding, regardless of a looming global pandemic? Now that these intimate gatherings have become mainstream, we're introducing you to another level of the trend: the micro wedding marathon.

What's that, you ask? It's everything a real wedding has to offer, from the ceremony to the cake cutting, but with a few exceptions: The entire event lasts just 90 minutes and you share the venue and planning team with two other couples.

What is a Micro Wedding Marathon?

A micro wedding marathon includes all the traditional elements of a wedding from the ceremony to the cake cutting but is broken into abbreviated time slots so couples are able to share a venue, planning team, and wedding day.

Sure, it sounds a tad unconventional but "Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events in Dallas is already proving that it can also be a perfect alternative to traditional wedding planning, especially now." The idea of hosting multiple minimonies in one day actually came to the planner long before COVID-19 transformed the wedding industry!

"You're essentially sharing your wedding day but you have your own time. You're not crossing paths with the other couples that are getting married that day!"

Keep reading for all the details on how a micro wedding marathon works plus photos and advice from real couples who wed in socially distant, back to back weddings in October.

How Does It Work?

Something like this is just a good alternative because you're spending way less than you would have spent if you had to take on all those contracts yourself. You're essentially sharing your wedding day but you have your own time. You're not crossing paths with the other couples that are getting married that day.

With a wedding such as this, couples don't have an opportunity to agonize over tasks such as who to hire as a photographer and how to decorate the altar, but, based on the package promise, they can expect a high quality event. 

What Does the Wedding Day Look Like?

In the case of such a micro wedding marathon, the location, date, and guest count are set by the planner or whoever is hosting it. From there, couples can choose the time of their event. Each couple is permitted up to 30 guests with an option to add on an additional 15 guests.

Here's a breakdown of the 90-minute timeline:

  • 15-minute ceremony
  • 45-minute "mini-reception" with a first dance, Champagne toast, and cake.
  • Grand exit
  • 30-minute portrait session with your photographer

How Much Does it Cost and What's Included?

While the cost and package will depend on what the planner is offering, couples can consider the details of the wedding covered. And with costs for bigger budget items (like an epic floral arch!) split between couples, the bill means more bang for your buck.

To give you an idea:

  • Venue
  • Photography
  • Floral Design
  • Invitations
  • Planning & Design
  • Food & Drink
  • Licensed Officiant
  • Music
  • Surprise Details

Everything You Need to Know About Planning the Menu for Your Micro Wedding

For many couples, planning a wedding comes with an extensive guest list. But we all know that 2020 turned that concept on its head. Now, more and more couples are reimagining their weddings, with many opting for a micro wedding to tie the knot with those that are truly nearest and dearest to them. 

A micro wedding is designed to be an intimate affair, and typically that means there are no more than 50 guests on the list. But just because you’re going the micro route, it definitely doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the details. It might just be the opposite.

There’s no need to ditch your pretty floral designs or decked out tablescape, and you certainly don’t need to throw away your plans for enjoying a beautiful meal and celebrating with those you love the most. In fact, fewer guests may even mean more options! 

A micro wedding definitely doesn’t have to mean you’re settling for a micro menu, but there are a few key tips to keep in mind as you’re planning. Read on for everything you need to know about planning the menu for your micro wedding. 

Witch Up Cocktail Hour

One of the most popular times for mingling is during cocktail hour. For micro weddings, that tradition may be switched up a bit, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a practice of the past. People aren’t necessarily changing the style of the party they’re having. They’re being more thoughtful of the style of service and adapting to a new way of service.

According to Selden, continuing to pass hors d'oeuvres is still an option, especially for those who want a reception that’s a bit more casual, rather than a seated dinner. For that style of service, we’ve been doing mini appetizers that are individually plated and passed on large trays. They’re items that are easy to eat, with no knives required.

Items that are intentionally crafted to be left at room temperature have become very popular, as well as items that are one bite and can be served on a single dish or skewer. Consider things that are self contained, items such as an antipasto skewer, chicken skewers, and sesame chicken in wonton cups are all great options. 

If you plan to have your guests seated for your reception, consider ways to still incorporate creative appetizers. Switch things up with the concept of stations and individually plate the appetizers instead. If you want to do a raw bar or a charcuterie board, offer them in individual servings to prevent people from serving themselves from a large platter.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Over the Top

With fewer people on the guest list, chefs can play a bit more. Have fun with your menu! Talk to your caterer about ways to make your wedding day memorable. It may be that your chef has a signature dish that you'd never think of to offer at a wedding, and it could be something you love.

With fewer plates to prepare, it definitely means gourmet, top notch dishes are more attainable. “If food is a priority and something that you and your partner are passionate about, consider wowing your guests. A micro wedding also enables you to go for something totally untraditional. Consider serving a type of cuisine that's harder to do for a large scale guest count.

As you’re thinking of specialty menu items, tap into regional cuisines that you and your partner absolutely love, or even celebrate with a nod to the restaurant where you had your first date. At a recent rehearsal dinner, the bride even decided to serve fried chicken from her favorite fast food restaurant!

Don’t Totally Write-Off the Buffet

With a smaller group, a buffet-style menu is still a possibility. But it has to be done with the right setup. With plexiglass shields up, along with having the catering staff on the other side of the line for service, it’s definitely doable when all of your guests are close friends or family. For one wedding, we gave everyone their own set of serving pieces. That way you still see the visuals and get the look of having a full buffet.

To prevent crowding at a buffet, consider spreading out the stations around the venue, and create a strategy to call only a few guests up at a time. If you’re unable to do a buffet in a safe manner, given your venue or budget constraints, opting for a plated meal is, of course, a great choice from a food safety standpoint. 

Get Creative With Dessert 

Long gone are the days of a traditional, tiered white wedding cake being the only option for couples. And the list of options gets even longer with a micro wedding. 

If you do still want the traditional cutting of the cake, Parks suggests doing a little party trick. A lot of couples have been doing a larger faux cake to cut the cake.

Keep the Bar, but Play It Safe

Just because your guest count is lower, it certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t a party to be had. But because micro weddings are typically being hosted due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19, there are a few things to keep in mind to be sure you’re playing it safe with bar service.

According to Parks, it’s important to consider spacing when it comes to setting up bars. If your venue allows for it, choose two bar locations so you can spread out service for your guests and prevent over-crowding. 

Once the bar is set-up safely, it’s all about finding the best menu options for you and your guests. Signature cocktails are always fun, and with a micro wedding, chances are, you already know what everyone’s favorite drink of choice is. You can better plan for the bar if you know your crowd is mainly a vodka crowd or if they personally prefer wine.

Consider Food Delivery for Virtual Guests

If you’re opting for a micro wedding because you had to reimagine your big day due to COVID-19, chances are, there are a few people that were taken off the guest list. Make their experience just as special as they join in the celebration virtually. It’s such a great way to make everyone feel included. Check with your caterer on the possibility of putting together boxes to deliver to your guests at home that might include a bottled signature cocktail, a mini bottle of Champagne, snacks, or a selection of mini desserts. 

 

 

By: Maggie Kreienberg

https://www.brides.com/micro-wedding-marathon-5093528

By: Molly Allen

https://www.brides.com/micro-wedding-food-menu-5095712

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1 yr ago

Easy Steps to Creating Your Wedding Budget

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article by Ogunbowale A. Oluwatosin in

Figuring out your wedding budget is no easy feat. Your wedding will likely be the biggest party you've ever hosted and the priciest. To make a budget, you'll need to tally up your savings, maintain a detailed spreadsheet so you don't go over during the planning process, prepare for unexpected costs, as well as make meaningful cuts if you do exceed your total budget. It's hard work, we know, but putting in the time and energy now ensures you'll live happily ever a...

Figuring out your wedding budget is no easy feat. Your wedding will likely be the biggest party you've ever hosted and the priciest. To make a budget, you'll need to tally up your savings, maintain a detailed spreadsheet so you don't go over during the planning process, prepare for unexpected costs, as well as make meaningful cuts if you do exceed your total budget. It's hard work, we know, but putting in the time and energy now ensures you'll live happily ever after (wedding debt free). Here's exactly how to set a wedding budget you can stick to:

Count Your Cash

How much you have to spend on the wedding is directly proportional to three sources of money:

  1. You and your fiancé's individual savings: This isn't as simple as checking your bank account. Ideally, you and your partner each have three months of living expenses set aside in case of a job loss or health setback (separate from retirement funds). Subtract that in case of emergency amount from your total balance in the bank, and that's how much you could put toward wedding costs.
  2. The amount you can set aside from your current income: After you've made payments for existing debts, like student loans, set aside up to 10 percent of your earnings each month. Establish direct deposits into a separate account for wedding expenses so it isn't just leftovers that get saved.
  3. Any contributions from parents or loved ones: "Never assume your parents or other loved ones are willing and able to help cover the cost of a wedding.

Track Your Spending

Create a spreadsheet with three expense columns: EstimatedModified, and Actual. Amounts under Estimated will be driven by researching costs in your area, proposals from the vendors you choose will go in Modified, and the final amount you pay them will go in Actual.

Adjust your estimates after calling in vendors' costs. Start with the venue because it's the biggest piece of the wedding pie and a major factor in determining guest count. When vendors give you estimates, verify if tax is included. If not, do the math yourself with state and local tax rates to adjust the proposal.

Add a column for the estimated tip. Write "included" if gratuity is factored into the vendor's price. (For example, caterers automatically tack on 15 to 20 percent of the total, which you pay in advance.)

Add a line item called Extras that equals 15 percent of your total budget to cushion for things you'll likely forget (invitation postage, parking valets) or won't anticipate in advance (corkage and plating fees). Never spend this money upfront; you'll need it throughout the planning process as incidentals arise. Trust us.

Prepare for Surprises

Before you sign on the dotted line of vendor contracts or start buying gift bag items, read the fine print, because expenses that seem small early on could add up quickly. If the total of the line item isn't in your overall budget, cut it.

Vendor Transportation

Hiring an out-of-town band or photographer? You might need to pay for a rental van or plane tickets. Double-check the contract to see what exactly is covered.

Setup and Breakdown Fees

Cleanup isn't always included, and you may have to pay overtime rates depending on what time your reception ends.

Custom Cocktails

Signature drinks and spirits can add $3,500 to a 200-person wedding, says Calder Clark, a top wedding planner in Charleston, South Carolina.

Digital Access

Some photographers charge as much as $1,200 to view and share your photos online.

Envelope Stuffing

Some stationers charge as much as $7 per invite. To save, call your bridesmaids over, drink some wine, and DIY instead.

Planners

A full-service event designer can charge as much as $25,000 or even 20 percent of the total budget for a Kardashian-scale affair, but a day of coordinator costs an average of $1,500. Before you enlist a pro, know what you have to spend and factor in that rate. Many venues require you to contract their in-house wedding coordinator or bring in your own outside wedding coordinator.

Charge Responsibly

No matter how tempted you are to boost your cash flow with credit cards, don't go overboard. Never charge anything that you can't pay off in 30 days. That is unless you qualify for a card with a zero percent purchase APR, which lets you skirt interest payments as long as you pay your entire balance within a certain time frame (usually 12 to 15 months).

Torabi advises mapping out a plan for how you intend to do that before swiping the plastic. For example, register for cash gifts that you can put toward a portion of the wedding and create a savings plan to cover the rest. If you do use a credit card, choose one with a generous cashback program.

Find Ways to Save

Over budget? These ideas will slash your spending in a meaningful way.

Change the venue.

Raw spaces like barns and lofts seem like a steal, but you could spend a lot making them wedding-beautiful. "You may have to bring in tables, chairs, china, glassware, silverware, kitchen equipment for the caterer, even restrooms and AC or heat. Before you commit, estimate the total price of a wedding at that space versus one that includes all the basics.

Edit the guest list.

Each attendee costs far more than his or her meal when you consider the invitation, welcome bag, transportation, slice of cake, and favor. Never have a B-list, and be ruthless with your A-list. For the average 135 person reception, shrinking the guest list by 15 people saves you approximately $1,300.

Go off-peak.

Have a winter wedding. Choose a Friday or Sunday. Or celebrate with mimosas over brunch instead of hosting a four course, wine paired dinner.

Build-in time.

To save for the wedding they want, 57 percent of brides said they were willing to prolong their engagement. Negotiating is a lot more difficult when vendors know you're in a time crunch.

Host the ceremony and reception in the same place.

Doing so could save as much as $4,000 on transportation for the wedding party and guests.

Forgo a live band.

The big name ones can charge upwards of $30,000, while a DJ will cost a few thousand bucks.

Order all of your own paper items yourself.

This means ordering or creating your own wedding invitations and appropriate inserts. Later, you'll be ordering place cards and table numbers and maybe programs and other things, too. Technology has made it easy to do a lot of this stuff on your own at home. The newlyweds to be choose the appropriate paper (most companies online will send free samples) and print them on their own printer, then assemble, stuff, and mail them. Even if you choose to order printed materials through a stationer, be sure to do it yourself. When you have your wedding planner assist or do it for you, it will cost you more, whether through her markup or because she'll likely be getting a thank you commission from the shop.

Address your own invitations.

Paying for calligraphy is not cheap. If you must have calligraphy on your invites, consider buying a calligraphy pen and practicing until you get it right. It's not that difficult. And only an expert would notice it wasn't done by a professional. As a starting point, there are tons of tutorials online.

Say no to upgrades.

Another key strategy for how to budget for a wedding is saying no to unnecessary upgrades. Take what comes with the package, or the least expensive option you can stand. Couples sometimes add literally thousands of dollars to their budgets because they don't like the design of the white on white tablecloths, for example. Or they can't stand the chairs provided for the ceremony.

Use fewer vendors.

If your DJ also offers lighting services for your venue or your cake lady also offers edible wedding favors, consider hiring that vendor to provide more than one service for your big day. You'll always get a better rate if you're getting more from one vendor, plus you won't be paying multiple setups or delivery fees, the way you would be if you had hired separate vendors for each individual task.

 

 

 

By: Katie James Watkinson & Alexis Dent

https://www.brides.com/story/5-steps-to-wedding-budget

View 203 0
1 yr ago
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