Tips for hiring wedding vendors

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After the budget has been determined, it’s time to select the team of vendors who will help make your dreams a reality. But how do you go about finding and hiring them without getting overwhelmed with all of the choices out there?

With these tips from our expert wedding planners at American Greetings, we can help you make well-informed and confident selections to help bring your wedding vision to life.

  • Shop in order: Wedding planning can easily go off the rails if you try to tackle everything at once, so put things in order of priority: your location determines your wedding date, then you want to secure your photographer and music (remember, they can only do one event per day, so once they’re gone, they’re gone!), then you can move onto more fun details like shopping for dresses, flowers, and invitations.
  • Go through the grapevine: Recommendations are one of the best ways to start looking for vendors because you know that they’ve produced quality work before and can easily be found through friends, family, and on the Internet. Just remember that wedding styles vary between groups of friends or even family, so before you book, be sure to meet with the vendor to make sure that they understand exactly what your vision is.
  • Get on the same page: When you first meet with your vendors, listen to what they have to say and their personal philosophy on their role in the wedding. If you disagree with their style or how the event should be run, keep looking for someone who does meet your expectations. It’s much easier to find someone you mesh with than to try to alter someone’s opinion on how something should be done.
  • Ask the pros: Trying to decide on the flow of the party or how a special element (such as a live performance) can be incorporated into the event? Ask your vendors how they’ve seen it work in the past. Event coordinators at your location, photographers and DJ’s can be a wealth of information and suggestions, since they’ve seen hundreds of weddings and can help you find unique ways to make your event absolutely unforgettable.
  • Time Saver: Consider setting appointments with photographers, florists, videographers, and lighting/linens specialists at your venue (one at a time, though!) to help manage your time, as well as theirs, by making sure everyone has the exact same thoughts and dimensions in mind.

Ultimately, the vendors you select can help take your wedding from ordinary to extraordinary. Go with your gut on who you connect with, and you’ll find yourself much happier and more relaxed in trusting them with the details of your big day.

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Wedding budget tips

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The first task of any savvy bride-to-be after the sparkly diamond has been placed on her finger is to figure out the wedding budget. If family members are helping with expenses, get together and discuss the amount being contributed and any expectations about how their contribution affects the guest list and other important details.

Once it’s been determined how much you have to work with, it’s time to decide how you want this money to be spent. Below you’ll find some great wedding budget tips from our wedding celebration experts to help you tie the knot in style without breaking the bank.

  • Head count counts! Undoubtedly the first thing to affect the bottom line of a wedding is the guest list, so keeping that manageable is a top priority. Start things off right by purchasing a 4-color pack of index cards and distributing one color to the each set of parents, plus one for you and one for the groom. Each party should return no more than their allotted number of index cards with the name and address of those they would like to invite. If they have additional entries, it offers the opportunity to revisit the budget/contribution question.\
  • Of ‘maids and men’: Along with guest head count, another item that affects your budget is the number of people in your bridal party. Each member means more flowers, gifts, as well as the expenses they incur between hosting events and purchasing attire. Keeping the bridal party small (even just one attendant each) has become very popular lately for these reasons and looks very chic.
  • Fall in love with your location: Selecting a location that already appeals to you esthetically means that you’ll save a ton in decorations. If the venue is typically out of your price range, inquire about discounts during off-season months (typically November-March) or non-traditional days of week such as Friday and Sunday.
  • Sample sales: Oftentimes you can find your designer dream dress at 40% off or more by shopping a wedding dress sample sale. Sure, some of them may require cleaning or fixing minor imperfections, but the cost savings will far outweigh what you’ll spend on making it picture perfect.
  • Make friends: Ask the coordinator at your wedding facility if there is a wedding the day before or after your big day. If so, speak with the bride to see if there are any decorations that you could collaborate on. You can also discuss wedding purchases you may need to make with friends getting married to see if you could benefit from purchasing items in bulk or reuse for both weddings. Remember that many wedding leftovers can be resold afterwards such as votives, vases, and linens.
  • Dreaming big: If you have something you’d really like to do that’s out of your budget, leave it on a “wish list” in case you come in under budget in other areas. It’ll keep you focused on the prize and more motivated to not overspend.

Focus on what will make the greatest impact on the overall feel of the wedding. If you’re considering a $3 favor, but don’t think you have the cash for specialty linens, consider that your favors can add up to $30 per table, which is the approximate cost of many beautiful linen choices that will make a beautiful statement in the room. There are many online budgeting tools (such as the calculator available on The Knot) to help you make these sorts of determinations and focus your money on the areas that are most important to you.

Happy wedding planning!

 

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How to wrap a wedding gift (in style!)

How to Wrap a Wedding Gift

They say love is in the details, and certainly no life event is more detail oriented than a wedding. So how is it possible that, after carefully selecting the perfect wedding gift, to create a personalized gift presentation that will surely be noticed?

Enter the American Greetings gift wrap experts, whose knowledge of gift presentation details goes far beyond the traditional paper wrap and bow. They’ve agreed to share some of their favorite ways to present a gift in a beautiful way that befits the elegance of the occasion.

Here are their fun suggestions on how to wrap a wedding gift:

  • Take a hint from the invitation and wrap your present in the wedding theme. The gift table is usually in a prominent place in the reception, so matching the style and colors will definitely be noticed.
  • Use a special keepsake for the nametag. Personalized ornaments, a set of his/her luggage tags, and photo key chains all make memorable accents.
  • Adding a few natural items helps to add some personal flair and reflect the spirit of the season. Slip in a few spring or summer flowers, fall leaves, or glittering decorative snowflakes to gift bags or under ribbons. These items can really add pop to gift envelopes as well!
  • If you’re feeling particularly crafty, wrap your gift in two layers of contrasting wrapping papers. Use an X-ACTO knife to cut out a fun pattern in the upper layer of paper so that the lower layer shows through.
  • Embellish your gift wrap by stamping a design on solid-colored paper or stencil on their new monogram.
  • Layer ribbons of various widths for a customized, personalized look.
  • Present the gift in a beautiful keepsake gift box that they can reuse to save wedding mementoes and photos.
  • Think of themed gifts. Towels in a display box, wine glasses in a tablecloth, picnic supplies in a basket, stationery in a mailbox, coordinating photo albums and frames, and even a scrapbook starter set are all fabulous ways to make the memories of their special event live on for years to come!
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Spring Wedding Trends

 

Spring Wedding Trends from StayInspired365.com

Ah…the merry month of May!  With its pastel palette, natural beauty and warmer temperatures, there’s no wonder why May is one of the most popular months for weddings.  And every couple captures its essence in their own romantic way.  From camping themes to floral garland, some spring choices are more unique than others.  But it’s always interesting to track the popular trends.

Elaborate Invitations from StayInspired365.com

Elaborate Invitations

With 3D creations and intricate laser cuts, the tone for the wedding is now being set from the minute the guests open the envelope.  And that tone, according to Bridal Guide, is “a move toward sophisticated.”  Think glamour, gardens…and Gatsby!

Lush Flowers from StayInspired365.com

Lush Flowers

For the second year running, the soft, romantic, peony is the most requested wedding flower.  With the bloom available for only two months, May is the perfect time to pick a peony bouquet.

Wedding Dresses from StayInspired365.comA Different Dress

Traditional all-white gowns will always be in style, but many are now being splashed with color.  Blue lining underneath, pink lace across the back, or a vibrant shoe are just a few of the latest runway looks—along with pastel dresses.  Don’t be surprised if you see the bride “all dressed in mint” since that seems to be this year’s go-to hue.

Creative CakesCreative Cakes from StayInspired365.com

Color is popping up on cakes as well.  Bright bows, bold monograms and hand-painted designs are making edible works-of-art worthy of their own photo shoot.  On the other end of the sweet spectrum, Fake Cakes have become a popular budget choice for photos.  The couple still gets their cake-side shot, while a sheet cake is waiting to be served.  Not a bad way to save money for a tropical island trip…which is still the top honeymoon destination, no matter what time of year.

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Fall Wedding Wishes

The weather is getting cooler and the leaves are just starting to change, which means Fall is about to make her grand entrance. The first day of Fall came last weekend on Saturday, September 22, and if you happened to be out celebrating a wedding that day, chances are it’s probably not the last wedding weekend of the season. Fall is quickly becoming the favorite time of year to say ” I do,” and it’s easy to see why. From rich and vibrant colors, to comfortable weather, the Autumn season brings with it endless opportunities for brides and wedding planners. We thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite Fall wedding trends we’ve seen recently…

Fashion:

– Peach and Blush tone wedding dresses. According to wedding expert Colin Cowie, “From naughty nudes to a deep, ripe shade of peach these new hues will warm up any skin tone and transform you into the ultimate blushing bride.”

Flowers:

– Texture, Texture, Texture – According to The Knot, the hottest trend in fall wedding flowers is lush, richly hued arrangements with lots of interesting texture. Instead of using just two or three types of blooms in your centerpieces, try a wide mix of flowers coordinated with your color scheme. Think berries, pods, and ferns.

Themes:

Vintage and Rustic continue to take the cake! According to the fun wedding blog Delightfully Engaged, the eclectic style will be taken up a notch this Fall. DIY projects continue to be the perfect way to add  individualization and originality to any couple’s special day.

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