Monday, May 31, 2010

Wearing a strapless dress? Want a little extra coverage in case of wind, rain, or chilly weather?

Yes, Please. Alex Bridal on etsy has some good options.

Setting a date.

Is choosing the wedding date a difficult thing for most couples?

My fiance' and I are having a really difficult time picking a date. To begin with, he's in graduate school in another state, so we're working around long-distance and a school schedule.

We're looking at January and May. I'd rather get married as soon as possible. January would be nice for that reason, plus everything is less expensive. But then we'd have to worry about bad weather, its not ideal for pictures and it'd be right in the middle of his first year. On top of all that, we wouldn't have much time for a honeymoon and I'm less than thrilled at the idea of moving in the middle of winter. May would be beautiful- it's a more pleasant time of year for our family and friends to travel. The downside? The wait and the expenses that come when you choose a date in peak wedding season.

I just loathe the idea of living apart for an entire year. Any advice?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How about this for an outdoor reception site?

This is Hagley, an old DuPont estate in Wilmington, DE. The grounds are just beautiful, particularly around this French-style garden. I can imagine a beautiful spring family-style dinner reception at dusk with lots of champagne, sorbet, candle-lit paths, and twinkle lights/paper lanterns in the trees.

My reception will be a little too large for a tent rental. But if you're planning a more intimate affair. How about a place like this?

Something old and something new. Save the date.

Best Save the date. Ever. Check out Lucky Luxe to order:

How to negotiate a deal.

I used to travel a lot for my company and as a result, I learned how to land some great deals. I regularly managed to negotiate my way into a more convenient flight, more luxurious hotel, or more comfortable rental car. This skill has and will be a great help when negotiating with vendors. It's already coming in handy. I had a catering estimate that was three times what I expected, ($13,400) and I negotiated it down to $6483 and then to a flat $6000 after offering to pay in cash, up-front. That's more than half the original estimate and a great deal for a full 3 entree' dinner for my 250 guests. This includes linens, flatware, glasses, staff, and additional equip. costs.
I am convinced and have been for years that anyone can get themselves a great bargain.
How to get a great deal:
#1-Do your homework. You are in no position to bargain if you don’t know what things cost. Call a few places to price the service or product.
#2-Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ve done your homework so you‘re capable of asking for a reasonable price. Avoid putting a vendor on the defensive by saying things like, “Company X quoted only .30 cents a plate…”, rather, explain your situation in a tactful manner and ask for help. “My fiancĂ© and I would love to serve dinner for our guests but we’re on a tight budget. I understand that these things cost a lot of money but I’m trying to find a way to get the cost down to $13 a person. Is there anything that you could recommend I do to get us to that price?” Odds are they'll come up with something because they'll want to help you and they'll want your business.
#3-After that, look for ways to cut the cost and suggest them to the vendor. Could you rent linens elsewhere? Could you have a less complicated menu that would mean less staff? Buy your own beverages? Right now I’m thinking that I’d go the DIY route on anything that I can do before the actual wedding day but it might be different for you. Maybe you’re having it at home and you have family and friends who can help or you'd rather have it all done by a vendor. No hassle would be nice.
#4-Be grateful and say thank you, profusely if they've made you a great deal. It makes for a better relationship between you and the vendor and it's the gracious thing to do.
#5- After you negotiate a good price ask for one more break.* It goes like this, the vendor gives you a good deal and you say thank you. Then you ask, “Can I get an additional break in price if I pay in cash up front?”** or use the total estimate to ask for a specific amount off, for example, you have a catering estimate of $3,340 so you ask, “Could we make it an even $3,000, if I pay in cash up front?”. This works most of the time. Vendors appreciate cash and they appreciate it sooner rather than later. Bonus: you'll appreciate not having to pay each vendor before you and your beloved exit the party.
*Be reasonable in what you’re asking for. Vendors have to make a living so don’t ask for a cut that’s so low that they can’t pay their bills.
**I would hesitate to pay up front if your vendor is relatively new to the business or if you know little about them. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to have a caterer not show after you paid. Use this tactic with vendors who have a solid track record.

Planning within the budget.

I took a personal finance class last fall to improve my scant knowledge on the topic. I will NOT go into debt for a wedding. I want to have a beautiful wedding but it’s going to have to happen within my budget. Time to get creative, because I’d like to have dinner and music for 250 guests on $10,000. Pre-engagement I thought that was a lot of money. Then I learned what catering cost, what a cake costs, what renting a tent will run you, etc. And I freaked out.

But then I realized, so what? I’m marrying a great guy. Furthermore, I’m creative and a good negotiator and I don't think this day must be perfect or that its all about me. I will have to adapt my initial plans. Maybe a lunch reception instead of dinner, maybe signature alcohol bar instead of full bar, maybe more DIY projects but overall, it will be fine and I can do this. In fact, I’m rising to the challenge. How much can I do for $10,000? We shall see.

A dignified wedding

Miss Manners' Guide To A Surprisingly Dignified Wedding is a must read before you start, or early into, planning a wedding. I'd like to think that I wouldn't have been lured by the wedding industry's siren call of "it's all about you" and "you must have that" but I, like so many other brides-to-be would likely have fallen prey.

This book will make you think about your priorities in a reasonable way. First, it dashes the wedding industry lies and challenge you to consider your fiance' and guests as priority over dress and venue. Second, its a reminder, and in some cases an introduction to wedding etiquette.

Glad I read it pre-engagement because my defenses were down.

I'll admit that some of her recommendations like not including RSVP cards or not having a registry are a little hard to swallow and I'm not sure I'll adhere to everything but I'm certainly going to try. I want to practice proper etiquette and I do love that vintage romance.