Ten Tips to Saving Even MORE on Your Wedding

Many of us want that picture-perfect wedding. The one where the guests all arrive and “oooh” and “ahhh” at every teensy detail…. The one complete with the white horses and the carriage riding off into the fairytale happy ending….

Depending on the theme and style of your wedding, you may wish to cut different corners. For example, if it’s very important for all your extended family and college friends to be at your wedding, a destination wedding might not be for you. (They can be surprisingly less expensive than you would imagine!) If, however, the thought of a big pouffy white dress and miles of tulle make you want to gag, it might be just the ticket.

Regardless of your style and theme, shopping smart and cutting corners that don’t really matter much at all can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Here are just a few ways to save:

If the month of the year doesn’t matter:

1.    Plan your wedding during off-peak season. This is typically November through February.

PRO: You can get a great discount on the overall cost of your wedding reception.

CON: Depending on where you live, you may have to worry about snow and ice, colder weather (if you aren’t fond of it), and other similar elements.

If the day of the week doesn’t matter:

2.    Plan your wedding for a Friday or a Sunday.

PRO: Discounts for choosing an off-peak day are often quite generous.

CON: Many people have to work on Mondays and Fridays. If you plan your wedding on either a Friday or a Sunday, you might lose some guests due to scheduling conflicts. Also, for a Friday wedding, that puts the rehearsal dinner on a Thursday. In many people’s cases, especially close family and the bridal party, it may require taking an extra day or two off from work.

If the day matters, but the time of day does not:

3.    Plan your wedding for a Saturday afternoon.

PRO: You can still cash in on a day when most people have off the following day, and you’ll have more of your night to yourselves as husband and wife.

CON: If there is another event at the same venue after yours, the staff may “rush” you out.

It’s all in the details…

4.    Make your own invitations.

PRO: You can save megabucks doing the invitations on your own.

CON: It’s time-consuming. It can be stressful. Did I mention it’s time-consuming?

5.    Rely on friends to help with creative tasks in their areas of expertise.

PRO: You can save a LOT of money this way. This is great for calligraphers, gardeners, various crafters, videographers, and so forth. If you receive significant assistance and you so desire, you can tell your friend not to worry about a gift.

CON: Sometimes asking a friend for help when you didn’t invite her to be in your bridal party may seem awkward. Try to spin it so it’s a chance for the two of you to spend some special time together despite that.

6.    Look into getting your flowers done at a Vo-Tech school or at a local college that has a floral design program.

PRO: You could save yourself a bundle!

CON: They’ve only got one chance to make it right.

If the type of food doesn’t matter:

7.    Have an hors d’oeuvres reception.

PRO: This route is definitely more affordable, and can still include a wide variety of foods, from cheese and cracker and veggie and fresh fruit trays to mini meatballs, mini crabcakes, small strombolis, and the list goes on.

CON: This is not the most traditional route, but it is becoming more popular for couples on a budget or those who wish for a different style of party. Just make sure you don’t run out of food!

8.    Host a dessert reception.

PRO: This reception can be a blast when paired with the right atmosphere, the right alcoholic beverages, and the right music. Think about it….

CON: Many people have come to expect the whole meal deal. If you host things strategically, and opt for a shorter reception, you should be able to pull it off.

Forego the extras…

9.    That means no chocolate fountain, no whiskey sour and cosmopolitan fountains, no ice sculptures – you get the idea.

PRO: You can save a bundle if you bypass the more expensive wedding entrapments. And, you can always find a less expensive, just as suitable alternative, like a table full of cookies baked by all your favorite aunts.

CON: No chocolate fountain, no beverage fountains – you tell me the negative here.

10.    If applicable and if available, borrow a parent’s fancy sports car instead of a limo for the end of the night.

PRO: Who wouldn’t like to ride off in style in a fancy-schmancy sports car, an eye-catching muscle car, or a classy classic?

CON: Your groom had better be sober enough to find the pedals and not take any chances on this all-too-special night.

There are dozens of ways to cut the costs on your wedding. You just need to get a little creative and think outside of the lines from time to time. Remember that your day is as special as you make it, but mainly because you are sharing such a momentous life event with the ones you love. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

Wedding Responsibilities and Duties of the Maid of Honor

So you are about to be the maid of honor in someone’s wedding? What an honor it is! You are the bride’s right-hand lady, and it is your honored and privileged responsibility to help ensure that her big day is as special as can be. As maid of honor, you’re sure to have your hands full with wedding duties and responsibilities to help the bride prepare for her special day.

So, as maid of honor, what exactly are your duties and responsibilities? Read on for the short and long of it! Depending on your particular bride’s preferences and style, you may not need to help with all these items, or she may even think of a few other things for you to do!

First and foremost, the maid of honor is the bride’s consultant and personal confidante. You may help her find the perfect gown, help her select the bridesmaids’ gowns, and get into the planning zone for her bachelorette party and bridal shower.

Furthermore, as the maid of honor in your friend or sister’s wedding, you should take on the following duties and responsibilities:
1. Coordinate with the other bridesmaids and keep everyone on the same page.
2. Assist with the rehearsal dinner.
3. Keep in close touch with the bride and cater to her concerns and needs.
4. Help the bride with her hair, makeup, and accessories on the big day.
5. Serve as a witness in the signing of the marriage license.
6. Assist the bride with her veil and train, if her gown has one. Also, take care of her bouquet during the marriage ceremony.
7. Hang onto the groom’s ring until the appropriate time.
8. Make one hell of a toast to commemorate your dear friend’s new adventures in life and love!

If the bride wishes, you may also take on the following wedding duties and responsibilities as maid of honor:

• Help the bride find the perfect location for the wedding.
• Help her select her wedding invitations, decorations, and wedding favors.
• If her hubby-to-be doesn’t want to go through the bridal registry hoopla, take the time to help your friend register for her desired wedding gifts.
• Help her with any other odds and ends that may not be appealing to her fiancé.

Each bride will be different from the next, so you may need to tailor your maid of honor duties accordingly. Just remember the most important thing is your friend’s comfort and complacency. Be an ear for her to vent to, another set of eyes to help her make decisions, and a shoulder to cry on when everything becomes too overwhelming to bear. And always remind her that everything will be just fine – and her wedding day will be perfect, the happiest day of her life!

Tips on Selecting a Destination Wedding Photographer

As you consider your destination wedding photography options, you will find that your choices tend to be (a.) find a photographer who lives and/or works at your wedding destination, or (b.) pay the added expense of transporting and hosting your preferred photographer from your locale or anywhere in the world.

Destination weddings offer such beautiful backdrops to wedding photography. (Photo by Alyse Liebowitz of 3 Chicks That Click Photography)

Depending on your preferences and your budget, you may already know how you want to approach this issue. If not, there are arguments to be made for both sides. Many brides tend to feel that the photographer is the best element of a wedding where you can splurge, while others may stick to a strict budget no matter how amazing the photographer’s portfolio.

“The internet is a glorious place – I am from Maryland and planned my entire North Carolina wedding via the Internet,” says recent bride Kristen Dinisio Jones.  “Found all my vendors. The great thing about the Internet is that you can actually see photogs portfolios online without meeting them in person and listen to your bands via streaming audio.”

“As far as choosing a photographer, it’s more important to find a photographer you click with and whose images you appreciate, rather than simply selecting someone ‘local,’” says Joe Kusumoto of Joe Kusumoto Photography. “It is worth paying a little extra for travel costs if you find someone whose photo style and personality is a perfect match.”

Lynda Shenkman Curtis is a photographer in Westchester County, New York and owner of Oxygen House Photography Studio. She has traveled to many different places as a wedding photographer and welcomes the opportunity.

“I think it’s just the personal preference of the bride,” Curtis says. “I had a nanny for my kids who was from Northern Ireland, and she always liked my work. She said, ‘when I get married I want to fly you over to shoot my wedding’. So eight years later… I traveled to Belfast to photograph the most incredible wedding. They paid the airfare and put me up at her parents’ house. She wanted someone with whom she was comfortable.

“I had photographed several weddings in of a group of friends who were bridesmaids at each others’ weddings and when one of the girls got married in Northern Vermont, she wanted me for the entire weekend to shoot the various events. She was comfortable with me and liked my style… didn’t want a stranger there for the weekend.  So it all depends on what you’re looking for.”

On the side of finding a photographer near the venue for your destination wedding, recent bride Angela F. Bachman notes that most photographers these days have a Web site where you can conveniently view their work. Bachman suggests asking for the photographer’s references from past clients and also asking those clients if you could see any of their images. She also recommends asking the hotel or your destination wedding venue for recommendations on wedding photographers in the area.

Beach weddings and destination weddings often require special photography considerations. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Dinisio Jones, from her wedding)

“Some brides have photographers travel with, but that can be very expensive,” Bachman says. “It would probably even be less expensive to hire two photographers at the remote location so you have a variety of pictures (especially if one turns out to be sub-par).”

Dawn Yorke, a photographer based in South Jersey, notes that most destination wedding venues are a one-stop-shop.

“They try to make it easy for brides and do everything onsite,” Yorke says. “But what they offer might not be your cup of tea, so it might take more investigating to find exactly what you want. If you have a photographer that you trust or really admire it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask if they have travel packages. Some might even split the travel cost or even make it their vacation too! I know most photographers would like to mix it up and work in a new location. Plus it would make it easier to have your photographer nearby when you are choosing your album.”

About the Experts:
Joe Kusumoto is the owner of Joe Kusumoto Photography. Visit online at www.kusumotophoto.com.

Lynda Shenkman Curtis is a photographer in West Chester County, New York and owner of Oxygen House Photography Studio. Visit online at www.Oxygenhousephoto.com.

Dawn Yorke is a photographer based in South New Jersey with her company, DAWNyorkePHOTOGRAPHY. Visit online at www.dawnyorkephotography.com.

Wedding Gown and Bridal Dress Trends for 2009

Embroidery on your wedding dress is a must-have for many 2009 brides. (photo courtesy of MyWedding.com)If you are getting married in 2009, or if you are recently engaged and beginning to plan your wedding, congratulations! Surely, shopping for your wedding gown is among the most exciting purchases you will make in the coming months.

In case you are wondering, a number of wedding gown styles and trends have come to the surface, allowing us all to see what the hot styles are for wedding dresses in 2009.

As you prepare to select your wedding gown, consider these wedding dress trends for 2009. You’ll have a wide variety of options and of course, you can always decide to go against the 2009 wedding dress trends, selecting a more traditional wedding gown instead. According to the opinions of countless brides, your wedding dress will be the most important purchase – the most sentimental purchase – of your entire wedding planning experience.

One-shoulder necklines are hot for 2009 wedding dress fashions. (Photo courtesy of MyWedding.com)Gretchen Viles, Managing Editor of mywedding.com has kindly shared the latest wedding dress trends for 2009. She recommends the following wedding dress styles as the hot trends for 2009 weddings:

One-Shoulder Neckline
Want to accentuate a natural accessory of yours? This one-bare shoulder style is daring, sexy but delicate all in one. This dress can be without embellishments and still be beautiful.

The Shorter Dress
Tea-length and mini-skirt wedding gowns are a huge hit for 2009. If you’ve got the legs to pull this style off, then go for it! This dress is great for destination wedding too; compact and easier for travel.  Shorter dresses are also perfect for the 2nd that the bride would wear to the reception.

Floral Embroidery
This trend was introduced a few years back, but it has returned with a contemporary twist. You will find ivory, silver or gold dresses, embroidered with subtle, ultra-feminine floral patterns.

Shorter dresses are acceptable wedding dress options for 2009. (photo courtesy of MyWedding.com)Feathers may be the way to go with your wedding gown in 2009. (Photo courtesy of MyWedding.com)Fairy gowns are IN for 2009 weddings. (photo courtesy of MyWedding.com)

Feathers Galore
This style isn’t for everyone, but never-the-less, a top trend. Feathers are everywhere, come 2009. From veils, to the bodice, to the skirt, feathers are for that funky eclectic bride.

Fairy Gowns
Enchanting is the perfect word to describe this trend. You will find crystal, glass beads, sparkling pearls and shimmery organza draping gowns with colors of silver, grey, and off white.

Color Me Happy
Colors from royal crimson to pastel lavender are all over the wedding gown runway. If you aren’t too crazy about a traditional white or ivory gown, 2009 brings in a trendy collection for the not-so-traditional bride. Be bold and strut down the aisle in your color!

Feathers and color are in, in this Edgardo Bonilla wedding gown. (Photo courtesy of MyWedding.com)–    The above tips are from Gretchen Viles of mywedding.com.

“Our best tip for shopping for your wedding dress in ’09: Whether you fit into one of these styles or you don’t, find a dress that’s comfortable and is beautiful in your eyes,” says Gretchen Viles, Managing Editor of mywedding.com. “It’s your big day and your glowing smile will be the most important accessory of all.”

About the Expert:
Gretchen Viles is Managing Editor of mywedding.com, an online wedding planning company that offers assistance for brides in many different regions. Visit online at www.mywedding.com.


Wedding Photography Tips for Destination Brides

When it all comes down to it, destination weddings are a completely different animal than traditional weddings held near the bride’s home or even near the groom’s home. Consider these tips for your destination wedding photography. (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)Planning a destination wedding is often done remotely, over the phone and over the Internet, with referrals and reviews of the vendors coming in very handy.

Selecting a photographer for a destination wedding and planning the details of your wedding photography can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t always have to be if you follow a few wedding photography tips for destination weddings.

As a destination bride, you’ve surely got a ton of things on your mind already. More than likely, you’d love to cross a few more things off your list of what you still need to do. Planning your destination wedding photography needs can be less tricky when you consider a few tips from wedding photographers and other destination brides.

Planning Ahead for Your Destination Wedding Photos
Even the best laid plans can still go awry, but taking the time and effort to set things up for your destination wedding photography can go a long way toward a successful wedding photo shoot. Consider these tips to help you prepare for your destination wedding photo shoot.

Dawn Yorke, a photographer based in South Jersey, suggests planning your ceremony later in the day to avoid mid-day glare (and sweat).

Kristen Dinisio Jones and her husband enjoyed a beach wedding celebration. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Dinisio Jones)“Think about where the sun is going to be during your wedding for photos,” says recent bride Kristen Dinisio Jones. “You don’t want to have the wedding too late so that your pics are dark, however planning it just right so that you get the sun setting, now that’s great.”

“Be sure to consider the time of year you’re looking at different beach sites versus the date of your wedding,” says Joe Kusumoto of Joe Kusumoto Photography. If you check out a location in the fall (which is not prime beach time so will present a pristine view without crowds), remember that a summer wedding at the same spot will bring lots of beach goers that you can’t control!

“Also, embrace the elements. If you choose a beach wedding, take advantage of the natural setting – bare feet in the sand, windblown veil and hair, playing in the shallow tide – which are not only fun for the beach bride and wedding party, but make for great photos!”

Playing on the natural elements all around you is a fabulous idea for destination wedding photography. You can also get creative on your own account, or take things as they come and see what kind of excitement and craziness shall ensue.

“Also, beach weddings are fun, so try to think of fun things to do in your pictures, like take a picture with your wedding party in sunglasses,” says Angela F. Bachman, who celebrated her beach wedding two years ago. “If it’s a destination wedding be sure to get a group shot of everyone and then have copies made to send to all of your guests.”

(Kristen Dinisio Jones and her husband enjoyed a beach wedding celebration. Photo courtesy of Kristen Dinisio Jones.)

Surviving Destination Wedding Photography Sessions
Perhaps entertain this one bit of advice before you dash off for your destination wedding: expect the unexpected. As all too many former brides can attest, in just about every wedding, something can and does always go wrong. Luckily, with a good wedding planner or some really amazing bridesmaids, many times the bride never catches wind of the calamity.
A destination bride is doused in bugspray during her wedding in Honduras. (Photo by Alyse Liebowitz of 3 Chicks That Click Photography)
By being proactive in planning and preparing for your destination wedding, you can protect yourself from a number of possible issues. By following a few of these tips on wedding photography for destination brides, you can further enhance your chances of a flawless wedding photography shoot.

“Avoid the sun before the wedding,” says Alyse Liebowitz, owner of 3 Chicks That Click Photography. “A sunburned bride in a white dress will look radioactive in photos.”

Liebowitz also recommends simple and lightweight wedding gowns for the destination bride.

“If the ceremony or reception is outside, it will be hot and humid,” she says. “Dress to keep cool, i.e., halter or sheath dresses, not gowns. For brides that want a sunset ceremony on the beach, be aware that insects are most active at that time. Bug spray is a must!”

(A destination bride is doused in bugspray during her wedding in Honduras. Photo by Alyse Liebowitz of 3 Chicks That Click Photography.)

Advice from Recent Brides on Destination Wedding and Beach Wedding Photography…

Tips on Planning Your Second Wedding

Planning a second wedding can be just as stressful as planning a first wedding. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. From cutting costs to selecting vendors to finalizing all the teeny tiny little details, you can still have a fabulous wedding without all the stress and hassles you went through the first time around. Just keep these tips on planning your second wedding in mind, and consider getting a wedding planner involved if you’d like.

Certified Wedding & Events Planner Trina Myers, of Baltimore, Maryland, has been in the planning business for quite some time. She’s also a soon-to-be second time bride herself. Myers offers the following suggestions to planning your own second wedding, and tips that would help just about any bride.

Q. – What are your thoughts on your own upcoming wedding and how you’d imagine it?

A. Trina Myers – “I have been a planner for so long, that I don’t know how to be a bride, believe it or not. Our final plans, although very romantic and elaborate, are very different from the initial construction. After I called anyone that would listen to tells them the story of my proposal and to describe my ring, I gathered tons of magazines from my office and tons more from the store racks. I imagined and began to plan a very spiritual, romantic, tear-dropping ceremony on the Chesapeake Bay here in Maryland. With a bridal attendants in long, sleek gowns and carrying parasols down a very decorative aisle. Follow by a trendy cocktail reception in a draped tent, with lots of friends, family, food and fun.

Taking the advice that I so often find myself giving to my clients and recommend that everyone planning an event, wedding or otherwise follow; we set a realistic budget and began to make a list of NEEDS vs. WANTS. We also examined our future goals as a couple: purchasing a new home (the same year as the wedding), expanding our family to accommodate a new little one, and most important, having our day as ‘stress-free’ as possible. We did not want the distractions of guests lists, bridal party fittings and all of those individual facets that come together to make a wedding event complete. Our honeymoon was just as important to us. Not wanting to compromise location, comfort, or the length of time that we planned to be away, we began to chip away at the wants.

In the end, it became more of a show for our guests and not the intimate setting that we desired. The planner in me would not have allowed the bride in me to enjoy this, as a BRIDE. We came to the conclusion that I only want to focus on each other, so we decide to take our nuptials to an island; collectively choosing five locations, from Aruba to the British Virgin Islands. We made our final selection based on a number of factors. Still being a planner and an event designer, I won’t give up my décor. I have designed my backdrop based on the logistics of the island and have shared them with the planner that we’ve hired. Although we have altered our location and guest count, my choice of décor is a must have.
I’m relaxed and confident that my location designer will implement my design and that leaves me free to get my hair and makeup done – not a bad deal.

Q – What types of weddings (day vs. night, destination, cocktail and appetizer vs. buffet vs. sit-down, etc.) work well for second weddings?

A. Trina Myers – “Just as retail has its holiday season, weddings have a peak season also. The months of June – September are considered ‘Peak Wedding Season’, though the months of May and October can now join the list. So the time of year that you plan to host your event has a huge overtaking of your wedding events.”

•    “Saturday is the most expensive day of the week to get married, even during off-peak wedding season. Some vendors charge even more for a Saturday evening; I suggest a Friday evening, if you desire a more romantic, adult friendly celebration. A Sunday brunch is also a good way to keep a cap on your budget and allow the younger guests to attend. If using correspondences such as Save-The-Dates or wedding newsletters, that should give guests enough notice of your wedding date. But if travel plans for out of town guests are not accommodating and a Saturday is must, then I would recommend a morning ceremony followed by an afternoon reception.”

•    “Sit down dinners and huge buffets are being replaced by cocktail receptions, with specialty food stations, such as Sushi & Pasta stations; heavy hors d’ oeuvres and colorful drinks in swanky glasses.”

•    “Destination nuptials are my favorite and not just because I’m having one. I love transforming a ballroom or tent into a wonderland through the use of fabrics and signature colors, but traveling to a place that is considered paradise, in one form or another, provides a natural backdrop that the average venue cannot provide. Reciting vows, as the ocean plays its own melody in the background; taking in the color palette that nature has provided… for no additional charge and having your guests sample authentic cuisine, will leave your guests talking for years to come.”

Q – Do you have any idea of cost (range) for second weddings vs. the first time? We would love to know how much brides should expect to spend the second time.

A. Trina Myers – Cost is pretty much up to the couple. If you are working with a budget of up to $10,000, I would not suggest having a guest count of 175, a bridal party of 20 and a buffet with open bar. Your reception costs account for about 70% of your cost. When you have an open reception, you are basically taking the amount of people present out to dinner with drinks.

Q – How can a wedding planner make a second wedding less stressful and more successful?

A. Trina Myers – A wedding professional is part of your budget, not an extra expense, as many believe. A consultant plays an essential part in your planning, helping to avoid those costly mistakes, negotiating with the vendors on the couple’s behalf to get you the best contract. As a bride and groom you should be as relaxed as possible and focused on each other, not worried about will your Aunt from London have a seat or will the flowers match the tablecloths. You’ve hired a planner, so let them worry for you.

•    No one can successfully be a bride and a coordinator on their wedding day. If, for financial reason, you’ve decided to plan your wedding yourself, hand over all the details to an experienced coordinator, so you can relax and enjoy your wedding day. In addition to ensuring that your event begins on time, a coordinator can provide directions to a lost photographer, find seats for those five relatives, who did not RSVP, repair a bridesmaid’s seam, calm a nervous flower girl, and much more.

Q – Do you see any trends in gowns / attire for second weddings?

A. Trina Myers – Colors, colors and more colors; bridal shops can’t keep colored wedding gowns in stock. Brides are forgoing the traditional white or ivory and are making bold statements as they walk the aisle.

Q – Do you think second weddings should be more intimate vs. grand scale? Why or why not?

A. Trina Myers – I think your wedding day – first or second wedding – should be a day designed with nuptials in mind. Too many couples get caught in the grand scheme of things and they forget what this day is really about. My motto that I live by is: ‘The wedding does not make the marriage’. Once the last plate is cleared and the last gift has been opened, the real work begins. If you want and afford
to have a fairy tale wedding with all the trimmings, as a bride-to be and a professional planner, I say, ‘Go For It!’. Just remember, after it’s all said and done, the road to a happy and successful marriage will not be paved by your fairy tale nuptials; you must create your own Happily Ever After.

About the Expert:

Chief Consultant Trina Myers is a bride-to-be herself, and owner of Affairs Remembered, LLC. Visit Affairs Remembered on the Web at http://affairsremembered.com.

To Cut or Not to Cut: Planning the Costs of Your Second Wedding or Mature Wedding

We have all heard how the expenses of planning a wedding can really add up. Whether we’ve experienced it ourselves or watched a friend or family member go through it, trying to stick to a budget for your wedding can be an extremely difficult task. Is the wedding cake of your dreams worth the cost?The good news is that saving money is possible for second weddings or even for mature first weddings. Some costs are much easier to cut than others, and we’ll share the scoop.

“Gone are the days when second wedding meant: Justice of the Peace, in a skirt and blouse, followed by a cake & punch party,” said Trina Myers, chief event consultant and owner of Affairs Remembered, LLC. “Many couples are spending more on their second walk down the aisle than the first. Brides who were unable to obtain that flair and over the top design the first go round are making major sacrifices to ensure that they have it for this trip down the aisle.”

Consider the Costs and the Consequences of Cutting the Wrong Ones
When it comes to budgeting for your second wedding or mature wedding, try to weigh the costs of various elements against the desired outcome and the worst case scenario if something goes wrong or isn’t quite what you wanted. Consider the cost of each part of the wedding and try to justify if the expense is worth it.

Don't skimp on your photographer!One very important element of your second wedding or mature wedding is the photography. You needn’t spend a fortune, but it’s a good idea to book a professional photographer who’s been training in the art of capturing all the special moments – and emotions – of a wedding. As a special events planner for many years, Trina Myers recommends never skimping on the photographer. Even if you can get a great deal or free wedding photography from a friend or relative, it’s still much safer to leave the documentation of your day to a professional.

“When the rose petals are all swept away and the tuxes have been returned to the formalwear shop, your pictures are one of the only practical items that you can use to walk down memory lane and review things as they happened,” Myers said. “We all would want to remember every little tidbit about our day; however, as the years roll by and other things happen, such as the birth of a child, we tend to forget the little things. Pictures are a wonderful way to relive those memories all over again.”

If you decide to book the professional photographer, you might consider cutting back on the videographer, unless your photographer offers video services as well. You can spare the expense of the professional videographer in several ways:
•    Cut the cost altogether, knowing you may only watch the video once or twice.
•    Ask a talented friend or family member to shoot the video of your wedding instead of a pro.
•    Search for film students or recent graduates from film school who might be willing to accept a smaller payment while they build their portfolio.

Cutting back on the reception costs is another way to have an amazing second wedding or mature wedding without completely breaking the bank. The first place at your reception to consider cutting back is your alcohol tab.

“Having an open bar is also a luxury expense,” Myers said. “You can certainly have a nice reception, serving only wine and / or a signature drink.”

Is the wedding cake of your dreams worth the cost?The cost of the wedding cake is another consideration for cutting costs on second weddings or mature weddings. A frosting-covered, towering five-tier wedding cake may seem amazing as you envision it in your mind, but it may not be completely necessary in all its glory. Myers recommends opting for a smaller version of your dream cake, or using a false cake or a cake with false tiers and a sheet cake to serve to your guests.

“Once the initial cut is made, the cake is often whisked away to the kitchen to be cut up,” she noted. “The guests have no idea that they are not eating from the same cake that made everyone say ‘Ooh, Ah’ when they walked into the reception room.”

When you are planning your second wedding or mature wedding, cutting a few wedding costs will help you to spend more money on your honeymoon, your home, and your new family together. Remember to weigh out all your options and choose those items that are not critical to your happiness on your wedding day. Keep constant watch on your budget as you plan your second wedding or mature wedding so that you are always in a good position financially. Most importantly, congratulations and best wishes!

About the Expert:
Chief Consultant Trina Myers is a bride-to-be herself, and owner of Affairs Remembered, LLC. Visit Affairs Remembered on the Web at http://affairsremembered.com.

Bridal Shower and Wedding Gift Ideas for Second Weddings: A Gift Card Shower!

When it comes to second weddings, many brides and grooms are doing things much differently than the first time around. They tend to plan the ceremony and reception to match their interests instead of their families’ preferences, and they often cut costs that they didn’t for their first weddings. When it all comes down to it, second weddings can be just as much fun as first weddings, even as early as the bridal shower!

Bridal shower themes vary widely and often play upon the special interests of the bride. For second weddings, bridesmaids and the family of the bride may want to do things differently than they did the first time. Rather than running through the same bridal shower games and themes, they may decide to do something different with a focus on what the bride really needs. Gift card showers are a great way to present the bride with freedom and flexibility to choose the gifts that make the most sense for her new life with her husband-to-be.

Continue reading Bridal Shower and Wedding Gift Ideas for Second Weddings: A Gift Card Shower!

The Perfect Wedding Gift for the Groom or the Bride – A Rolex Watch

What do you get for the person you love most on the most important day of your lives together? As a tradition in many circles, brides and grooms often tend to exchange gifts on their wedding day. The gift can be as simple as a sentimental greeting card or love note, or as elaborate as a special piece of jewelry. One of the most desirable gifts a bride can give to her groom on the wedding day – depending on her budget – would be a Rolex watch that would serve as a keepsake of their wedding day.

Rolex watches are a great gift for men or women. These high-end, classy watches are elegant and timeless. To make the gift even more special for your new spouse, you can add a special inscription to the back of the watch face. A young woman in Pennsylvania presented her husband with the two-tone Submariner Rolex watch as a special wedding gift to him, and she had the watch engraved with our wedding date and the phrase “Yours for all time”. Of course, you can select any inscription for a Rolex watch – whether witty, sentimental, or simply the recipient’s initials and the special date.

Even for brides and grooms on a budget, it is still possible to select a sophisticated Rolex watch as a gift for your significant other on your special day. Consider checking out certified pre-owned Rolex watches, or look into your options for financing the purchase. You may be able to obtain a discount on the retail cost of the watch merely by asking for one. Also, you might consider doing a balance transfer to a credit card with zero percent interest for at least seven months to a year in order to give yourself some time to pay for this special gift.

The exorbitant cost of weddings is no secret. From the reception hall to the flowers, the DJ, the photographer, and on down the line, celebrating your marriage isn’t cheap. However, at the close of that special day, you’ve got your gown, your memories, your photographs, the top of your wedding cake (hopefully!), and not much else. To perpetuate the emotion of your wedding day for a lifetime to come, consider getting your sweetheart a special token of your love. A Rolex watch will become a family heirloom to be handed down to your grandchildren, and then to theirs, and on and on.

Suitable, Unusual Wedding Gifts for Young Couples

Brides and grooms are making things much easier on their guests nowadays. When it comes to wedding present shopping, most couples pick a few stores, set up a bridal registry of gifts they’d like to receive, and leave guests to choose items from their lists.

giftwrapAnd while shopping from the gift registry is sure to secure a present you know the happy couple will want and enjoy, it doesn’t leave you with the most original, creative wedding present by any stretch.

If you want to give the bride and groom a gift they will love and cherish for years to come, you had better find something besides that decorative potholder set or the trio of mixing bowls. Here are just a few creative options for your consideration.

For the cultured couple

Find a stunning piece of artwork – a painting, a sculpture – or get a professional artist to render a sketch or painting from a photograph you provide of the happy couple. For friends with a passion for music, consider passes to the orchestra, the symphony, or the opera.

For the domestic couple

If your friends love to cook and/or eat, get them a unique cooking appliance. Forget about your run of the mill mini kitchen gadgets and devices… you need something unusual and unforgettable. Better yet, get them something they can both use at the same time – like a fondue set, or Raclette, a Swiss dish that has a grill on top of the appliance and little dishes to melt cheese or heat sauce underneath.

For the fun-loving couple

Fun outdoor games are great for the couple's new home! (Photo courtesy of Jane M. Sawyer, morgueFile.com.)For spur of the moment, say anything, try anything once type friends, the wedding is sure to be a blast and your gift had better be, too! Ponder a few upscale game sets that would nicely accent their fun style. Check out dartboards that come with their own solid wood cabinet, or look for other social items. Scour the glassware section for a classy margarita set, some shooters, and other useful barware items.

For the sentimental couple

Ahh, the memories. If your best friend or a close relative is just about to tie the knot, think about all your memories together and the best possible gift may come to mind. Create a memory book or a scrapbook for your friend, showcasing many times you spent together. Use your own handiwork to craft a handmade blanket. Pick out some velvety photo albums and elegant photo frames so the new couple can fill their home with happy memories and images of loved ones. Rack your brain for any details about the couple’s first date, the proposal, or any event in the relationship that could relate to a gift of some sort. Indulge them with a gift basket if you think of too many memories!

For the sporty couple

Get them a season ticket plan to their favorite local sports team – major league or minor league, depending on your budget. Most sports franchises offer partial season game packs, so you can hook them up with a five-game plan of minor league hockey or a mini-season of baseball, basketball or the like.

* * *

One’s wedding day typically falls as one of the biggest, happiest moments in a person’s lifetime. If you do opt for the gift registry route, the store will print out a copy of the bride and groom’s wish list and give you a good push in the right direction. The rest is a scavenger hunt. Have fun!

Whether you select an item from the bridal registry or use your own creativity to select the perfect present, commemorate the special occasion with a gift and warm thoughts that come from the heart.

Wedding Favors and Trinkets for Beach Weddings

Many brides want to give their guests a special little something to remember the newlyweds and their wedding day. For some it’s as simple as a bookmark or a container of after-dinner mints. For others, the wedding favors may be more detailed and involved, such as hand-painted pottery or ceramics, blown glass, or a handmade holiday ornament. Beach weddings and tropical themed weddings present brides and grooms with a myriad of possibilities for wedding day favors and gifts for the guests.

If you would like to send your guests home with a reminder of your wedding day, consider the colors and theme of your wedding as well as the amount of money you would like to spend on each guest’s gift. If you are planning a beach themed or tropical wedding, read on for some suggestions on wedding favors you can personalize for your guests.

Continue reading Wedding Favors and Trinkets for Beach Weddings

How to Make Your Own Seashell Christmas Ornaments as Wedding Favors

Many brides agonize over what to give their wedding guests as a wedding favor or special memento to take home with them after the wedding day celebration. If you would like to present your guests with a gift they can take home and enjoy year after year, perhaps a handmade Christmas ornament is a good match for your crowd.

Choose your shells wisely...

You can choose from a wide variety of seashells if you would like to craft a handmade seashell Christmas ornament. Consider sand dollars, miniature conch shells, and scallop shells as three very viable options. Order your shells in bulk from a seashell retailer like Sunset Beach Gift Shop in Cape May Point, N.J. (www.sunsetbeachnj.com, 800-757-6468) or from an online retailer like Sanibel Seashell Industries (www.seashells.com).

Gather the following materials and complete the following steps to create your own beautiful and special reminders of your wedding day.


The number of guests attending your wedding determines the number of shells, glue sticks, and spools of ribbon that you will need for this project. Trial and error may be the best approach, unless you are buying items on closeout. In this case, it is best to buy more than you will need rather than to risk running out of materials.

– Seashells with a smooth surface for writing
– Fine point or ultra fine point Sharpie permanent marker in desired wedding color(s)
– Ribbon in wedding color(s)
– Hot glue gun
– Glue sticks for glue gun
– Metallic ribbon with built-in wire
– Wax paper
– Pencil
– Boxes or plastic tubs with lids for storage

* For the purpose of this article, the instructions relate to a miniature conch shell of about 3 – 3.5” in length. You may need to get creative to vary the steps for other types of shells.


This project can be a relatively easy and beautiful way to create a handmade gift for your guests. The tricky part comes when you’ve got many of them to create in a short period of time. If you’d rather not wait for your guests to RSVP to the wedding, you can always get a head start and begin crafting the shell ornaments before you even send the invitations. Just remember that you may want to make more shell ornaments than you expect to need, because it is usually better to have some extras leftover rather than to run out.

1. Gather all required materials.

2. Make the bows:

a. Cut the colored ribbon into strips long enough to make a bow with two dangling tails.

TIP: Cut the ribbon so that the ends are angled and they line up properly with the bows. This takes some practice and trial and error to figure out which angle is needed.

b. Cut the metallic ribbon into strips long enough to twist around the center of the ribbon bows.

c. Wrap the metallic ribbon around the center of the bows, leaving two ends dangling, and secure.

d. Twist the ends of the metallic ribbon around a pencil so they are curly.

e. Cut the ends of the ribbon to be angled, if desired.

f. Repeat for the number of guests attending, plus a few spares.

3. Make the hangers for the ornaments:

a. Cut the metallic ribbon into strips about 7 – 8” in length.

b. Fold each strip in half and twist to make a stronger cord.

c. Fold each stronger, twisted cord in half and twist the ends together.

d. Secure and create a loop.

e. Repeat for the number of guests attending, plus a few spares.

4. Clear a workspace near a power outlet and set up your materials.

5. Lay out wax paper or newspaper to keep your work surface clean and free from glue or markings.

6. Plug in your glue gun and ensure that it is not in any potentially dangerous location that could cause fire.

NOTE: If you are using the miniature conch shells and using these directions verbatim, your shell ornaments will hang upside-down for a pretty, unique look and stable construction. Keep this in mind as you prepare to write on the shells. 


7. Position the shell appropriately for writing. In your best handwriting, write your name, your fiancé’s name, and your wedding date on the smooth surface of each shell with the Sharpie permanent marker. You could vary this however you wish – perhaps include a favorite phrase or quote about love as well, if space permits. Allow the shells to dry.

8. Glue the ornament hanger into the skinny, pointy end of the conch shell. If you are following these directions closely, you will turn the shells over and add some glue in the skinny opening at the top of the shell so that it will hang upside-down.

9. Place a drop of hot glue on the smooth side of the shell with the writing, just above your names and on the opposing side of the ornament hanger.

10. Stick the bow on the drop of glue and press down gently.

11. Set the shell aside to dry completely.

12. Continue this process until you have created one ornament for every guest, as well as one for yourselves and several extras, just for good measure. When all shells are dry, place them neatly in boxes or plastic tubs with lids.


TIP: You can use these ornaments as your place card holders, too! Simply create small tags on the computer and print them out on nice cardstock with each guest’s name. Punch a hole in each tag and loop it through the hanger on the shell. Voila! You now have wedding favors AND place card holders for your wedding guests!