met the perfect man, and you have the perfect ring on your finger. How do you plan the perfect wedding? While wedding planning can be stressful and overwhelming at times, there is a way for you to make things perfect for you and your husband to be. All it requires is a little communication and patience while you make what seems like a never-ending list of choices and decisions. Breaking your wedding planning down into sections and considering the following questions should have you well on your way to planning your perfect wedding.
First, you will need to choose the kind of reception you would like to have. Are you planning a large wedding, or a more intimate gathering of friends and family? Talk with your relatives and soon to be in-laws to get an idea of what their needs are, as their concept of small may be quite different than yours. Once you have a general idea of how many guests you will have, you can then visit reception possibilities and talk with them about what they offer. Remember that the places you choose to visit have most likely hosted many weddings before yours, and they present suggestions that you haven't thought about. It is perfectly okay to not have all the answers immediately, and many reception sites will gladly let you take their information so you can spend time considering what they have to offer. If you have questions, be sure to ask them, as this is a great way to see how flexible the site and staff will be to meet your individual needs. Of course, you will need to determine your wedding budget, as the reception will be where you spend the most money.
The next item on your list is to choose the food and the wedding cake. It's a great idea to sample the food at each reception site, preferably the same food you might choose for your wedding. The time of day that you choose to get married will also impact your food choice. If you choose a mid morning wedding, you might prefer to have a brunch buffet, while an evening wedding calls for more a more formal presentation. Whatever you choose, do not hesitate to ask for references from whoever will be providing the food at your reception. These references will take you beyond the food preparation and help you evaluate service and accuracy.
Flowers, invitations, music and photography are all personal choices you will make based on the style you desire for your wedding. These are also areas that you can trim your budget if you need to. Considering a simplified invitation and less formally arranged flowers can literally save you hundreds of dollars. The perfect wedding does not necessarily need to be the most expensive one! Use your creativity and you will find that your wedding is just as perfect as the man you've chosen to marry.
Buying A Wedding Ring? Avoid Classic Diamond Scams
By: Lesley-Ann Graham
As you walk along on your quest for the perfect diamond for your mate, you hear, "Pssst! Hey mister, I hear you're looking for some good rocks. I've got some great stones, really reasonably priced. I'll even throw in the ring for free!"?
Sounds shady? You bet he is! Of course, you wouldn't really buy a diamond from a guy in an alley wearing a trench, right?
Bet you'd be amazed by how many scams are pulled and in broad daylight by jewellers who seem absolutely honest. Some of them even have beautiful shops that look really hi-tech. Beat them at their own game by learning their scams.
The bigger the better, a lot of people say. When a jeweller tells you that you have a five carat diamond ring, don't get dazzled by the carats. If there was only one stone then you'd have no problem. You might actually be getting a 1 carat diamond surrounded by eight half-carat smaller pieces.
An honest jeweller will tell you the weight of each stone in the ring separate from the centre diamond. If you are prepared to pay a little extra, he'll even give you a certificate from a reputed lab such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as proof. If he can't or won't do these, you're better off buying from someone else.
Then there's the bait and switch. The jewellery store will advertise a diamond at a great price. Problem is that when you get there, they'll tell you that it's already been sold and try to convince you to get another piece instead. Rarely is this case true. Usually there was never such a piece and they'll show you something more expensive that they will try to get you to buy instead.
If the diamond that they announced for sale isn't available, ask for another just like it. If they can't produce another one of the same special quality and price, you are better off walking out the door. Don't let them get your hard earned money.
Normally when you go to a jewellery shop, the gems are lying on a beautiful cloth bed under bright lights. The gems are so white and tempting. Hold it right there! Most diamonds really will look whiter especially under lights that give off a certain blue component. If you really want to check the colour of a stone, check it in sunlight. If they refuse, refuse to purchase as well.
You were finally able to find the gem that symbolizes your love. You ask your jeweller to now make it into a ring so that you can propose to your beloved. He said that you would have to leave it with him for a few weeks and he'll call you when it's ready.
When the ring arrives, it is beautiful but....something about it just doesn't feel right. You can't quite put your finger on it but this doesn't seem to be the diamond that you bought. How can you tell?
The solution is simple: have the diamond checked by an independent gemologist certified by a group such as the GIA. Have them compare it to the certificate of your diamond to confirm that it is a match. After all, no two diamonds are exactly the same. Then you'll know and can demand proper action.
Bottom line, to avoid scams you should take the time to educate yourself about the basics of diamonds. Next you'll need to find a jeweller or gemologist that you can truly trust. Lastly, always ensure that you are given the proper certificate for your gem, one issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or another reputed independent lab. These will save you a whole lot of money and avoid giving you headaches.
A Spring Wedding By: Lorna Mclaren
Spring is seen as the start of a new year and provides a wonderfully appropriate backdrop for weddings. Spring Weddings symbolize the start of a new life together for the bride and groom. Depending on where you are living, the flowers will be blooming and the new buds will be appearing on trees giving everyone a fresh feeling after the dreary winter months.
Although a Spring Wedding can be symbolically wonderful there is always the chance of some spring showers so it is best to plan your spring wedding with a wet weather plan built in.
Depending on where you live this may not be a problem but for many the chance of some light showers is very real. For some the chance of a torrential downpour may also be an issue.
The weather should not be allowed to spoil your spring wedding and so large umbrellas at the ready and a willing helper to hold them over the bride and groom and the day will carry on regardless.
If you had planned on an outdoor setting for the ceremony then checking with a venue close by if they can also provide you with facilities is the best idea.
Photographs look just as wonderful inside as they do outside so look to your photographer for advice there. It may be that a break in the rain will enable a few pictures to be snapped outside.
Your guests may be a little damp when they get to the reception but ensuring there is a cloackroom where they can discard their wet outer wear will help.
Whatever the day brings and whatever happens with the weather if you have planned for a few different scenarios then you will be able to enjoy your day.
Find a Creative Wedding Photographer
By: Sam Smith
One of the most important memories that you will cherish for the rest of your married life are the photographs. Photographs of the wedding are the memories that you and many of your friends will look back on again and again. Therefore finding a creative wedding photographer is worth the time and effort. Below are a few suggestions
The first thing that you will want to do is call around and speak to a few different photographers. Get a feel for them over the phone. You should not concern yourself with price at this point so much as attitude and personality. The best route is to call 10 or 15 photographers and take notes as you speak with them on the phone. Then go through your list and select three that you liked the best. Then call them back and ask to set up an appointment to meet them and view samples of their work.
Once you have the appointment set make sure you put it down in your schedule or date book. You will want to be dressed casually but nice and make sure you arrive on time. Giving off a professional presence by being prepared and arrive on time can ensure that you get quality service from the photographer.
One of the biggest and most important factors of a wedding photographer is their personality. Believe it or not this can really make or break your wedding day. For example if you have a wedding photographer that is too bossy and tries to direct the show it can really get in the way of the wedding. So in this interview you want to really check them out and see if their personality is a good match with yours. You can tell a lot about a person by just casually talking to them. Show genuine interest in them as a professional photographer and ask about their work and style. From this you can gather lots of little clues about their personality. Are they laid back and easy going? This might be a great combination but then again if they appear to be too laid back then you might worry if they will be prepared and arrive on time. Really spend some time with the person and try to get to know them and their personality as much as possible. Even the most technically skilled photographer with the best photographs might not be the one you want to choose. Instead having one that matches well with your attitude and style will make you feel more comfortable.
You definitely want to see sample of the photographers work. One little piece of advice when looking at samples is to ask to see a whole wedding. Often photographers will have a stock set up portfolio that they will show to prospective clients. The problem with this is they often only select out their best work. So you are only seeing a small percentage of what they actually do. Therefore if you ask to see the pictures for a whole wedding sequence you can get a more accurate view of their work.
When looking at samples try to imagine yourself in the pictures. Are these the types of pictures that you want to be in? To they speak to you and say, "this could be you?" Do they strike up any emotions for you either positive or negative?
Listen to your ideas
During this interview it can be helpful to briefly outline your wedding plans including locations, dates, times and other such factors. This will give them a chance to listen to your desires. If you have some specific pictures that you would like taken make some suggestions and see how they react. Are they too cocksure of themselves and unwilling to listen to your fun and creative photo ideas or are they sincere and show interest in you?
Another thing that you will want to both ask and look for in samples is their style. Do they have a more classic or formal look with mostly posed pictures or are there some candid shots. Typically photographer will fall into one of two styles. They will be either classic studio type portraits or they can be photo journalistic in their style.
If you are looking for a creative wedding photographer you will want a photographer that is flexible and can display a wide variety of styles. Truly artistic photographers will often be able to work in a wide variety of formats and styles and be able to accommodate your desires. Make sure they are flexible and open to your input! Creative wedding photographer will often have some fun suggestions of location and or props that can enhance the mood of the photos. Ask about these items in advance and watch to see what their reaction is. Most important no matter their styles, technical abilities or any other factor make sure their personality matches your own.
Unique and Unusual Wedding Favours
By: Bonnie Ray
If you are looking for wedding favours for your wedding reception or wedding shower, you’ve probably seen the "usual" wedding favours. For instance, chrome and candles. These things are elegant. But if you are looking for something different for your guests, don’t think that you have to settle for the mundane... There are plenty of unique and unusual wedding favours out there.
For instance, you can make many traditional wedding favors unique by personalizing them. Custom monograms and engraving are available to add that personal touch to your guests fabric and chrome wedding favours. Even simple personalized ribbons are an inexpensive but elegant gift for your guests or wedding party.
You can also make your own wedding favours. Each home made wedding favour is a truly unique and thoughtful gift. You can buy kits online for ready-to-assemble wedding favours that you can make and personalize yourself.
You may also just want something unusual- something that your guests haven’t seen at other wedding receptions and wedding parties. There’s such a wide variety of unusual wedding favours available that you’re sure to find something you and your guests will like.
For example, consider giving your guests any of the following unusual but practical wedding favours: shot glass wedding favours; watches; golf tees and other golf-related wedding favours; bookmark wedding favours; cd wedding favours; flower seeds or wild flower seeds; or even unique magnets. There are thousands to choose from.
You may also have an unusual theme to your wedding, and want an unusual wedding favor to go along with it. There are country wedding favours for country theme weddings and Celtic wedding favours for Celtic theme weddings.
Also consider unusual, seasonal wedding favours. Most weddings occur in the spring or summer, so if you have a fall wedding, you may want to emphasize that by choosing autumn theme wedding favours or wedding favours in fall colours. Similarly, December weddings are unusual; celebrate this with unusual Christmas or Christian wedding favours.
There are so many unusual and unique wedding favours to choose from that you can choose some surprising and unique items for the guests at your wedding shower or wedding reception.
If you are having a difficult time finding or locating that "perfect" wedding favor here's a suggestion. Go online and do a search for wedding favours. Or better yet, search for unique wedding favours. With tons of wedding favour sites online surely you will get some ideas for that perfect wedding favour you are searching for.
Wedding Catering Tips
By: Jen Carter
Wedding catering has always been one of the most crucial aspects of planning a wedding. Besides choosing the food menu items for the palette, you also need to think of other factors — could there be potential allergies to certain types of wedding food, will the food arrive on time, and will it taste great? For all these reasons and more, it is very important that you take the time to review the details of providing great cuisine through a responsible and reliable wedding caterer. Ideally, you will find someone who has experience in catering wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, theme weddings and bridal showers. If the caterer is a custom designer, baker or Chef, they might also help you plan your stunning wedding cake or cake tops. Here are some tips we have found that might help make planning your wedding catering easier than you might think:
Meet the Caterer(s) in person with questions.
Many local wedding florists, planners and coordinators know the industry well. Ask them about potential caterers for your event. If you contact a caterer, ask to meet with him or her in person. You will want them to provide references in terms of their abilities and experience. Make you sure you also contact the BBB (Better Business Bureau, bbb.org) to see if they are listed there or are in good standing. Ask your potential caterer about the largest number of guests they can handle and when their last wedding catering took place. Other important details are whether they are insured, have health permits, and whether they are licensed. Without a health permit a caterer cannot provide your wedding food needs.
Check to see if a Caterer is included in your wedding package.
Many couples choose to have a destination wedding and find that special place to hold their wedding ceremony and reception. If this is in your plans make sure you check that catering is not included in a wedding package if you chose one. If catering is included, make sure you still ask the appropriate questions.
Ask about food tasting. Many caterers will allow a tasting in advance of the wedding so that you can choose cuisine that meets your needs. Some charge a fee for this, while others don't allow it at all. Use discretion, and if possible, ask about bringing others to the tasting.
Write up a well-detailed contract
A business contract is always necessary in any business transactions and catering is no exception. The contract can be written and signed by you, the contractor and a witness (if possible your fiance or friend) and should include even the smallest of details to ensure there are no misunderstanding as to what is expected by both yourself and the caterer. Assume you will need to put down a deposit.
Wedding catering menu ingredients
Ask about the ingredients used in preparing your meal. Are the ingredients high quality, does the caterer bake in-house or order out (especially for bakery and dessert items)? All of this will play a role in pricing out the ultimate professional caterer for your wedding.
Inquire about the cancellation policy
Always inquire about the cancellation policy. Read the fine lines in any contract as there may be stiff penalties / taxes involved if you need to change your event date or cancel altogether.
Another suggestion is to put some thought into a backup plan. Although it's rare and highly unlikely a wedding caterer or catering company would leave you high and dry, stranger things have happened.
In the end, your choice of wedding cuisine should match you and your fiance's personal preference and style. By planning your wedding catering thoroughly and wisely months in advance, one of the most important aspects of you wedding will be thoroughly enjoyed by all. Bon appetite!
How To Choose A Wedding Reception Venue
By: Rebecca Sherman
Just as the site of the wedding ceremony often sets the atmosphere for the service, the place chosen for the reception is the key to its enjoyment.
Traditional Reception Sites
Even in areas where reception sites are plentiful, the most popular sites are often reserved more than a year in advance. The wise couple will reserve their reception location before making other plans. Many couples have found it necessary to choose their wedding date based on "availability" of the reception site. Couples have also found that it is often much easier to book a reception on a Friday or Sunday. Some facilities will even offer special discounts/incentives for receptions held on days other than Saturdays.
When it comes to finding a reception site, there are many types of facilities from which to choose. Hotels, catering halls, country clubs, and restaurants are some of the most popular sites for receptions. Other sites often used for wedding receptions include clubhouses operated by organizations including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, athletic, ethnic clubs, service organizations and university unions or even museums. These venues range in capacity from intimate parties to grand affairs. These various facilities also range in style from extremely casual to the utmost formal, keep in mind prices vary greatly too!
When choosing a facility the bridal couple must first determine an approximate number of guests to be sure the location can accommodate their needs. Budget and location are the next factors to consider, followed by preferred ambiance and other special desires.
Reception site managers all agree that the first piece of advice they make to couples looking for a reception site is to know their budget. Only when financial limitations are known can further details be planned. For those on a tight budget, the church hall is a favoured reception site, usually available at little or no cost and offering convenience when held immediately following the ceremony.
Other things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect reception site is whether the site can accommodate parking needs, dance space and music requirements. What are the policies on beverages, food and catering services, time restrictions and decorations? Are tables, chairs, linens, silverware and other accessories provided? Check on rental fee, deposits, and date guarantees.
It is important to view the facility before making any final decisions. Looking around, asking questions and if possible viewing the facility when it is set up for a similar type of reception will assure that the couple will be happy with their choice. Once a decision is made the couple should discuss any special needs they or their guests may have with the banquet/site manager. The day of the wedding will be too hectic to deal with any of the details and when the couple arrives at the reception, it will be time to celebrate!
Outdoor Receptions & Tents
Alternative ideas to the traditional reception site list can include city, county and state parks, or one's own backyard! While some parks have shelters available in case of inclement weather, others rely on the rental of tents as shelter. (Since each park has their own restrictions and rules, it is vital that the couple knows well in advance, what they can and cannot do).
The use of a tent combines the feeling of the great outdoors with protection from the elements. Tents come in a variety of styles and can play host to a casual event or elegant gathering. Rental companies can supply beautiful white tents with French window sidewalls, dance floors, lighting, tables, chairs, fountains and more to provide a breathtaking atmosphere for any celebration. Tents are available in many sizes; some can even accommodate over 2,500 people! Professionals in the tent rental business can help choose the size and style that will be best for the event.
The great outdoors also provides many options in food choice from picnics to formal sit-down dinners. Caterers can be hired or the do-it-yourselfer can turn to rental companies for food service equipment and portable bars.
When choosing an outdoor venue there is one more thing to keep in mind, the need for restrooms. Some companies that carry portable restrooms will rent them for special events. Companies that specialize in the business may surprise many. Their units are clean and can come equipped with flushing toilets, sinks, mirrors and lights, providing all the conveniences of an indoor facility outdoors!
Indoor or out, reception guests look forward to food and refreshments. And indoors or out, professional caterers offer a full range of culinary delights and services. Formal dinners, buffets and brunches can feature a variety of tasty cuisines. Hors d'oeuvres, salads, breads, desserts, pastries and even pig roasts are available for reception fare. Caterers today can satisfy the tastes of any couple, not only for receptions, but also for rehearsals and showers.
Many facilities may be under contracts with specific caterers. This means that when a reception facility is chosen, the facility may dictate who will provide the food. If a facility is chosen that lets the couple choose their own caterer; there are a delectable variety of caterers to choose from.
Caterers can be found in the phone book, online, at wedding shows and by asking friends and relatives for their suggestions. Word of mouth definitely has meaning here. When calling around for prices and menus, a couple should also ask about sampling before making a final decision. Some caterers specialize in the business, while others can be part of a restaurant or food market who will go off premise to cater. With such a variety to choose from, there is certainly something for everyone's taste! back to top
Finding The Perfect Wedding Gift
By: Bonnie Ray
A wedding is what most of us look forward to once we find that someone ‘special’ in our life. Once in a life time occasion, each one of us wants everything to be perfect, well thought and taken care of. A well planned wedding turns out to be as beautiful as a dream. A wedding straight out of a fairy tale story is not a difficult task to accomplish. There are many aspects you consider once your wedding date is finalized.
A wedding gift is one of them. Most of us pay least attention to this important feature of the special occasion. The tradition of a wedding gift to the parents of the bride or groom has been a substantial element of every wedding for many years.
It would be great if you express your appreciation or heart felt thanks, with a gift that exhibits your true feelings.
There are various choices for the purpose. You may think of a handwritten thank you note that share a favorite memory or thanking
someone for the part they played, a personalized or customized gift with the wedding date or wedding colors, a special photograph of the bride/ groom or a photograph that includes the family member or friend that you are giving the gift to.
The Key is to get creative and involve your true feelings in whatever you do.
If you are considering a special gift for the groomsmen, there are personalized sport equipment, leather valets or travel bags. Gift ideas for women are customized bracelets with your wedding colors, engraved jewelry boxes, or charm bracelets.
Most people like to gift their parents with something special as a piece of appreciation. If you are also looking for meaningful gift items, think of poems, jewelry or a handwritten note. These items will be treasured for a life time.
Make sure that you finalize those last minute details and gifts, to show your appreciation to those loved ones who have played an important part in making your wedding a dream come true. Try devoting your efforts to develop a truly unique gift that your loved
ones would cherish for a lifetime.
And if you are having a little difficulty locating the perfect wedding gift there is a simple solution. The internet. If you do a search for wedding gift you'll get back thousands of websites and just by browsing them you are likely to come up with that "perfect" wedding gift idea you've been searching for.
Types Of Parties For Your Wedding
By: Rebecca Sherman
A wedding means celebration, as friends and family honor the bride and groom with an array of pre- and post-wedding parties. The bride finds herself the centre of attention at showers, luncheons and dinners where her biggest responsibility is to enjoy herself!
The Engagement Party
Parents traditionally host the first engagement party, held either on or soon after the day the announcement appears in the newspapers. Occasionally, the parents of the bride and groom will host the same party, but more often separate parties are held.
Engagement parties often serve an important function. It is a convenient way for parents to introduce their child’s fiancé to family and friends. And of course some parents find this party an enjoyable way to get to know their child’s fiancé better as well.
Traditionally, showers are given for the bride, but today it is not unusual to find the groom at these lively functions as they are now generally more involved in the wedding planning than in the past.
Showers are given by any friend or relative who wants to do something special for the couple. Customarily, members of the immediate family of the bride and groom do not host a shower, however that is changing in recent years and is now more acceptable. Every bride is entitled to at least one shower—the laws of etiquette are there to help, not hinder, the effort. Often, it is the honor attendant with the help of the maids, who volunteers to host a shower. Since the shower is always given by someone other than the bride, this is one instance when registry information can be included with the invitation.
The Bachelor and Bachelorette Party
Today both bachelor and bachelorette parties are equally popular. These types of parties are generally very casual and emphasize having fun, unwinding and celebrating the wedding. The party may or may not include a dinner and takes place in a home, a club or the private dining room of a restaurant.
These celebrations often incorporate a theme and can include attending a sporting event, going to a comedy club or on a shopping excursion. Some enjoy activities such as laser tag, paintball, gambling, golfing, bowling or even camping.
Getting there can be half the fun when you hire a limousine, bus or other transportation service to take partygoers from one destination to another. This also alleviates the responsibility of designated drivers, allowing everyone the opportunity to celebrate.
If alcoholic beverages are served, the party should be a minimum of several days before the wedding, if not a few weeks prior. No one will want to look less than his/her best for the day of the wedding.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner, held immediately after the rehearsal, can be as simple or elaborate as the host wishes. However, it should never upstage the wedding itself. It is best to go to a restaurant or club. This eliminates anyone in the immediate family having to deal with entertaining and clean-up the night before the wedding.
Traditionally, the groom’s parents are responsible for the cost of the rehearsal dinner. If they are from out of town, they may ask the mother of the bride to help with reservations. But it is perfectly acceptable to have a godparent, friend or member of the bride’s family do the honor of hosting this function.
The guest list will include the attendants, the bride and groom’s immediate family, the ceremony official (and spouse, if any), plus any out-of-town guests, family or friends the couple or the host wishes to invite. If it has not already been done, the attendants’ gifts may be distributed at this occasion.
All will fare better if they make it an early evening. The best party—the wedding —is yet to happen!
Gift Opening Party
Nowadays many couples plan gift opening parties. This small gathering usually only includes the bride and groom’s families and members of the bridal party. More often than not, gifts are opened the day after the wedding or soon after the newlyweds return from their honeymoon.
When held the day after the wedding, the gift-opening party is often planned around a meal. Snacks and refreshments left over from the reception may also be served.
But the purpose of the party, of course, is to open the wedding gifts. A few moments of planning will save headaches later, therefore a careful record of who sent what is a necessity. A guest book with a gift record section, available from stationers, book stores and bridal shops, is recommended.
4 Cheap Wedding Favors Ideas
By: Bonnie Ray
If you are looking for cheap wedding favours, there are a large number of them to choose from. You should have no problem at all finding one that suits your particular wedding reception or wedding shower.
Just because your wedding has a limited budget doesn’t mean that you can give your guests gifts or "favours" that they will love. Cheap wedding favours can be elegant, charming, or even useful. It’s all up to you to decide which type you need.
Here are some examples:
If you are looking for something elegant, cheap wedding favours don’t have to look cheap. You can get crystal much more inexpensively than most people expect; crystal coasters goblets, and vases cost no more than a few pounds, and they’re so beautiful that nobody will accuse you of giving a cheap gift.
Candles, too, make charming, yet cheap wedding favours. Heart-shaped candles, carriage-shaped candles, and rose-shaped candles are all charming, yet inexpensive. Who can resist the romantic glow of a candle? Even many of your guests who don’t normally collect candles will undoubtedly burn them, anyway, during a special evening or bubble bath. Candle wedding favours usually cost just a dollar or two.
Another cheap wedding favour that is very popular right now is soap. This may not at first sound like a good gift... But bath soaps can come in unexpected shapes. Consider half a dozen rose-shaped red, white, or pink soaps in a beautiful heart-shaped box. They can cost less than 2 dollars. Or, for a winter wedding, a box of snowflake-shaped soap confetti. It doesn’t cost much more than a dollar, but it will make a special bath-time for your guests. It’s sure to be appreciated.
Finally, if you are on an extremely tight budget, yet you want to give your wedding reception or wedding party guests a token of your gratitude, consider bubbles. Not many adults indulge in buying themselves bubbles; but if you give them as wedding favours, you may be surprised at the number of grown-ups you see happily puffing away, competing to see who can blow the biggest bubble or the most bubbles from one breath. It’s a treat that you can afford to give them. These cheap wedding favours cost no more than a quarter a piece if you buy them in packs of 10 or 20.