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how to save money when planning your wedding …

… and other erroneous advice brought to you by ABC News Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee (ABC meteorologist).

Let me preface this blog post before I begin that I absolutely adore ABC Good Morning America and all their anchors and professionals. NBC Today show can suck it as long as they have Matt (Narcissistic) Lauer as their anchor. Also I am proud to be on TV with a local ABC affiliate. So it saddened me deeply to see this segment they did about “saving money when planning your wedding”. Because the “expert” Francesco Bilotto and the information he passed on was a huge pile of  … well, you’ll see.

Here’s the online link to the segment, I highly recommend you click over and watch the video before reading my rebuttal. And in case you can’t watch the video right now, please read on.

I’ve printed out their 7 ways to save a buck at your wedding … my rebuttal is underneath each point.

1. Keep it simple. Don’t reinvent the color wheel with add-ons such as special plates and linens; try to work with the natural beauty of the venue.

Keeping it simple is certainly your choice. I do agree, don’t fight the venue. i.e. Don’t pick a rustic space if you want an elegant type of wedding. Highlight the natural beauty of the venue and don’t fight it. Agreed. However if you are not a flower person, then bringing in colored or textured linens is the least expensive way to make a powerful statement in your wedding decor. Ask an interior designer (not Francesco, apparently), what is the least expensive option to making a bold statement in a room? The answer: paint it.

2. Use a florist that is not on your venue’s preferred list. You could save at least $2,500 that way.

 You should know as a consumer that often venue’s “preferred vendor’s list” is a paid list. Which is not a big deal, but the venue should be transparent about it. They are not necessarily the best vendors around, just vendors that plunked down advertising money. Back to Francesco’s pearls of wisdom: While a vendor may have to pay a venue to be selected as a client’s choice, the average fee would be 15%, typically, not more than that. Perhaps in NYC it is more. Going with what bride Ginger was first quoted for her wedding flowers, $10,000, then that would only be a savings of $1,500 (at 15%).

3. Rethink vases. Adding vases to floral centerpieces could get add at least $100 to the cost of each table.

{Scratching my head} So, walk me through this  …. we are supposed to put green, wet, oasis full of flowers directly on the white poly table-cloth provided by the venue? What the hell is that suppose to look like? When it starts to fall apart and melt everywhere? And where are they getting small vases (shown in the video) that are worth $100 TO RENT? (I know NYC is more expensive than the Midwest, but not THAT crazy. I just got back from Manhattan two days ago and their gas price was only $.15 more a gallon than what we pay locally). Most small, round vases to rent would be anywhere from $4 – $10 a vase.

4. Rethink the flowers you choose, and how you use them. Francesco Bilotto, who is planning Zee’s wedding, is using carnations for her big day. He called it “the forgotten, abused flower.” He also said that not every table needs to have flowers. “Every other one, maybe do an arrangement and sporadic ones in between and some candles,” Bilotto said.

Okay, this I’m on board with. I love carnations, they are a less expensive flower. However you need to use A LOT of them to make an impact. Or you’ll end up with prom centerpieces back in the day (one carnation, one fern and one sprig of baby’s breath). *barf*

And IT IS okay to have tables with no flowers … lots of candles and water in vases. Oh gosh, yes, we’ll have to use vases for this as most venues do not allow open flame. Sorry Point #3, we’re now backtracking …

5. Rethink your wedding photographer. “The best thing to do is contact your local school – find somebody that wants to build a career with their skills,” Bilotto said. “Nine out of 10 you’ll save $8,000 just paying for the cost of their camera, their developing and their time. You’ve made a college kid happy and you’ve got some great photos.”

I am resisting the urge to start cussing like a sailor. In a few instances for our events, we have used second shooters or college students (think a photo booth or montage). Those are set-up shots with easy retakes.

I strongly urge you to use your money that you saved from not having vases on your tables (snicker) to put towards the best professional wedding photographer that you can afford. Please. It will be worth it.

SIDE NOTE: Bride’s do not care if they are making some “college kid happy” on their special, special day. Any experienced planner would know that.

6. Rethink having a formal, sit-down dinner. “I actually prefer you do not do that formal sit-down dinner. No one wants to sit next to your Aunt Sally with horrible cologne all night long,” Bilotto said. “Think about doing a few buffet stations or grazing stations, as the caterers’ call it, and a few hors d’oeuvres. Be careful with that because staff adds in the price again. At the end of the day, it’s about the people you are with.”

Listen lovelies, an hors d’oeuvres dinner will cost you more than a buffet dinner. A sit-down dinner will cost you more than a buffet, because the caterer has to have additional staff to serve. At the end of the day, it IS about the people you are with. But if your guests are leaving to go home to eat because they are hangry, then it will end up being just about you. Side note: go ahead and google “grazing stations” for weddings. Will. Not. Save. You. Money.

(Holy Smokes, we are almost done …)

7. Rethink the cake. (Yes, the cake!) Nowadays, many couples are opting for a smaller cake for cutting at the ceremony and feeding the guests a sheet cake. Or they’re having a “fake cake” made – an elaborately designed cake with several fake layers and just one layer for the couple to eat. And, yes, guests are fed from a sheet cake. Guests don’t need to know!

Late Breaking News: Use a fake cake for your wedding to save you money. {insert the eye roll} Here’s the skinny on this subject. One of the most expensive and luxurious resorts locally, West Baden Hotel, use fake cakes for their weddings. Always. One tier has real cake and that is what the couple cuts into in front of everyone. However, this is not to save you money. Oh, no. They still have to decorate an “elaborately designed cake” which takes time and artistry. And that charge is passed along to you.

The real reason they use a fake, ahem, excuse me … faux cake is so their guest service is not compromised. Couple cuts the cake on the dance floor, it is wheeled away … minutes later, the wait staff is serving cake table side to guests. This is of course from sheet cakes that were cut and plated earlier. Guests think the wait staff service is awesome, there are no delays and the meal service is completed quickly for dancing and other festivities.

THAT is why, Francesco, the fake wedding cake is a good idea. Wrap that up and stuff it in your pocket square.

I’m exhausted. My own final thoughts to this debacle of a segment:

  1. I bet Ginger is getting free wedding planning services from Francesco for media promotion. Can’t wait to see photos of her wedding from her university student photographer and loose carnation centerpieces.
  2. ABC should look into hiring university students to forecast the weather. I’m sure they could get them for $1,000 a month, a savings of ….
  3. Why show photos OF LAVISH and beautiful weddings while talking about cutting back on flowers and having no vases? (yeah, okay, I’m stuck on the vase thing, because it’s weird). It doesn’t make sense. Show photos of pretty budget weddings.
  4. Finally, we advocate and help our clients save money on their wedding day. This rant blog post was NOT about spending more money on your wedding, instead, knowing realistically and more importantly, accurately where you can save a dime.

ps I know you have opinions on this, so let’s do it. Come on’ …. post a comment.

plan on!

 

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first look before your ceremony

It’s still a controversy. Do you see each other before your wedding ceremony? Honestly, most of our clients ARE seeing each other, about 70%. We find it’s usually the groom that doesn’t want to see his bride before the wedding. Go figure.

There are a lot of pro’s and con’s to this and we’ve talked about it before on this series here.

bottom line:

  1. Do what you want to do.
  2. Remember, sometimes it really helps to calm you down.
  3. Your vendors will setup an epic First Look. Just you and your groom/bride (and a photographer and videographer capturing the moment). Most of the time the groom’s cry, not the bride. See the photos below.
  4. Be flexible. Inclement weather and other situations may change your opinion about seeing each other.
  5. Almost every single one of our clients that saw each other, were happy they did. They enjoyed their day and their wedding reception so much more.

here’s a glimpse of real First Looks (this could be you!)

first look1 first look before your ceremony
first look2 first look before your ceremony
first look3 first look before your ceremony

photo credit: amy shepherd photography

Or you could not see each other but take some cute photos like the one in our featured photo with our bride Erin and groom Zach.

featured photo credit: elizabeth vincent photography

plan on!

 

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morning after pictures…

Is there a new trend for wedding photography? There may just be.

Have your wedding photographer come to your hotel suite for a potentially sexy “Morning After” photo session. Just the bride, groom and your photog. At least that is what the msn.com article said.

Intrigued to learn more, I contacted the photographer, Michelle Jonne. She gave me the low-down on this super cool concept:

“The Morning After” does not take place the night or next day of your wedding for multiple reasons: 1) we respect the wedding night and do not want to photograph any sexual acts 2) we do NOT want to photograph couples that are hung over 3) the photos are done in a tasteful manner and are meant to be implied, playful, sensual, edgy and tasteful all in one. The Morning After not only has to be for newlyweds but any couple in love and wants to capture it.  I think it can be used as a tool to re-ignite the fire in ones relationship, celebrate an anniversary.

I totally concur, Michelle. Now at first I was a little doubtful. But realize this is more of a staged photo shoot and is a just a beautiful reflection of a couple’s love. Whether you want it to round out the wedding photo album or frame on your bedroom wall around your anniversary.

Check out this love that Michelle captured:

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morning after3 morning after pictures...

morning after4 morning after pictures...

What do you think? Would you be up for it?

photo credit: michelle jonne photography 
featured photo credit: pfe iPhone

ps You should know that most wedding couples are usually so tired from partying the night before that the morning of starting new lives together is when they actually get to, er, consummate the marriage. Now THAT would be a whole different type of photography session. icon smile morning after pictures...

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steaming it up with boudoir photo …

Boudoir photography. Intimate photography. Steamy photos. Everyone has a different name for it, but it all comes down to one thing.

Sizzling, yummy, sexy, classy photos of a beautiful woman.

This concept has been around a long time. My sister-in-law had hers taken waaaay back in the early 90′s. We teased her then, but she LOVES them now. It’s a permanent reminder of herself back in her prime (going to get an email for that comment).

For the few of you that don’t know what we’re talking about…. it’s an opportunity to take beautiful photos, like a model, that are tasteful, but sexy. Let’s just say. Thank God for professional makeup and Photoshop.

This is a perfect gift for your groom or husband on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Earth Day, Groundhog’s Day…. you get the idea. They are going to love it. No matter what “day” it is.

We’re excited that more local photographers are doing this type of shooting her locally. Here’s a few to look at…

Matt with Matt Vickers Photography has his own unique style …

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2 vickers boudoir steaming it up with boudoir photo ...

1 walker boudoir steaming it up with boudoir photo ...

2 walker boudoir steaming it up with boudoir photo ...

Andrea Walker takes beautiful photos with Walker Studio….

Don’t let the lingerie intimidate you. If that’s not your style, talk to your photographer. Tousled hair, professional makeup and a guy’s dress shirt.

Let YOUR OWN personality show through.

featured photo credit: pfe iPhone

ps Thank you Matt and Andrea for the photos. BEAUTIFUL!

plan on!

 

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pretty engagement photos

We believe it should be a priority to get to know your photographer by investing in the engagement photos. It helps all of you relax and get to know each other (especially when many people have anxiety about having a camera in their face). Once you trust each other, the wedding day is a breeze.

For your visual fun, check out our clients Whitney + Tyson who are tying the knot on August 7th later this year. We also are doing the design and decor and cannot wait for their wedding day.

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equinox110 pretty engagement photosequinox201 pretty engagement photos

 

incredible photographer: Equinox Photography

plan on!