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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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wedding guests going broke attending destination wedding?

Today on the Good Morning America show they talked about the costs associated with destination weddings for your guests.

On average, $490 per person ($980-$1,000) is spent by guests attending a wedding out-of-state, potentially more at higher-end resort destination locations. Many guests are admitting to going into debt trying to attend these weddings. They simply can’t afford to attend your destination wedding.

Personally, I have had people complain to me about their family or friends planning weddings that require them to spend a lot of money to attend.

 

The couple’s reasoning: “It will be a like a vacation for you”.

The guest’s reasoning: “I’ll go on a vacation when and where I want, your wedding isn’t a good time for me to spend all this money”.

 

#realtalk alert

They won’t complain to you. They will complain behind your back.

tips for couples planning a destination wedding

1. Don’t be upset when guests or family cannot attend. It’s not their fault you are planning a wedding far away and they may not have the funds at this moment. If they are that important to you for them to be there, then offer to pay for them.

2. Talk to your family. If everyone is on board with attending your destination wedding, then talk to them about the timing and location. Perhaps plan well in advance so that they know the general costs and can save for it appropriately.

3. Just the two of you. Consider going to a gorgeous resort, just the two of you. Have a beautiful, intimate wedding and a fabulous honeymoon. Then come home with great photos and a video and throw a reception for all your friends and family. You get the best of both worlds.

what do you say?

Are you planning a destination wedding and having pushback from your family and friends?

Do you feel it’s fair to expect everyone to attend your destination wedding?

plan on!

 

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indiana residents, pay attention to HJR-6 or HJR3

update: now called HJR3

Have you heard of HJR6? If you think it sounds like a virus you wouldn’t want to contract, you’d be close. It’s the acronym for House Joint Resolution 6 for the State of Indiana. And here it is:

House Joint Resolution 6 is a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution which states: “Only marriage between one(1) man and one(1) woman will be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

At first glance, people may think this is just about same-sex marriages, but it’s not  (although that is an important issue). It is on the path for the first time in Indiana’s history, when our state’s constitution is amended to take away rights, rather than to grant them.

Note: HJR-6 must pass through the House and Senate again in 2013. If it passes, unaltered, it will be on the ballot in 2014. This means that Hoosiers will cast their vote either for or against HJR-6 as it is written today. *More info here

Here are my points of this resolution that should make us all quiver a little:

  1. It will be an “constitutional amendment” in the Bill of Rights. Not just a state law.
  2. This amendment takes away the rights of future generations to decide for themselves about marriage equality.
  3. Notice the wording, “marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized”. This means if a couple who is recognized as a common law marriage in another state (Indiana does not recognize common law since 1958) will no longer be recognized as such, if they move to Indiana. They will have to file Indiana taxes separately instead of jointly. What does that mean? We may see a decline for new people moving to this state for employment thus impacting potential state tax revenue and economic growth. Although Rep. Ron Bacon says it will not impact current domestic partner benefits that are offered to couples. I don’t see how it cannot. Get ready for lawsuits.

Indiana already has a law that prohibits same-sex marriage, however recent polling shows that 45% are in favor of same sex marriages.

Whatever your personal beliefs, passing almost any amendment as a part of the state’s constitution should be meant with opposition. Make a law, not a permanent amendment. This stops our future generations to change their minds. Don’t we have enough government in our social affairs? Luckily our Mayor Winnecke along with many other mayors, businesses and universities have opposed HJR6. Our own Evansville City Council wants to formally file a resolution opposing and is in fact meeting tonight at 5:30pm for a meeting.

Don’t just sit there. Please send an email if you too oppose HJR6. But do it fast … the 2014 legislative session is drawing near.

For local peeps, here are quick links to your Representative. Or find your Indiana State Representative quickly here.

Senator Vaneta Becker

State Representative Gail Riecken (also happens to be one of our previous Mother of the Bride’s … shhh!)

State Representative Suzanne Crouch

State Representative Wendy McNamara

State Representative Ron Bacon

plan on! 

 

 

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saving you money, may cost you more

Everyone (no matter how much money they have) has a budget or total investment in mind when it comes to planning their wedding. Perhaps it’s a total dollar amount and for some people it’s a dollar figure by vendor category (photographer, planner, catering, et al).

Your choices on how much to invest in each area of your wedding is primarily based on personal importance and what you deem is worthy for your investment.

less experienced vendors:

Often less experienced vendors will offer a lower price point when compared to a more seasoned wedding veteran. And it’s understandable to lean towards these vendors because you can save money. The DJ that has great equipment, but really never worked at a wedding. The planner that is earnest, but has no previous experience, nor resources. The photographer that does really great portrait shots, but has never shot a wedding.

It’s your money and it’s your wedding. But before you sign on that dotted line, please take this into consideration.

Sometimes what may seem to be saving you money, may cost your more in the end. We’ve seen it happen too many times over the ten years we have been planning. We watch our brides grow frustrated at the lack of returned phone calls or emails. We watch them be concerned at whether or not this newer vendor will perform what they have promised.

We receive the 2 am emails from our brides…

[quote author="Stressed Out Bride"]I can’t sleep and my mind is racing about Vendor Z because I haven’t heard back from them for weeks. Are they going to show up? And now they are complaining that they don’t have this or that. What should I do?[/quote]

It takes all the restraint in the world to not answer, “Why did you hire them in the first place?”

Sure you may save $500 or $1,000 or whatever dollars. What is it worth to you in having peace of mind? 

hiring friends as your vendors:

We were just chatting with a 2012 bride this weekend. Her exact words to us were:

[quote author="Real Bride"]Please blog about NOT HIRING friends as vendors. We were pretty disappointed with our photos.[/quote]

It happens all the time. A friend is a friend, and it’s hard to mix business with pleasure. Especially if there are problems to discuss.

plan on!

 

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local event if you are planning a destination wedding!

Event News:
This Saturday, March 16th from 10 – 1 pm, Haynie Travel is hosting a small event at their business to promote the El Dorado Resorts in the Riviera Maya!  We won’t be there, but we wanted the local engaged couples that would like to get away for their honeymoon or destination wedding to check this event out! Tell them we sent you!

Haynie Travel
641 S Hebron Avenue
Evansville, Indiana

One of our MOB’s works there, be sure to say hello to Michelle Copeland!