How to Become a Successful Wedding Planner With Inexpensive Weddings

Can you make a living planning weddings? Yes. As a self-employed professional, you can either charge a set fee for the wedding or a percentage of the total cost. Your income can be uncertain when you first start planning these extravaganzas, but as your reputation spreads and you gain more experience, your income can increase dramatically.

Of course, you will make more income on an elaborate, huge wedding, but several smaller and simple weddings will be less stressful when you are starting out and, when the separate income is added together, you will probably make the same amount of money.

Some agencies who track salaries report yearly incomes in the $50,000 range for wedding planners. One such agency, PayScale, currently reports these average hourly rates for the profession:

* California $28.00

* Georgia $27.50

* Massachusetts $20.64

* New York $15.00

* Louisiana $14.00

* Pennsylvania $10.23

* Texas $9.00

As with any self-employment, your success depends entirely on your creativity, reliability and marketing skills. There are online courses you can take to teach you the skills you need to plan the perfect wedding for your clients. Some of those courses will lead to certification as a Wedding Planner, which will give you more credibility with your clients and improve your professional standing with your colleagues.

Getting Started

What a professional Wedding Planner actually does is take on the details and responsibility of the event, relieving the bride and groom and their families, from the stresses involved. In turn, this allows them to enjoy the preliminary wedding events, like bridal showers and picking a honeymoon location.

There are lots of details you, as a Wedding Planner, need to know to keep things running smoothly and within the budget available. You will have to have a set of resources you can tap into to get the best service at the best prices, like reserving the church or chapel, catering the reception, ordering flowers, getting the wedding dress designed and ordered, selecting invitations and announcements, booking the music and hiring a professional photographer, among many other tasks.

It would probably be very good advice to start your career on small and somewhat inexpensive weddings. Giant extravaganzas can be very complex and time consuming to the most experienced Wedding Planner and you would be well-advised to start smaller and work up.

Some of the following tips should help you get started on planning a smaller wedding that will save money on several of the more expensive features of normal weddings. The bride’s father will love you for it.

The Wedding Gown

* The wedding gown can be expensive enough to break any budget. You can offer your client several options that are affordable and will still make the bride look like an angel as she floats down the aisle.

Renting a gown is becoming more popular every day. Think about it. The bride is going to wear it once and it was probably worn once before she rented it. It also avoids the storage problem for 20 years if the bride will not be saving it for her firstborn child to wear at her own wedding.

* If a member of the bride’s family is a good seamstress, suggest that she ask the family member to make the dress. Providing all the material and even paying the family member for the service will more than likely be less expensive than buying one from a bridal store.

* Another way would be for the bride to wear her mother’s wedding gown, if she saved it. You might want to check it carefully for any deterioration before the bride commits to wearing it. The mother is probably from a generation that thought saving her wedding gown was an obligation of the marriage and believed for several decades that her daughter would wear it at her own wedding.

The Reception

Another budget-buster is the reception, but some planning with a true reality check can reduce your client’s expenditures here.

* Think smaller. Talk to your clients about how they can downsize the guest list. When the excitement of the coming event takes over, your clients and their parents will many times have a very long list of people to invite to the wedding and the reception after.

Many of the parents’ visions of the reception can resemble an extravaganza with hundreds of guests, munching caviar and drinking champagne all night long in a huge ballroom. If their budget will not cover the considerable expenses involved in their dream reception, your skills as the Wedding Planner will be well served here.

To start with, keeping the guest list small and only inviting close family and friends will save money and still provide the dream celebration your clients want. If your client hasn’t had a close relationship with college friends or neighbors from four moves back, don’t put them on the list.

Instead of renting the largest hall or club banquet room in your town for the reception, you have a couple of inexpensive options that might appeal to your clients:

* Check out restaurants in the area. Some have banquet rooms that they will either rent out or provide free if you use their services for the sit-down meal or the buffet.

* Consider suggesting that your clients hold the reception at their home. The party does not have to include a full meal. Catered hors d’oeuvres and a champagne fountain will set the festive mood your clients want.

* Weddings held in gardens or other natural settings are very popular and beautiful. There’s minimal decoration needed and the only expense might be for the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace.

* Not having a full bar will save a lot of money, regardless of where the reception is held. The champagne fountain mentioned above can also be combined with beer or wine if the clients want to provide additional libations for their guests.

The Photography

The formal wedding service requires a professional photographer who will create a beautiful album to record the special day and preserve the memories to relive as they wish. If you create a relationship with several photographers as you build your career, you will know which one to hire for your client’s purposes.

The rest of the celebration can be recorded by all their friends and relatives with a digital camera in their pockets. Some clients put disposable cameras on tables for anyone to use. Have a decorated basket nearby and visible to give your guests a place to leave the cameras when they go home.

The Wedding Invitations

Newly engaged couples can go way overboard on their wedding invitations and your task, as their Wedding Planner, is to suggest ways for them to save money on this expensive item.

Those engraved invitations with the ribbon attached or the edges cut into curvy designs are expensive. The same effect can be achieved with a good card stock and one of those edge cutters used for scrapbooking. The necessary items can be found in any good craft store and some stationary stores. They come with matching envelopes, too. The actual text can easily be printed with a good inkjet or laser printer.

One way to make homemade invitations special and very personal is to order stamps from the US Post Office with the couple’s engagement picture on them.

Consider suggesting that your client include making her own thank you notes and, even the place cards, if you are including a sit-down reception for their wedding. Once again, a good laser or inkjet printer can do the fancy fonts and include a picture of the couple to make them personal. The thank you notes would stand out if they were sent with a wedding picture on the stamps.

The Flowers

It is not necessary to buy fancy floral arrangements and pay for the floral designer’s time and expertise. Simple flowers arranged beautifully in clusters or cascades can be created by either the bride’s family or a crafty friend. They can be delivered to the church by you or by friends.

If you are building your business, create some relationships with flower vendors and provide that service to your clients. They will be delighted at the savings and the vendors will love you for the business.

Depending on the time of the year, the flowers can be picked from the bride’s own backyard or from a friend’s yard. A few inexpensive vases, some ribbon and both the wedding and the reception will be beautifully decorated while not breaking the family’s budget.

A few flower arrangements can attractively set off a buffet table or on the tables at a sit-down dinner. Think about several weddings you have attended as a guest. How many flower arrangements do you really remember? During the entire wedding ritual, most of the guests were focused on the bride and groom; weren’t they?

A simple floral bouquet can be easily arranged from flowers out of a garden with the stems wrapped in a ribbon that complements or matches the bride’s gown. When you toss the bridal bouquet before you leave the reception, you will be tossing out a truly personal memento of your wedding and not one that was exorbitantly priced.

Any flowers left over can be scattered in the bride’s hair to make her even more beautiful as she walks down the aisle.

The Wedding Cake

There’s lots of tradition around the wedding cake, including saving a piece to be eaten on the first anniversary of the wedding. The top layer of the cake is normally put aside before the cake is cut and frozen to preserve it. Some bakers have been making a top layer that is a light fruitcake. It freezes well and thaws better a year later.

Wedding cake history can be traced as far back at the Roman Empire and the traditions have gone through so many changes between now and then that there is no comparison.

Today’s “traditional” wedding cake practices can be anything the couple wants them to be. Some have abandoned the white wedding cake and substituted frosting colors and decorations that reflect the bride’s choice of décor or the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

The multi-tiered cake is not an obligation and can be a heavy drain on a limited budget. Friends can make the cake for the reception or something else can replace the cake entirely, like a wedding cake made of frosted cupcakes stacked in layers. The cupcake wedding cake is becoming very popular, not only for economy, but for it’s novelty and the range of cupcake flavors that can be offered.

As the Wedding Planner, you will need to have a list of different and affordable wedding cakes to give the couple choices. If no one in the family or set of friends can make the wedding cake, you will also need a list of economical bakeries.

Lists – How To Plan A Small Wedding

When you first begin to work as a Wedding Planner, you will be buried in details that can only be managed if you know how to make ordered lists. Over time, you will probably create your own templates on your computer and be able to print out a complete set of templates whenever you book a new wedding.

Your templates will be your “spare brain” and will keep you informed of what needs to be done and when, along with favored vendors, the services they provide and what their fees are.

Your templates should include the following information:

* A reasonable timeline for all activities concerning the wedding from start to finish. That should include preliminary details, like scheduling the bride’s appointments for fittings, reserving the banquet room or restaurant for the reception, booking the chapel and anything else that needs advance scheduling.

Waiting too long may require rescheduling that might interfere with the travel arrangements made by the out-of-town guests or make finding a caterer difficult, to name only a couple of serious possible problems.

* After your templates are printed and initially filled out, you need to make a preliminary wedding budget and include the fees for your services. As the director of this event, you will be spending the money and have a responsibility to provide records when requested.

* The actual wedding ceremony should be painstakingly detailed to ensure that all aspects are taken care of in advance. Leave nothing to the last minute.

o Have the bride and groom choose their wedding date as soon as possible. Everything needed to be in place for that date has to be scheduled and confirmed before any other plan can be completed.

o Decide upon the wedding site, church, chapel, garden, park, etc. Make that decision specific. Get the details of the church or chapel, the address of the garden and the phone number of the relative or friend who owns it or permission of the agency controlling the park.

o Book and confirm the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace who will be performing the wedding ceremony.

o Start selecting the music with the couple for the actual ceremony. Include the music for the reception and book who will be providing it…disk jockey, small band, etc.

o Send the couple to get the marriage license. For their book of memories, see if a friend or family member will take a few photos of this necessity.

One thing you might consider is using your own digital camera and recording most of the less dramatic events of preparing for the wedding, like getting the marriage certificate, making or addressing the invitations, trying on wedding dresses.

A CD or DVD given to the couple after they return from their honeymoon will serve two important purposes.

1. They will have something to remember all that went into the ceremony that will not be included in the normal wedding album.

2. When they share the CD or DVD with their friends, some of whom might be contemplating their own wedding, your name and contact details will be prominent.

Referrals are what will build your business. Subliminal ads, like on the CD or DVD label and at the beginning and end of the photos might bring you some business. At the very least, your unexpected gift after the excitement that goes with any wedding, will be remembered by the bride and groom.

The wedding ceremony rehearsal needs to be scheduled as soon as possible. It normally takes place a night or two before the actual ceremony (after work) and can be easily forgotten in the rush of last minute details. Additionally, the church or chapel might be previously booked by another wedding party.

Some have a small dinner party in a restaurant after the rehearsal. If your couple is planning one with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, make the reservations as soon as possible and confirm a few days before the rehearsal.

Make sure that everyone knows who will be in the wedding processional and the recessional and what to do. Practice it with the actual music, if possible, so it looks graceful during the actual event. Never forget that you are creating life-long memories for the couple.

The wedding reception has its own set of details to schedule and set in motion.

1. You need to determine the time of day for the reception. Be sure to allow enough time for the photographer to take the album photos after the ceremony and for the newly married couple to travel from the church to the reception.

2. Make sure the place for the reception is set up, decorated and stocked. It would be a wise decision to check with the restaurant or hall about a week before the wedding to check details and to discuss any changes in the menu or times with the manager. A phone call the day before the event wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3. Normal wedding reception activities need to be scheduled and coordinated so they feel like a natural progression before the couple leaves the reception.

Those activities can include the receiving line, the first dance, cake cutting, tossing the bouquet, speeches and toasting from the best man, parents or friends.

How To Find A Job In The Wedding Industry

There’s over a dozen different industries that might be interested in hiring Wedding Planners or consultants, if you were interested in working with companies.

Resorts in popular vacation spots are becoming sites for destination weddings and would have the need for a Wedding Planner. This would be a way to work and enjoy all the amenities available in some of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Hotels almost anywhere, even in your current location, are always sites for weddings or receptions in their banquet rooms and many might need a Wedding Planner or Event Coordinator to keep their wedding parties from becoming a disaster.

Churches and synagogues might be on the lookout for someone to handle the weddings being scheduled at their churches and temples. Distributing a well-designed flyer at each facility might get you referrals, if not an actual job. Make sure to include some business cards with the flyers.

Finally, do not forget to leave your business cards with local bridal shops, caterers and florists. These businesses handle some aspect of the wedding preparations every day. They would be good reciprocal referrals for your services. If you, in return, used their services in the wedding planning, it would be a Win-Win situation for all involved.

You should have enough information to decide if being a Wedding Planner is the career for you. You can find eCourses to take online and several step-by-step eBooks or manuals that explain everything you need to know and even provide templates to help you organize the details.

Helpful Tips for Wedding Planning

Wedding planning strategies are key in ensuring that your day is forever treasured by not only as a couple, but also by the people who attend the wedding. Some people take up to one year to plan for their weddings while others may take just a few weeks. No matter the period, your planning strategies must be in a position to give you your perfect wedding. Remember that what worked for your friends’ wedding may not work for yours! So what will ensure that your wedding becomes the best that you will ever attend?

People have used different strategies to ensure that they have the most beautiful weddings at a relatively low cost. Look back over the years at some of the weddings you have attended and there are a number of wedding planning tips and strategies you may have picked up that can be utilized for your special day. The most important aspect of wedding planning is time; take your time! People in a hurry should not organize a wedding. Never treat your wedding as an emergency! Taking enough time to plan for your wedding will ensure that you book and pay your desired venue in time, organize and pay your suppliers and even follow up on your suppliers and wedding planner to see how far they are in making necessary plans.

The other very important wedding planning tip has to be in taking care of the details. You wedding day is made awesome by a combination of smaller details that have been well taken care of. So please don’t fool yourself into thinking that this wedding is all about you and your special one. If it was about you, then you would do it for just the two of you. The details you may need to be aware of will include food availability, enough space for your guests, facilities such as toilets and the sitting arrangement.

Never assume anything when planning for your wedding. Even the most insignificant detail can make a big difference on your wedding day. For instance, the venue you pick must be critically analyzed. You should get a venue that goes well with the weather and above all that venue must be safe. Also, consider having food for you and yours to eat on after the reception. Many times you are both not eating much because you are busy entertaining and being in the moment of wedding bliss. After all of the hoopla dies down, many couples are left with a empty stomach and wishing for an early breakfast. Other things you may want to consider is the diet, transportation, entertainment and food among others.

There are different wedding planning tips we get from our day-to-day experiences. Most of the time we are quick to point out what was done wrongly in our friends or relatives wedding but when it comes to our time, the same mistake is repeated! Depending on your idea of a great wedding, you should think of the mistakes that you have noticed before and work with the tips you formulate to make your wedding an event that will linger in people’s minds.

Are You Wanting a Fairytale Wedding

With all the excitement of becoming engaged and having your fairytale wedding visualized in your head. Your dream is ready to come alive!

This will be a day where you will gave the wedding you have always dreamed about. You will be royalty and it will be an event to remember!

You set a date and then immediately start putting your dream into motion. Two immediate task come to mind 1. Going dress shopping which is so fun! and 2. Finding that perfect Fairytale Wedding Invitation that speaks to who you are and what type of wedding you are having.

Your wedding invites have to be perfect. They are like an advertising campaign for your royal wedding! You want them to be regal, ornate and symbolize your love for one another. They will be beautiful and your guests will be in awe when they see them. The perfect invite will have colors of golds and silver that are embellished with jewels and look like a page from the Cinderella book itself. You might even want to throw in a crown at the top for extra elegance.

At the same time you have a great desire to go dress shopping and find that dress you have always had in your mind. Imagine trying on all the exquisite gowns and finding that perfect regal gown that flows and drapes just how you want it. It fits your body perfectly and you know at that moment that THIS is the ONE. A crown or tiara is place atop your head and your golden or crystal slippers are placed upon your feet completing your princess attire and symbolizing your beauty and elegance that you will present to your prince.

Once those 2 important details are in the works your next big task is to find the grand location that you will host this royal party at. Now if you are in a foreign country to can oftentimes find a castle or medieval structure that could serve your royal purposes. But if none are to be found you can find historical buildings that have great architecture or ballrooms that are over the top and elegant for your day.

A grand ballroom is a great element for your reception. Colors of gold and silver are popular and a hit among Fairytale weddings. Exquisite fabrics drape the walls and chandeliers hang overhead sparkling in the light. You can see yourself making a grand entrance by horse drawn carriage and walking down the red carpet into the center of the ballroom where you will be introduced as the newlywed couple.

Your prince will look his best and present to you a stunning king that you can be proud of. He will be dressed to the nice with his suit and hair done just right. He will have a gleam in his eye and a dance to his step as he sees you in your gown and presents you as his bride.

Your guests in their black tie attire and flowing gowns will highlight this day as the best party ever as they wine and dine on food from your expert chef.

You have been to wine tasting, cake tastings, and dinner tastings and have chosen a 6 course meal that will have their taste buds wanting for more. Your chef prepares gourmet dishes from France, Italy and all over the world. And as they eat off of the fine china sat before them they look at the head table and smile to see you so happy and beautiful. This is truly a day they will remember and be honored to be apart of.

Music plays an important part of the reception. you can choose to have elegant music entertained with dance hits so that all styles and genras are represented. your 1st dance can be an elegant classical song and then you can boogy down with your guests the rest of the night except for the slow songs. We all know that every princess knows how to shake it loose once in a while!

As the night comes to an end and you are about to leave on your carriage you say goodbye in style. Thanking your guests with wedding favors to remember this Fairytale wedding by. Whether they be tasty treats that you have put together for them, or a trinket that symbolizes your love, they will have something to remember for years to come.

Top 5 Most Expensive Las Vegas Wedding Packages

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Known as “The Marriage Capital of the World” for good reason, most people know that tying the knot in Vegas is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get married. What most people don’t know, is that Vegas is where you’ll also find some of the most luxurious, extravagant and expensive wedding packages around.

With packages ranging from $39 for a “Desk Wedding” at A Las Vegas Wedding Chapel (the minister literally sits at his desk and marries you!) all the way to the $23,090 Elegant Affair Ceremony package at the Wynn Hotel & Casino, there are literally hundreds of different Vegas wedding packages to choose from.

In case you were wondering what casinos offer the most expensive wedding packages in Vegas, here they are:

1. $23,090 – The Elegant Affair Ceremony at the Wynn Hotel & Casino

When you book the most expensive wedding package in Vegas, you expect to be pampered. The Elegant Affair Ceremony package at the Wynn Hotel & Casino does not disappoint.

After being picked up at the airport by your private chauffeur who will take you to the courthouse to get your marriage license, you’ll be checked in to your extraordinary 2,490 sq ft Wynn Fairway Villa (which features a stunning views of the golf course, a private patio and private massage treatment room) where you’ll stay for two nights.

Getting ready for the big day includes pampering for both the bride and groom. While the groom is enjoying not one, but two rounds of golf with a private caddy, the bride is treated to a pre-wedding day visit to The Salon for an up-do and make-up application and a Spa manicure and pedicure with a paraffin treatment (the Bride returns the next day to The Salon for her wedding day up-do and make-up application). Lest the groom feel left out, the package also includes a hot lather shave and classic manicure from The Salon’s Barbershop for him.

For the actual wedding, couples will enjoy an extravagant floral packages (customized bouquet and boutonniere, as well as eight custom-designed pew arrangements and an aisle runner generously covered in a pathway of delicate rose petals) and two hours in the private bridal salon. An extensive photography and video package rounds out the ceremony highlights.

Other indulgences include a Good Luck Ritual Massage, customized for two in your villa, followed by peppermint foot treatments, moisturizing hand therapies and aromatic scalp treatments.

Additional treats include a lavish “morning tasting” for two served in bed – complete with Italian mimosas, Dinner for two at Alex, plus two glasses of Tete de Cuvee Champagne from Alex’s champagne cart, and Fondue for two in your villa paired with a special bottle of dessert wine. During your stay you’ll also receive two VIP indulgence package tickets to Le Reve.

The extravagant goodie bag includes one bottle of Veuve Clicquot, “La Grande Dame” Rose Champagne, a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Premier Cru Brut Champagne and a special wedding gift, two glasses of Nicolas Feuillatte Premier Cru Brut Champagne to toast to your life together and two monogrammed spa robes as a memento.

Both the Bride and Groom are exceptionally pampered in the Elegant Affair Ceremony. But if there are guests that want to attend, you’ll have to let them know that they’re on their own when it comes to festivities and food & drink.

2. $18,500 – Decadence All-Inclusive Ceremony & Reception (up to 50 guests) at Mandalay Bay

This ultimate all-inclusive event is sure to please as you and 50 of your closest friends and family as you enjoy an exceptionally beautiful wedding ceremony and cocktail reception at the Mandalay Bay. You can just sit back and relax as you let your personal wedding planner take care of all of the details for you!

Your package begins with a private chauffeur meeting you at the airport, taking you to the get your wedding license and then bringing you to the Mandalay Bay where you’ll check in for three nights in your upscale Honeymoon Suite.

Package amenities include a Wedding Rehearsal, a personalized up-do and make-up application for the Bride at Robert Cromeans Salon on the day of the big event, and a generous floral package with bouquets for the Bride and her Maid-of-Honor as well as boutonnieres for the Groom and his Best Man.

Four hours of photography ensure every precious moment is captured throughout the day. The package also includes 250 photographs, various enlargements of your favorite shots and a DVD of the ceremony as well as private webcasting of the event.

During the ceremony, guests enjoy the beautiful sound of elegant music played by a Pianist while a DJ provides the music for three hours during the reception.

Speaking of the reception, if you choose this all-inclusive package at the Mandalay Bay, you’d better tell your guests to come hungry. The three hour cocktail reception in the private ballroom includes passed hors d’oeuvres and station upon station of delicious food accompanied by a three hour premium brands bar service. A custom wedding cake and champagne toast round out the menu.

Guests will return home with a personalized poker chip favor as a memento of the event.

3. $17,000 – Brasilia Ceremony & Reception Package (100 guests) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

Invite your favorite 100 guests to Las Vegas enjoy this exceptional all-inclusive ceremony and reception event at the Rio completely planned for you by your personal wedding coordinator.

Pampering includes a couples massage for two, a spa package including a manicure, pedicure and up-do for the Bride on her wedding day.

Your one-night stay in an upgraded Rio Suite also includes breakfast in bed for two, Dinner for Two in one of the Rio’s Owned Restaurants and a Strawberry Kiss Amenity for Two in Suite, and the use of a private Limo for one hour.

Decadent decor and generous flower arrangements turn one of the Rio’s elegant ballrooms into a stunning location for your dinner and dancing reception. Guests will enjoy a fully plated dinner consisting of your choice of a starter, followed by an incredible entree (may we recommend the Petit Filet Mignon served with herbed butter and lobster stuffed prawns….), concluding with wedding cake for dessert and a champagne toast.

Four hours of photography (including a generous print package) and a DVD of the event ensure your memories are preserved for a lifetime.

4. $16,500 – Dolce Romanza – Sweet Romance Wedding Package at the Venetian/Palazzo

It doesn’t get any more romantic than a wedding packages from the elegant The Venetian/The Palazzo, where your dream Las Vegas Wedding unites with the storybook charm of old world Italy. When you choose this package, your Personal Event Planner will assist you with ceremony details, a reception (not included in this package), and group accommodations.

The package includes a two night stay in the luxurious Prima Suite and up to to 20{bae04e795698e02432b4b773242eeed98d77780b616f416d82fc89d217bb4847} off Suite accommodations on additional nights booked should you wish to extend your stay.

Start by choosing one of the many beautiful ceremony locations around the resort: the stunning Venezia Courtyard, the dramatic Palazzo Waterfall, or the elegant Wedding Chapel. Six lavish floral arrangements will be placed around your ceremony site along with fresh floral aisle markers, perfectly coordinating you’re your $300 floral allowance for your custom-created bouquet and matching boutonniere.

In addition to your ceremony which features string trio live music accompaniment, the package also includes a 30-minute rehearsal, Honeymooner’s Breakfast in Bed, Tuxedo Chocolate-covered Strawberries, a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne and one hour limousine service to be used as you choose.

You’ll also receive the Fortuna Photo Package With Second Camera Upgrade, a DVD of Ceremony in Custom Leather Folio and a Venetian Photo Album.

5. $16,000 – The Cosa Bella Wedding Package at the Bellagio

With this Bellagio wedding package, you’ll stay in a luxurious Penthouse Suite for two nights with a Lakeview and High Floor and enjoy additional indulgences such as continental breakfast for two in bed, dinner for two in Picasso or Prime (Beverages, Beverage Tax & Beverage Gratuity Not Included), and a $750.00 Bellagio Gift Certificate to be used in the Salon and/or Spa.

This package includes private Limousine Service from and to McCarran Airport as well as Limousine Service to and from Bellagio to the Marriage License Bureau. Also included is a rehearsal the day before your wedding and a professional harpist will serenade guests during your ceremony.

The floral package includes Bride’s Bouquet and Groom’s Boutonniere Floral Package, six extravagant pew markers with floral sprays and two mantle arrangements, a walkway of fresh white petals for bride’s processional (includes 3 bags) and the use of a custom Bellagio aisle runner.

The generous photography package includes The Cosa Bella Photography Package (see details under Photography Section) one and one half hours of Chapel Time (East or South) inclusive of chapel photography, two additional hours and thirty additional images shot for photography around the resort. You will also receive two DVDs of your wedding ceremony and live broadcast of your wedding ceremony on the internet.

Included as gifts from the Bellagio is One Bottle of Cristal Champagne, Bellagio’s Jean Philippe Maury Gourmet Cho colates, Swarovski Champagne Crystalline Flutes, Two Luxurious Bellagio Suite Robes and a Bellagio Custom Made Tote Bag.

During your stay, you will also enjoy two tickets for Cirque du Soleil’s ‘O’ Show (based on show schedule).

Well a girl can dream, can’t she?!

Make Your Own Wedding Invitations Express Your Style

Picture this – your invitation arrives by mail. Your guest opens the envelope and reads your invitation to your wedding. They mark their calendar and fills out the response card – and then they throw the invitation away. UGH!!! You spent a fortune on that invite, and now it’s in the trash.

Take away some of that pain, by making your own and not spending a fortune on what is going to end up in the trash. Making your own not only will save you money, but it is a great way to make a very personalized invitation.

You could use one of the kits that are available at most major craft stores. These are easily done on home printers and the assembly is quite easy to do. Or start from the bottom up and create your own.

You can find ideas through library books or ask for the help of a friend who is into scrapbooking. Many of the same tools and supplies used in scrapbooking are what you will need for this project.

Whether you word your invitation with the formal and standard wording or do something very different make sure it answers the questions – who, what, when, where, and why. Make sure the address is clear and includes the street address and town. Main Street can be found in just about any town – be specific or your guest could be at some else’s wedding.

  • Before deciding on the overall look of your invitation, choose your envelope – you can buy these rather cheaply in bulk at the same craft stores, but make your invite to fit or you’ll need something custom to fit any unusual sizes.
  • Use ribbon down the side to add an elegant look to an invite that has been simply printed on one side of card stock. You could also add a decorative edge by using a pair of scissors that cut with a curvy pattern.
  • Add a picture and print information on a piece of vellum. Tie the parts together with a ribbon.
  • Use cute punches to put a design in a corner of a printed invite.
  • Take a picture of the church, print the info on vellum as an overlay.
  • Take a picture of a nice church door, slice the door open down the center, and have the info ‘inside of the door’.
  • Take a picture of the area where your outdoor ceremony will be held, print the picture on card stock, and add the text of the invite with it.

Include in your invite any info your guest may want to know. I.e. ‘the pool in the backyard will be available for swimming once the cake has been cut! Don’t forget your swimsuits.’ Or ‘Hampton Park’s trails are so nice, please feel free to bring your hiking boots and explore, once we’ve had our dinner.’

This added info will make sure your guests come prepared the best way to enjoy your day.

What ever you choose make sure your guest get the info they need and know how they should get there, and how they should be attired. If your invitation is informal they might feel they should dress informal, if the invite is formal they might need to know if its black tie. Give them a hint with the invitation.

Have fun creating your invites and expressing who the both of you really are.

When it comes to designing use the different tools that are available for scrap booking like decorative punches, embossing tools, velum, pictures of the two of you, ribbons, and don’t forget the paper – so many colors and prints out there to use. Design with the envelope in mind. Stock envelopes will be the cheapest, so size them to fit. Use the right kind of tape or glue – some kinds will add bumps and not give the right effect.

Here’s a fun idea – gather your crafty friends and have a design night to pool the talent and come up with the best ideas. The winning design is sure to be original and created with a lot of love.

Weddings in Detroit Michigan

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A major traditional wedding trend I have been noticing is keeping the big day memorable and non-traditional. If you flip through the pages of a wedding magazine in Michigan, you will notice something…. all the featured weddings are UNIQUE. Do you want yours to be cookie cutter down to the linens, or will you allow your creative juices to express you and your fiancé.

Weddings in Detroit

According to statistics, there are roughly 25,000 marriages in southeastern Michigan each year. Many couples wonder if they can throw a wedding reception that stands out. So what is so special about a wedding in downtown Detroit? Well, for starters there is elegant architecture all around. This will give your photographer some great ideas to capture those picture perfect shots you need. There are just so many fun places in Detroit for wedding photos.

Wedding in Detroit

In addition to the architecture there is so much history to be told. I believe that every wedding in Michigan tells a story about the couple and who they are. The way you tell this story to your family and friends is by the details and preparation put into your wedding. A great location will be remembered in the photos and videos. When you look back in your photo album on this day, do you want to have warm memories flood you instantly?

Another plus is the awesome view a wedding location in Detroit will provide. Whether it is the riverfront terrace at Belle Isle, or Comerica Park from the Detroit Athletic Club; these are familiar places that people can identify with. Other trendy spots include the Masonic Temple, the Gem Theater downtown, the Scarab Club in midtown, or the Roostertail in the city.

Detroit Wedding Reception

You can plan your ceremony and wedding reception in Detroit. There are plenty of chapels, churches, and synagogues to help you with sorting the logistics. This is one of the biggest factors to consider. The most common problems at weddings happen when traveling between the ceremony site and the reception hall. My best advice for you, is to choose a ceremony location that is within 15 minutes of the reception location, and to exchange contact information with the key people involved in the big day. If you need recommendations, then check with the facility where you are having your reception at. They should have several venues in Detroit that they refer to brides for ceremony locations.

Detroit Wedding Location

So now comes the question… where to have a Detroit wedding reception in Michigan? I have included 5 key locations that should be a snug fit for what you are looking for. Their characteristics put them on the edge of elegance and hipness that come naturally. You can not find the same vibe in a hall outside of downtown Detroit. Suburban halls just can not compare with the potential your wedding reception will have if it is someplace more dynamic and spontaneous. The places below are a great start for your reception location ideas in Detroit. When compared to the cookie cutter halls, the list below offers stunning views, posh surroundings, and various price ranges.

Detroit Athletic Club

This venue is anything but average. The Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit Michigan has different layouts, simple yet classic decor, great atmosphere, and is rich in history. This venue is gives a bride that nothing else can. You have so many options for photos around the area. There are many weddings in Detroit Michigan each year. Besides the Detroit Athletic Club, there are other great locations for a bride to wed at. You might also consider the following locations.

Belle Isle

Did you know that Belle Isle of Detroit is the nation’s largest city-owned island park (938-acres). You will appreciate the natural view off the East Riverfront, the Ambassador Bridge, and Windsor at a variety of hidden areas throughout the isle. Because you are only renting the space for your wedding reception, you will need to provide guest seating and bring in an off-site cater. Some spectacular photo-ops to be taken at Belle Isle include the Scott Fountain and the Nancy Brown Peace Carillion. You can contact Belle Isle’s office for further inquiry about rentals at 313.852.4075.

Detroit Yacht Club

Regarded as North America’s largest yacht club, this place is located on Belle Isle and provides couples with executive catering in a formal yet relaxing environment for their wedding reception. Just as the Detroit Athletic Club, the Detroit Yacht Club has member policies. However a member may sponsor a non-member so that you can secure this prime location for your wedding reception. For more info, contact Julia Doherty at her phone number 313.824.2887.

Ford Field

Just as Comerica Park, Ford field offers world-class dining with the excitement of downtown Detroit’s newest stadium. There are a variety of banquet rooms that offer a great view of an enclosed atrium as well as the entire stadium. You might be thinking that sporting events are the main priority for Ford Field, but discerning brides that take the time to have their reception at this fabulous spot find the scenery and cuisine worth the wait. For more info, contact Susan Zevelkink at her phone number 313.262-2245.

Fox Theater

Designed by Howard Crane, the Fox Theater has breathtaking decor located in the heart of downtown Detroit’s entertainment district. For brides serious about reserving this venue for their wedding reception, I recommend that you book far in advance to ensure no schedule conflict with the theaters public events. For more info, contact Molly Briggs at her phone number 313.471.3206.

Detroit Science Center

Have you been there lately? The Detroit Science Center has been recently remodeled and if offers midtown the best in large on-site and off-site catering. They would like to extend you and your guest list up to 2,000 a warm welcome. This venue shares a modern touch with their I-MAX Dome Theater films and science exhibits; however, your wedding reception will still hold all the values associated with casual elegance. For more info, contact Angela Zini at her phone number 313.577.8400, ext 412.

Roostertail

Considered one of Detroit’s most finest restaurant, weddings at the Roostertail in Detroit are extra special. The history of this restaurant spans several generations and gives magnificent river views along the East Riverfront. Due to the style of your wedding reception, the Roostertail offers several banquet room layouts as well as outside dining. To get a better idea of how they will personalize your day with world-class dishes, contact Shawna at her phone number 313.822.1234 ext 133.

Scarab Club

Located in the heart of Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Scarab Club in Detroit has a rich history in arts and distinctive wedding receptions. Its unique style and ambiance provides for a memorable event whether inside by their fireplace or an outdoors Michigan ceremony by their English garden. They have a recommended caterer that provides creations ranging from hors d’oeuvre and luncheons to lavish receptions. Just as the Detroit Athletic Club, the Scarab Club also has membership policies. For a taste in something different, contact Christine Renner at her phone number 313.831.1250.

The Infinity and the Ovation

Want an all-inclusive cruise package aboard a private yacht? The Infinity and the Ovation of Infinity Yacht Charters offer services for private affairs such as wedding receptions. Either yacht will take you and your guests on trips throughout Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. The two-level Infinity will accommodate guests up to 150, as the Ovation (a three-level yacht) holds up to 325. Would you like to sail the great lakes in style for your wedding reception? Contact Infinity Yacht Charters offices at phone number 586.778.7030.

The Whitney

Known as the American restaurant in an American palace, the Whitney in Detroit features an award winning menu for catering. With their lavishly impressive atmosphere, your wedding reception will blend in perfectly at the Whitney. They can handle any reception with guest lists exceeding 600 attendants. The Whitney also boasts intricately-carved woodwork and an impressive grand staircase. Since they have multiple dining locations, it is best to contact Suzanne Gormely at her phone number 313.832.5700.

Avoiding the Stress When Planning a Beach Wedding

Planning a wedding is certainly a challenge and many brides are now turning their attention to warmer shores and considering getting married abroad, perhaps on a beach. But how can you be sure that this is the right decision for you? After all, this is your big day so you want to get it right. One of the biggest drawbacks encountered by people trying to plan a wedding abroad is the ability to communicate their needs and requirements effectively. In fact, this will often put people off booking a foreign wedding all together, which is a real shame because there are things you can do to ensure your big day goes to plan, no matter where you are.

Getting married in your home country will usually involve lots of close communication, with everybody from the florist, wedding venue, reception venue and even the minister officiating the ceremony. With a beach wedding overseas much of this communication is lost. In many cases, the bride and groom will not even step food in the wedding and reception venue until the big day itself and you will find that many plans are made last minute. This can be incredibly stressful and can leave many couples feeling that their wedding is not going to be a success.

The Solution?

Info, Info, Info…

Arm yourself with lots of information about the resort, your hotel and the wedding ceremony venue as far in advance as possible. The internet is a great resource for this and many hotels and restaurants will have email addresses that you can use to communicate effectively. Don’t worry about sending multiple emails to your chosen venues; they will usually be more than happy to help you make any plans and arrangements. If you do not get a satisfactory response to your emails then try telephoning. OK, this can be expensive, but you really should not cut corners for this special day. A short phone call is sometimes all it takes to start up a great line of communication with your hotel / venue / restaurant.

Use your Tour Operator

Furthermore, you will more than likely have booked your overseas wedding through a tour operator. In this case you should use the services of their wedding planners to the full. They are on hand, both in your home country and in resort, to help make your day special. You are paying for their services, so it would be foolish not to use them and they will have a specific insight into your chosen destination. They may even reveal a hidden gem of a venue to you that you would never have found simply by searching the internet.

Avoid slipping into Holiday Mode

When arriving in resort, many countries will require you be resident for a number of days before allowing you to marry. Use this time wisely and don’t slip into “holiday mode”. Meet up with your wedding planner on a daily basis, take note of her mobile phone number so you can reach her easily and ask her to show you around the resort so you can get a better idea of the most suitable spots for a photo opportunity or a quick, refreshing drink with your guests. You will need to meet with the florist for your flowers and the baker for your cake, so ensure the planner takes you to both in good time.

Planning any wedding is stressful and planning a wedding in a foreign country can seem like a daunting task. However, the reality is that a wedding abroad, especially one booked through a tour operator, is much less stressful than the big white wedding at home. Just use the resources available to you wisely and everything will run to plan, ensuring you have the day of your dreams.

Wedding Invitations Should You Choose Printed Or Electronic

The days when wedding invitations had to be engraved on white card with silver or black writing are long gone. Nowadays the bridal couple have a huge choice of designs and almost anything goes. So much choice in fact that you can even do away with the printed invitation altogether and go electronic if you want to, carrying on all your wedding correspondence via e-mail. Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of electronic compared to printed wedding invitations.

Pros of electronic

Electronic invitations are much cheaper than printed invitations. You will only have to pay for the design: no paper costs, printing costs or postage costs to budget for.

Electronic invitations are quick to create and instant to send out, so are a great time-saver if your wedding preparations are of the last-minute variety.

Saving on paper is a positive move if you are trying to keep your wedding as green and environmentally friendly as possible.

You can link your electronic invitations to your wedding website and make it easy for guests to find all the extra wedding info, such as directions to the venue, wedding gift lists and so on.

Cons of electronic

You will need to make sure that you have current e-mail addresses for all your guests. Follow up if you don’t get an RSVP, just in case the e-mail never reached the recipient.

Electronic invitations may be read once and then lost in the morass of an overfull inbox or accidentally end up in the recycle bin. You may need to send out reminders if you haven’t heard back from all your invited guests.

Older family members may not be very computer-literate and may find it hard to get their heads around e-mail invitations!

There is nothing to display on the mantelpiece or save as a keepsake for those who enjoy the old traditional way of things.

Printed invitations still have the monopoly on style, tradition and quality, so electronic invitations tend to put across a more modern, quirky, casual image, which may not be what you are looking for.

Pros of printed invitations

However convenient and clever electronic invitations are, we still love printed invitations. They appeal far more to the senses than a mere image on a screen. Think about the texture of handmade paper, the feel of good quality card and embossed or engraved writing. Printed invitations certainly win on style and lasting appeal.

There are many more design possibilities for printed invitations – endless papers to use, 3D folding and embellishments such as ribbons and pressed flowers. You can get really creative and end up with mini works of art.

Beautiful printed invitations are likely to be displayed on the mantelpiece keeping your wedding day firmly in the mind of the recipient.

Cons of printed invitations

The cost – printed invitations can be expensive, though they don’t have to be if you choose a simple design and affordable paper. But if you choose a whole range of wedding stationery, including save the date cards, thank you cards, RSVP cards with matching envelopes and so on, all on beautiful card stock, it will definitely make inroads on your budget. Then there’s the postage to bear in mind for all of these.

You will need to find out up-to-date postal addresses for all your friends and family – something that in these days of cell phones and e-mail we often don’t have at our finger-tips.

So if you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and still can’t decide, why not go for a combination of the two? Have your actual wedding invitation printed and posted, but use e-mail for all the other communication – send out save the date e-mails, ask guests to RSVP by email and send out thank you e-mails afterwards.

You can co-ordinate the design of printed invitation and wedding emails and make sure that style and tradition are complemented by modern convenience and a green ethos. Have your invitations printed on recycled paper using vegetable inks and you can still feel eco-friendly and responsible!

3 Free Wedding Photography Tips

Ok, so Mr. Wonderful finally popped the question, you’ve found the perfect ceremony and reception site and have a big spiral binder filled with check lists and planners to help you plan your day. You have set the date and have some shiny bling which you can’t stop looking at all day long. You even found the perfect photographer to capture you day below are 3 free tips to help get you started to help you have a picture perfect day.

1. Plan the photography location with your photographer: If your photographer has not shot at your site before it is very helpful to walk the site with them even if you have to pay a fee for their time to go over location and photo ideas. Most photographers will charge a half day fee of around $500.00 to spend a few hours walking site. If this is not possible due to financial scheduling or time constraints draw them a diagram and give them a description of the site location, and lighting conditions and possible interesting places to shoot as a back drop. Good photographers can shoot in any location and any lighting situation and are good at making decisions on the fly so don’t worry if you have made the right choice in photographers. It never hurts though to give them a little help. Provide them with a brochure with images from past weddings and take a few digital images on your own if you have a camera. A good rule of thumb is to give them three or four different locations that may be possible choices for creating portraits after the ceremony and note them on a photography info sheet at least a month before the wedding. The earlier you provide them with info about the site clearly written the better. This gives them an opportunity to review it in the midst of shooting 30 or so other weddings for the year and to ask you any questions they may have. And, it also helps you to be more relaxed the closer you get to your wedding day. If the location has a website it is helpful to provide that to your photographer as well. Give them as much information about the site and lighting conditions as you can. Visit the site and look at lighting at different times of the day.

If you are having an out door wedding be sure that you are not back lit at the time of your ceremony and you are not in direct afternoon sun. If you visit the site and the sun is behind you from where you photographer will be shooting you are back lit and should consider facing a different direction. Your photographer can help you walk through this is you give them a good description over the phone. They can also suggest the best times of day for lighting. The more info you give them the more excited they will be about your location and the better opportunity you have to get more creative images.

2. Build a relationship with your photographer: You will get back from your wedding photography experience what you put into it. If you click and really get along with your photographer your formal images will be better. It is well worth the addition time and expense to go out on location with your photographer and spend some time doing an engagement shoot. Many photographers are more than happy to suggest some great shooting locations where you can go out and spend an afternoon getting to know them and their shooting style and them getting to know you or are happy to have you out to their studio. They are also often willing to travel to your favorite special place for your engagement shoot. Use the time to get to know them as a person and to get your self ready for your day. Their shooting the day of the engagement shoot will be similar to your photography the day of the wedding. Don’t be afraid to have fun on your shoot and practice different poses. If your photographer gives you proofs from the entire shoot it is also helpful for you to see which way you shoot best by looking at the proofs afterwards and can be very helpful to you, and can go a long way towards making you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Ask them what to expect the day of the wedding as far as how the flow of the photography will go. Will they be stopping you throughout the day for formal portraits or will it all be completed right after the ceremony. Do they mind people asking for additional portraits through out the day? Ask them what they will need throughout the day. Will they need a work table or an assistant to help get everyone together in your large family? Plan with them to make sure they have enough time to do all of the group shots you would like with out being to rushed and provide an assistant for them to help gather everyone from a list of friends not in the wedding party, who knows everyone. Don’t provide them with a mile long list of portraits or images you found on an internet site. Each shot takes about 5 minutes to create. You will hamper their creativity and they will spend much of their day trying to complete your list. Ask them if they have a list of basic group shots and go over with them a list of a few shots that you might additionally like.

Ask your photographer if they any special meal needs when you send out invitations to the rest of your guests. You should treat your photographer as a valued guest and make them feel that they are an important part of your day.

3. Be organized: For a photographer, the bride being on time is of paramount importance. If you are behind in schedule it makes their day much more difficult. Do yourself and your photographer a favor by creating a day of the wedding time line with added time built in case of little emergencies and send it to them ahead of time and ask them if they have any suggestions for the schedule and if you have included enough time for them for their photography activities. Give a copy once it is finished to your mom and your bridesmaids and ask them to help you by being on time as well. Hair and make up are biggies. If you are going to be late, 9 times out of 10, it will be because your makeup and hair take longer than you expect. Be sure to plan in an extra hour for these activities and be ready when your photographer arrives. If you are stressed it will show in your formal images if you are doing any before the ceremony so make sure you plan in some time to rest and be a princess as well.

These three wedding tips, if followed, will help you have a worry free wedding day from a photography perspective. Best wishes for a wonderful wedding day.

Preparing For The Perfect Wedding Day On A Budget

It’s built up by so many families, talked about in so many films and books, and is said by many to be the biggest day of a girl’s life. But planning the fairytale wedding that every little girl imagines can be more difficult than you think.

There are so many things to prepare and organise that leading up to the wedding can be rather stressful. This is why preparation is the key, and in particular starting this preparation in plenty of time. Start by doing a few tasks each week to ease the stress and to prevent from the tasks becoming overwhelming.

For many, the wedding day is a financial struggle. It is reported that the average cost of a wedding nowadays can be upwards of $20,000, so if you have a budget make sure that you stick to it, no matter how tempting the over-priced wedding dress is in the shop window!

When you get under way planning your wedding, it can soon become apparent that the budget is being eaten up fast, which is why it is essential to save wherever possible. After all, who wants to pay more for something than they have to, even if it is for one of the biggest days of your life.

There are many money saving opportunities along the way:

Reception:

By the time you’ve totalled up the number of guests you would like to invite to your wedding, you may realise that this is going to be your biggest expense. If need be, save money by inviting only close friends and family and leave those that are friends of friends or distant family members that you may not have seen for 10 years.

Wedding dress:

Shop around for a dress within your budget and also look out for any discounted sales. Also take a look at second-hand dresses.

Photography:

Although it is important to keep memories of the day, instead of having a photographer for the whole day, consider hiring one just for the ceremony and ask family members or friends to take photos throughout the rest of the day.

Catering and alcohol:

You don’t have to have a top three-course meal if it is not within your budget. You may be able to offer a buffet, or to use a small catering company instead of the full-service catering at the reception venue. Similarly do not use the reception services’ beverages as you will be charged at retail price. If allowed, purchase your own alcohol.