Do I need a wedding consultant?

Remember “Fraunk” or was it “Frank” in Steve Martin’s “Father of the Bride”? He was a little extravagant, but made the wedding and coordination come off perfect (with exception of the minor parking problem, the cheaper chicken and a few other details).

Do you need a consultant for your wedding? Many brides are considering consultants to help plan the perfect wedding, make arrangements, deal with all the extensive details, relieve the stresses, and make suggestions. Depending on how much time, energy and money have and can devote, a consultant may be, or may not be what you need.

Here are some things a consultant can do for you:

A consultant will help you plan and carry out your wedding goals, offer suggestions, and devise a plan to reach the goal.

Many consultants that have worked in an area a long time know the right people, price ranges, and how to get what you want. They may network with providers and be better and able to get you special discounts.

They are the “director” of the wedding and coordinate all the last minute details to make them go-off without a hitch.

Granted, a wedding consultant costs money, they may be able to save more in time spent for you to do all the same tasks. A consultant may have cost-cutting ideas, should work within your budget, and may know the people and services that cost less.

Where do you find a consultant?

Ask wedding professionals, dress shops, family, friends, the yellow pages and recent brides. Talk with the consultant and get references, ask to see any photos or videos of weddings they worked on. Get a resume. Find out what wedding professionals they have worked with and contact those professionals. If they are a good, the references will let you know.

I Do Again – Remarrying

Second marriages are becoming more common in today’s society. On the average a women will remarry within four years of her divorce. If you are remarrying again because of a divorce or you are widowed, here’s what you may need to know.

Announcement of your engagement should be to your children first. This may be a traumatic experience for children, and they may have a lot of questions or need extra time understanding things. Give them some time for the adjustment. You will also want to inform your ex-spouse, if you are not on friendly terms, write them a note.

If you have been recently divorced or widowed, it is customary to announce your marriage after the wedding has taken place. If some time has elapsed since the divorce, it is okay to place the announcement in the paper before the ceremony.

Etiquette allows for your parents to announce the marriage or for you and your fiancé to announce it.

Having a private ceremony is okay. If you wish to have a large reception, you will want to send out formal reception cards to guests. Even though it may be your second marriage, guests may wish to give gifts. Make sure to note in your reception cards if you wish guests not to give a gift.

An example: “We ask you share our friendship and request no gifts.”

If you wish for gifts, make sure you register to make gift giving easier.

Your wedding attire can be lavish or simple. Informal gowns (no train) are more reserved for second time marriages. The train and veil traditionally represent virginity and are the prerogative of first-time brides. White is the traditional color of all weddings, and is just as appropriate for a second time bride.

The ceremony itself can be as big or smaller than your first wedding. Use your knowledge from your first wedding to plan a more unique and personal ceremony, or simple one as to both of your tastes and style.

If you can, incorporate roles for your children into the wedding. Depending on their ages, they can be bridesmaids, ushers, ring-bearer, and flower girl. They can even fill the role of your maid/matron of honor or best man.

Marrying at 30, 40, and beyond

Many brides and grooms today are launching a career before they commit to marriage. It is not uncommon for a bride to wait until her thirties or forties to tie the knot. This sometimes brings questions about her wedding. Here are just a few adjustments you might consider:

The wedding budget may be partially or fully contributed by the bride and groom. You and your groom may wish to take on full responsibility if you are financially sound. Your parents can still be listed as the hosts, or you may wish to do the announcing yourself.

You might request just your friends and guests attend, and ask for no gifts if you already have a home established. You may also consider registering for finer lines such as china and silver. Books, sporting goods, furniture and electronics are all registry items. If you would rather receive money, be discreet. Have close friends and family spread the word orally. It is incorrect to request monetary gifts in an invitation.

Wedding attire can be very formal or understated. Some brides opt for a formal lavish affair and some choose a small informal wedding. It’s up to you.

Determin Your Color Scheme

The next step in planning a wedding to choose a color scheme. Wedding colors are very important; they will be reflected throughout the ceremony and reception and enforce the wedding tone established by the wedding style.

Primarily, wedding colors will beautify your celebration through the bridesmaid’s dresses and groomsmen attire. Choosing a color to enhance every member of your wedding is very difficult, but traditional colors such as blue, pink, peach and ivory have a versatility that compliments most everyone’s features and complexions.

Wedding colors will also be reflected in the bridal bouquet and floral arrangements. This may determine which flowers you are able to use. Not every natural flower color will match your chosen scheme; silk flowers may be a better option.

Your color scheme will also be reflected in such things as your invitations, favors, decorations, and more. You may wish to discuss color options with your florist, dress store and tuxedo shop to make sure they can match a color before making a final decision.

The meanings of colors may also influence your decision.

Through years of tradition, different colors have grown to imply feelings and emotions as well as reflect personality. Choose a color that will enhance the season, make a statement, reflect your taste, or archive your dreams.

Here are just a few colors and some background information on them.

Blue Your choice of this traditional bridal color reflects your commitment to marriage and belief in love. From the fresh look of vibrant blues to the classic tradition of beautiful pastels, your selection of blue tones personifies your blissful happiness and endless love.

Burgundy The rich and luxurious shades of burgundy establish a feeling of elegance and sophistication. A burgundy wedding illustrates your powerful aspirations and goals of excellence. The rose tone of burgundy’s softer side makes your wedding as delicate and as intimate as you are.

Ivory Ivory weddings reflect classic traditions. This subtle romantic shade produces wedding memories of grace and distinction. A contrast to brilliant white, ivory’s soft tones enhance the glow in your cheeks and love in your eyes.

Lavender Passion and romance combine in the lavender wedding to create a mood of magical whimsy. Your old-fashioned values and modern daydreams unite to create wedding memories of a lifetime.

Peach Soft, muted tones of peach illustrate tranquility, harmony, and peace. Choosing peach as your dominant color extends a message of warmth and love to your special guests and new family.

Pink Pink weddings are filled with lacy romance and flowery femininity. Through this soft shade of innocence, pink represents your girlish dreams, starry-eyed ideals, and everlasting love.

Red In every language, the color of love is red. A red wedding depicts your intense emotions and bold romance while conveying a message of charm and style. Your red wedding says more about your feelings than words ever could.

Black & White A wedding of distinction is treated with striking combinations of black and white. This dramatic color scheme reveals your taste for the ultimate in elegance and sophisticated romance.

Preparing your wedding budget

After deciding on a wedding style, and who will pay for what, you need to work on a budget that everyone agrees on.

You will need to collect some information from area service providers via the telephone on estimated costs. Then it is suggested to add 20% to the cost for over-run or unexpected charges.

Overspending and overpaying are two areas you need to keep under control in any wedding. Here are a few things to watch for.

Research: get recommendations, compare and price check all service providers, sites, and apparel stores. What you will learn is that all service providers and stores offer different pricing, levels of service and quality. You will also learn the going rate in your area, which can be helpful in bartering a better deal or finding out who offers the best value for your money.

Shopping for your apparel and accessories can be just the same. Compare prices. One dress shop can be priced higher, but the price may include alterations, storage bag and steaming. Where as the lesser-priced store may add this cost on. Shop online, it can save you time and money.

Use your phone and the yellow pages, the web, and recommendations from other brides and service providers. Ask the same questions to each of the vendors so you are comparing them all evenly, apples to apples.

Once you find your photographer, ask her or him for recommendations. If your photographer has been in your area a number of years, they have worked with a lot of service providers. A wedding photographer gets to work with every aspect of your wedding and see the end result of many service providers’ work. They may be able to recommend the best people in the area.

Visit Them

Make appointments with the shops/service providers you are more interested in before you visit. This will help insure you will get better service if they know you are coming, many small shops and service providers run with small staffs.

If you will be renting items from them, ask to see the equipment. Is the equipment clean, workable and untarnished? Seeing the items will give you some insight as to how well the company is run. If staff and equipment is disorganized, broken and incomplete then you may want to reconsider them as a potential provider.

If the provider seems like the one you want and the date is open, ask for some literature and sample of their contract, policies and prices to review. Do not get pressured into signing something that you can’t get out of, or that ties you to something you do not want or is may be overpriced.

In the comfort of your home, review the information and pricing. Decide on what you want, contact the providers with any questions, and sign the contracts when you are ready. Keep in mind, some providers only handle one wedding at a time, so do not take too long or you might be disappointed.

Possible money savings:

Before you sign any contract or make a purchase, ask the retailer or service provider about quantity discounts, specials or sale prices. The salesperson may have overlooked a sale price or quantity discount. Some service providers may add in a couple “extras” at no cost.

The closer your work with your provider and the more you purchase everything from one source, the more likely they will work extra hard for you.

Who pays for What?

This question has become a hot topic among brides, grooms, and their families. It can often create unnecessary feuds and tension. A wedding is a public announcement and celebration, and is not meant to impose financial strain on you or your family.

Traditionally, the bride and her family paid for most everything associated in a wedding. Today, relationships and roles of the traditional marriage have changed, as a result who pays for what is not set in stone and can be taken care of by a number of people.

Family incomes, long distance weddings, divorced parents, second marriages, all these come into play. You need to discuss with everyone involved. That means bride, groom, and both sets of parent’s need to talk about the wedding style, plans, budget, and who is paying for what.

Some parents will want to finance the entire wedding, and some will give the bride and groom a set amount.

In today’s world, more and more brides and grooms opt to pay for the entire wedding themselves. Couples who choose to live together before they “tie the knot” often pay for more wedding expenses them selves. Those marrying for a second time or more usually pay for the wedding themselves. If parents are living on a fixed income and do not have the means to help, the bride and groom may fund the wedding.

Diplomatically, ask each side of your families if they will be able to help with the cost of the wedding. Tell them your plans and ask if them if there is anything special they would like during the ceremony or reception. They may tell you of a traditional family ceremony you may want to include.

Have your parents give you a good idea on the number of guests that they would like to invite. Keep in mind, your wedding is a big social event for parents!

Splitting the expenses might also be an option. A three or more way split with the bride’s family, groom’s family, and you may be a solution. All three parties would then contribute funds towards the total wedding budget or each party can pay for a percentage depending on guests.

Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for:

• Wedding dress, veil, accessories
• Invitations, announcements, enclosures, personal stationary
• Trousseau and lingerie
• Bouquet/corsages for attendants
• Flowers for ceremony and reception site
• Rental fee for church or chapel
• Engagement and wedding photography
• Fees for the sexton, organist, and soloist
• Rental fees for aisle carpet and other equipment
• Transportation for all bridal party to the ceremony and reception sites
• The Complete reception: Food, beverage, music, decorations, gratuities and other services
• Groom’s ring
• Wedding gift for the groom
• Gift’s for bride’s attendants
• Hotel lodging for attendants and out of town friends
• Gratuities to police directing traffic and/or parking
• Bride’s luncheon
• Rehearsal dinner (optional)
• Corsages for mothers, grandparents, special guests

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for:

• Bride’s engagement and wedding ring
• Marriage license
• Ceremony officials fee
• Bride’s flowers (bouquet and going away flowers)
• Wedding gift for bride
• Gifts for best man, grooms men, ushers
• Hotel lodging for out-of-town grooms men/ushers
• Wedding attire (grooms)
• Rehearsal dinner (optional)
• Honeymoon
• Blood tests (if required)
• Gloves, ties, ascots for men in wedding party

Traditionally attendants pay for:

• Personal wedding attire (except flowers)
• Traveling expense (except hotel)

Determining Your Wedding Style

One of the first decisions you will be faced with in planning a wedding is choosing the desired wedding style. The ‘style’ decision will influence all the aspects of the wedding, such as: the wedding dress, size of the wedding, time of day or year, location, attire for maids, men’s formalwear, ceremony, reception, all the way down to the invitations.

Weddings can range from lavish and ultra formal to the modest informal get together. It is important for you to choose a style that reflects your personality and will maintain your budget.

Ultra Formal Weddings

If your wish is to celebrate your love with tradition, elegance and grandeur, you may choose to have an ultra formal wedding. Your elaborate white or ivory gown will reflect the formality of the celebration with a cathedral train and equally impressive veil. Six to twelve bridesmaids will share in your joy along with two hundred or more friends and relatives. Your attendants stunning full-length dresses will enhance the ceremony, as will the long dresses of your mother and future mother-in-law. Your groom will wait in a gray or black cutaway coat, stripped trousers, and matching ascot. A beautifully decorated church, synagogue, or hotel will serve as the setting for the ceremony, which will take place in the afternoon or early evening. Following the ceremony, you will celebrate with your guests at a lavish reception of dinner and dancing. Invitations of fine quality paper and classic engraving will inform guests they will be attending a wedding of magnificent splendor and tasteful elegance.

Formal Weddings

On s slightly smaller scale, the formal wedding is rich with tradition and beauty. You will choose a formal gown with chapel length train and flowing veil. The full-length dresses of your two to six attendants will compliment your breathtaking couture. Your groom will proclaim his love in a full dress (tails) or traditional tuxedo. Mothers in full length or ankle length dresses. Morning, afternoon, or evenings are all ideal for a formal ceremony in a church, social club or garden. A festive reception of one hundred or more friends and relatives allows you to rejoice in your marriage with food and beverage befitting the hour along with music and dance.

Semi-Formal Wedding

Breaking away from tradition, your wedding becomes truly special to you in a semi-formal ceremony or second wedding. The bride will wear a floor length or tea-length wedding gown in white or ivory. A short veil or hat can add elegance. One to three attendants will accompany you down the aisle in delicate tea-length or floor length gowns, similar gowns worn by mothers. The groom may wear a formal suit or tuxedo. A chapel, private home or club may host the ceremony. The reception may consist of hors d’oeuvres and champagne or cake and punch. Fifty or more guests will help you celebrate your proclamation of love.

Informal Wedding

An informal wedding lacks the pomp and ceremony of other wedding styles. Yet they may be as beautiful and memorable as any wedding big or small. You may choose to wed in a modest floor length gown or a striking dress or suit. One maid of honor and best man will complete your intimate wedding party. Your groom may choose to wear a suit or sports coat. You and your groom will share your vows in a judge’s chamber, private home, on a beach, in a garden setting or small church. Traditionally, an afternoon informal wedding will host fewer then fifty of your closest friends and relatives.