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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Let's talk about The Wedding

Oh my goodness I am married!  I know that this is a food blog, but I want to share some of what I had learned about wedding planning, because I have learned a lot.

On DIY Projects:
I picked projects that would be done weeks before the actual wedding.  Do not pick things that need to be done at the last minute.  Girl friends of mine had shared stories of brides making them help with silly projects into the wee hours the night before the wedding.  I wanted to avoid this.  I have tackled some major DIY projects though.
  • I learned calligraphy from a book my mother gave me when I was a kid.  Granted that it is not the most fancy calligraphy, but it gets the job done.  So I decided that doing the calligraphy myself would be a great way to save money.  I took a class at Paper Source to refresh my memory and then got to work.  I did calligraphy for the Save the Dates, Invitations, Table Numbers (which are really city names) and Place Cards.  The overall saving was probably about $4-5 a guest.
Place Cards

Table Names (before I erased the pencil)

On Little Ways to Save Money:
Weddings can be crazy expensive, so I thought it made sense to save money in ways that were easy and made sense.
  • We sent Save the Date postcards.  This saved money since we did not have to purchase envelopes, which can be surprisingly pricy, and the postage cost less.  The overall savings was a couple hundred dollars.
The Save the Date - scanned from a Vintage Postcard
  • Our Reply Card was also a postcard.  Again, no envelope and less postage.  This saved a couple hundred dollars.
The Reply Card - also scanned from a Vintage Postcard
  • We set up a great website.  We included all of the extra info on where to stay, how to get there, and what to do on the website.  This worked really well, because people tend to lose paper information anyway.  I used Wedding Window for our site.  It cost $70 and was easy to set up.
  • We sent Evites for all of the extra events.  We did this because it was easier, people reply to Evites more quickly, and because people tend to loose paper invites anyway.

On the Food:
My sister gave me great advice.  Hors d'oeuvres should never be too garlicy, too messy, or leave anything behind (like a shrimp tail or toothpick).  

On planning:
Try to do as much as you can, as early as you can.  My number one goal three weeks before the wedding was to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need before the leave for the trip.  I have been to weddings in the past where it wasn't very clear where the events where, how to get there, and where they started.  A little planning ahead can make things much easier for your guests.
  • Create a downloadable packet of information for your guests.  This was very easy to do.  Using Microsoft Word, I created a document that included key phone numbers, addresses, and a map.  Then I saved it as a PDF and made it part of the wedding website.
  • Google Documents can be your best friend.  They have templates for wedding planning.  I thought that their Seating Arrangement Template was great.  I used that as a base, but then added tabs for a To Do List, Meal Breakdowns, RSVPS, etc.
  • Have a To Do List.  Include anything you may forget.  My fiance gets an email from my every Monday outlining what we need to do, and who needs to do what.  This has been a huge help.  We are actually a little ahead of the game.  He likes to know what needs to be done so he can tackle projects whenever he has time.
  • Limit the number of times you contact your vendors, and give them clearly organized information.  I think most people prefer to receive one clearly thought out email instead of a bunch of back and forth.  I haven't been perfect with this, but I am trying.  Going the extra distance with organizing will probably pay off.  Clearly tell the caterer the final count, the breakdown of who is eating what.  Then take it a little further, how many tables are there, how many people at each table, and how many people are eating each dish at each table.  If there is a diagram that you can use to incorporate this information it will leave no room for confusion.

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