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Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

Page 2

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Popular Trends in Weddings When it comes to wedding trends, it’s all up to personal preferences of the bride and groom. Weddings can range from ultra-formal affairs to more casual laid back oceanside gatherings.

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* online photo showcasing, which allows friends and family to view photos on the Internet, continues to grow in popularity

* popular wedding gifts include high-end kitchen gear and practical cooking items as well * consistently designed invitations, save-the-date cards, menus, and thank you notes are rising in popularity * more and more video services are offering cinematic videography as an alternative to more traditional video services

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Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

Page 3

Countdown to Your Wedding Day T

o help you plan a wedding and know when you should be your intentions. making certain decisions, here’s a timeframe you can follow 2 to 3 Months Before that should ensure that your wedding goes off as smoothly as Finalize your guest list and mail out your invitations. If your guest possible. list includes a considerable amount of people who are spread out 10 to 12 Months Before geographically, mail the invitations as close to 12 weeks in advance If you haven’t done it already, this is a good time to announce your as possible. This is also a good time to finalize your menu choices engagement and introduce your respective families. Since most for your guests, and find all your wedding accessories such as the reception halls and churches have busy wedding schedules, it is ring pillow, candles, etc. Also, since it is tradition to provide gifts also important to book both as early as possible, preferably at least for those in the wedding party as well as the parents of the bride a year in advance of your wedding day. It’s also a good idea to start and groom, this is a good time to decide on and purchase those putting together a guest list around this time and ask your parents gifts. Just to be safe, confirm that all groomsmen have ordered whom they’d like to invite as well. Also, since your budget will their tuxedos and finalize all transportation, both to and from the determine just about every aspect of your wedding, sitting down wedding and to the airport for your honeymoon. and determining what you can spend, and developing a savings 1 to 2 Months Before plan should be first and foremost. Schedule the first bridal-gown fitting. Also finalize the readings 6 to 9 Months Before you’d prefer during the ceremony and mail them out to anyone This is the time when you want to start booking some services, such who has agreed to do a reading. If your family prefers to host as a florist, caterer, a DJ/band, and a photographer. However, some a small gathering for close family and friends after the wedding of the more experienced DJs and bands as well as photographers rehearsal, the night before the wedding, this is a good time to might have their schedules booked a year in advance, so this might order any food or drinks you might want to serve that night, or be something you’ll want to consider doing shortly after you get make a restaurant reservation. engaged and choose a date. Also, this is a good time to inform any 3 to 4 Weeks Before guests who will be traveling significant distances of the date of your wedding. The earlier your guests can book a flight, the less Confirm your honeymoon arrangements and see if your wedding rings are ready. This is also when you should get your marriage expensive that flight will be. license and check the guest list to see who has and hasn’t RSVP’d. This is also a good time to order gowns for both the bride and For those who have yet to RSVP, you might want to contact them bridesmaids, as some manufacturers require a few months to ship so you can get a closer idea of what the head count will be. You to bridal shops. You might want to ask someone such as your priest should also prepare and order your wedding program around this or rabbi to be the officiant of your wedding. And much like outtime. of-town guests will save travel dollars the earlier they learn of your wedding date, you will likely save money, too, if you book your 1 to 2 Weeks Before honeymoon around this time. Get a final attendance count and submit it to the caterer as soon as you know of it, while also providing a final seating chart. Pick up the wedding gown and tuxedo. Make sure the wedding party picks This is a good time to decide on wedding invitations, of which up their attire. Also, finalize your vows and confirm all weddingthere are many styles to choose from. Also, now is ideal to start day details such as transportation, photo schedules, and addresses. hunting for a wedding cake by sampling a number of different And don’t forget to pack for your honeymoon. bakeries and their style of cakes before ultimately making a decision. Just to be sure, confirm that all of the bridesmaids have ordered The Day Before their gowns and start looking for a tuxedo for the groom as well This is mainly when you rehearse for the ceremony and make any as the groomsmen. If you haven’t done so already, purchase your final confirmations you might have to make. Also, make sure to wedding rings and let any other people you’d like to participate in get some sleep so you’ll look good in all of your wedding-day your wedding (ushers, readers during the ceremony, etc.) know of photos. 4 to 5 Months Before


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M

Avoid Common Wedding Scams

atthew and Ellen had the wedding of their dreams on a beautiful June day. All of the details went off without a hitch, or so they thought. When the time arrived to receive their wedding photo albums and video a few months after the wedding, the photographer who had promised them the world closed up shop, filed for bankruptcy and absconded with the new couple’s precious memories. Tales of wedding woes frequent the news, especially as wedding season approaches. Stories about reception sites that have double-booked rooms, photographers who have not delivered photos, bridal gown shops that don’t have a dress finished on time and so many similar events are no longer a rarity. The majority of wedding vendors are respectable businesses looking to provide couples with the ideal services and memories of their special day. However, some other vendors are just looking to make money at all costs. Avoiding trouble with your wedding means taking matters into your own hands and thoroughly protecting yourself. * Investigate the business or individual before exchanging money. A simple search online for reviews or checking with the Better Business Bureau should reveal if a business has any complaints against it. Complaints can range from bad service to lawsuits. This easy step can protect couples from potentially going into business with a company that should not be trusted.

Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

when purchasing anything of value. * Ensure the vendor has the equipment described. Some limousine companies may send out flyers advertising high-end vehicles they don’t actually own or have access to. They subsequently arrive on your wedding day with a different vehicle. Without a contract specifying the vehicle of your choice, you have little recourse against the company. Filter out shady brokers by asking to come inspect their vehicles on an off-day, like Tuesday afternoon. You want to verify that they indeed own the limo, and that it’s in good condition. * Skimpy floral arrangements. Upon booking a florist, most businesses will sit down with couples and work up a sample bouquet or arrangement based on personal preferences. Come the wedding day, however, couples might find their arrangements have considerably fewer flowers in them or they’re not the blooms originally chosen. Flowers are expensive, and some florists cut costs by skimping on the amount of actual flowers (not filler) they use. Be sure contracts spell out how many flowers will be in each arrangement, what type of flowers, how many centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, etc. Be sure you can enjoy your wedding and get the services you paid for by being savvy consumers. Don’t simply open up your wallet to the first vendor you meet.

Weddings by the Numbers

* Get word-of-mouth recommendations. A couple who has used a particular bridal vendor and had pleasant results is the best advertisement. Ask friends and family members who have gotten married who they used for flowers, photos, music and more. Using the same people is not being a copy-cat; it’s being a shrewd consumer.

25: The average age of a first-time bride.

* Contracts are essential. Have all of the details of the business transaction spelled out in a contract that both the vendor and you sign. Writing “Size 8” gown is not enough. Make sure the model number, price, details regarding deposits, alterations, etc., are included. DJs can write how many hours they will be playing music, how many breaks they will take, who exactly will be handling the wedding itself, and other details.

2.4: Number, in millions, of weddings performed in the U.S. each year.

Think you know weddings? Here are some common statistics. 175: Average number of guests invited to a wedding. 75: Percentage of brides who will receive a diamond engagement ring.

16: Average number of months for an American engagement.

* Check who will be servicing your wedding. On occasion a business may subcontract its services. For example, the photographer you meet at the studio may not be the photographer who shows up at your wedding. If you have a preference as to who services your event, be sure to request that person and have it included in the contract.

15: Percentage of weddings that include ethnic customs.

* Obtain certification. Some scams are more subtle. For instance, bridal shops who remove designer labels from gowns because they are not authorized retailers is a subtle scam. Another is jewelry stores that misrepresent the quality of diamonds and other jewelry. Be sure to get legitimate certification

10.2: Percentage of weddings taking place in August, second only to June as the most popular month.

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Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

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Page 5

Should You Elope? Guide to Getting Hitched

eddings can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful to plan. Few couples embroiled in the process haven’t thought about running away to elope. It’s certainly spontaneous and can be costeffective. But is it for you? Roughly 100,000 couples head to Las Vegas each year to say their “I Dos.” Vegas is the self-proclaimed wedding capital of the world. With a growing number of celebrities and high-profile individuals running off to get hitched in low-key ceremonies, eloping can seem quite enticing. Consider these pros and cons before you book your airline tickets. Advantages There are several advantages to eloping. The foremost reason is cost. Couples who elope at City Hall or close by will pay a nominal fee for their nuptials. A marriage license may only be around $50 or more, and your other expenses will be wardrobe and transportation to and from the event.

approve of your future spouse, you could permanently fracture the relationship this person will have with the family. If You Decide to Elope, Do it With Style If you’ve assessed the pros and cons and have decided to elope, consider these pointers. * Research the marriage requirements in the place where you have decided to marry. Some foreign locales require a layover period of a few days to a week before filling out the marriage papers and getting married. * Choose a location that has meaning for you. Don’t pick a place simply because of popularity. * Elope, but still invite a few people to witness the event. One or two close friends, your parents or siblings can stand in as witnesses at the ceremony.

Eloping is also a viable idea for couples with family issues. If some members of the family do not get along or if there are individuals who don’t approve of the marriage, it can be easier to avoid the drama of a wedding ceremony and reception and get married in a small, simple ceremony ... alone. A bride who has lost her father or mother may choose to forego the pomp and circumstance of walking down the aisle for a simpler ceremony.

* If you choose to do it as a duo, hire a photographer to take pictures of the ceremony and mail out an announcement to your family and friends.

Another reason to elope is to avoid the stress and hassle of planning the wedding. Some people are born organizers and planners. Others get overwhelmed just deciding on what to eat for dinner. When eloping, the only things couples must plan are the where, when and how of the event. Fewer people involved means fewer hassles.

* Put the money you would have spent on a wedding toward the down payment on a house. Get married in the backyard or living room of your new place and have a wedding/house-warming party.

Disadvantages Eloping does have its share of disadvantages, as well. Primarily it’s experienced only by the bride and groom and perhaps a witness. This means others won’t be around to share in this momentous event. Some people who elope later regret the not having a more traditional ceremony. Chances are a few people will have hurt feelings if you choose to elope and not include them in the wedding. Parents of the bride and groom may feel left out. Remember, a wedding is a celebration not just for the bride and groom, but for their families as well. If you’re running off to get married because a family member doesn’t

* Host a reception for close family and friends so they can celebrate the betrothal. It doesn’t have to be a lavish affair. A cocktail party or barbecue is adequate. * If you elope in secrecy, don’t count on lavish wedding gifts.

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Page 6

Take Two

Tips for a Second Trip Down the Aisle

A

second wedding is a chance to focus more on what you want as a couple instead of the wedding your parents may had hoped for you. Today there are no rules in second weddings; the happy couple can customize it as they see fit. Chances are someone you know will make another trip down the aisle at one point in his or her life. Individuals who have lost a spouse or have divorced may eventually choose to remarry. Second weddings are a great way for couples to showcase their personalities and don’t have to be constrained by tradition. Here are some top tips for taking that trip down the aisle the second time around. * Put your first wedding out of your mind. Now is not the time to make comparisons. This wedding should be all about you and your new spouse-to-be. Go for something completely different than your prior wedding so there will be no side-byside comparisons. * Choose a wedding party you really want. You can have a lavish wedding again, complete with a big bridal party. However, this time around you can choose the friends and family members you really desire to stand beside you, instead of individuals you may have felt obligated to include the first time around. * Go ahead and wear white. Tradition once stated that take-two brides were not supposed to wear white. Toss tradition aside and go ahead and do what you want. Just be sure the gown compliments your age and body shape and doesn’t seem too

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virginal. If your previous wedding was annulled, you also may be able to wear a wedding veil. * Include your children in the festivities and planning. If you or your future spouse has children from a previous marriage, make them feel a part of this new blended family by including them in the second wedding. They may play a role in the ceremony, such as making a speech or reading a religious passage. Other brides and grooms choose to have their children walk them down the aisle this time around. Also, involve the kids in the planning. They may be excited to help you choose wedding vendors or address invitations. * Personalize your event. Take the time to write your own vows, make handmade favors or single out the special people in your lives. * Feel free to be extravagant. You may be more established in life with a secure job and bigger paycheck. Therefore you can expand the wedding budget a little more. Go for all of the goodies you may have passed on with your previous marriage, such as exotic foods or that extra-long honeymoon. * Involve the groom as well. Today’s modern men want a say in their wedding just as much as the bride, say wedding experts. Make sure he is apprised of all the details and ensure that he is able to make it to vendor appointments and the like. Just as a second wedding is a second chance for happiness, it is another opportunity to throw the wedding of your dreams.

Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

Most Popular Honeymoon and Vacation Destinations For many couples a honeymoon is just as important as the wedding ceremony. Such couples seek the best in a vacation destination, and understandably so after surviving the stress of planning a wedding. Here are some of the top spots for honeymoon destinations. * Hawaii: This group of islands consistently ranks as one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Once outside the tourist areas, there are plenty of places for serene reflection and one-on-one privacy. With it’s mountainous landscape, beautiful foliage and awe-inspiring ocean, the islands of Hawaii can be the perfect locale for honeymoon bliss. * Italy: Italy is the perfect marriage of Old World charm and modern conveniences. Honeymooners can pick from retreats in the country to cliffside resorts. * St. Lucia: St. Lucia is one of the Caribbean’s lushest islands. Picturesque plantations and lapping waters are just some of the attractions of this island paradise. * Tahiti: There’s something quite alluring about this South Pacific locale. Tahiti towers over the ocean with mountainous ridges but also lush, tropical areas. Tahiti is known for fine dining and plenty of water-based activities. * Mexico: With close proximity to the United States -- within driving distance for some -- the tropical resorts of Mexico entice many honeymooners each year. * Jamaica: What better way to spend a honeymoon than on the laid-back tropical island of Jamaica? In proximity to Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Jamaica is the third-largest English speaking country behind the U.S. and Canada. * France: True romantics may desire honeymooning in the city of romance ... Paris. With spectacular sights, fine cuisine and many historical points of interest, France is often a top destination for couples. * Bermuda: This island is a British territory in North American waters. Bermuda’s nearest land mass is Cape Hatteras, N.C. Bermuda has a very affluent economy, with finance as its largest sector followed by tourism. It is a popular cruise ship port of call. Sandy white beaches and close proximity to the U.S. make it a favorite for honeymoons. * U.S. Virgin Islands: If you want a tropical honeymoon getaway without the hassle of passport travel, consider the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. Surrounded by pristine waters and spectacular ocean life, honeymooners who want fun in the sun need not look any further. * South Africa: Experience awe-inspiring wildlife on safari or modern cities and exclusive neighborhoods.

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Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

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Page 7

Financial 411: Surviving Your Wedding Expenses

he average couple will spend between $20,000 and $30,000 on their wedding, a figure that does not include additional expenses such as an engagement ring or honeymoon. For many, that is 50 percent more than they have actually budgeted for the occasion. Underestimating wedding expenses can lead to financial distress even before the marriage has begun. In the not-so-distant past, weddings were largely financed by the bride and her parents. Things are much different now. Most weddings now are paid for by the bride and groom with little contribution from family. Young couples just starting out in life may find that weddings are more of a financial commitment than originally anticipated. Planning for the expected -- and unexpected -- can help couples survive wedding expenses. Savings Plan With most couples paying for the majority of the wedding themselves, it will be up to them to come up with the bulk of the wedding finances. Starting to save early is essential. Once you have set the date, begin saving immediately. Even if the wedding won’t be a lavish affair, every wedding has some expenses. - To save, consider curbing recreational spending. Cut dinners out, trips to the movies or non-essential purchases. Place the money you would’ve spent into a wedding account. - Consider having automatic transfers or deposits into an account for forced savings. Many employers can deposit a portion of your paycheck into a separate account. Instead of a Christmas Club savings plan, you can have a Wedding Club. - Eliminate debt right away. It may seem counterproductive, but sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Instead of racking up high interest rate charges on credit card balances, pay down credit cards or other bills you have. Once you are in the clear, you can focus more on saving for the wedding. - If need be, have a long engagement so that you have ample time to save. Setting a Budget Many couples want a dream wedding but do not have the finances to afford a platinum event. But that doesn’t mean they still can’t have a lavish, beautiful wedding. Setting a budget means you can prioritize what you want and what you will pass up. It also provides a savings goal and a firm deadline. - Shop around for the average rates of vendors in your area. Work on the big-ticket items first before focusing on the smaller details. Once you have average prices, you can base your budget as such. - Add up the average costs of all of the items on your wish list. If it seems out

of range, start removing things you can do without. For example, can you have a brunch reception instead of an evening sit-down dinner to scale back costs? - Always set aside a little extra for those incidental expenses, such as tips for the waitstaff and donation to the church -- items you may not think to factor in. - Don’t expect wedding gifts to cover the cost of your wedding. While some guests are quite generous, others may not even cover the cost of their meal. Prioritize A dream wedding is a marriage between desires and reality. Today it is possible to recreate the look of designer gowns and other details with less-expensive options. Figure out your priorities and work from there. Consider these costsaving options. - Think about where you will be living after you are married. A residence takes priority over a lavish wedding. - Have the wedding party carry fresh-flower bouquets, but use less-expensive silk flowers or even fruit as centerpieces. - Ask your baker to create a small wedding display cake you can use for your photos and serve guests from a much cheaper sheet cake that is hidden in the kitchen. - Get married on a weekday or at an earlier time of day. - Limit the bar to wine, beer and soda to save on the expense of top-shelf liquors. - Register for unconventional gifts, such as contributing to the honeymoon. - Handle some items yourself, such as favors or catering, to keep costs down.

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Bridal Guide • Summer 2010

Page 8

Tips For Successful Honeymoon Planning

Create a Memory...

A

fter months of planning and saving for a wedding, a honeymoon offers one-onone time for the couple to have fun, develop a deeper relationship, and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. Among couples who enjoy a traditional wedding, statistics say that 99 percent take a honeymoon. The average honeymoon costs approximately $5,000. Since a honeymoon will account for at least 14 percent of the total wedding budget, couples want to ensure that theirs is money well spent -- especially in an economy where every penny counts. Preparation is the key to honeymoon success. * Save money: Putting honeymoon plans into the hands of an expert could add up to considerable savings. “Travel agents have relationships with tour and package providers that they can leverage in ways the average consumer cannot,” offers Ellingboe. Turn to a honeymoon expert for honeymoon planning needs so your honeymoon can truly be a trip of a lifetime.

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* Honeymoon registry: Not just for budget-conscious brides- and grooms-to-be, consider creating a honeymoon registry to give your wedding guests an alternative to crock pots, toasters and blenders. Wedding guests can improve your honeymoon experience by gifting the activities, excursions and dining experiences that make the trip memorable. * Pack a variety of clothing options: Bring a few different outfits of varying levels of formality so that you’ll have options on your trip. Depending upon the resort or ship, there may be specific dress codes at certain restaurants or meal times; you don’t want to be caught off-guard. Make sure your research includes destination clothing requirements since what is acceptable culturally varies widely across the globe.

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Summer Bridal 2010