A Dozen Tips to Stay Within Your Event or Wedding Budget

Here are a dozen tips on how to save money while planning your wedding or special event on a budget:

  1. Avoid the Peak Wedding Season and/or Weekends. Consider setting your wedding or event date in late Summer or almost any time in the Winter to save up to 20% off on your venue selection. Or you can save thousands of dollars at your favorite venue by simply planning your wedding day for a Thursday, as opposed to a weekend day.
  2. Embrace All-Inclusives. You actually save about $25 per person by choosing a venue with catering packages to choose from. Packages deals are almost always cheaper than purchasing or renting items, services and/or venues separately. You may think the 5-star backyard barbecue will save you money, but by the time you purchase everything you need, your costs will run at least what a venue would run before even considering the food! If you want to be outdoors, consider a venue with an outdoor or beach-side option.
  3. Limit your bridal party. Consider the costs that go into what is needed for bridesmaids and groomsmen, including flowers and wedding party gifts. Cut your party down to two and save big.
  4. Remove people from your guest list. Removing eight to ten people thereby removes from your costs one full guest table and chairs, leading to savings on eight to ten invitations/response cards/envelopes and stamps, one table linen, eight to ten linen napkins, eight to ten linen chair covers, eight to ten linen tie backs, eight to ten favors, one centerpiece and eight to ten meals and cake off your budget, as well as the savings on beverages. On average, cutting one table from a low budget wedding or special event is a savings of around $600 and it goes up from there.
  5. Do NOT invite people for gifts. People spend an average in the area of $50 or less on any gift, be it for a wedding, milestone birthday, anniversary, retirement… Hardly seems appropriate to invite guests for the gifts when the cost to you is at least double what they’ll spend on your gift. Save money and go out and buy your own microwave! Only invite those that you have relationships with on a regular basis.
  6. Go digital for your stationary. Using the ever fabulous letterpress makes for a lovely design, but the time and process, as well as the weight bringing postage costs to a rise, can be a budget buster. Stick to digital print and regular size for a huge cost savings, right down to the postage.
  7. Go easy on the hors devours. Keep your choices few, yet delicious and stick to the basics to save several dollars per person.
  8. Be selective and talk with your venue coordinator regarding meal options. You can alter any menu they introduce by choosing a lesser quality cut, but as delicious to save big. (i.e. hanger steak in place of filet mignon or grouper over salmon or cod)
  9. Limit your bar. If you choose an open bar, choose wisely what your guests have access to. Limit choices to wine and beer and a couple of specialty cocktails. This will cut your costs by 25%. And remember, guests can toast just as easily with Prosecco or their beverage of choice, saving hundreds on a champagne toast.
  10. Select a simple design for your cake. Remember, the more intricate the design, the more cost per slice. Sugar flowers, intricate piping and gilding come with a hefty price tag. And consider asking your baker to only provide half-slices for each guest. Serving half the size requires only half the amount of cake, which leads to half the cost.
  11. Choose seasonal flowers. They will be in stock at your local florist, saving you hundreds on specialty orders and delivery charges.
  12. Choose your vendors wisely; shop around. There are likely numerous bridal shows or wedding expos throughout the year in your area (peak times will be January thru March and again from September through November). Be sure to shop around for the personality, the quality, the style and the price that you are looking for in a vendor (wedding planner/coordinator, venue, photographer, DJ/band, videographer, baker, caterer, stylist…). The cost of exhibiting at a bridal show is expensive, so you can be sure that only professionals are willing to pay the price. Use your search engine to find those in your area.
    You can have everything you want within your budget, you just have to know how and where to shop for it. Now you are ready to get your shop on!

For more tips on budget cuts and vendor connections, or if you are looking to get twice as much done in half the time, contact your local wedding and event planner. He/She is there to help you do all this and more, and within your budget!

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Can I afford a wedding planner?

It’s happening! He popped the question, you said yes and the planning begins. Where do you start? What is the first step? There are so many details to planning a wedding, some of which can become daunting and overwhelming to a young bride and groom. Especially when the budget is minimal. How do you get all those desires met under budget? HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!

Doesn’t make sense? Wedding planners are expensive? Well, they certainly do not come without a price, but they can almost always save you money in other areas by finding you the best services possible within your budget. I know from experience not knowing the drill and going blindly into planning a wedding, only to find out later that I could have done it much cheaper had I had the experience and knowledge of a wedding planner working with me.

Now there are many that will tell you that planning a wedding for $10,000 cannot be done in today’s day and age … and they are mostly correct! The average low budget wedding will cost more in the range of $30,000. But I am here to tell you it CAN be done … and it HAS been done … WITH a wedding coordinator! Now you may only be able to compensate a wedding planner for her ‘day of’ services (which includes free initial consultation, further phone/email consultations, vendor meetings and coordination and management of your rehearsal and wedding days), so you will still need to do all the foot work, but a wedding coordinator can guide you in the right direction to save you money all along the way. She will know how to get the best bang for your buck and even get you free services from vendors too! And some wedding planners will have inventory they can let you borrow or rent to add a little more pizzazz to your special day for less.

While showing my out-of-state bride the church in which she and her fiance will wed, she said to me that hiring our services is the best investment she has made in the planning of her cost effective military wedding. Her wedding will go forward and will be fabulous, fun-filled and just as beautiful as she always dreamed, all for under $10,000 and planned in less than 3 months! And she is beyond excited for the big day to arrive! As am I!

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work getting it done with a minimal budget, but you can have it all for less, if you are willing to put in the work and hire a wedding planner to help you find the way! Find out how today … pick up the telephone and make the call. What do you have to lose? The initial consultation is FREE! You do not have to settle for less and you do not have to do it alone. Call today and leave the daunting details to the professionals. You will be glad you did!

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To Bling or Not to Bling … that is the question!

You got engaged on Valentine’s day, like hundreds of other brides-to-be around the world. The heart flutters, the smile is unending and the world has been advised via the internet. And now, the planning begins! What will it look like? Visions of shimmer and elegance or rustic earth tones dance through your head. To bling or not to bling … you can almost see exactly how you would imagine it.

As the process begins, remember to breath. It can get overwhelming as you consider how many steps it takes to plan a wedding. Eventually, you will begin to wonder who will help you keep your sanity during the process. Will we be able to keep it together should we come upon any obstacles? These are valid concerns.

My advice? Plan for high stress levels not only throughout the process, but mostly the last week before the big day. Emotions will run high … not only for the bride and groom, but for their parents, friends and family as they aim for perfection for the loving couple. Have a back up plan for most of your final steps should something fall short of your expectations. Do your best to be done with everything at least two weeks prior to the wedding day so that will allow you to breath, which will help with handling the unforeseen issues that tend to arise in those last days.

Be sure someone is assigned for each of the last week’s tasks, like confirming the vendors timing; making any and all final payments to the vendors; determine who will transport your inventory to the church and/or reception hall; delegate who will arrive at the ceremony venue prior to the bride’s arrival to ensure everything is in place; does the band/dj have their specific instructions and music requests confirmed; did the photograph list get to the photographer; who will make travel arrangements and confirm transportation for the wedding party, including parents and grandparents, to the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, the ceremony and the reception; who will breakdown and pack up your inventory after the ceremony; and so many other little details that tend to be forgotten and left to the bride and groom to manage at the last minute.

Try to think of all the little details that will need to be addressed those last days so that you can simply enjoy your loved ones throughout! You do not want to have to be dealing with these little details on your special day. Remember, the end result is the marriage, not the wedding, so keep you eyes on the prize and don’t sweat the small stuff!

And should you not want to worry about any of it, you know who to call! ;O) Have a blessed day!

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What Does 20/20 Know About the Wedding Industry

If you are planning your wedding, you have likely seen the 20/20 pieces with Elizabeth Fargas regarding the wedding industry. Well, she means well. But if you notice, she spoke to few of the thousands upon thousands of industry professionals in the world. Hardly something you can hang your hat on.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not necessarily disagreeing with her commentary. It is actually pretty much the norm when it comes to wedding professionals charging more for weddings than parties. I know I do! Is she kidding? Have you been to a wedding? And have you been to a party? Have YOU noticed any differences between the two?!

Now I do realize that some parties have all the bells and whistles. For example, I recently planned and hosted a party for a client on New Year’s Eve for 125 of his guests. And for those big bang parties, the clients are often charged the ‘wedding’ price. In fact, once I started describing the bells and whistles to my venue coordinator, she upped her price $2000 … some for the fact that it was on a holiday and they are regularly closed on Mondays, and the rest was their ‘wedding’ price due to the high volume of vendors, décor and props, on top of the fact that liability becomes an issue.

You see, parties are normally just that … a party. You show up, you eat, you drink, you dance, you have an all-around good time. There are minimal pieces to the party puzzle. A planner is helpful to have around to take care of directing vendors, set up and to be there should anything go wrong or to get you anything you need throughout the event. But generally, the vendors just show up and do their thing. There are minimal announcements or schedules to address.

What people don’t seem to realize is that weddings are completely unique in the industry! For example, if one were to order flowers for a party centerpiece, one would likely just order them and pick those flowers up day of and that would be that. Now if a Bride were to order flowers for her wedding centerpieces, you can bet there will be changes, additions and extras along the way, besides the fact that the bride will likely meet with the florist at least two or three more times before the wedding! Plus, they are delivered. They have to be perfect! And there are way more emotions involved than just your run of the mill birthday party. But you can’t say that about your clients on National television!

And your DJ or band leader is no longer just that, they your Emcee for the evening! They have to maintain a schedule of events throughout the wedding that need to not only be announced to your guests, but need to be coordinated with other vendors and fit in just the right place at your wedding. You would not want your DJ or band leader to disrupt a special dance you are sharing with your great-grandpa or your new father-in-law. Your DJ has to be on his/her toes the whole evening to ensure your guests know what is happening and when. It is no easy task to get it all done in the time allotted for your special reception.

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Then there is your photographer. Their job is endless at a wedding. In the time allotted, they have to accommodate every photograph you want taken of the wedding party and of the reception, as well as the ‘party’ pictures of everyone having a great time. In addition, they have to be cognizant of the DJ’s announcements so that they are present for such things as the garter toss or the cake cutting. The vendors need to be working together to get it done properly and in a timely manner. And if you had any idea what a photographer has to do AFTER the wedding to produce those priceless memories! There are hours upon hours spent getting you the perfect selection for your book of memories.

And on top of all of that, you have the emotions of the bride, the groom, their parents, as well as their friends and family to contend with. It is likely one of the most high stress days of a bride and grooms’ lives and those emotions can be easily set off with the slightest mishap and that is the last thing any wedding vendor would ever want to see happen to you on your most important day. And that makes it more high stress for anyone involved in a wedding, from the Wedding Planner to the Officiate to the Caterer. But know that we are all there to do our best to make this the best day of your life.

There are a lot of pieces that need to be connected in order to make it your perfect day. It is NOT just a party. It is so much more significant than that. Does a wedding cost more? Yes! Is it worth every penny? I can assure you! It is truly an investment in your future. Invest in professionals. You will be glad you did!

And, if you want some assistance along the way to avoid getting ‘ripped off’, we would be happy to help … and maybe even get you some discounts along the way!

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What is your photographer taking photographs of?

As I visit the hundreds upon hundreds of vendors at bridal shows every year so that I can be in tune with what is out there for my brides and grooms and party planners, it always amazes me how different they are from each other. And not just the people, but their vision. They all take pictures differently. They all see something different as they scour the room for the best photo. So how do you know which one to choose?

ANSWER: Look at their work! Are they capturing the things you would want captured at your wedding? Are they seeing everything you would want memorialized? Is the quality what you would expect it to be to memorialize the most important day of your life?

There are so many skill sets that I couldn’t even capture them all in one blog post, but the one that I want you to be aware of is the photographs themselves and what is ‘in’ them.

There will be times that you will be browsing through the photographs of a professional photographer that are all brilliant color and all the photographs are of the wedding party and few are of their guests. Most will get a photo of the cake, the flowers and the rings. And some, few I find, take the time to photograph the vision! The dream! That which you have spent months, if not years, putting together for this one very special day.

Now, I always tell brides, whether I work with them or not, that their focus needs to be mainly on the marriage, not so much on the wedding details. However, from a newlywed perspective, I made sure that my photographer went from my house to the venue to get photographs of the ‘vision’ that I dreamed up, that I planned, that I shopped for, and that I spent thousands of dollars on, because I want to remember that too.

I wanted pictures of the crystal angels hanging from the chandeliers that were gently placed there by my friends;

the lil snowmen cake toppers my husband and I picked out together; the tiers of cupcakes that my other niece made and decorated at the age of 16;

the Red Sox cake that my niece made for my husband’s groom’s cake; the Red Sox garter that was a surprise for my husband;

my Christmas village that I have painstakingly collected for years and years, now displayed in front of the head tables; the crafted table numbers that me and my girlfriends spent hours creating together;

or my grandmother’s blue handkerchief my mom shared with me for my something blue, so my grandmother would be remembered on my wedding day.

Brides WILL dream the dream and they WILL want to remember ALL of it, including the details AND their incredible family and friends that shared it with them.  So please remember to tell your photographer not to discount the ‘things’ as just things, as they too carry many memories.

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Wedding Gown Shopping Tips

Scheduling a shopping trip with one of my brides prompts me to remind you that when you are going shopping for a wedding dress, there a few things to remember:

1. Wear the undergarments you believe you will wear on your big day … strapless bra, body shaper, girdle, etc. You want to be sure to have the actual look when you choose ‘the one’. No bra straps or socks showing, etc…

2. Style your hair somewhat as you will wear your hair on your wedding day so that you can see what the dress will look like with your hair (up/down/half) the way you want to wear it.

3. As much as you might like to be made up to get the full look as well, do NOT wear heavy make-up. You are trying on WHITE dresses and make-up will come off onto the gown.

4. Select only one or two of your closest friends/family members and avoid the masses … you will also avoid mass confusion!

5. If you are planning to lose weight, it will still be best to order the dress a little bigger than your goal size to take the pressure off. Wedding dresses almost always need alterations and it is easier to take in than to let out!

6. Bring the shoes you will be wearing on your wedding day … or at least a pair with the same height heel as you will be wearing. You want to be sure to get the right measurements to your boutique so they can keep it on record.

7. And browse the internet prior to your appointment. If you see something you like, bring pictures so they have a better idea of what you are looking for. It can be the top of one, the bottom of another; the shape of one, the material of another. The options are really endless.

8. And most importantly, wear a smile! Have fun with it! The plan is to only do it once, so enjoy every moment of the planning process, including dress shopping!!

PS: If you have ever wished you could get that $3500 beaded champagne gown with the long train for a mere fraction of the cost; well, breathe easy ladies, it can be done! What if I said you can get an incredible gown worth $3500 for only $253?! Would you believe me? Well, it’s been done! And you can do it too. You just have to be ready to fight for and guard your selections, drop trouble in the middle of a ballroom and have hunters bringing you gown selections … so bring everyone you can.

If you are down for ‘mass’ excitement, consider Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides in Boston, MA. Shop among hundreds of other brides in a ballroom filled with hundreds upon hundreds of brand new gowns to choose from at a mere fraction of their original cost! For this event, bring many! And I would be happy to make your arrangements and assist in any way that I can. (2013 dates not yet scheduled)

Helpful hints: wear or bring something flamboyant so that you can find each other easily in the crowds. Provide photographs of your ‘must haves’ for all of your hunters so they know what you are looking for and can help you on the hunt. And don’t take it too seriously! It’s supposed to be fun and exhilerating, not stressful! Enjoy!

And upon all else, do not settle until you couldn’t imagine yourself in anything else!

Happy Shopping Ladies!! Let me know if I can be of service!

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A dozen tips to save you time, trouble and frustration when booking a limousine

I know this is a little late for some, but after reading the news recently with regard to Touch of Class Limousine, which apparently is an annual occasion, I thought it necessary to attempt to spare many of the same dilemmas. Read this article from the Van Coach Limo Expert about limousine best practices, and then read my additions in order to spare yourself some of the issues that may arise.

5.5 Best Practices When Hiring Limousines for Your Kid’s Prom

Here are 5.5 best practices to save you time, hassle and frustration when hiring a prom limo:

1. Reserve as far in advance as possible. During prom season, demand will be higher for limos than at any other time of the year. Limo firms will turn down much more business than they could ever conceive possible during this time. You cannot book one too far in advance if you wish to guarantee availability and avoid becoming a victim of the law of supply and demand. As soon as you know you will need it, reserve it right then or you may find that no one has anything to offer!

2. Understand and expect a six hour minimum regardless of your situation. Many prospective clients want the limo carrier to perform two one way transfers on the date of the prom as they do not wish to invest any additional funds for a vehicle just to sit and wait. However, persuading a limo carrier to offer anything other than the six hour minimum could be compared to extracting a tooth with a pair of pliers. Limo firm fees during this time will remain consistent due to extreme demand!

3. Know exactly what you will be receiving. Do not be gullible and just take the word of the limo carrier as to what you will be getting. Schedule a visit to the supplier’s facility and go physically view the condition of their fleet. Ask to be given a tour and climb inside the vehicle they have promised you. Review the condition of the vehicle inside and out before making a decision!

4. Never attempt to place more passengers in a limo than the manufacturer capacity will allow. Be advised that a ten passenger limo will seat eight comfortably, nine tightly, and ten very uncomfortably. If you have more than eight passengers, be prepared to invest more funds for a larger SUV limo which most kids will prefer anyway as it makes the prom much more memorable.

5. Understand the risks associated with proms for the limo carrier. Limo firms will not only a require a credit card as security with an immediate initial investment placed on the card, but will also ask you to autograph a document of regulations just for prom renters. In order to be fair to everyone, and because they have been burned on so many prom limo reservations, they have all imposed very strict cancellation regulations. In addition, sunroofs have been eliminated from all new limos and disabled in the older ones due to the high liability factor of kids hanging out of the vehicle.

5.5 Certificate of Insurance. Before you allow any limo carrier to pick up your prom group, insist on receiving a valid and current certificate of liability insurance. If you have any challenges obtaining this from the carrier, cancel your reservation as fast as possible! Don’t even think about it baby! (http://vancoachlimoexpert.com/2013/05/18/5-5-best-practices-when-hiring-limousines-for-your-kids-prom/)

…and to add to their list, I would make sure to include the following, making it an even dozen best practices:

6. Ensure that your ‘Contract’ or ‘Service Agreement’ includes a clause that confirms your limo will not be ‘shared’ on the same evening. With the price you will be paying, your limo should be ON TIME and ALWAYS AVAILABLE throughout the evening. If one of the participants were to look out the window, the limo should be sitting there waiting, not off on another run.

7. Suggest a clause for a reduced price in the event the limo were to arrive late for either pick up prior to or post prom. (if the limo company overbooks, they may ‘share’ the limo and it will be making runs throughout the evening) You may be okay with sharing a limo, but be sure you are covered in the event of untimeliness. In addition, ensure you are paying a lesser ‘shared’ price.

8. Ensure that your ‘Contract’ or ‘Service Agreement’ includes a clause that confirms your limo will be thoroughly cleaned and restocked (with water) prior to initial pick up.

9. Get the cell phone number of the driver of the limo. This way, in the event the limo were to go MIA, (which shouldn’t happen, but may), you can contact him/her. For example, say one of the limo party is asked to leave prom for one reason or another and the limo is asked to take that child home mid-prom. Having the driver’s cell phone number ensures he/she is available to the other parties, who are now able to maintain contact to determine timing. Or, in the alternative, ensure it is contractual that even if someone is asked to leave prom, they agree to have the child sit in the limo and wait for the others for the remainder of the evening. (except in the event of an emergency, such as severe illness)

10. Put the child of the parent who booked the limousine ‘in charge’ of the happenings of the limo. This will be the ‘go to’ person for the driver and the passengers to make any final decisions with regard to extra runs. For example, if someone were to get sick during prom and needs to be taken home.

11. Be sure to ask the company contact person about your limo driver’s experience and familiarity with the area. Advise them you would prefer the driver ‘pre-travel’ the route to ensure his/her awareness of where they will be going, GPS or not. On more than one occasion, limos have gotten lost, been misdirected by GPS or were simply inexperienced and unfamiliar with the area, leading to untimeliness, as well as anxious and frustrated teenagers.

11.5. Remember, a limousine is a large, long vehicle that takes longer to get to a location than a regular vehicle. So be sure to add on several minutes to each stop due to slowing for wider turns, etc. in order to ensure timeliness.

And I cannot encourage you enough to follow #4 of the article and preview your ‘ride’. You would be surprised what some limo companies deem acceptable … including duct taped windows, half empty water bottles, dirty carpets, etc. Be sure you are getting what you are paying for!

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What Women Want

Counselor Tara Hedman wrote an article entitled “What Little Girls Wish Their Daddies Knew”. I shared her article with my soon-to-be-a-dad son-in-law, but as I read through it, I thought, this not only stands true between fathers and daughters, but boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives. So I reworded it ever so slightly so that I could share it with you in that light as well. (for her original version, please visit www.tarahedman.com/blog)

1. How you love me is how I will know I am worthy to love myself and able to love you back.

2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer. I need to know you value me and understand my true value.

3. If you love and honor me, I can freely love and respect you.

4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.

5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.

6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust more.

7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy. It doesn’t make me want it more that you treat it like a joke. It is just a turn off.

8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better and can respond accordingly.

9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re ‘just joking’ is what I believe is how you feel about my body.

10. How you handle my heart, is how I will want to handle others’.

11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.

12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from others.

13. Share with me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will be encouraged that intellect matters more to you than my dress size.

14. Let me say exactly what I want, even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.

15. If you seem averse toward my changing body and emotions, I will believe you think something is wrong with it.

16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.

17. When I ask you to let go a little, please remain available. I will always come back and need you if you do.

18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.

19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.

20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.

21. How you treat our dog and your mom when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than just about anything else.

22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.

23. Hug, hold and kiss me in all the ways a man does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand a healthy relationship.

24. Please don’t lie, because I need to believe what you say.

25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.

It’s pretty simple, really. What you do and say now matters for a lifetime. Please … never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on the women in your life, no matter their age. They not only affect them, but they affect YOU!

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Wedding Party and Honored Guest Assignments

SPECIAL HONORARIES:(as part of the wedding party processional and recessional)

The special honoraries are typically related or very close in relationship with the Bride and Groom and hold a special place in their lives; hence, their wanting to honor them on their special day. They are to be honored, not tasked throughout the planning process, as is often the case. Of course, you want them there to help and protect you on your wedding day, but they are honories, not work horses. These guests should be pampered right along with you on your special day, allowing all of you to enjoy your time together.

Parents-of-the-Bride – The Mother-of-the-Bride is typically escorted down the aisle by an Usher or other guest after the Parents-of-the-Groom just prior to the wedding party processional. The Father-of-the-Bride typically escorts the Bride down the aisle after the wedding party processional.

Parents-of-the-Groom – The Mother-of-the-Groom is typically escorted down the aisle by the Father-of-the-Groom, Usher or other guest after the Grandparents-of-the-Bride and just prior to the Mother-of-the-Bride procession.

Grandparents-of-the-Bride – Escorted down the aisle by spouse, an Usher or other guest after the Grandparents-of-the-Groom and just prior to the parents procession. If able, they could also be honored with the lighting of the family candle on the Bride’s side.

Grandparents-of-the-Groom – The first in the processional to be escorted down the aisle by spouse, an Usher or other guest just prior to the Grandparents-of-the-Bride procession. If able, they could also be honored with the lighting of the family candle on the Groom’s side.

Maid/Matron-of-Honor(s) – these honoraries are responsible for making sure the bride is tended to at all times on her wedding day. Unless there is a Wedding Coordinator, all issues are to be addressed through this honorary in an effort to protect the bride’s emotional stress level. In addition, unless there is an Event Planner, the Maid/Matron-of-Honor(s) is/are the ‘planner(s)’ of any pre-wedding bridal festivities, such as the Bridal Shower and/or Bachelorette Party.

Best Man/Men – these honoraries are responsible for making sure the groom is tended to at all times on his wedding day. Unless there is a wedding planner, all issues are to be addressed through this honorary in an effort to protect the groom’s stress level. In addition, unless there is an Event Planner, the Best Man/Men is/are the ‘planner(s)’ of any pre-wedding groom festivities, such as the Bachelor Party.

Bridesmaids/matrons – these honoraries are the Maid/Matron-of-Honors’ back up in tending to the Bride on her wedding day and assisting in the planning of any pre-wedding bridal festivities, such as the Bridal Shower and/or Bachelorette Party.

Groomsmen – these honorees are the Best Mans’ back up in tending to the Groom on his wedding day and assisting in the planning of any pre-wedding groom festivities, such as the Bachelor Party.

Children-of-the-Bride/Groom – depending on their age, they can serve in many capacities … ring bearer/flower girl; Jr. Bridesmaid or Jr. Groomsman; Maid/Matron-of-Honor/Best Man. If able, they could also be honored with the lighting of the family candle on the either side or both sides. Or, in the alternative, they can be a part of lighting the Unity Candle with the Bride & Groom.

Ring Bearer – typically of a younger age, the ring bearer will carry a pillow holding the Bride and Grooms’ wedding rings down the aisle and gives them to the Officiant.

Flower Girl – typically of a younger age, the Flower Girl will carry a basket of rose petals and sprinkle the aisle with the petals just before the Bride enters so that she is the only one (along with her escort) that walks upon the petals on the way to her future spouse.

HONORARIES:(special guests to be honored that are not in the wedding party)

There are often many others that you want to honor by having them be a part of your special day so that you can let everyone know, these are the special people in your lives. A few ideas would be:

Officiant – do you have an ordained minister as a family member or friend that may want to officiate your vows? I am certain they would be honored to be such a huge part of your special day!

Readers – have a special guest or two share a reading with your guests, whether a scripture verse, poem or sentimental story.

Music – have a gifted guest share their musical talent, whether vocally, instrumentally or technically.

Ushers – let your Groomsmen off the hook and allow other special guests to Usher your guests to their seats. One or two of the may even serve to Usher your Special Honoraries down the aisle in their spouses absence or if they are single.

Doormen – have a couple of special guests ‘man’ the doors as they ‘let in’ the wedding party one at a time for the processional.

Hosts – they should be the first to arrive at the ceremony and at the reception, where you will want all of your guests greeted and seated with a smile. Your hosts should hand your guests the program or bulletin, tossing graffiti and be able to answer most questions asked, like where to find the guest book to sign in, where to find their favors and where to place their gifts. You may want to have several Hosts for different stations, if there are several you want to include in your special day.

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