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frazzled………….. to say the least

Friday, March 19th, 2010

So I am halfway there…… and I am feeling it.  Run down, ragged, stressed, and ready for this to be done.  I feel like I have planned just about enough details, and it is wearing on my patience.   Not just that, but my sobriety.   Right now I have about 90 days clean time…… which is awesome, but everyday is a battle.

As far as my 90 days go, I could not have accomplished it without God and the help of my awesome friends, and of course- Mr. Culberson.  (Mostly God though……. to stop using after a 14 year streak honestly requires a miracle)

Bands are slowly coming together, however I just found out that the one we were relying on for a good majority of our entertainment for the evening only has about an hour set list.  So it’s back to the drawing board to get yet another band to add to the nights festivities.  I need someone that can play for a good two-three hours.  Hopefully I can find that band soon, in my budget.

We do have three bands booked right now though, which is awesome………….  one of my favorites Mue Sephei (you can check them out @  http://www.myspace.com/muesephei ) they are going to do the ceremony music and some light reception music , Mr. Culbersons band- Dreams Scar Reality (check them out @  http://www.myspace.com/dreamsscarreality ) and our third band is a cover band made up of the guitar player & singer from Dreams Scar Reality, and a girl named Jessica on bass.  They are pretty cool too.  So it looks like one of my top priorities is finding another band.

Moving on…………….. I picked out some bad ass tuxes.  They are a Calvin Klein 2 button shadow striped with teal vests and ties and black shirts.  Shoes are black & white patent leather.  The great debate now is weather the guys want to rent the tuxes I picked out.  Or go out and  buy a pair of black dress pants & a black shirt, ditch the vests, and wear a turquoise tie.  Then wear a pair of zebra stripe slip on Vans.

Here’s the tux:


Granted they look slick, but I know the jackets & vets will be ditched right after the ceremony.  If we do rent tuxes, we will be renting them from the Men’s Wearhouse.  They are located all over the nation, your men can be fitted wherever it is convenient for them and pick up the tux in your wedding location.  They also have great deals like rent 5 get the grooms free.  Rentals include two shirts (in case guys sweat through one), suspenders, cuff links, ties & vests, and shoes.  Rentals also start as low as $49 and go up to $169.

Other stuff of randomness………………….

We started to register.  We’re going with Target & taking Mrs. N’s advice and going for Bed Bath & Beyond.  My dad & sister are also going in on a car for us as a wedding gift…… which is cool.  For the past year we have been a slave to car pools, public transports & taxis.  It will be nice to have our own set of wheels again.

I’ve made some other changes too- our guest list is ever growing.  We’re at about 110.  So the 80 invitations I had bought were just not going to cut it.  I decided to return them and go with printed post card invites from Vistaprint, and do all of my RSVP’s by phone or web to save on paper and postage.  Once I get them ordered I’ll put a sample up here to show the world.  They’re much cheaper- and postage is cheaper.  Then for out of town guests, all of our lodging, directions, maps, areas of interest, general stuff will be on our website.  (I am working on a wedding website right now…… more details on that to follow…… stay tuned)

Anyway………………. I have about ten minutes to get my stuff together before I have to run out the door.   Thanks for reading my rant……. and if you have any ideas of what you think we should write about- let us know in our comment section.  We’d love to know.  Feedback is always appreciated.


Retro glamour and other quirky surprises

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

This incredible weather (we finally got to see some sunshine in NYC) helps to inspire wedding ideas and here are some trends for 2010 that theknot.com was kind enough to share with us.  So go plan and have fun figuring out your personal style and flair.

RETRO GLAMOUR…

1. BLACK, WHITE & BALL GOWNS: From black-sashed dresses and ball gowns to tulle and high waists, the look of the season is all about Grace Kelly elegance, right down to the accessories: ladylike gloves and pearls. For the guys, traditional tuxes are back.

2. MAD MEN-INSPIRED BEAUTY: Channeling the likes of Betty Draper and Audrey Hepburn, brides will be opting for statement-making hairstyles, like bouffants, French twists, and even beehives, with chic cage veils. As for makeup, matte base, black eyeliner, and red lipstick complete the look.

3. RAT PACK COCKTAIL RECEPTIONS: Couples are skipping the sit-down dinner and going for supper club-style cocktail parties instead. Think: big-band music, heavy appetizers, and old-fashioned cocktails, like Manhattans, sidecars, and dirty martinis.

4. ART DECO COLORS: Black — paired with emerald green or ruby red — will give weddings a dramatic, sophisticated feel.

5. STATEMENT CAKES: Cupcakes will always be cute, but the big news right now is stately cakes, from towering layers to splashes of metallic details.

QUIRKY SURPRISES…

6. INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS: Blame it on Avatar, but the 3-D craze is also hitting the wedding scene with 3-D save-the-dates, menus and more. And, the interactive phenomenon doesn’t stop there. Guests can look forward to crossword puzzle-style save-the-dates, video announcements, and special performances.

7. GLEE-INSPIRED FIRST DANCES: Inspired by the hit show, Glee, couples are taking their first dance to a whole new level by opting for a “mash-up” (or medley) of songs instead of a single one.

8. OVER-THE-TOP WEDDING EXITS: Forget the sparklers, confetti canons and hot air balloon sendoffs will be all the rage.

9. STYLE SURPRISES: A pair of high-top sneakers peeking out from under his tux! A glimpse of a pink petticoat under the hemline of her dress! Pairing bright-green socks for the groom and bright-green shoes for the bride! Couples are really showing their individuality, underneath it all.

10. THE ANTI BRIDE: The ’80s are back in a big way, and weddings are not immune. Fingerless gloves, neon graffiti, and ’80s prom music will be huge at fashion-forward receptions and after-parties.


Some Reception Thoughts

Monday, March 15th, 2010

This article is always very popular with couples, I’m reposting to get ideas for your reception.

We are always asked about ideas for receptions. We have answered lots of questions from brides who wonder what to do. Feel free to stop in and ask the WedPlanLady for answers to your questions.  Here are some of the questions we are asked.

How can I handle guests who respond to the invitation and state on the reply card that the number planning to attend is larger than the number invited?

If you truly can’t handle the additional guests, we suggest that you turn to your maid of honor or a tactful bridesmaid. Ask her to call the guests and explain that the bride would love to extend her guest list, but unfortunately it is impossible. The reason? Budget concerns or space already filled. If the person is offended – and some will be – they are not true friends. After all, they were the ones who have overstepped the etiquette boundaries. Often, the “extras” are uninvited children. To avoid this situation, the reception card should read, “adults only reception”. Emotions are involved in these situations; so don’t get upset if people sometimes act rudely.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about what I should and shouldn’t do at my wedding. How can I please so many different people?

We suggest that you do not try to impress anyone. Long after the event is history, it will be your creativity and warmth that are remembered, not the suggestions that you did not follow. Have pots of your favorite flowers as table centerpieces, serve local specialties, label tables with your favorite places or hobbies, assign singles to a partner, place nibbles at strategic places, and be generous with warm greetings. The success of your reception depends on efforts to create warm hospitality.

Vera P. Fernandes
Owner, Certified Wedding Specialist
Weddings Simply Unique, LLC
203-583-6702
wedplanlady@me.com


How to have an "UNdestination" destination wedding

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I took my fifth graders on a class trip to the Museum of Natural History today, which got me thinking of the movie “Night at the Museum,” which got me thinking of unusual and unlikely places to have a kids sleepover party, which then got me to thinking about unusual, unlikely and cool locations where people could get married.  Some place that’s not your typical venue.  Maybe a little exotic…but a place that would not require your guests to buy a plane ticket or rent a hotel room.  Kind of like an “undestination” destination wedding!

So I cam up with what I think are some interesting places where a couple could wed.  Now obviously some are more or less convenient,  if at all possible, than others, depending on where you live.  But nonetheless, here is a list of places you could get married in that might not be on an exotic island, but can be exotic in their own rite.

Museums – So obviously this is the first thing that came to mind considering that a museum sparked this thought.  More and more museums are building halls and making space to accommodate weddings.  If you’re artsy, this might be the perfect venue.  Also consider that there are hundreds of different types of museums, from classical to modern art as well as museums for almost any theme you could imagine.

Get married in a museum

Library – Anyone who watched the Sex and the City movie definitely paused in amazement when Sarah Jessica Parker’s character chose to get married at the NY Public Library.  I’m sure this would cost a hefty site fee, and keep in mind, most public libraries do NOT look like the one in the movie, but still a cool idea!

Get married in a library (pictured- NY Public Library!!)

Themed hotel or Restaurant – Why go to England, when England can come to you?  There are plenty of theme hotels, the most famous ones being on the Vegas strip, but if you look in your area, I bet you could find charming hotels and Inns that are European inspired and give the affect that you are “getting away” from home.  Along with hotels are the abundance of themed restaurants.  Asian, Caribbean, Moroccan, and some really offbeat themed eateries (Alice in Wonderland, Ninja, Prison, Jekyll and Hyde, to name a few).  Even a 50’s themed diner would be a great place to host your “destination” wedding!

Moroccan themed wedding

City attraction / historic building– Again, you will pay site fees for most of these places, but getting married  in the Empire State Building or the Sydney Opera House – that’s just too cool!

Get married at the Empire State Building

Zoo / Farm /Aquarium – Perhaps “wild animals” and nature are your thing! Why not get married at your local farm?  Even cooler, get married in an old fashioned big red barn.  Think of the amazing pictures you would get!  An aquarium is another option if you prefer water dwelling creatures.  The dark lit rooms with the glow from the water creates a beautiful setting.

Get married at the aquarium

Garden / Park – Maybe the whole wild animal thing isn’t for you after all…you can still have a beautiful outdoor wedding in a public garden or city park.  Warning: you might need a permit to get married in a public garden / city park, especially if you plan on having many guests attend.  If its just you, your mate and the officiant, you won’t need one.

Get married in the park

Bridge – I’ve heard of people getting married on bridges, near bridges, and even under bridges (well not under it, as in being in the water, although I would bet that has taken place before).  The wow factor of this is the amazing scenery and the great photo ops.

Get married under a bridge

Campground – I grew up going to sleep-away camp, so this one is especially fun for me!  It may require some travel, depending on where you and most of your guests live, but if you have your wedding in the spring or fall, you can probably get a good deal during the off season at a sleep-away or day camp with cheap accommodations .  You could make a whole weekend of it: guests sleeping in cabins, daytime activities like kayaking, archery, basketball, etc., and of course an outdoor wedding and reception to follow in one of their indoor or outdoor facilities.  So fun!!

Get married at camp

Theater – It may take some research, but you can find local theater’s in your area (possibly college campuses) that will let you get married.  I knew of a girl who got married in a theater.  The couple married on stage with guests seated in the audience.  Afterward tables were set up on the stage and space was made on stage for a dance floor.  They even had custom made playbills for their wedding programs and their names in lights outside the theater.  Way cool!

Get married at the theater

Warehouse – Lots of space for less $$ (depending on the condition and how long the space has been empty).  Good idea for large weddings, not so much for small ones.

Get married in a warehouse (Tobacco Warehouse NYC)

Vineyard– I love weddings that take place at vineyards.  That truly feels like a destination wedding to me.  Great food, even better wine, plus fantastic natural scenery.  If you live near a vineyard, definitely check it out if you are interested in the getaway feel.

Get married in a vineyard

Nightclub– When you think of a nightclub, you may visualize several things: celebrity sightings, underage drinking and fist pumping, bar/bat mitzvah parties or sweet 16’s.  That being said, there are plenty of clean and elegant clubs that would be able to host and cater your wedding – dance floor included.  With some creative decorations and a good imagination, you just might feel like you are traveling back in time to those club hopping days!

Get married in a dance club

Airplane hangar– You may very well need to have a pretty good connection, but if you can get your diamond adorned hand on one of these HUGE rooms, you can certainly at least give your guests the illusion of a destination wedding, perhaps even with a view of the plane they will not be getting on.  Kind of a fun and ironic  spin on the destination wedding idea…(Some couples have even gotten married on an actual plane.  I suppose you can do this in the air or on the ground.  Probably a little classier if you rented a private plane as opposed to saying your vows in Coach).

Get married in an airplane hanger

Ship or Yacht – Wait a minute, I know that these are supposed to be UNdestination venues, but sometimes there are cases where you can go somewhere without really going anywhere at all.  Confused yet?  Basically, it could be a neat idea to get married on a ship that stays local, sailing around your city and letting your guests enjoy the local view.

Get married on a yacht

Haunted House– What’s not to love about this one?  Can you just picture it – all of your guests getting down to the Monster Mash?  Seriously, there are beautiful old allegedly “haunted” mansions and inns as well as the typical fairground haunted houses.  Bold and daring couples with bold and daring guests would certainly be able to pull this off.  Already have a traditional venue picked out, but love the haunted house idea?  Have a Halloween themed wedding and invite your guests in costume!  And no – you don’t have to get married in October to have a costume party!

Get married in a haunted house

I could go on and on….but I won’t.  To wrap it up, some other ideas for your at home destination wedding could include: an army base, beach, backyard, mansion/ castle, dance studio, artists loft, sport center or arena, showrooms, roller rink, school gym, lighthouse, dude ranch, rooftop, golf course, plantation, cavern, etc.

Whatever you decide – make sure you pick a destination that suits your personality!  Happy Planning :)


Inspiration Board – Birds of a feather…

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

So my latest obsession is peacock feathers!  I cannot tell you how excited I am to see them making a huge splash in the wedding industry, from decor to accessories.  Peacock feathers make me nostalgic.  They remind me of when I was a child and I would visit my grandparents.  They had one of those formal living rooms that children were not supposed to play in, however my grandmother would allow me to spend my time there, provided I was super careful.  After all, every single item was either expensive, delicate or an antique.  Most were all of the above.  I was mesmerized by many items in that forbidden room, but no item drew me in more than my grandmother’s vase of peacock feathers.  I could remember the silky soft feeling between my fingers and I remember being amazed at how such intense shimmery blues, greens, and purples could exist naturally on an animal or anywhere in nature really.  Peacock feathers to me always seemed so regal, so fancy, so sophisticated.  Now that I see them being used in weddings they almost seem a little edgy as well.  It takes a bold bride to use the feathers of this beautiful and mystical creature to add drama and flair to traditional bridal adornments such as the bridal bouquet and even hair accessories.  Even if you want to stay on the traditional side, but you like peacock feathers as much as I do, you can still use them in your wedding not as a wearable item but rather on your tables as decor or even attached to your seating cards or wedding favors.

Check out my peacock feather inspiration board to see ways that you can incorporate this beautiful showpiece into your wedding.

Happy Planning!

Virtual *free* Save the Dates………… I'm in love

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

So I stumbled upon some free virtual save the dates.  There are many designs to choose from, you can edit and design the way you like and you can send them via e-mail to as many of your guests as you want- and the best part is…….. they’re free!  Sent some out, but found out you need to invite ten more people? No problem- your design is saved and you can send out more at any time.

Check out http://www.cocodot.com – your source for online invitations, announcements, and greeting cards.

The code you’re going to want to get your free save the date is as follows “COCOWEDDING”(expires March 1, 2011).

Are most of your guests tech savy? Want to cut down on paper waste and save on postage? They have great plans that allow you to create all of your wedding stationary and work off of your already uploaded e-mail list.  If you use the “COCOWEDDING” code you can get a one year deluxe on-line invitation package+cards+stationary at half price for only $49.

Worried about having to type out all of your pals e-mail addresses? It imports from yahoo, AOL & Outlook.  Pretty nifty.

So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Back to my wedding website.  I’ll write more on that later.  Also, my hall excursion and booking.  Stay tuned.


Put your best foot forward – in fabulous shoes

Monday, March 8th, 2010

I am a shoe-a-holic.  It is my biggest obsession and biggest vice.  I loooove shoes.  I loooove expensive shoes!!  I will wear a $5 dollar shirt and $500 dollar pair of shoes because there is no other feeling in the world to me like wearing expensive leather on my size 5.5 feet.  Its exhilarating!

I seriously just got chills talking about it!

So – you can imagine that my quest for wedding shoes were quite the adventure!  Although I adore shoes, I do not adore  aching, blistering feet.  When I indulge on a new pair of shoes, I try to be practical (as practical as one can be when dropping hundreds of dollars on shoes) and I really try to stay away from heels that are super high.  Realistically, I will not be going anywhere but to dinner in 3+ inch heels.  And it is actually very difficult to find some of my favorite designer’s shoes in 2 inch heels (although my I did find an adorably cute pair of Christian Louboutin mary janes with 2.5 inch heels – to die for!)

I knew that I wanted cute shoes for my wedding.  I also knew, that I wanted shoes that I could wear all night.  I did not want to have to change into slippers or sneakers for two reasons.  1) I am 4’11” – so I need all the help I can get, and 2) Mr. N is 6″ tall – and I would like to be able to dance with him without giving myself even more of a neck cramp.

The search was on for cute, kinda different, comfy and mid heel shoes.  For my wedding day I did not want to break the bank when it came to shoes because I knew I would never wear a pair of  satin white shoes again, unless I was going to a costume party.  So as tempting as it was for me to check out the Jimmy Choo bridal collection,  I decided to control myself (and buy a cuter pair of Jimmy’s that I could wear year round).

I ended up finding a great pair of shoes that combined the elegance of a great pair of expensive designer shoes, with a more practical price ($150-200 range as opposed to $500-$1,000 range).  Cynthia Rowley, a famous and fantastic designer in her own right, created a line of bridal shoes called “Something Bleu.”  These shoes are not only fabulous because they come in so many designs (flats to 3+ inch heels; strappy, open toed and pumps) but most importantly because they have a gorgeous robin’s egg blue sole – for your something blue!  These shoes give you traditional style with a little somethin somethin extra to give you a little more trendiness.  Check out the ones that I ended up wearing:

These are the shoes I wore!

These are the shoes I wore!

Blue soles

And here are some other really cute ones!

Open Toe

Ballet Flats

Strappy

For those of you, to whom money is no object, Christian Louboutin ALSO makes blue soled wedding shoes but you will pay a hefty buck for them.

Christian Louboutin - Green Satin

Christian Louboutin

Or…you can always wear a cute pair of blue shoes for your something blue!

Sex and the City Wedding Shoes

Whatever you choose, make sure your feet are as happy and as fabulous as the rest of you on your wedding day!


the search for the perfect centerpieces

Friday, March 5th, 2010

I keep searching on-line for the perfect centerpieces…………. something whimsical, something fun, something that captures us as a couple.  Nothing with flowers, mirrors or candles.

I’ve found some cool ideas.  Old books, you could even use books of quotes about love and place empty journals with pens around for loved ones to write in on your special day.

Then the idea of beta fish came about (gold fish usually go belly up in a plain bowl mid reception, so it is best to use something a bit heartier), with stones to match our wedding colors.  That is fun, but I wanted something a little more personal.  Note- if you do decide to go with fish and not all of your guests take them home after the night is through and you don’t have a use for ten fish with bowls; offer them new homes on CraigsList, FreeCycle, or even call local nursing homes & adult foster care homes and ask if some of the patients would be able to have a fish in their room and donate them.  There are people out there just waiting to give your fish a loving home.  Please find them homes if you are going to use them for centerpieces.  Do not buy fish just for looks then flush them.

Nothing really hit me………… so I kept looking, and thinking………….. and then it dawned on me…….. PEZ dispensers and travel board games! Yes, I’m serious………… there’s a method to my madness.   Read on.

I have been collecting PEZ dispensers for almost 15 years and I have hundreds, I could display some of my favorites as table centerpieces.  Then around candy filled dispensers we will place travel size board games.  I’m thinking the classics…….. battleship, finger twister, uno, cribbage, scrabble, yatzee, chess, checkers, hungry hippos.  Just a warning to Mr. Culberson……… I am totally going to rule the tables in a game of bride vs. groom wedding night battleship, you’re going down.

My objective ——–>To bring tables of people together.  To break the ice a bit…… and most of all to provide an alternative form of entertainment for people who don’t want to dance.  They can sit and just chill, enjoying the music, playing a game or a hot game of cards.   I think if it is done right, it will be pretty cool…… and it is something our guests will definitely remember.

So that is my new mission, the search for cheap travel games for the tables.  I have already bought the finger twister game.  Found that bad boy on E-Bay for $3.99 with $1.99 shipping.  Not too bad for a game brand new in box.  I have posted wanted ads on both CraigsList & FreeCycle.

If you haven’t heard of FreeCycle & CraigsList or checked them out, they are a must for anyone looking for deals.  CraigsList is a local on-line market place for buying/selling/trading  (great place to resell your wedding stuff when you’re done) http://www.craigslist.com you find your state and closest city and get started that way.  Both buying & selling are free.  FreeCycle is a group where everything is free, that is the one rule- everything must be free.  You can post things you are giving away, or things that you want/are looking for.  Check out http://www.freecycle.org for more information and to find a group near you.  I find this to be a great way to recycle unwanted items.

Also, if you haven’t heard of it (but really, who hasn’t?) check out E-Bay http://www.ebay.com .  I have bought so much for our wedding there.  It is the ultimate on-line marketplace with sellers from all over the world.  I love E-Bay.  It doesn’t cost anything to become a member and buy things, all you pay for is your purchases.

Thoughts?  Tacky?  Creative?  Clever?  Boring?  I’d love some feedback.  My bridesmaids think it’s a great idea…………. but something tells me their job is to think all of my ideas are great ideas.  After all, I am the bride.

Anyway- I am off…………. my lady is on her way and we’re having a fun filled weekend.  Going to be doing some baking, and we’re going to go see the new Alice & Wonderland.


Shopping with other people's money – the art of registering for gifts

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

I won’t lie, one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process was registering for gifts that I would never have to buy for myself.  Or perhaps the idea of registering was the most fun…because I will admit, as a professional shopper (not really, but in my make-believe world), I found the process to be a little stressful.  There you are, all excited, with gun in hand.  Now what?  What do you need?  How much of it?  Where do you start?  Is it rude to register for the $600 orange standing mixer?  But what if I really want the $600 standing mixer?  I mean not enough that I would ever buy it for myself, but hey, if you’re buying…then I really want it.  I will admit, I was really ill prepared.  Plus I had my fiance’ with me, who does not enjoy shopping even a little bit, so after 45 minutes of chaos I agreed to just leave the store.

That’s when I discovered the online registry (insert angels singing here).  I mean, is there really anything better in the world than sitting in your pj’s at your computer and clicking away to your hearts content all the things that you desire??  Le Creuset casserole dish- check!  12 bottle wine cellar, check! Mellon baller (because everyone needs one!!)- check!  Totally and utterly addicting!  And totally and utterly dangerous!

I realized that I should have been better informed and prepared before jumping into these muddy waters.  Therefore, I have decided to take what I learned, all of my trade secrets, and share them with all of you newbies.

Tip # 1:  Pick 3 stores to register at.   The reason for this is that sometimes your favorite store is inconvenient for your guests.  You may love William Sonoma, but maybe your cousin out in Kansas doesn’t have one by her.  Make sure at least one of your options is a large franchise (like Bed, Bath and Beyond – but more about them later).  Also, make sure all of your stores have websites so people can buy your gift online if they so desire.

Tip # 2:  Don’t go anywhere without a plan of action.  My biggest mistake was walking into a store on a whim.  What I should have done was spent some time at home checking out my existing inventory as well as going on line to see what products are popular and what brands are good.  Decide what types of items you want to get and what you don’t want to get (China and crystal, for example).  Make a comprehensive list of what you plan on registering for.  If you are a member of My Wedding Binder (and if you are not…well I mean really, why aren’t you??) then you have access to the extremely helpful registry list that I created.  It tells you what items are important to register for from your dining room to your garage as well as how many of each items are necessary to have.

Tip # 3:  Make your registry eclectic.  Make shopping fun for your guests.  Nothing is more of a bummer than going to pick up a gift for a friends shower and realizing that all that is left is a toilet bowl cleaner and an electric nose hair trimmer.  People want to be excited about what they are getting for you so have a large variety of items that you want.  And make sure you update your registry (from home of course) so that your guests always have options (unless you just want money – than leave it alone!  They’ll get the hint eventually!) Additionally, be eclectic with your price ranges.  You know your guests better than anyone else.  Have a handful of really expensive items (for your rich great Aunt Gertrude and for your bridesmaids to chip in on), but also have a nice variety of price points so that people do not feel put off.  A big portion of your items should be in the $20-$30 range.

Tip # 4:  Consider store policy.  This is super important.  Some stores have the most amazing return policies and some totally suck.  Here is when I give my major shout out to Bed Bath and Beyond for being the most awesome and bride friendly store ever!!!  Lets discuss just how sick they are.  First, with their abundance of 20% off coupons in circulation, your guests would be hard pressed not to be able to get their hands on one to use when buying your gift.  Not only does BB&B take expired coupons (1998?  No problem), but they have ZERO restrictions!  That’s right, so that $600 standing mixer….just became $480!  This is the best place to register for your expensive items because they could be bought using a coupon, thus you are more likely to end up receiving those items.  The second thing that makes BB&B totally kick ass is that they have the absolute best return policy known to man.  Anything bought off your registry can be returned FOR CASH even if you have already used it!!  Yes, you read that correctly.  I got a set of knives that I kept throwing in the dishwasher (whoops) and they all rusted.  6 months later I brought them back, no box, no problem!  I got $80 back in cold, hard, cash!!  If you get something not from your registry, they will also take it back in any condition and give you store credit or an exchange.  You can not do better than that! (Psst – if you really want cash more than anything else, and you can’t find a good way to ask for it, just register for lots of gifts at BB&B and return them for cash afterwards!  Don’t tell anyone I told you that!!)

Tip # 5: Think outside the home goods store.  Are you currently living with your soon to be significant other?  Maybe you already have all the chafing dishes and garlic presses a person could possibly need.  Don’t get suckered into being traditional.  More and more couples these days are opting to register at stores that suit their needs better.  If you are moving into a new house, maybe you would prefer to register at Home Depot for renovation materials?  Planning on installing a pool or putting in a garden?  Check out registry options at specialty stores pertaining to your needs.  Mr. N and I actually registered for our honeymoon!  Guests had the option to contribute to the trip overall or purchase an activity for us (swimming with the dolphins, massages).  In reality, they really are just contributing to your honeymoon costs because the website just sends you a check for all of the money your guests contributed (so really, you can spend it however you want).  Check out www.honeymoonwishes.com to see how you can register for your honeymoon!

Whatever you do though, don’t be tacky.  As much as I’m sure you are craving those really cute jeans from Bloomies or that necklace you saw at Saks, make sure that your registry items are things that you can both use as a couple.


Alternatives to place cards are "Off the Charts"

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Letting your guests know what table they will be sitting at is not the most stressful or budget consuming task when you consider the rest of the things you need to do to plan a wedding (note: I said “letting them know where they are sitting”, not figuring out where they will be sitting – that on the other hand is perhaps the worst task).

The most cost effective way is perhaps to buy pre-made place cards and either hand write or print the information of each guest on them yourself.  At the most expensive end, you can have these custom ordered and pay for a calligrapher to write them out.  You can even find dozens of ways to display the place cards, from having them adorn a decorated table at the entrance to your ballroom, or buying little place card holders (some can even double as a party favor) to showcase them on.  Place cards themselves, do not even have to be limited to actual cards, they can come in all different forms, shapes and sizes!

Place card ideas

Doubles as a picture holder

Unique display ideas

As with all wedding ideas, new trends are ever emerging even for the simplest of items, such as the place card.  Some places have their attendants hold books containing each guest’s name and table number and they will escort guests to their seats.  More common, however, are venues that are offering “Seating Charts” which can be a really elegant way to display your guests seating information.  If done right, a seating chart can be even more budget friendly than place cards (and less sloppy than hand written ones).  It’s a nice way to “present” your guests at the wedding.

Seating Chart

Large framed seating chart

These seating charts can range anywhere from $50 – into the hundreds, however they are really easy to do yourself.  You can create a seating chart on your home computer using Microsoft word (choose a decorative font) and bring it to a Staples, printing place, or even a teacher store where they can blow your chart up to poster size for $10-20 dollars.  Instead of paying to frame it, you can mount your poster onto cardboard or foam core and decorate it yourself.

Sometimes the smallest details are the things your guest will remember the most!


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