Avoid Fighting over Your Wedding Finances! Here’s how …

Finances can be a touchy subject for many wedding planning couples, especially if you’re the ones footing most of the bills.  Even the most modest wedding can end up costing you thousands of dollars after you factor in the wedding dress, cake, catering, photographer, etc.  But, don’t let the financial fights ruin what should be a joyous experience for you both. 

Prepare for the Unexpected – Realizing that there’s almost always going to be some sort of unplanned wedding expense that pops up at the last minute is a must.  So, you should consider “padding” your budget just a little to cover whatever the unexpected expenses will be. 

Time Your Talks – Talking about wedding financial matters can be stressful, especially if you raise the topic at an inconvenient time.  So, plan to talk about it when you’re both relaxed and not in a hurry so you can focus on crunching the numbers and make sound decisions.

Consult an Expert – If you’re really concerned that your wedding spending is out-of-control and don’t know how best to rein it in, consult a wedding planner or even a financial advisor.  Sure, they may cost you a little money up front, but good ones will likely end up saving you more money than you would have done on your own!

Is it ever OK to ask for a different engagement ring?

This is a touchy subject … unless your hubby-to-be asked for your input ahead of time in selecting your engagement ring, you need to tread lightly when it comes to telling him that you’d prefer something different. 

Most men aren’t that into women’s jewelry, and certainly many of them don’t have a clue what to look for when picking out the perfect diamond engagement ring.  Most are too busy focusing on the price, and don’t take the time to consider the all-important “4 C’s” when it comes to shopping for a diamond – color, cut, clarity, and carat.  Though, you’re the one that’s going to have to wear the ring for years and years to come, there are some things you should consider before asking for a different ring …

Be Considerate – If you think your hubby to be put a lot of thought into exactly what engagement ring to buy you, then you need to be considerate.  Maybe the ring wasn’t your first or second choice (or maybe it didn’t make your list of best engagement rings at all) but it is the one he picked out especially for you.  This is definitely a time when the thought behind the gift matters most.

Financial Matters - Engagement rings are expensive!  The seasonal sale is nice, but to get a high-quality ring your man had to pay up big time!  And, assuming you said yes, the expenses likely won’t end there since the wedding is yet to come.

Heirlooms – Finally, if the ring holds a special place in his heart because it belonged to his mother, grandmother, etc. then you should really think about keeping it!      

Dry Weddings Don’t Have to be Boring!

Dry weddings aren’t that common.  But, they can be done tastefully if you have personal reasons that make an alcohol-free (or “limited alcohol”) wedding a must. 

Mocktails are a Good Substitute – There are a lot of good mocktail recipes out there on sites like bonappetit.com, fabulousfoods.com, and allrecipes.com.  Many of the recipes contain a unique blend of club soda, citrus fruit juices, and seltzer that make for an awesome substitute for an alcoholic beverage.  But, if you’re not inclined to search for your own recipes …

Hire an Experienced Bartender – Most good bartenders can make non-alcoholic drinks that rival their alcoholic counterparts in taste and appearance.  It’s no longer like it was back-in-the-day when requesting a non-alcoholic drink meant you were basically relegated to ordering a “Shirley Temple.”    And, ask to sample some of the bartender’s specialty alcohol-free drinks if you’re still skeptical about his or her skills.

Compromise if You Must – Finally, if you’re really concerned that a dry wedding might turn off too many of your guests, simply compromise.  Maybe, make an exception at the reception when you do the traditional toast to the bride and groom.  Or you can give guests a certain number of tickets each to limit the number of drinks they consume.

3 Ways to Deal with Worrisome Relatives

I attended an awesome mixer last night for brides-to-be and met so many of them who had that electrifying pre-wedding bridal glow!  Even though we had to wear name tags, you could definitely tell who was a bride-to-be.  They were just all glowing in their own unique way!

But, so many of them said mixed in with all their excitement is the inevitable phone call (or text message) from a well-meaning mom, aunt, or close relative with the litany of questions.  Have you set a wedding date?  Have you thought about your wedding dress?  What about the venue?  You know you need to reserve it soon? … etc., etc., etc.

Although it’s done in a spirit of love, the questions can be bothersome especially if they come just as you’re trying to figure out where to start with your wedding planning.  But, there are a few ways to respond politely and gracefully, while at the same time maintaining your peace-of-mind.

Tip #1 - Let them in on the process. -  Ask them to help you with your long list of to-do’s.  If you need wedding ideas, but don’t have the time to peruse Pinterest boards ask them to help out by doing it for you.  Or if you know they have a lot of contacts in a particular profession (i.e., caterers, event planners, etc.) ask them if they can get in touch with a wedding professional for you and get the information you need (e.g., pricing, availability, planning packages, etc.). 

Tip #2 – Try Limiting wedding talks -  If all the wedding questions are wearing you out, be honest and let them know (in a polite way) that it’s causing too much stress.  Ask if the two of you can agree to limit wedding talks to a few minutes maybe once a week or so. 

Tip #3 – Request an Intervention.  – If you’re at a loss for words, or too afraid of offending them, ask another relative to intervene on your behalf.  Chances are others in your family may know (or can sense) that the constant phone calls, text messages, etc. are stressing you out and would be more than willing to let others know that although their questions or comments are well-intentioned, they really need to rein it in.

3 Great Ways to Keep Kids Busy at Your Wedding!

Unless you’re planning an adults-only wedding, it’s very likely that you’re going to have a few restless little ones trying desperately (but often unsuccessfully) to keep still either at your wedding ceremony, reception or both.  While you like to think that parents will be able to keep them in check, you can’t always plan on it.  So, here are a few tips to help keep kids occupied so they don’t cause any awkward or embarrassing moments for you or your guests:

Tip #1 – Offer program or menu coloring cards! – These cards will look like the same program or menu that all your other guests will be receiving at your wedding ceremony or reception, except the back isn’t blank.  It has an outline of a cartoon character or simple picture your child can color in.  It’s essentially a one-page coloring book.  Most places that make custom wedding invitations have graphic designers on hand, and you can simply ask them to include something like this on the back of your program or menu.  Then all you have to do is buy plenty of packs of crayons for kids to use.  If you need a less expensive option, you can always, of course, simply offer kids store-bought coloring books.

Tip #2 – Hire an onsite babysitting service! – This is becoming a more popular resource for many brides-to-be.  And, they’re plenty of services that will accommodate you!  Some top picks in the Washington, D.C. area include 1) The Educated Babysitter and 2) Nannytainment.  These services will usually set up a separate area at the wedding or reception site where there are games and activities galore to keep children occupied. 

Tip #3 – Offer favor boxes or bags especially for kids! – Kids love surprises, especially when they’re filled with gummy bears, games, and play things!  You can stop by your local toy store to pick-up a few items to fill the goody bags or create your own little games (e.g., word search, fill-in-the-blank, etc.).  The kids will appreciate it (even if they don’t say it)!

For more ideas visit our Pinterest board at http://www.pinterest.com/dcbridestobe/.