How to Construct Your Wedding Budget

weddingbudget1When brides envision their weddings as little girls, it’s doubtful the cost of the beautiful setting, stunning flowers and dream dress ever enter those fantasies.

After you’ve made your requisite phone calls to all of your friends and family spreading the news of your engagement, start saving money for the big day now! The average wedding costs $25,000. Experts recommend saving 20% of your monthly income, which means drastically cutting corners. Your weekly mani-pedi, daily Starbucks run and weekend movie nights may have to go. For a more detailed look at your budget, use Monthly’s Wedding Budget Planner to help you lay out all of the financial details.

 

If you are currently in the market to purchase a diamond, or have been in the past, you may be familiar with the "4 Cs" most experts say are key when it comes to selecting a stone. The 4 Cs include: cut, carat, color and clarity.

What you may not know is the difference in the words "carat" and "karat." While the two sound the same and are similar in spelling, their meanings are not the same.

How Do You Know Which Word Is Correct?

The origin of both words dates back quite some time and is very interesting. Have you ever heard the term "carob," which refers to a common substitute for chocolate? Well, carob trees have reportedly grown in the Mediterranean region since ancient times and, surprisingly, carat and karat can both be traced back to the word carob.

New (and traditional) ideas for dresses, flowers, venues and more.

Beachside nuptials or an elegant garden wedding? Roses or lilies? So many choices! Ever since girlhood, the bride has dreamt of what her wedding day would be like, but the reality of planning a wedding can leave many feeling indecisive and frazzled. Here are some inspiring, hot new trends to help with wedding planning.

The Dress

Friends and family will anxiously be waiting to see the bride as she walks down the aisle, so finding the perfect wedding dress is possibly the biggest decision she will make. It reflects personal style, along with the theme and mood of the wedding ceremony and reception. With so many possibilities to choose from, check out these current wedding dress trends:

Concierge and Co.’s Serena Crumley and Amanda Spencer create the perfect day for two couples with dramatically different wedding ideas.

Lasting memories are made on a wedding day¬ – whether large or small, traditional or modern, local or destination, the affair involves a number of important details; and each detail can be a cause for celebration – or stress – for both the couple and their guests. Therefore, many brides- and grooms-to-be opt to The unique and picturesque Lowcountry is home to hundreds of weddings each year, as well as an abundance of professionals who are well-versed in creating memorable affairs. But with so many choices, it’s often difficult for many couples to know where to begin.

Before you tie the knot, don’t forget to plan one last big hurrah as a single girl with the ultimate bachelorette party. With all of the stress that can accompany planning a wedding, celebrating with friends is a great way to take a break and let your hair down – try to enjoy it!

Hand over the plans to your best friend or maid of honor. Don’t forget to invite your closest friends and even family members. Let your 'planner' know what kind of bachelorette party you have in mind and what dates will work for you. Instead of planning the traditional night out with the girls, consider celebrating at a spa, a comedy club, or a concert.

When most people think of bachelor parties, they think of wild, crazy nights barhopping and partying. But before you upset your fiancée, there are several, more innocent options for partying with the guys.

The tradition of the bachelor party, or stag party, originates from the Romans where the groom-to-be was honored with a dinner and other scandalous activities. But most of all, it was a time for the groom to spend with his friends bonding and celebrating the last night of his “freedom.” Traditionally, bachelor parties were celebrated on the eve of the wedding. Considering that this is the most important day of your life, consider planning the party days, weeks or even months beforehand.

Party rentals come in handy especially if your wedding is at an outdoor location. They can offer everything for your big day from chocolate fountains to dinnerware and linens.

When planning a wedding and reception, it’s easy to overlook the necessities like dinnerware, chairs, tables, candles, lighting, tents, runners, and even coffee makers. Make sure to find out what your location provides, if anything so you can be prepared. If you have a wedding planner, they will provide you with the party rental company they prefer. Usually this is someone they depend on so you will have no worries for the big day.

The rehearsal dinner is a time when family and friends of the bride and groom come together to celebrate and prepare for the big day. Usually the rehearsal dinner follows the ceremony rehearsal. A run-through of the wedding takes place and the bride and groom may practice their vows. The attendants are shown what to do and what to be prepared for.

Following the rehearsal is the dinner where everyone comes together to celebrate and relax before the wedding. Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the expense and its events. But with weddings becoming increasingly expensive, the bride and groom or even the bride’s parents may chip in. Be sure to send out personal invitations to friends and attendants who will attend the dinner.

Churches

Most area churches are available only to members and their families for weddings, although a few will perform the ceremony for non-members for a fee. If you decide you want a traditional church ceremony, contact the church office to inquire about availability and any special requirements. Some ministers will ask that the couple participate in one or more pre-marriage counseling sessions.

 

Home or Home Away from Home

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Lowcountry, your own home could provide the perfect setting for your wedding—a staircase, your backyard, a garden, the pool deck…

When shopping for your wedding flowers, again ask friends and relatives for anyone they can recommend. Get some ideas assembled before you begin meeting with florists, so you can use your time more efficiently. Cut pictures out of magazines to show your potential florist what type of theme and look you want to create.

You should select your bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses before you select your florist. This is done to be sure the flowers accentuate the dresses. If you can, bring in material swatches or photographs of the dresses.

You should also have your ceremony and reception sites chosen before you pick your flowers. Some churches and even reception sites have particular rules about flowers. Ask about these rules ahead of time so you can notify the florist.

A Wedding Breakfast or Brunch

This is the perfect choice for couples who are planning an early morning wedding. Popular choices for an early morning celebration include: croissants and jams, smoked salmon, elegant quiches, fruit salads, omelet and/or carving stations, a variety of teas, juices, and coffees, and mimosas. Some will also offer Bloody Mary beverages or an espresso bar. A delicate white cake, or even Angel's Food cake, can offer a nice, light way to finish this type of reception. Weather permitting, a beautiful outdoor area – ex. resort oceanfront or lush gardens – can serve as an ideal setting for a wedding breakfast or brunch.

A Cocktail Reception

This is a delightful party, which lends itself to ample mingling. If you’re a social butterfly who loves to meet and greet everyone, this could be the reception for you. At a cocktail reception, you’ll see hot & cold hors d’oeuvres, caviar, iced raw bars, single-serving soups, wines, etc. Some cocktail receptions may even feature elaborate ice sculptures or bars carved entirely out of ice, or specialty drinks, such as pomegranate martinis and peach bellinis (champagne with peach purée).

Catering experts can help you pull together all the best elements of your wedding and express them at the wedding reception. For example, if you are having a theme wedding or an ethnic-style wedding, your caterer will be able to help you select the appropriate kinds of food and drink to tie everything together.

Remember that food, in itself, is considered by many to be entertainment. Guests are happy when their appetites are satiated with delicious cuisine. Making it appealing to their eyes, as well as their palates, will help you create a positive and memorable experience.

When interviewing caterers, be sure to get references, photographs, menus, and a taste test of their work. Be sure you know your budget and where the reception will take place before you begin the caterer search. This will save you time and aggravation later.

Music is a huge part of the wedding festivities. It is important to understand what you and your fiancé want, and what your guests enjoy. If you plan to marry in a church, be sure to speak with the minister and have him involved in planning the music for your ceremony.