Want to save some money while saving your date for your wedding? Choosing dates to have your wedding could be more than a mere convenience but it can make or break your wedding budget. While you may not be willing to budge on having your wedding during the traditional off-season September-February, you could skip the most popular wedding day, Saturday, and save on venue, hotel, and possibly catering. Dates for events like weddings work somewhat like air travel expenses, notice how flights tend to be cheaper on a Tuesday and Wednesday as opposed to a Friday or Saturday or even just before a major holiday? Popular dates tend to have an unpopular rate due to demand. Choosing Friday may also offer cost savings as well but Sunday is probably better for working around people’s work schedules and fitting a stress free Saturday-buffer for the bride and groom.
Weddings have never been a topic high on my priority list because marriage is something that I foresee in my near future. And as a child, I honestly just wanted to be the Pink Power Ranger and that job doesn’t have time for a husband when you have to save the world from Lord Zedd. That said, when I get invited to a wedding, asked to do makeup or hair, or even playing the role of a bartender, I find myself overjoyed because there is something about being part of and witnessing a major moment in the lives of two people that makes you not only makes you root for them but also soak in the bliss and love they have for one another.
Fast forward to last week my freshly engaged best friend, Lindsay, asked me to join her sister and herself for a Workshop on Hair, Makeup, and Fashion hosted by The Wedding Café. Of course, I said yes but not because I’m anything like the characters Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson played in Bride Wars, but because Lindsay is my friend and a trip to Starbucks was also on the ticket (Score!). This was my first time seeing a workshop like this and to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend anyone in or visiting Hawai’i who is planning for a wedding to check out these workshops. Why? Keep reading….
Lindsay had apparently been to previous workshops and as she and her sister were greeted by name at the entrance as well as the brides-to-be in front and behind us (And there were many brides, so that in and of itself impressed me, and let me know this ‘workshop’ is more like a community of brides… like a Bridal Cult and I say that with love ♡).
As we were ushered into our seating area, I saw the room begin to quickly fill up with brides, bridal parties, sisters, BFFs, grooms (Yes, quite a number of guys were there too). Additionally, while I would say the majority of the room was filled with brides, I have to note that there were various age groups, sizes, and personal styles were present (which was good because love isn’t about discrimination and this event wasn’t about catering to just the one type of bride you might see on a cover of Modern Bride, this was and is for everyone.) I couldn’t help but hear a lot of the talk from the room about prizes, past and future workshops, about how great Tanna Dang is, while people took out their Ipads and notebooks. At this point, I wasn’t sure if this event was going to be as formal as my lecture classes in college or casual because I definitely felt like Carrie in Sex in the City and I had a feeling this was going to be fun.
Tanna Dang is the owner of The Wedding Café alongside her husband Bryson. For the 10 minutes that we sat because we arrived a tad early, I kept hearing her name and how great she is. Words in the room used to describe Dang were; informative, smart, very funny, entertaining, and pretty much anything nice thing you’ve ever heard or could strive to be. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there at this particular workshop because she and her husband were on in Vegas to meet some famed wedding guru (very famous apparently because I heard some gasps as mouthed dropped and seemingly watered at the mention of his name… yup this is going to be interesting).
Dang normally hosts these workshops but due to her absence, Kayla Asing, who normally plays the role of Workshop Producer filled in for the role of host. Before, I was aware of her role, I noticed Asing as soon as she made her way into the room before the workshop, she was beautiful and had an endearing smile, I originally thought she was going to be a model for the workshop and have her already done hair and impeccable makeup be utilized for demonstration purposes. When she went on stage and stepped up to the microphone to announce Dang’s absence and her role for the night and continued to open the workshop, I found her persona comforting, entertaining, and funny. And if I went to another workshop, just as the people raved about Tanna, I would rave about how phenomenal Kayla is.
Asing introduced vendors who specialized in Jewelry, Hair, Makeup, Nails, Skin, Lashes, Wedding Gowns, Bridal & Groom attire. Asing’s interview style and probably her background as a producer help guide vendors into giving the most valuable information in a timely manner while still maintaining a high level of energy. At no point did I ever feel ‘Okay, this is taking too long’.
After each vendor spoke there was a brief Q&A as well as a chance for audience members to answer a question from what they had just learned from the vendor. The winning answer resulted in gift certificates from the various vendors, makeup & hair trial including some on site which was interesting as a spectator to watch. Another interesting thing to watch was to see people jump up to answer, including the men in the room. I even got excited putting my hand on Lindsay’s back in case I knew the answer (I have no idea what I planned to do, maybe grab her and throw her five feet above everyone like some acrobatic circus… that didn’t happen fortunately, but that is how excited I got, and I’m not even getting married).
The Wedding Café and its workshops in my opinion are an indispensable resource to brides and groom living or visiting Hawai’i. While the particular workshop I had the chance to experience was specifically for Hair, Makeup & Fashion, they have workshops for every facet of planning your dream wedding.
Topics in past and future workshops include Photography, Budgeting & Timeline, Cake & Catering and everything you will need to know. The best part of these workshops is The Wedding Café brings the vendors to you like an intimate Bridal Expo. The workshops held at the Ward Conference Room along with the The Wedding Café located at Ward Warehouse in Honolulu is a one-of-a-kind friendly avenue to take to help plan, learn, and dare I say get more excited about your wedding. Dang, Asing, and the team members behind The Wedding Café are experienced professional, most of whom have already planned and had their dream wedding and can offer you personal experiences as well as professional advice.
- Check out a Calendar of Workshop Events & Sign-Up to take part in upcoming workshops.
- Meet the team behind The Wedding Café
- ‘Like’ The Wedding Café on Facebook
I found myself with twenty minutes of free-time, and because I was only minutes away I stopped by The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Manoa on the island of Oahu. It’s a beautiful tropical garden with almost 200 acres to it. Around this time last year I remember applying makeup and doing hair for a bride, three members of a bridal party, and two of the cutest flower girls. It was a slightly chaotic day for myself so I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the lush scenery. So walking through the array of flowers today with no hustle and bustle was quite different from my first experience here. However, I wouldn’t change the wedding day at all because while I can appreciate the beauty in nature God created today, I can appreciate the talent he gave me to share beauty while I stop and smell the orchids. Random, I know!
Honey Hint: For your big day, if you are confused about the makeup and hairstyling of yourself and your bridesmaids try to think about how you want to be the centerpiece but also have your fellow bridesmaids to add to your glow. Pick the feature you want to highlight and then pick a cohesive style that flatters the wedding party. At this particular wedding, the bride wanted a sweet look to her face, so I used tones of pink and peach on her eyes, lips, and cheeks to play off on the shades of green that were on her bridesmaids. The brides’ only ‘must-have’ request was that her hair be down, so we decided on a half-up do and gave the bridesmaids a sleek ponytail styled with fresh orchids.
Well, if you asked this question in 2009, the answer would be ‘Yes! Absolutely!’ because for about $20 you and your fiance could sit back and relax with a bag of popcorn while watching Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway battle it out in Bride Wars. However, if you asked the same question today, the answer would still surprisingly be ‘Yes’. Wang is known for her amazing bridal creations that have been worn by brides like Avril Lavigne, Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, Toni Braxton, Ivanka Trump, Jennifer Lopez, and Chelsea Clinton among other notable names. Wang has branched out by having her brand reach different markets with a line at Kohls, creating getaway suites, making a fragrance, among other ventures. While her pieces at Kohl’s are definitely fashionably and affordable, they are not necessarily ready-to-wear bridal pieces. Wangs’ combination of taking risks, meeting consumers’ desires, and being able to create unique designs while retaining a high-fashion and timeless feel has made her a mogul that really speaks to the consumer. Wangs’ latest venture is a line called White by Vera Wang sold exclusively through David’s Bridal which has everything a bride-to-be could ask for in terms of quality and affordability right down to the bridesmaids dresses, shoes, and of course the all important white dress. With dresses starting at $150, brides now have more choices for their big day which can now include the name Vera Wang. The designs range from classic and sophisticated to youthful and dare I say sexy. The pieces do not lack on anything that we would expect from a name like Vera Wang but rather enter us into a world that once closed by a luxurious velvet rope.David’s Bridal is a mecca for all your bridal needs and I know this personally having been a bridesmaid and uttering the words “We can get it at David’s Bridal” knowing full and well the pletiful and beautiful options this shop can offer you, along with friendly service. To kick off the launch of White by Vera Wang, David’s Bridal is having a monthly drawing where all U.S. residents could enter to win one wedding gown or five bridesmaids dress. Click here for details and take a look at the entire collection.
Aunt Sally, Bollinger, Bottle, Champagne, Champagne France, Drink, Joie de vivre, Lanson, Laurent-Perrier, Moët et Chandon, Pernod Ricard, Piper-Heidsieck, Scarlett Johansson, Sparkling wine, Veuve Clicquot
Moët & Chandon President & CEO Daniel Lalonde has recently unveiled the new ad for the champagne brand featuring actress Scarlett Johansson. Lalonde said of the coupling, “Moët & Chandon, the most loved champagne since 1743, is a universal symbol of joie de vivre and success. This new campaign highlights a return to the immutable elegance and glamour that are inherent to both Moët and Scarlett.”I’ve already reported on alternative drinks for weddings, but with this batch of buzz, I wanted to share a few tips on having alcoholic beverages at your wedding.
- First and foremost, regardless if your reception comes with a huge price tage or you’re on a modest budget, safety should be your primary concern. As a bride and groom prepare for their nuptials, they also take on a lot of liability and responsibility. Have your guests who are of age to consume alcohol be properly identified versus guests who are not of legal age. You can do this by providing bracelets that you would normally receive at night clubs and snuggly attach them to the wrists of those wanted to partake in spirits. You can also choose to stamp the hands of underage guests where your servers and/or bartender can easily ask a guest to show the back of their hands if the guest looks under the legal age to consume alcohol.
- At many weddings, the idea of having an open bar seems like an unattainable luxury. However, just because your budget doesn’t allow a buffet of choice beverages for free, you should give guests two tickets to get their alcoholic beverage for free. Not only does this give the effect of an open bar and not scream ‘cheap’, but it also adds assurance that Uncle Bob or Aunt Sally doesn’t get overly intoxicated.
- If your reception is at an informal area like your backyard or lacks catering know that champagne is more sensitive to temperature and light than most other wines. This is why, bottles are typically bottled in a light-resistant, dark green glass. Champagne should be stored between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and may be kept upright or horizontally.
- Amateurs ‘Pop’ bottles, people who respect the integrity of champagne don’t. The trick to opening a bottle of champagne while maintaining its integrity is to avoid “popping” the cork. Start by scoring the foil around the base of the wire cage. Then, carefully untwist and loosen the bottom of the cage without removing it. In one hand, enclose the cage and cork while holding the base of the Champagne bottle with your other hand. Twist both ends in the opposite direction. As soon as you feel pressure forcing the cork out, try to push it back in while continuing to twist gently until the cork is released with a slight ‘sigh’ or hissing sound.
- Champagne is known to be more intoxicating than other alcoholic beverages. This is because of the interaction between the alcohol and the carbonated water. When these two are combined, the alcohol is absorbed faster. So just because you see Aunt Sally only drinking champagne it doesn’t make her any less harmless than any other buzzed driver.
- For the best quality wine even if you’re not looking for the most expensive look for words that specifically say on the bottle ’Champagne’ and ‘France’. Also be aware of other words like ‘Brut’ or ’Extra Brut’ which will categorize your selection as a dry Champagne which is better paired with food than a sweet champagne. If you want a sweeter drink, looking for words like ‘Extra Dry, Dry, Demi-Sec or Sweet’ which means the champagne will have more sugar per liter than that of Brut.
Plan ahead and get organized! Planning your wedding can offer a great deal of stress and also a good amount of unnecessary costs. The biggest waste of money is made by careless mistakes and failure to make “the best decision for you.” What sort of careless mistakes? Well for one, not getting enough estimates and looking at enough providers. Why would you pay for a mediocre wedding cake or floral arrangement when you could have possibly paid $600 less through another baker or florist who possibly could have given you the same product or better? Couldn’t you use that extra $600 dollars for the shoes and veil you wanted? or Maybe to put in your savings? YES YOU COULD and yes you should!
You need to get estimates for every aspect of your wedding. From your venues, transportation, floral arrangements, invitations, photography, etc. For every one price-point you receive, look for two more to make sure you are not only getting the price you can afford but the best quality you can afford. Without estimates and computing budget sheets where you can compare your ‘luxury’ wedding to your ‘humble’ beginnings you run the risk of :A) Booking a venue you can’t afford in which you will each have to cut costs by reducing other expenses or cancel the venue, book somewhere cheaper, and eat the cancelation fees. B) You select floral arrangements and centerpieces too soon and find that they don’t live up to the quality you wanted or don’t match your theme.
“Be all you can be”: One of the greatest Army slogans of all time was “Be all you can be” and that can not be expressed more when it comes to being the Bride and Groom. Be all you can be by knowing how much you can afford, understanding costs, learning about the inner-workings, and knowing your own strengths and limitations… push yourself but not over a cliff. Don’t compete with fellow brides or friends for the best wedding, make your aim about YOUR wedding. Pick a theme, budget, time, and location, and is ALL YOU.
“Army of One”: One of the most unsuccessful army slogans of all time, admitted by officials, because it contradicts the ideals of teamwork and the initial meaning was often taken out of context. But this slogan provides a valuable message. You are only one person and can not and should not do everything, neither should your mother-in-law, friend, or anyone else besides a trained professional. A wedding planner is trained and has experience in planning weddings and will still do a fair amount of delegating because she/he knows one person alone cannot put a wedding together but one can orchestrate it. Find out if the venue you are looking at has a wedding planner they consult with, the planner may come with reduced fees as a way to sell the venue as a “full package.”
“Army Strong”: The replacement slogan for the short-lived “Army of One” is currently “Army Strong.” If you are not going through a wedding planner for whatever reason, don’t just rely on a single person to do everything. Make a team and orchestrate them in a way where their talents shine. For example, a friend who does accounting for a living can help you make a budget, a friend who is the life of the party may have a network that will let you know when to book cheaper, if you have children maybe your friend who loves kids would be more than thrilled to watch your kids while you and your fashionista pal look at dresses. Overall, build your team together early enough to not overwhelm them with tasks but rather in a way that with each progression your team gets stronger and more connected to your goal.
Scheduling the day of the week wedding is crucial for several reasons, particularly budgeting and booking. When deciding on the day of the week, consider how flights are booked on travel websites, ever notice how flights on weekends costs more than on weekdays? Sometimes the difference is more than a few hundred dollars. The same is true for hotel rates for rooms and sometimes banquet halls. Find out from your venue provider is rates vary throughout the week just as they would throughout the various seasons. I’m not saying book your wedding on a Tuesday making it harder for the people you want to come to be there keep options open when creating budget lists to choose from. Additionally, it is possibly that your favorite venue is booked on weekends for the next year but is available for a weekday option at reduced rate.
For those attempting to cut overall costs, daytime weddings and receptions typically costs less, particularly when it comes to food. Weddings and receptions that fall during the evening and night usually require heavier foods as well as a need for decorations to bring “light” to the night. Daytime events also can cut down on decorations and clothing as daytime weddings can vary from formal to casual. Be warned though, daytime weddings can come with the risk of having a wedding booked after you. This would mean you and your guests would need to vacate by a schedule time. However, the added bonus, if you find out who the bride-to-be is, and find that you two have similar tastes and trying to stick to budget, decorations could be shared, further reducing costs.
Unless you’re having a small wedding, having a wedding and reception at the same location can have major benefits. Not only is it easy on guests to not have to figure out new locations but many hotels, clubs, and halls have reduced rates for booking both or timetables that reduce costs the longer you stay.Additionally, you could further save on stress and costs by not worrying about set-up and breakdown at two locations as opposed to one. Above photo courtesy of Kevin Weinstein.
When you are looking for your photographer, be sure to know in the contract that you will receive all the proofs. It will protect you from some photographers/businesses who hold onto the proofs as a way to make you buy packages to attain the pictures.
After your ceremony or honeymoon, ensure that you have a notepad or book at hand as you open your wedding gifts. You should write what the gift is and who it is from. Note: this is not to ‘cheapen’ anyone, you’re on a budget and we’re in a recession. Everyone at the wedding should receive a ‘Thank you’ card. But, I do believe in particular everyone who gave you a gift should get a HANDWRITTEN ‘Thank You’ card. It also ensures that if the day you finally get to use the new expresso machine from Uncle Bob, that if it doesn’t work or is damaged you could call him up and asked for the store he got it from to replace it for a working one. Thank You cards do not have to be boring either, the above photo displays a unique way to add commemorate your day and show gratitude.
When looking for all your accessories for your wedding, don’t get caught up in the illusion and break the bank. Figure out ways your can accessorize and save. When it comes to jewelry, stay simple and understated ‘real’ pieces and ‘costume’ if you’re going lavish. Spending a few mortgage payments on blinged-out jewelry for just one day does not make sense, if your mother has genuine diamonds that pair well with what you have, then borrow those to match the theme of your dress. However, if you’re going for Lady Ice for your wedding, costume jewelry can be a great substitute for ‘spending in excess’ even Paris Hilton has admitted she normally has bodyguards around her for red carpet appearances when she is wearing ‘real’ gems, and hers is actually stored in a bank vault because not only are the ‘real’ thing heavier but ‘it’s dangerous’ to wear your income around your neck.
Pick a theme but remember you’re marrying your spouse, not your colors or decor. The more time you have to plan, the more flexibility you have in terms of commitment while you narrow down your choices. But picking a theme to work with, helps you narrow down on what your ‘musts’ are and cut out unnecessary details. For example, if your wedding theme is based on cultural, religious, or familial expectations then work with a priest, pastor, cultural advisor, or knowledgeable family member to make sure you’re not overlooking important details or overwhelmed by aspects that could actually be let go. Traditionally bridesmaids have paid for their dresses. However, out of respect for your bridesmaids’ budgets, if you are wanting to fit them with lavish laces and designer duds, you should make their attire affordable either by purchasing it, assisting with costs, or giving them options. Talk to each bridesmaid privately, or have your Maid of Honor do so in order to get a price range that can be worked into everyone’s budget in order to select dresses for them that are pleasing to you. Another option is give your bridesmaids free range within boundaries; select colors, styles, and materials, and have the bridesmaids find their own dresses which they could use for another occasion. Solid and simple work best with the ‘free range’ option.
Weddings are costly, and like everything we purchase, the value comes with appreciation. Time and money go hand and hand, just like you and your spouse. Maybe this is the first big purchase you two are about to make, maybe not, but either way this purchase should be smart, cooperative, and a glimpse into your lives together. A ‘Dream Wedding’ is much like a sketch, it starts off with an idea, constructed of lines and imagination, but also foresight in having an overall image in your mind. It’s the chase, it’s the aim, it’s the continued pursuit even if you have to erase certain areas in order to get the picture ‘just right’. Stay tuned for more tips in the future and Best Wishes!
You don’t have to be Gwen Stefani to have a rockstar wedding, but do you need to serve alcohol? Maybe not. When we think of wedding receptions, some of the first images that pop to our mind are the cutting of the cake, jumping the broom, and of course Uncle Ted getting drunk. Wait?! Getting drunk at a wedding? While people may differ in opinions about the acceptability of wedding guests getting drunk, alcohol at a reception has typically become a ‘must’ in terms of planning and budgeting for most venues. Why alcohol? Well for the most part brides and grooms feel that it will help partygoers get relaxed and into a festive mood. In addition, an open-bar carries a certain amount of prestige when partygoers discuss the ultimate success of a wedding. Particularly when Aunt Sue thinks her toaster is worth a couple of on-the-house margaritas.
However, something to be mindful of when serving alcohol at a wedding or any event for that matter, is the safety of your guests. Not to sound like a party-pooper but, no one wants to read the next that that someone got a DUI after leaving your reception, or worse, someone was seriously injured or killed. So, below are several non-alcoholic drinks you can incorporate in your bar along with tips to promote safety on your special day with it taking away your “shine”.
Madras are commonly served in the Southern states like Georgia, have your bartender mix orange and cranberry juices, holding off on alcohol, and garnishing with cherries. Serve it in a tall glass or champagne flute to give it a special look without the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
Sparking Cider is perfect for a wedding and perfect for younger attendees who want to share in the toasting of the bride and groom. Remember, serving alcohol to a minor is a 4th degree felony. You and your bartender could be fined or jailed for giving alcohol to a minor.
Cosmopolitan is great for your younger bridesmaids and their friends. It has all the makings of a scene in Sex in the City without the hangover. With cranberry juice, orange syrup, and lime juice, the girls can pick whether they want to be as sweet as Charlotte or fashion-forward as Carrie.
A Strawberry Mojito is refreshing for a daytime reception. Add a few drops of strawberry flavored syrup, sliced strawberries as a garnish, fresh mint and mix with carbonated water. This fizzy drink will feel good as it heads down to your navel. Of course you could do a wildberry mojito, or mint. You could even make your very own drink both non-alcoholic and alcoholic for the wedding, just work with your bartender about creating a new drink to go with the theme of your wedding.
Long Island Iced Tea is great for those who want something familiar. Just combine cranberry, orange, and pineapple juices with some grenadine garnished with a sliced lemon wedge and cherry. This non-hangover drink will ensure that Aunt Tess doesn’t get too shocking with the dramatic details of that one time when you went to band camp and….
A Virgin Mai Tai is a great sweet drink that will only require pineapple juice, club soda, orange juice, grenadine, and cream of coconut. Garnish it with pineapple slices, cherries, and even an umbrella or mint leaves.
One of my favorites is a virgin Pina Colada. Just add some pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract blended with ice for a thinner version. Blend with pineapple chunks for a thicker version. Add pineapple and coconut shavings for a topping and cherry for a pop of color.
Coffee, expresso, and cola are also good for guests who either get sluggish because they have helped with preparations of designated drivers who have to make a drop-offs on their way home. You can reward designated drivers by awarding them the centerpieces or if your event isn’t having an open bar, provide all non-alcoholic drinks free of charge.
While have alcohol at a wedding seems appropriate. I believe a variety should be there. In addition to helping cut down costs of providing alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks helps gives your younger guests and designated drivers options besides water and soda. You should consider your budget and talk to your wedding planner while keeping your guests in mind to see whether this might be a cost-cutting and safety-promoting option for you.