After you have set your wedding date and the plans are being made, the next thing is to pick out what you will wear. If you go to the bridal store to look for your wedding gown and shudder when you see the price tag, you may need to find out how to get a cheap, but beautiful wedding dress. Here are some steps to follow when you need to find an inexpensive wedding dress.
- Shop in second-hand stores. They have beautiful bridal gowns that look like new; after all, most of them have only been worn once. You can pick one that suits you and not have to pay a fortune on a dress that you will only wear one time also.
- Remake an old dress. If you have a nice dress that you bought for an event that is just hanging in your closet gathering dust, remake it into a beautiful wedding dress. There is no need for it to even be white, you can add white tulle to the underside if you want to have color showing. You could even tack it on top to make it a cheap wedding dress that will express who you are.
- Use your mother’s wedding dress. If your mother doesn’t mind you changing the look of her dress, you could even add some updates to it, like putting in a hem to make it a shorter gown. Using your mother’s wedding dress is actually an honor, knowing that she has kept it that long in order to pass it along. This is one of the best ways to get a cheap wedding dress.
- Borrow one from a friend, if it isn’t one of your very close friends. Otherwise, everyone that you will invite probably came to her wedding and will possibly notice the dress that she wore. Distant relatives, cousins and aunts, are good choices from which to borrow. The minute that you announce that you are planning your wedding, start asking around for a used wedding dress.
- Sew your own. This option is only for those women who either know how to sew or know someone who knows how to sew. There are beautiful patterns in the fabric store to choose from. Spending money only on material, patterns and trim is another way to get a cheap wedding dress.
Although the reception decorations are important — after all, this is where the majority of the wedding takes place, and the decorations will be immortalized by the photographer — there’s no need to blow your budget in this one arena. By shopping around for deals and taking on some DIY projects, you can have a reception that looks much more expensive than it actually is.
Create a Whimsical Feather GarlandIf your venue is a simple, you may end up needing a few more background decorations for things like the cake, guestbook, tables or photo booth. A feather garland is a simple piece that makes a statement no matter where it is placed, without being distracting. String it in front of the head table, or hang several on a backdrop wall to add texture and visual interest.
Stamp Monogrammed Silverware for the Happy CoupleWhether you are getting married or attending a wedding as a guest, monogrammed forks would serve as a thoughtful gift. Though this project looks to be for-DIY-experts-only, it is actually simple enough for even DIY newbies and requires few supplies. After you make one set, it may just become your signature gift for all of your engaged pals.
Thoughtfully Wrap Your FavorsIf you are having a small wedding and want to spend more time on your wedding favors, make them extra special by using creative wrapping. Using just twine, lace, ribbon and flowers, you can create charmingly wrapped favors that your guests will love. They’re so pretty, they’ll double as reception decor while stacked on a table. If you have too many guests to undertake a project of this size, wrap just your bridesmaids’ gifts or parents’ gifts this way.
Add Rustic Charm With DIY Chalkboard SignsRustic wedding style allows for lots of DIY creativity and personal touches, such as wooden chalkboard signs. This project requires a bit of power tool know-how, but after you get it down, you can easily duplicate this project in many different sizes for a unifying theme with all of your signs. Use for food labels, directions, table numbers or a big welcome sign.
Watercolor Custom Place Cards for DinnerIf you’ve decided to do assigned seating at your reception, there’s no better way to display it than with these dainty place cards that your guests will love to take home with them. All you need is a watercolor set, brushes, card stock and a fine-tipped marker, and you can pump these out in one afternoon. If you’re feeling creative, expand them to include different flora and fauna. Alternatively, if you’re running short on time, just print out the free printable at the end of the tutorial. No one will ever know.
Skip the Vases and Use Cute Pails for FlowersInstead of using regular vases for flowers on your table, use customized tin pails to add your own personal touch. You can stamp your wedding date, last name or even a simple monogram for the sake of simplicity. Whatever you choose, you can make it with this tutorial and a short list of easily sourced craft supplies. A pail of flowers can also substitute for a flower girl bouquet or the ring bearer’s traditional pillow.
Save a Pretty Penny by Arranging Your Own FlowersIt’s a little-known wedding planning fact that when you fork over the check to your florist, a large percentage of what you are paying is for the professional arrangements. If you buy your flowers in bulk (which you can, from both independent shops and member wholesale stores) and practice a few times, you can create your own arrangements and cut your floral cost significantly. This needs to be done the day before or day of the wedding, so instead of doing it yourself, ask your most artistic friend if she would be willing to help out in lieu of a wedding gift or for a small price.
Be Creative With Succulent CenterpiecesSucculents are loved for their low-maintenance upkeep as well as their long shelf life. They look just as fresh and gorgeous as flowers, but succulent wreaths can be made weeks in advance, whereas floral arrangements must be made 24 to 48 hours before the wedding. Making these wreaths takes practice and time but will also go more quickly with smaller wire wreath forms. They also can serve as gifts for the wedding party to take home after the shindig ends.
Make a Knockout Background in Less Than Five MinutesThis fun, whimsical wall decor is possibly the easiest DIY of all time, with high-impact results. All you need are streamers, scissors and rope or twine for a wall that will look beautiful as the background to any number of event photos. Use muted, neutral colors to simply add texture, or go wild with colors for a true statement wall. Picture it behind the head table or as a photo booth backdrop. The crepe flowers are equally simple and work as food or table decor.
Add Balloons for a Fanciful TouchBalloons are a classic way to say “the party’s here!,” and this simple project won’t take you long. With balloons, thin string and wooden dowels, you can easily create decorations for an outdoor cocktail area, photo booth props or decor to line a path. If you’re worried balloons look too casual, stick to one color — metallic looks especially glamorous. This easy decor will especially pop (with luck, not literally) in photos.
Glam Up Your Vases With Gold LeafVases can be found for quite cheap at dollar stores or thrift stores, and if you want the luxe look for less, use this tutorial to add some classic sparkle to your flower arrangements. Reasonably priced gold-leaf kits can be found at art stores or online, and you can easily knock out several of these vases in a few hours. They also look wonderful with candleholders — the soft glow adds a romantic touch to any centerpiece.
Make a Statement With a Burlap BannerBurlap adds texture and visual interest and goes with almost any wedding theme short of black tie. You can make several of these banners to label tables (“Dessert,” “Guest Book”) or just one big one for a statement, maybe to hang behind the head table. By selecting your own beads and changing up the font, you can personalize your banner to fit in perfectly with the rest of your decor. If you spell names, mark the date or create a sweet saying, this could even become a home decor piece.
Buckle Your Tool Belt for a DIY Framed ChalkboardMaking a vintage chalkboard frame requires some tool know-how and a fair amount of supplies. If the list overwhelms you, call in the troops (fiance, Dad or anyone with more tool expertise) and make it a group project. You’ll expand your DIY skills and come out with a gorgeous chalkboard you can use for a sign, menu, order of events or whatever you choose. Chalkboards come in handy for any number of occasions, so the extra work on this one definitely won’t go to waste.
Go Craft Crazy With Vintage BooksA vintage-book centerpiece coordinates with a rustic wedding theme and allows you to stretch your creative wings a bit as well. This tutorial includes three different looks: wrapping books in paper, painting them using acrylic paints and stenciling on burlap covers. You can customize any of the three by using a variety of papers or painting your own artistic masterpiece. This project’s height can be tailored by the way you stack books, or it can showcase your engagement photos, too.
Use Tin Can Lanterns to Create a Romantic GlowSoft lighting completely changes the vibe of an event, and these quaint lanterns are no exception. Repurpose your tin cans with paint, hammer and nails, and some other supplies to create lanterns that will lend a magical feeling to your reception. Add them to tables or pathways for some mood lighting that you’ll want to re-create in your backyard for years to come.
Turn Your Ice Bucket Into a Floral DisplayAll you need to make pretty ice buckets is water, a couple of buckets, fruit, flowers and a day or two. By freezing them in stages, you ensure that the fruit doesn’t all float to the top and you get evenly spaced decorations. This project allows you to leave a bottle of white wine or champagne on each table. You can vary what you showcase to match your season and theme and make them as large or small as you want. Just be prepared for everyone to ask how you made them.
“Donut” Be Afraid to Be QuirkyThe traditional cake toppers are just that: traditional. That may not be your style. Luckily, there are many options nowadays for cake toppers, but none as sweet as this DIY bride-and-groom donut cake topper. You need only basic power tool know-how and a few craft supplies. Stick to white and black, or customize each to represent your own favorite donuts. Either way, your cake topper will be the subject of many a delighted Instagram post.
Create Boisterous Memories With a ShotskiThis homemade shotski is sure to be a huge hit at your wedding. With a ski, some tools and some shot glasses, you can create a drinking “game” of sorts that is sure to result in hilarious memories and lots of laughs. Add a cute saying or your names, and paint it to go with your wedding theme. For additional laughs, leave disposable or instant camera by the shotski and a little sign asking your guests to take a picture before or after their shots. You’re sure to get some rambunctious captures as the party rages on.
Use Silk Flowers for a Budget-Friendly MonogramFloral and/or custom artwork is stunning but oftentimes cost prohibitive. Make your own with silk flowers to save money, stress and time searching for the perfect thing. This piece is simple, requiring only silk flowers, glue, moss, a ribbon and cardboard or card stock for the letter. You can buy silk flowers to match your bouquets or centerpieces, and match the colors to your own wedding colors. Doing the monogram in all one color, such as white, is striking and formal. If you love the results, you can make more or even make letters to spell out a word. Hang them on a wall or prop them on tables for a pop of style.
Add a Romantic Touch With Lace Candle HoldersSoft, romantic lighting is a necessity as the night winds down, especially for the tables, where some guests will chat the night away. Create your own candle holders out of lace doilies for a bohemian look that will enchant your guests. After you have your batch of doilies (which can be sourced from flea markets and antique shops), gather your materials for an unconventional yet simple crafting project that involves balloons, wallpaper glue and wire hangers. Give them as gifts to your bridesmaids after the reception as a memento.
Light Up the Night With a DIY Illuminated SignThis ambitious project is sure to impress all of your guests — in fact, they may even want to place an order with you for a set of their own. This tutorial includes a template for “love” in four languages: English, Italian, German and Swedish and directions for those specific words. After you get the hang of it, you can make any language you like. Display the beauty of love in multiple languages for multicultural weddings.
Planning a wedding under normal circumstance is an expensive and time consuming task. For some people, however, time and money isn’t a luxury and planning a wedding needs to be fast and inexpensive. If you are getting married and time is of the essence, you don’t want your limitations to take away from the importance of the day. Planning a quick wedding might sound expensive, but it can be pulled off cheaply if you are willing to think outside of the box and be creative when it comes to marriage.
- Create a wedding checklist. Write down all of the items that need to be completed or purchased. Determine what your budget is and write it at the top of the checklist. Allocate a dollar amount to appropriate items on the list. Make a commitment to follow the list as closely as possible.
- Plan a civil wedding. Go to your local court or city hall to determine what is required for a civil wedding. Certain states may require blood tests; and pre-marriage counseling may also be mandatory. Obtain your marriage license. For last minute weddings, travel to states such as Nevada where no wait or blood testing is required for a quick ceremony.
- Send email invites. Go to websites such as Evites and send out low cost or free invitations to your friends. Personally deliver handwritten invitations to friends who live within driving distance. Pick up the phone and call anyone who may not check their email or who you are unable to reach in person.
- Save on your dress. Borrow your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress. Have alterations done by a friend or family member who is talented in sewing. Forgo a traditional wedding dress and buy a formal gown instead. Shop the discounted rack at bridal stores for inexpensive or clearance gowns.
- Recruit the help of friends. Involve as many close and talented people as you can to help you pull off your wedding within your time frame. Ask friends or family member to DJ, sing, decorate or cook.
- Plan a modest reception and keep your guest list small. Take advantage of a big backyard and plan your reception. Purchase discount decorations such as string lights, candles and flowers from discount warehouses or stores. Buy potted flowering plants versus cut flowers. Have a small reception at your favorite restaurant and ask permission to bring extra candles or flowers to decorate your table.
- Cut costs on your wedding cake. Look through magazines for pictures of cakes that you like. Take the picture to your grocery store, pick a flavor and ask if they are able to make it within your time frame. Buy separate pre-made cakes and place them on decorative tiers or have cupcakes made.
- Skip professional photographers. Have fun with your photographs and buy cheap disposable cameras for guests to take pictures of the event. If time and money allows, hire student photographers and offer to pay them at a cost that will be significantly lower than what you’d pay a professional.
If you are trying to save money or simply want a more hands-on approach to your wedding, you can make your own bouquet of flowers, as well as the bouquets of your bridesmaids and any other guests of honor. These bouquets can be put together hours before the wedding to free the bride to prepare her hair and make-up and put on her dress. Practice in advance, with extra flowers, to become familiar with the flowers and the process.
- Pick your flowers from the place they are growing or pick them up from the local florist, the morning of the wedding.
- Place the flowers in a vase with water and put the vase in a cool location, out of the sun until you are ready to prepare the bouquets, at least a few hours before the wedding.
- Pull the flowers from the vase and blot them dry with a towel.
- Strip the flowers of any excess foliage, thorns or other roughage. If you want greenery in your bouquet, leave a few leaves on the top, near the blooms. Use the scissors to clip off any excess greenery, instead of pulling on the stems and potentially breaking them.
- Pull together the flowers stems together, bunching them together into a cylinder shape in your hand. This should create a round, half-spherical shape of the blooms. Pull the middle blooms higher and the side blooms lower, to create the rounded shape in the blooms.
- Add any additional greenery by setting leaves’ stems or other accessories against the side of the stem cylinder, pushing the leaves up under the half-sphere of the blooms.
- Tie together the bouquet with a rubber band or a piece of floral tape, near the base of the blooms and the top of the stems.
- Cut the bottom of the stems so they are uniform and even.
- Place the end of the ribbon over the top of the rubber band or tape, covering it. Secure it with a pin.
- Wrap the ribbon around the stems, tightly, moving down the stem and covering all the tape.
- Fold the ribbon over the bottom or just continue wrapping, moving back up the stems, once you reach the bottom.
- Cut the end of the ribbon and secure it with a pin, at the top of the stems.
- Leave the bouquet in a cool place, in the vase until the wedding. If the bottom of the stems are exposed, you can place a wet towel at the bottom of the vase to keep the stems moist. Be careful to wet only the exposed stems, not the ribbon.
- Dry the stems of any water or moisture before handing to the bride or other wedding party members.
The wedding cake is often the focal point of the reception. Modern cakes, created with difficult techniques and elaborate designs, are considered artwork, as well as dessert. In fact, it seems almost a shame to cut them. However, cut you must, when there is a line of hungry guests waiting. Cutting a tiered cake can seem daunting because you don’t know where to start. By removing tiers, you’ll have the cake cut up and on plates before the guests start grumbling.
- Remove the top tier of the case, and store it in a cake box. Many couples like to save the top tier to enjoy together on their first wedding anniversary. Remove and lay aside the pillars that support the top layer.
- Remove the next tier, and set it directly on the table. Trying to cut the cake while it is still supported above the tier below it is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Cut a round cake with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Measure 2 inches in from the edge, and cut a circle that follows the circle of the cake. Cut the outer circle of the cake into 1-inch slices, frequently wiping the blade of the knife to prevent buildup. Once that portion has been served, measure in 2 additional inches, and cut another circle. Repeat the the process until you’ve cut the entire tier.
- Cut a square or rectangular cake by measuring in 2 inches and slicing the cake from one end to the other. Start at the corner of the 2-inch strip you’ve just cut, and begin cutting it into 1-inch slices. Once you’ve completed that strip, measure in an additional 2 inches, and repeat the process until the cake is completely cut.
- Remove the pillars from each successive tier, and place each tier on the table before you begin cutting. Work your way through the entire cake.
Cutting the wedding cake at the reception is one of the first things that a bride and groom will share as a newlywed couple. For this milestone you want a cake that not only looks beautiful but also tastes spectacular. These next few steps will show you how to choose a wedding cake that is both pleasing to the eye and pleasing to the taste buds!
- Take a look at your guest count. First and foremost you want to be sure you’ll have enough cake to serve all your guests. Remember, the top tier of your cake is traditionally reserved for your first anniversary.
- Visit the bakery and do some cake tasting. Most bakeries have no problem with clients reserving times to come in and taste a few cakes. There are so many flavors to choose from, the tasting will be a very enjoyable way for the bride and groom to bond.
- Now that you’ve decided what flavor of cake you want, it’s time to decide what you want it to look like. Do you want round or square tiers? Do you want the tiers to be stacked atop one another or separated? There are many questions to be answered. Bridal magazines and bridal web sites are great resources for inspiration. The bakery you choose will also have sample photos of cakes they’ve done in the past.
Wedding bouquets are an important part of the overall ambience of the wedding ceremony and portraits. The flowers add color and beauty to the gowns. You can make wedding bouquets for attendants and the bride from silk flowers. A silk bridal bouquet is a keepsake to display for years to come. Silk wedding bouquets can be made well in advance of the wedding. This can help spread the work out over a period of time. The mother of the bride or another family member can help the bride with this pre-wedding project.
- Go shopping for your flowers. At the store, hold a selection of flowers in your hands, as if it’s a bouquet, to see what looks right for you. Buy one or two stems extra for each type of flower you have chosen.
- Put the bouquet holder in a vase on your work table. This will keep both of your hands free to work with the piece. Set the silk flowers to the side.
- Cut the stems of the silk flowers down to 3 or 4 inches long. Cut any foliage stems to this size also.
- Insert a main flower stem, such as roses, lilies, irises or carnations, into the center of the foam in the bouquet holder.
- Insert 4 more main flower stems at slight angles to the top, bottom, left and right of the main flower.
- Insert leaves around the sides of the foam where the foam meets the top of the plastic holder.
- Insert secondary flowers such as carnations, daisies or rosebuds into the sides of the foam near the rim of the bouquet holder, next to the leaves.
- Fill in the foam with stems of smaller blossoms. Check to make sure that there are no gaps in the flowers where the foam will show through.
- Hold your bouquet in front of a mirror to check all angles. Add more flowers or leaves to fill it out, if necessary.
- Insert a ribbon bow on a wired stick into the foam at the center of the bottom edge, if desired. Add a strand or wired spray of pearl beads or rhinestones to your bouquet for a stylish touch.
Plumerias are a beautiful flower for weddings, especially in the summer. You do not need a fancy florist to create your ideal bouquet. Arrange a collection of plumerias tied in silk ribbon of your desired color to carry down the aisle. It is a simple process, and you will take pride in knowing that you created your own plumeria wedding bouquet.
- Pick 10 plumerias for your bouquet. Make sure they are fresh and crisp, vibrantly colored and roughly the same size.
- Trim the ends of the plumerias to make the stems as long as you desire, but make sure they are all evenly cut at an angle. Do a test to make sure the stems are long enough: Hold the plumerias in a bunch with both hands, as you would a bouquet, and make sure that there is at least 5 inches of flower stem below your hands.
- Arrange the flowers as you choose, making some lower or higher than others. Make sure to create the bouquet exactly as you want it to be for the wedding, as once you wrap it with the wire and ribbons you cannot change it.
- Take the flower wrapping wire (available at most craft and flower stores) and put the end of it 2 inches down from the bottom of the plumerias. Start wrapping the wire tightly around the stems, slowly working downwards. Keep wrapping until you run out of wire, then secure the end by tucking it into the last wrap. Make sure the flowers are securely bundled so none fall out or to the side.
- Choose the color of silk or satin ribbon you want to wrap around the stems of the plumerias. Cut the 8 ft of ribbon into 4 equal pieces of 2 ft each.
- Take the first piece of ribbon, and place the end of it where you first began wrapping the wire. Dab hot glue to the wire and firmly press the ribbon onto it. Let it dry. Wrap the ribbon around the wire in a downwards motion. When you get to the point where there is only 2 inches of ribbon left, dab hot glue to the ribbon and secure it, so the last 2 inches are hanging freely.
- Take the second piece of ribbon, and use the hot glue to secure it to the first ribbon, about 1inch below where the first ribbon was glued. Repeat Step 5 with the second, third and fourth ribbon. There should be four pieces dangling once you are done. Arrange these pieces how you desire, gluing and trimming the edges if necessary.
Even if your budget is small and your wedding dreams are big, you can plan a reception that will provide a lifetime of cherished memories for the happy couple and their loved ones.
- Determine how many people will be attending the reception; then you will know what size space you need to rent. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant or country club. It can be a simple town hall, community meeting space or place of worship.
- Catering the reception can be expensive. Consider alternatives such as meat and cheese trays from your local grocer or fast-food restaurant. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls would work. Order your cake from the grocer as well. Cupcakes work well when small children are guests. Clear plastic plates and utensils work fine — don’t forget the wedding theme decorations at your local dollar or craft store.
- Decorating the hall depends on how much time and money you want to put into it. To make it a little fancier, put bows or balloons on the chairs, or cover with cloths. If using balloons, consider buying a helium balloon kit. You can purchase white paper tablecloths with plastic backing for the tables. If the hall you decide to rent does not provide tables and chairs, these can be rented. Order or create a small bouquet of silk or fresh flowers for each table in the bride’s colors. Buy or collect small plastic bowls to put nuts and mints in for each table.
- Putting up white or colored Christmas lights adds a nice touch. If allowed, you can staple, nail, or tape the lights to the walls. As for music, depending on the size of the room, place one or two CD players in the hall so the music isn’t overwhelming, but can be heard.
- Have large plastic garbage bags on hand so cleanup will be very easy. Ask the wedding party or guests if they would like to keep the flowers — then throw anything you can away.
Food safety is a great concern for those preparing and serving the meal for wedding guests. Keeping hot foods at the required serving temperatures and cold foods at the cool enough temperatures to keep from spoiling can be achieved through the use of chafing dishes, which can be purchased for continued use or rented from a wedding supply company.
- Place your chafing dishes on the buffet table.
- Pour hot water into the bottom portion of the dishes that will hold hot foods.
- Remove the caps of your Sterno fuel canisters.
- Place the fuel canisters underneath the hot-food chafing dishes.
- Light each canister with an extended lighter or long matches.
- Allow the water to heat up, then place hot food in the chafing dish.
- Fill the bottom portion of the chafing dishes that will hold cold food with ice and water.
- Place the food-filled chafing pans in the designated racks right before inviting guests to the buffet.
If you’ve seen a wedding cake covered with fondant, you won’t soon forget it. The surface is smooth and satiny. The fondant elegantly envelopes the cake’s layers and neatly tucks beneath the base without a wrinkle. Professional cake decorators use fondant not only to cover the cake, but also to fashion additional details such as draping effects and floral items. But it isn’t necessary to be a professional chef to create a delicious and beautiful fondant for your own cake.
- Spoon the marshmallow creme into a large bowl, then sift and add the powdered sugar to the marshmallow creme. Add 1 cup of sugar at a time, stirring after each addition. Continue stirring until the mixture is thick and forms a ball on your spoon. (The general rule of thumb is to use 1 lb. marshmallow creme for every 2 lb. powdered sugar, but don’t rely strictly on those measurements since humidity plays a large role in the results.)
- Add flavorings at this time if desired. While you can use regular flavoring extracts in fondant, look instead for flavoring oils, such as Lorann. These provide the smoothest results. Use only a few drops of flavored oils since they are highly concentrated.
- Stir the thick mixture until it is too difficult to continue, and then turn it out onto a clean surface that is sprinkled liberally with more powdered sugar. The fondant should hold its shape like a clay ball.
- Knead the fondant, adding more sugar to the surface and to your hands as needed to prevent the fondant from sticking. After a few minutes of kneading, the fondant will become very pliant and smooth. Any powdered sugar lumps will dissolve, and the fondant will take on a satiny appearance.
- Wrap the fondant completely in plastic wrap and place it in a large zippered storage bag, squeezing the air out before closing. Store the fondant at room temperature for at least 24 hours and for up to one week. By allowing it to rest, the powdered sugar is completely absorbed and the fondant becomes smooth and elastic.
- Squeeze the fondant in the bag to soften, then remove and knead it until you are ready to roll it. If you want pure white fondant, there is no need to add anything further because the marshmallow creme is very white. If you want colored fondant, however, add paste food coloring, one small dab at a time, and knead the color into the fondant evenly.
- Use vegetable shortening on your hands, the rolling surface and the rolling pin when you roll out the fondant. Roll to a thickness of one-fourth of an inch.
A wedding dessert buffet should be beautifully decorated, just like the wedding venue. You can decorate the savory food buffet as well, but the dessert buffet really allows you to express yourself, while capturing the personality of the bride and groom. If it’s not your wedding, always have the happy couple in mind. Think about their favorite colors, the wedding theme and the number of guests. Discuss your ideas with them, so they will be just as happy with the finished result as you are.
- Look at the wedding plans before you start decorating. Discuss colors, flowers and themes. Most people want a coordinated wedding and this should include the venue and buffet. Take notes of all the colors and ask for color samples if available. Make a plan once you have all the necessary information. Sketch how you envision the buffet, and make a list of what you will need to fulfill you plan.
- Decorate the tables. Always start with your base by laying out the tablecloths. Wedding buffets can be more formal and more lavish than standard buffets. Consider draping silk or other material to give a regal feel. If you have excess material, create a bow or a ruffle.
- Mark out where the dishes are going to go. Once the tablecloths are down, work out where the food is going to be positioned. Place dishes so they compliment each other. For example, alternate chocolate desserts with fruit desserts, or cluster similar looking things like cookies together.
- Link the platters with your chosen decorations. Once all the platters are in place, make them look like they are all part of the same display. Get your ribbons, flowers or foliage and start at one end of the buffet and work your way to the other end. Swirl the ribbons or foliage around one dish and onto the next so they look like they join. If necessary, secure the decorations with some double sided tape.
- Make edible decorations to help the food blend with the display. Get some Marzipan, color it according to the theme, and use a cutter to make hearts, flowers, animals or stars. Make the same thing but in different sizes and colors. Place the decorations on the display, so the buffet looks fluid and coordinated. If you’re not the chef, check and make sure it’s ok to add detail to the platters and dishes.
- Sprinkle leaves, petals or sparkles over the table once you have completed the display. If you plan add sparkle to the dishes make sure you have edible sparkles. If you are using flowers petals make sure they are not poisonous. Check with the bride and groom or wedding planner to make sure they are happy with the result.
Planning a wedding can be stressful and overwhelming for even the most organized bride. That is where a wedding planner steps in. A wedding planner is a professional at coordinating these special events and can help brides achieve their dream wedding with less stress. Wedding planners do everything from full wedding planning and orchestrating to day-of coordination. If you are interested in becoming a wedding planner, take a free wedding planner course to see if it really is something you can see yourself doing.
Wedding Etiquette Tips
- The website Wedding Etiquette Tips offers a free basic wedding planning course. This self-paced online course covers basic topics such as wedding budgets, time lines, wedding themes, finding wedding venues and interviewing vendors. The basic wedding planner course from Wedding Etiquette Tips is designed for do-it-yourself type brides but can be used for anyone who is interested in wedding planning.
- The E Learners website offers a mini-guide to becoming a wedding planner. This guide is a basic and straightforward starting point for those who are interested in becoming a wedding planner. Facts and questions covered by the mini-guide include how online bridal consultant certification programs work and what bridal consultants do on the job.
American Academy of Wedding Professionals
- The American Academy of Wedding Professionals is one of the go-to websites for information, courses and freebies for those interested in becoming a wedding planner. Learn the AAWP’s 10 Commandments of Wedding Professionals and receive a free wedding planning book by becoming a member. The AAWP charges for its particular course, but you can register to win one of its monthly giveaways for a free course.
The Wedding Planning Institute
- The Wedding Planning Institute provides a free wedding planning service. According to the website, “The program is designed to help aspiring and existing wedding planners start or grow their career while boosting local wedding businesses and reducing costs for brides and grooms.”
Wedding planners take on a great deal of responsibility. Not only do they need to get everything organized for the “big day,” but they also need to deal with emotional brides and family members throughout the entire process. Becoming a wedding planner can be a rewarding career if you appreciate how things come together for weddings and other types of parties.
- Possess a passion for detail. Wedding planners are detail-oriented people that take pride in doing the small things that most people never even notice. Treating each party or wedding like it’s your own is an essential part of becoming a wedding planner.
- Take some event-planning courses. You’ll probably be able to find event-planning courses at your local community college or as part of an adult education curriculum. Take some business classes to gain valuable insight into running a business.
- Register as a wedding planner. Create a name for your company and register it with the local courthouse. Choose a name that is clever and explains what you do, but make sure it’s a name that potential clients will take seriously.
- Get an umbrella insurance policy. This will protect your business against lawsuits and other things that can occur when emotions are running high.
- Advertise your wedding planning services. Look through your local newspaper for newly engaged couples and send them brochures about your business. Hang up flyers and always have business cards with you in case you run into somebody who needs a wedding planner.
- Create an attractive website, or hire a professional to design your website. Many times, this will be the first impression that potential customers get of your business. Make sure that the services you provide stand out, and include all of your contact information on the site.
Planning a wedding can be very expensive and especially when you want your wedding to be unique and beautiful. To keep costs down, there are a few things that “brides to be” can do to keep the costs low and yet still have a beautiful elegant wedding. Read on to learn more.
- Purchase your dress at an outlet or discount bridal store. Many discount bridal stores have elegantly well made wedding dresses that will make any “bride to be” look beautiful on her wedding day.
- Have a relative, friend or dress maker make your dress. Make sure it’s someone who is known for creating beautiful wedding gowns and someone you sincerely feel you can trust.
- Rent a wedding dress. If you’re not a bride who wants to keep your dress for centuries or pass your dress down to your daughter, renting a wedding dress is a very economical choice and will definitely keep your costs down. You can find bridal rental options online.
- Have your bridesmaids to rent their dresses just as the groom’s men do. This can be less costly than buying a dress that they may never wear again.
- Ask various family members and/or friends who are known for their superb good cooking skills to cook the food for your wedding. This will cut down on the costs. You will have to buy the food for them to cook, of course. It should also cost you much less to pay them to cook the food for you than to hire a professional caterer. You may also be surprised; your family and friends may cook your food as a wedding gift to you.
- Decorate your church and have your wedding and the reception also at your church. The costs should be much less to have your reception at your church. Some may not charge anything and especially if you’re a member of the church.
A wedding planner takes technical and creative input from the bride and groom and turns it into a beautiful and memorable event. Your career as a wedding planner in Ontario starts with observing all of the components that make up a successful wedding. Learn every possible job performed at a wedding so you can create an experience that runs smoothly and stays within budget.
- Attend as many weddings as you can in Ontario. Do not “crash” weddings of strangers, but ask family and friends if you can observe their weddings. Some wedding planning companies in Ontario may have internship positions available in your local classifieds. Ask wedding planners if you can watch them work. Read wedding and bridal magazines to get an idea of current industry trends.
- Form a habit of organizing your life. As a wedding planner, you will need to create and adhere to strict dates to make sure your planned weddings go smoothly. Get used to keeping a planner and staying punctual.
- Search job listings for paid positions in wedding companies. As a wedding planner, you will need a basic understanding of every aspect of a wedding. You will acquire valuable tools that help you with the catering, design, decoration and other aspects of successful weddings. Look to Ontario country clubs, cruises, resorts and hotels for possible wedding planning positions.
- Ask your engaged family members and friends if you can be their wedding planner. If possible, do not perform the service for a fee. Use the opportunity to add material to your wedding planner portfolio. Take as many pictures as you can of the wedding to showcase your abilities to others.
- Create a wedding planning business. Contact the Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre for start-up information for small businesses. You will need to register your business name, apply for any necessary permits and file documents with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. You can find a link to the Business Service Centre in Resources below.
- Create business cards and promotional pamphlets with all of your business contact information. You will need material to pass out to potential clients. Design the materials yourself at a printing company, or hire a company that specializes in logos and business cards to make your documents.
- Network with vendors and advertise your services to print and online publications. For example, buy flowers from a particular vendor and talk to the owner. Give the owner your card and talk about a possible partnership where the owner suggests your services to clients. Advertise your services in local Ontario classifieds so the community knows you exist.
- Choose your wedding planner fee. You can charge either a flat rate or an hourly rate. The budget for the wedding, as well as the total planning time, will help you to decide your rate structure. You will need to talk to potential clients about the number of guests and the type of wedding they want to form a total cost estimate.
If you want to become a wedding planner, you need nothing more than an engaged couple willing to hire you. That said, it can be helpful to have formal training and a certification to help market your skills and provide new clients with the assurance that you know what you’re doing. These certifications aren’t required, but registering your business is.
Lack of Regulation
- Wedding consultants, planners and coordinators are not regulated by any agency. You can become a wedding planner by simply declaring yourself as one and setting up a business. You will need to register your business with your state’s Secretary of State office. It’s also a good idea to get business cards, a website and a company bank account.
- Wedding planners may elect to join professional associations that give their business credibility. These associations will help you network with other wedding professionals, learn about wedding trends and build your reputation. Associations include June Wedding Inc., Coordinators Corner, Weddings Beautiful, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants and the Association for Wedding Professionals International.
- You may want to take classes to help boost your credentials and prepare you for the career. These courses can either be taken over a five-day period or from home with take-home study materials. These classes teach you the financial aspects of wedding planning, examine specific aspects of wedding management, give an overview of the various types of wedding planners, and give advice for etiquette, negotiations and client relations.
- After completing a course, you may apply for a certification from the agency where you took the class. These certifications are the closet thing to a license that the industry offers. These certifications assure clients that you’re prepared for all aspects of planning their wedding. For example, after completing the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants’ courses, you automatically receive certification.
- You may want to seek certification in event planning as well as your certification in wedding planning. This can help expand your business beyond wedding planning into corporate events, holiday parties and other family celebrations. Like wedding planning, certification in event planning is offered through professional organizations after completing a course.