Buying a Sale Wedding Dress

When you order a new dress if it has beading/embroidery on the hem it should be provided in the exact length to fit you to avoid costly and very difficult alterations. You will need to wear your wedding shoes for the fitting. Ask if the shop assistant is experienced in measuring and fitting. A lot are not!

If you buy a sale dress that has beading and embroidery on the hem and you are too short for the dress you will need to get a definite quote from the shop for the cost of alteration. You could be looking at well over £100 plus for the hem alone and if you are looking to save money by buying a sale gown you do not want to spent a fortune on having it altered.

A tip here if you are ordering a new dress. When yours arrives examine it very carefully as if you were buying a dress from the rail. Check the inside of the bodice for marks and look under the hem for wear and dirt. Unscrupulous shop owners will try to sell as new their sample of gowns that are not getting many orders. This happens a lot in the bridal industry. If a shop has a sample dress that does not get many repeat orders the shop owner will try to get rid of it to the first person you likes it!

Check every inch of your dress and be sure that it is a new dress and not just the shop’s sample. Other signs of the dress having been tried on are a crumpled label, fraying on lacing and scuffed fabric on the hem, especially on the train.

If you are suspicious ask to see their sample (the one you tried on when ordering) If they haven’t got it hanging on the rail the chances are they are selling it to you as new!

Br brave and say that you are not happy with the dress and ask for contact details of the designer who supplied the dress. They will tell you if the shop have actually ordered you a new dress. I know it will be unpleasant but how much worse would you feel if you knew that dozens of other brides had tried on your special gown.

All bridal shops have dresses that are reduced in price. You may find the perfect dress for you in your size and be happy to buy it. Before you do so ask if the shop will have it cleaned for you because many customers may well have tried the dress on. I can tell you from experience that not all brides who try on wedding dresses bother to shower first!

If they refuse then examine the dress carefully, especially on the inside of the bodice and under the hem especially the train. Remember customers may have walked around the shop with the train dragging on the floor. Also look for loose beads or threads and ask to have them sewn on. Look for any marks and if it is not absolutely spotless then ask for a reduction to allow for you to have it cleaned. If the shop agree to have it cleaned ask to see the drycleaners bill because if the dress you buy is satin it can be stuffed into a washing machine and washed very easily!! This is done all the time.

It may cost as much as £80 for a specialist dry cleaner to clean the gown. Remember that silk gowns will cost more to be cleaned than satin. Be prepared to offer less than they are asking for the dress. It should be no more than half the usual price – it has been tried on and as a shop sample is not a new dress.

The wholesale price of the dress will be no more than a third of the retail price so if they are charging more than half price you are being ripped off. It is not a new dress!

The shop owner may try to persuade you that they can take in a dress for you. No wedding dress can be taken in more than two sizes before it shows. Bust seams will be ‘off’ and straps and sleeves will not be in the correct position. Unless the bodice of the dress is totally remade which will cost a lot of money do not accept a dress that is more than two sizes too large. A dress can be let out by a professional dressmaker by up to one size (2″) with reasonable satisfaction.

Another trick played by a few shops is to take out the netting (which holds out the skirt) from the dress and then sell you a hooped petticoat at an inflated price. All full skirted wedding dresses come with netting so if yours doesn’t then ring the designer whose number will be on their website and ask if the dress should have netting in it. Don’t be afraid to ask because this is a very mean trick played by just a few shops.

There are a lot of pitfalls for the bride to be who is unsuspecting of the many sneaky tricks which some unscrupulous shop owners will use. Of course many bridal shop owners would never dream of trying to cheat their customers but it is not easy to know which are the good and bad shops since no one knows if their dress was new or just a tried on sample.

Choosing A Wedding Photographer – Does Price Trump Everything Else?

Your wedding day ranks up there as one of those all important milestones next to your First Communion, Baptism, Bar Mitzvah and Graduation.

Who you eventually entrust the responsibility of documenting your special day will depend on your budget, your preference on the style i.e. traditional or the documentary style of wedding photography.

Chances are your search will start on the internet or through recommendations or word-of-mouth.

Though the internet is a great place to begin your search, you should resist the temptation to hire someone without meeting them in person unless you are getting married in Hawaii or a location where it is impractical for you to meet with them.

In that instance, you might consider contacting a local photographer and asking them if they do “destination weddings.”

If time is on your side, then you should meet with all your prospective photographers.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this is because the best photographer in the world with the worst attitude no matter how good a price, is a sure guarantee for a super stressful wedding day for everyone.

The interview is important to both sides because it allows both sides to gauge how they will get along.

That’s why a contract that spells out the details will prevent any misunderstanding.

So don’t base your decision on a hiring a photographer on a price quote over the phone . Your initial phone call should just be to see if they are available on your wedding date.

Once you’ve established that, you should keep an open mind and meet them.Most don’t charge for that consultation so you have nothing to lose.

If you can’t make the appointment, at least call the photographer to reschedule or tell them you changed your mind about meeting them. They are after all extending you the courtesy of a free consultation.

By looking at the bride’s pictures at the end of the evening, you should be able to see if she was a “trooper” or a “bride-zilla.”

It shouldn’t matter if the wedding was at the Edwards Mansion, the Mission Inn or someone’s backyard.

So there is no question your search should start online but you should be aware that the pictures on most photographer’s website are not necessarily a good representation of their true abilities.

What you’ll be seeing are their best images taken over mulitple weddings and over the length of time they’ve been in business. Keep in mind, that your needs are different, you’re hiring them to document your all-important day from “start to finish.”

So it is a good idea to ask to see pictures from several different weddings. from start to finish or as a “whole.”

What you are looking for is consistency in the imagery. Don’t confuse consistency with repetition. There should be consistency in how the photographer handles the light.

Are the images well exposed? Is there a lot of variety in their shots i.e. does it look like they moved around using different angles, lenses and shooting from different locations?

The skillful photographers and truly professional ones do all this. Some even set up lights of their own when the lighting conditions are bad. Examine the pictures of the brides. Are they all pretty, slim and slender?

This is important because it is far easier for a photographer to make good pictures of great-looking people than ones who aren’t so photogenic.

Similarly, it is easier for a photographer to make good pictures at a scenic place like the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel or the Mission Inn in Riverside than the local park or the Elks Lodge or just someone’s backyard.

Good wedding photography tells a story of how that day went for the bride and groom.

By looking at the bride’s pictures at the end of the evening you should be able to see if she was a “trooper” or a “bride-zilla.”

It shouldn’t matter if the wedding was at the Edwards Mansion, the Mission Inn or someone’s backyard.

The truly skillful photographer makes the most of the settings and makes the wedding couple look their best.

Also, the observant and creative wedding photographer recognizes little details like place settings, party favors and center pieces which you have painstakingly chosen.

If they have an appreciation for style, they will definitely include those pictures as backdrops or backgrounds for your photo albums or DVD menus.

Most photographers offer slideshows with music either on CDs or DVDs. It might be a good idea to borrow one or two of these to view at home instead of during the interview.

Just be a good sport and return those when you’re done. DVD samples are expensive to produce. On that subject, ask if they author those DVDs themselves or they outsource those.

Naturally the photographer who does their own is more skillful and probably cares more about their work than one who outsources that work.

Besides, how can someone else who wasn’t at the wedding do as good a job?And for all these reasons, in terms of cost, it is probably a good idea for brides-to-be to realize that after the cost of food, drinks and the banquet hall, the photographers fee should be next highest on the list.

When you consider all the vendors working on your big day, who will be there the longest? Does the photographer get to kick back and relax while everyone is having a good time?

He/she is charged with the responsibility of capturing and documenting the day. If you asked for their presence when you were getting ready, they will be there when your bridesmaid and you are dressing up.

In between they have to sneak in some pictures of your groom as well, not to mention the bantering before that stroll down the aisle for both of you as single people hopefully one last time.

And afterwards when the party is over, the photographer’s work is only beginning. Hundreds of pictures have to be edited and fixed for various flaws in post production. Portraits have to be re-touched, albums have to be designed, DVD slideshows have to be created and enlargements have to be ordered. The list goes on.

The post production can take as much as 20 hours or more depending on how elaborate a package a bride wants.

So remember the next time you get a quote from a wedding photographer and you think it is very high, consider what you’re paying for.

Unlike the other vendors you hire for the day, the caterers, disc jockeys, florists and wedding planners, the wedding photographer is not done at the end of the evening.

In fact, depending on how many exposures they made at the wedding, their post production work can take as much as 30 hours or more.

Depending on their particular clients’ needs, they may have to fix blemishes on images in photoshop, convert images to black and white , design albums or author slideshows with music. They will probably have to meet with you, the client, to finalize layouts for albums and send your print orders out and deliver them when ready.

All in all, these hours need to be accounted for and included in their quote so that they can be profitable and remain in business.

In the end, like most things in life, the calibre of photographer you end up with depends on what you’re willing to pay. Just remember that the food and music is for your friends and family, but the pictures are for you. After all, that’s what you’ll be looking at years after when you reminisce…

Financial Strategies For Your Wedding

Once you’ve decided whether you’re going to have a no holds barred lavish wedding with all the trimmings and hundreds of guests, or a select few at a very private and intimate ceremony, the next thing you need to do is work out a budget for your wedding. Decide how much you can realistically afford to spend, agree this with your partner and also share it with those that are likely to contribute to your wedding.

After setting your budget you then need to decide when it is that you’re going to get married. Once you know the date of your wedding and you know the budget you can then work out how long you’ve got to come up with the money and set out a plan to make this happen.

For some this might mean a change of lifestyle and a need to make a few sacrifices, and for others it may mean taking on extra work or getting a part-time job for the next year. Either way come up with a realistic plan of how you intend to raise the money. Oh, and by the way,winning the lottery isn’t one of them!

Start getting quotes from all of your suppliers for absolutely everything, and then once you’ve got all your quote you can work through them with your partner and decide what is within your budget and what is most definitely not.

It might seem an obvious thing to do but a lot of couples do not work through their budget together and then end up in a position where they have both chosen items depending on their tastes and at the end of the time realising just how much they have committed themselves to pay

Bear in mind that you may be able to affect the costs by adjusting the timing of your purchases. What I mean by this is that often it is possible to buy items cheaper at different times of the year. For example, wedding venues are often cheaper in the autumn and winter than they are in spring or summer, also weekday weddings can be cheaper not only because the hotel is less busy itself on a Friday but also because less guests can come on a Friday as well.

Now, having less guests may or may not be to your liking but it is an option that you may want to consider.

Check your suppliers, make sure you get multiple quotes for everything. You will most likely find a wide variety in the cost and smaller suppliers in particular tend to be more open to deals. Make sure you get all your quotes in writing as well because you don’t want to get to nearer the wedding day and be presented with an invoice for items that you understood to be a lot less than they actually are.

One last thing to bear in mind is, if you can, make this process a bit of fun, think of it as a game.

You’ve got a certain amount of time in which to complete your task and a certain amount of money to spend and your goal is to get as much as you can for the money that you have. It will mean some difficult decisions for certain items.

Never forget that you can put a spin on just about anything, politicians have been doing this for years. If you have to go for the cheap option, then so be it, sell it to everyone as a style statement. Maybe you’re a no-nonsense person in real life who has no call for the fancy frills and champagne and would much rather go for the beer and mash option. I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of people attending weddings who would die for pie, peas and a pint rather than fancy little cucumber sandwiches that don’t even fill you up!

Whichever way you go with it, good luck and enjoy the process.

Wedding Planning Ideas To Make Sure No One Forgets Your Big Day

The happiness and love two people share should always be the most important and memorable part of their wedding day. But considering how much time and effort you put into planning your nuptials it’s only natural you want guests to remember some of the details of your big day. There will be an album full of pictures and a loving spouse that will help you share those special moments of your own wedding even though your guests may have several weddings a year to attend and taking advantage of great wedding planning ideas will help yours to be memorable to them.

Venue

Some of the most beautiful weddings take place in a hotel ballroom, but let’s be honest – it’s not one of the most original ideas for planning a wedding. Having ideas for planning a wedding can come from lots of different sources. When you’re in the planning stages keep notes on all the interesting places you visit. A unique place that offers a good opportunity for a surprising concept can definitely be memorable to guests. Consider holding your wedding/reception in a zoo, a historic building, a museum, art gallery, classic nightclub or roof garden instead of the standard banquet room.

Food

Good or bad, guests may talk about the food at your wedding long after they’ve forgotten about those wonderful favors you labored over. Increasing the catering budget isn’t necessarily the way to make the food stand out; fried chicken, corn bread, collard greens and sweet potato pie may not be the most elegant meal in the world, but it’s certainly delicious, and if it uniquely reflects the wedding couple’s heritage or the region in which the wedding is taking place then it will also create a memorable detail.

Guest Participation

Being actively involved in the ceremony is a memory that will stay with guests forever. Have ushers great each guest with a flower. At the appropriate time during the ceremony, whoever is the officiant will invite the guests to place their flowers in a vase on the altar as a symbol of their support for the couple and their vows.

For a large wedding, speak to the officiant about including the guests in the vows. For example, before the bride and groom recite their vows, guests might be asked to answer affirmatively to questions such as “Do you promise to support this couple as they struggle through their first fight as a married couple?” By keeping it light and with a hint of humor, guests will definitely remember how much fun the wedding was.

Regardless of your budget, there are many wedding planning ideas to make yours unique and memorable. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t take a lot of money to make touching moments although it does take a little planning and the ability for a little out of the wedding box thinking.

Live Wedding Bands – 10 Tips For Choosing the Perfect Entertainment For Your Wedding

There are hundreds of live wedding bands advertising their services so here are 10 points to consider when choosing a band.

Musical Ability. This is arguably the most important factor when booking a band, and is also probably the only factor that will be recognised by your guests. Many good bands will have backgrounds in top music schools or performing with ‘big name’ artists. This does not guarantee quality but it is a very safe bet. It is the band’s ability to cover your favourite tunes in a musical way that will make or break the performance.

Repertoire.  A good wedding band should have a broad repertoire, and be flexible with it in order to be able to cater to a variety of styles. Bands that can cover a bit of everything (soul, pop, rock, modern chart, 70s, 80s and even jazz/swing) will be the most flexible as they can tailor their performance to the exact specification of the client.

Experience.  The ideal band will have played at many (possibly hundreds) of weddings before and will have come across most situations. The band will then be able to adapt to a last minute schedule change and they will know when and how to change the set list to cater for the audience. There is no point in playing a set of 60s rock ‘n’ roll if everyone wants to hear ’80s pop!

Professionalism. This is paramount at a wedding as this will be the biggest day of their life for most clients. It can’t just be treated as “another gig” to get through. Most people who book a live band for their wedding will never have booked one before, and will probably never book one again, so the band should guide the client in all aspects of the booking including schedule, equipment, repertoire, size of band etc. No two weddings are the same and a good band will understand this!

How do you choose a band from the hundreds on offer?

The most important thing is to DO YOUR RESEARCH. The first place to start is the internet. A good professional band should invest in a good website, good demo recordings and good advertising, so they wont be difficult to find. Ask the band where they have played before and how many weddings they have performed at. Speak to the band manager on the phone too, or even meet in person. This will give you a good idea into how professional they really are.

How do you compare prices between the bands?

You should ask for a FULLY INCLUSIVE quote from all bands and ask them to list what is included. In addition to the musician fees they should always include a PA system, stage lighting, background music between sets and travel expenses. Always check how much live music you actually get for your money too as some bands will quote for 120 minutes (2 x 60) and some will quote for 90 minutes (2 x 45).

Can you view a band live before booking them?

Unfortunately most professional wedding bands do not have live public performances that you can view them at. It is always worth asking though as you may be able to view them at another wedding or possibly a public showcase if they have one.

Should you book through an entertainment agency or direct with a band?

Entertainment agencies are a good way to find bands as they will work with bands on a regular basis and will know exactly who is good at what. You will usually pay a little more (20% on average) for a band from an agency though, so if you are on a tight budget it may be best to book directly with a band. If booking through an agency always make sure that they clearly state the commission they are charging and ask who the contract will be with; the band or the agency. This could make a big difference to how your booking is dealt with and the level of come back you have should something go wrong.

How much should you expect to pay?

Most well established, PROFESSIONAL wedding bands will fall into the region between £1000 and £2500 and the price will depend on the size of band and the distance they need to travel to your event. Bands that charge a very small amount may be inexperienced, have no contract or insurance, and are probably not full time professional musicians. You should always ask what is included in the package and what level of protection the band’s contract gives you.

Why should you choose a live band over a DJ?

A live band gives much more of a ‘wow factor’ than a DJ and will often make or break the evening party. DJs are definitely useful at what they do, and in some cases will be more suited to a wedding than a live band, but nothing can beat a live band for the energy, crowd interaction and sheer enjoyment factor!