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weddings

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$MONEY$ BABY, $MONEY$ BABY!!!

Hey everyone!  We're blessed with another day Y'all. We have another opportunity to do great things and be our awesome selves. So today, I want to continue our discussion on details involved in the wedding planning process. I am excited, are you?

The topic today is finances and budgeting. Okay, I know some of you mentally said “ugh” followed by "boring" - or your brain immediately started going into sleep mode. Because really, who thinks about finances as a fun topic other than accountants (and me on the d/l)? Well, hate to be the bearer of boring news, but finances when planning a wedding are important, so we have to talk about it.

Are you ready? Here we go.

Did you know that the number one reason for divorce today in the United States of America, is listed as financial reasons?  This is because each person has a different money mindset. I found out just yesterday that I am a financial dreamer (the dreamer part I knew because I already have franchises in my head for Unique Elements, a story for a later time). Who knew that it wasn’t just practical to have a financial advisor, it was imperative for who I am as a person/businesswoman?  It is these things that we need to know and understand before we say “I do” in order to better equip us for marriage.

You may be wondering how that applies to you.

Let’s talk about two very opposite experiences I’ve had planning weddings.

Wedding planning scenario one: the bride was very much dedicated to the wedding planning process and understood that deposits and subsequent payments had to be made to secure the vendors needed for the wedding day. The groom, on the other hand, refused to cooperate or allow her to release any payments until the vendors were basically threatening to not provide their service (a recipe for financial disaster if not corrected soon).

In the second scenario, the bride and groom had budgeted their wedding (the first scenario had a budget and due dates as well) and created a separate account to pay for all of their wedding-related expenses. Due dates were discussed and vendors that could be paid off before the wedding day were paid (e.g. florists, wedding planner, cake). Which do you think was easier to work with?

It comes back to what we spoke about last week, about premarital counseling and discovering who you are and what love languages you speak. This week I’d like to take it a step further and press you to figure out your money mindsets, one partner is always the Nerd (apologies to all who may feel some way about the use of this term) or the Free Spirit. This categorization is brought to you courtesy of Dave Ramsey, who does an awesome financial course called Financial Peace University. Check it out here. You may not agree with all of his theories, but 80% of what is taught makes a lot of sense, and I encourage every couple to take the class. At the least, it helps you to view yourselves and categorize your spending habits. This will save you tons and tons and tons, and did I say tons? Of arguments in the future. It can save you many arguments during the planning process.

Finances are important, and as every wise woman who’s ever been married before has repeatedly told me, I share this with you, "start like you mean to finish". Talk about everything. Finances, especially. Talk about who is going to pay what. Separate accounts or joint? Or as a beautiful couple who taught us about financial peace said, three accounts – one joint for billing, and two separate for pleasure - now let’s not get crazy and think 90% of the paycheck goes to pleasure and 10% in bills. Or even that it will be skewed with one person saving more than contributing to bills. This would have to be discussed at length, and a plan formulated based on your budget and to have an equal payout.

However you decide to sort it out, it is very beneficial to your marriage and mental health to know where you are financially as a couple. After all, your guy may want to have some drinks with his friends or catch a game and some drinks. And we know, us ladies want hair and nails done. It just needs to be budgeted so everyone can have some breathing room and not feel choked.  

That is why as a planner asking about your budget and helping you to formulate one if you do not have one is so important. It is like the analogy from last week — compasses and starting points. Knowing where you are and where you need to go makes it easier to chart a way to your destination. Your destination right now is marriage, with the hope of forever. The destination is not the wedding day, that is the first stop on the journey. I love planning weddings, and sharing with you helpful traits to avoid or to implement. But the ultimate goal is to succeed. Better together remember? Let’s become more aware of who we are and become more successful in our marriages. We are more than just the wedding day.    

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Invitation Drama - Part 2 – Don’t be tacky!

Today’s issue is about being classy with your invites. We already know that there are so many things out there that we may want for the wedding or for our futures. Sometimes the traditional gift is not what we want. Who wants another toaster, or another set of towels. You already have two households that you are combining into one. That’s already two different color schemes and towels, a compromise can surely be found with the towels or sofas. Everything will surely not be thrown out when you move into one house (although ladies, sometimes the majority of the stuff that they bring, surely should not only be thrown in the trash but actually burnt. Live fire, Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party style). 

The solution that has been the latest trend is, “keep your gift, just give me the money', (thanks Pink!). The sad fact is, many brides want to include this on the invitation. A big NO NO. Not only is it tacky, it makes you look like a beggar. In a recent article on Brides.com, it highlighted a bride that took it an extra step and canceled her wedding because she asked each of the attendees for a whopping $1500 per person. Like, she seriously wanted the guests to pay for her wedding because her dream wedding cost upwards of $60,000 CAD. She and the intended groom had a son. After a while even he thought that the request was insane, and when he agreed with the guests that invitees that basically said “Hell-to-the-NO” (and that she was insane), she got mad and literally called off the wedding ladies (read the full article here). Bear in mind, they have a son together. Maybe it was for the best...who knows?

I digress, but you see how it would seem like, (in the terms of my grandmother) “you are helping up yourself” with things you can’t afford. Basically asking for them to pay your way through your wedding. Especially when there are stipulations on the amounts that will be accepted. So back to my original reason for this piece. It is acceptable to want monetary gifts, or that you have a gift registry or maybe you’ve even scored coupons that will save guests some funds. Never, ever, include this on your invitations. There are so many beautiful types of invitations and weddings are usually classy, emulating your style. The whole excitement and perception of receiving the invitation is changed when we start asking for monetary gifts in the very same thing that we say “you are cordially invited to”. It is like we are saying, you are invited and by the way, we want some of your money. Not your gift, because we may not like your taste.  Or, you can come, but make sure you bring some money. You get what I mean right?

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Tacky.

Of course, there are ways to be cute and clean about it. Some of the masters of wedding planning in The Association of Bridal Consultants suggest that it is better to have a specified space where your invitees can get additional information about the wedding. If you haven’t a website, maybe you have the emails of all your attendees. Create a nice single sheet and send them what you can call a wedding newsletter. It would be so fun for them because here, you can include places where your out of towners can stay, coupons for hotels, your gift registry (if you do have one), and of course, your preference of money over gifts. Your guest would enjoy this because they are invited and feel like this is something only the persons who have agreed to come are privileged to obtain. It also leaves the choice of bringing a gift or giving money completely up to them. Check out this wonderful list of places where you can create a monetary donation wedding/honeymoon registry compiled by Brides.com here.

 

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Invitation Drama - Part 1 - Telling your mom "NO"

Here it is Y’all. The drama surrounding the invitations. Invitations shouldn’t be a big problem because generally, you have an idea of how many people you want at your wedding. This most often comes as a result of knowing how much you want to spend, because, let’s face it, the cost per plate can run up really fast. So, the idea is sometimes that there will be, let’s say, one hundred guests at the wedding, yet to be safe you will send out one hundred and ten invitations, because, some people wouldn’t be able to make it anyway.

Then, you tell your mom about your plans.  This is where you find out that she wants you to invite all of her friends. The reason being, they followed you and stood by her through all of your growing up years. And don’t forget Aunt Susan, who really isn’t your aunt at all, but she was somehow attached to one of your Uncles years and years ago. She has to be at the wedding because she always sent you the sweetest gifts whenever your achieved something ---kindergarten graduation, first tooth came out, middle and high school. Doesn’t matter that you hadn’t seen her since you spent your summer looking toward college. The years don’t seem to signify with your mom, Aunt Susan absolutely has to be there.

The question then becomes, how is this combatted?  In my experience, this is as much mom’s wedding as it is yours, yet, there is a line that has to be drawn. This is generally not easy and I often envision it being something like Bugs Bunny drawing a line with Elmer Fudd and saying that that is his side, and this is his, but with a happier ending.

So how do you “draw the line” and come to a solution? The most helpful solution is to talk to your mom and express your feelings about the cost and see if there are some of her friends that you feel closer to. Then ask her if she is okay with you only invited those friends. This way you both meet with a happy medium, some of her best ladies are there, and you don’t have the extras, the ones that you only be nice to because they are your mom’s friends.  Of course, a conversation like this would take some reflection. You would have to think back and ask yourself, whom did you feel helped you the most, and with whom you felt you have the best relationship with. And as for Aunt Susan, if it was years since you had spoken to her, she is not a priority invitee. Create a nice card once you have the wedding photos and write her a special note stating how much you appreciated her throughout the years, and as a thank you, you wanted to share a few pictures of your wedding celebration with her.  She would then still be included, and you have only the people that you enjoy, helping you to celebrate your wedding day. What is more fun than speding time with the persons you love the most?

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A little detail often forgotten.. or a MAJOR factor?

Ladies, you may be wondering what “little” wedding detail today’s post is going to be about. Guess what, it is little. It is something that is often forgotten to be exact. What is it?  The “reserved” sign.

Okay, so I made this big lead up and came to you with a “reserved” sign. You might be wondering, where is she going with this. Why such drama around a reserved sign? Let me tell you a little story of a wedding we worked.

There were eighty invited guests including the bridal party. Seems very straightforward and simple right? Wrong. The original guest list was one hundred fifty and due to unforeseen circumstances, the guest list had to be cut. This was no easy fete. With large families on both sides, it was very hard to come to eighty guests. After much work and evaluation, eighty guests were selected and notified that they were the chosen lucky ones. Hooray, all is well in the world.

But, disaster was on the horizon. Come wedding day, one hundred guests were invited to the ceremony, of which one hundred and fifteen showed up. Now, you may think I am exaggerating – as this would be a planner’s nightmare, after all. But, I kid you not. There were one hundred fifteen guests. Yes, you might have guessed, some of said one hundred invitees, brought a plus one (which was not allowed per the invitation, but that is for another time – stay tuned for “Invitation drama”).

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We are not allowed to panic, we are planners, the stress handlers for the day. No worries at all, we got this. We formulated a plan and stuck to it. Several of the guests got angry (a planner’s nightmare, because guests are to always be happy at a wedding, right? That is our main goal, right?)

A planner’s job is quite tough because the main priority is to adhere to the bride and groom’s wishes. Those wishes, (I am coming full circle, stay with me), were to have eighty guests attend the reception. So,  guests being upset that they are not able to bring the plus one, and deciding to leave was what ended up happening. We had a checklist to go by, and if you weren’t on the list, you had to go -

*Hasta Luego, See ya, Bye-Bye*.

Sad, but true. We made it through the list with a few special guests that the bride or groom really wanted to stay. But Y'all. And here is my full circle. The tables were not numbered. And there were NO reserved signs.

CHAOS everywhere. Where will the family sit? Who is to be near to the bridal party? Where will the persons who are about going to sit?

*Hair pulling, Frantic, Breathless*

 At least, that was what was in my head. Outside I was the picture of serenity. A wedding planner never loses her cool *HELLO*

 Several guests had decided to seat themselves as we were sorting out the checklists and had to be asked to move to accommodate the family, and were later seated after the bridal party and the important persons that were giving the toasts were seated.

*Phew*

Okay, so that was the story, but, Y'all. Long story short. A lot of that drama and headache could have been avoided with a few table numbers and some reserved cards. Early during the planning process, this was all there. A seating chart, table numbers, and a designated family table. Planning can be so hectic that this can sometimes get lost, and it seems like no small matter. The sad truth is that it can be a big issue.

 As of that day, reserved signs are one of the first things that go in my emergency kit. We now know how to prevent chaos from happening by reserving the family’s seats and asking the maid of honor of all the important persons that should be seated close to the family. They are all now seated before the remaining guests, who can then choose their own seating.

Reserved signs Y'all. A small but mighty planning tool that can help the wedding reception be absolutely amazing or utterly chaotic. A lesson well learned, and now we are always prepared, and you should be too. Don’t push the seating chart to the last week of the wedding, if you feel that you are running out of time, have a designated friend that is good at organizing to help you. But if you absolutely ran out of time…With us?  No seating chart? NO problem.

*Pulls out reserved signs*

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