Archives for October 2011

7 Important Jobs For Your Chief Bridesmaid

The chief bridesmaid, often known as the matron or maid of honour, plays a very important part in a wedding. She is to the bride what the best man is to the groom.

This is a role that carries great responsibility and the bride normally chooses her sister, if she has one or a very close friend to be her chief bridesmaid.

Throughout the wedding preparations the chief bridesmaid offers support and advice and will generally be the bride’s rock.

Take a look at these 7 duties the chief bridesmaid will be responsible for, not just during the planning process, but during and after the big day:

1. Planning The Hen Party

The hen party can be as simple as a quiet drink, dinner at a local restaurant, or it might be something as extravagant as a girlie week in the sun. And although it wasn’t always the case, the bride now helps to decide on the hen party.

Once the decision is made, the chief bridesmaid will make all the necessary arrangements such as reservations and collecting any monies from the girls who will make up the party.

2. The Wedding Gown Search

The most important thing a bride has to do when she is planning her wedding is to find her perfect wedding dress. This is where the chief bridesmaid really comes into her own.

As she accompanies the bride on endless shopping expeditions, watching her try on dress after dress, she will tactfully offer advice and suggestions until the dress is bought. She will then accompany the bride to all the future fittings of the dress.

3. Dressing The Bridesmaids

Another vital role for a chief bridesmaid is helping the bride to arrange the outfits for both the other bridesmaids and the flower girls. To make sure this task goes smoothly, the chief bridesmaid will need to arrange a time that is suitable for everyone, since fittings are generally carried out on everyone at the same time and in the same location.

During these fittings, the chief bridesmaid will often have a second task to complete: helping the bride-to-be make sure these outfits coordinate with the bridal gown.

4. The Wedding Day

Finally, the wedding day dawns, and this is the day everyone has worked so hard for. The day when everything comes together, and the day when the chief bridesmaid really takes control. Just look at some of the things she will be responsible for:

  • Helping the bride with her hair, manicure and make-up
  • Dressing the younger bridesmaids and page boys
  • Help with the bride’s dress
  • Keep everybody calm
  • Leave for church in the car with the bride’s mother and the other bridesmaids

5. Arriving At The Church

At the church, the chief bridesmaid will:

  • Await the arrival of the bride and help her out of the car
  • Arrange her dress and veil
  • Make sure the other bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys are in place
  • Follow the bride and her escort (usually her father ) down the aisle
  • Enter the vestry with the best man to witness the signing of the register

6. At The Reception

As the bridal party arrives at the reception venue the chief bridesmaid will:

  • Be a part of the receiving line and greet the guests
  • Give a short speech and toast the bride and groom
  • Be responsible for the bride’s bouquet and any wedding gifts
  • Make sure everyone has good time, especially the bride
  • Together with the best man, join the bride and groom on the dance floor for the first dance

7. And When It’s All Over

As the newly-wed couple begin their honeymoon the chief bridesmaid still has a few last jobs to do. She will need to make sure all the wedding gifts go to the couples home in time for their return. Return any outfits, cake stands, knives etc that were hired.

So as you can see the chief bridesmaid has a lot of responsibilities, and the bride depends on her throughout the whole planning process and the wedding itself.

So yes, the role of the chief bridesmaid is a hard one and there is a lot of pressure on her, but any downsides will be hugely outweighed by helping the bride to have her dream wedding day

Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 1: The Dress

Planning the wedding of your dreams is exciting, but it can come as quite a shock to find out that the average cost of a wedding these days is around $27,000.

And even if you’ve been saving for months, and arrange everything yourselves, it’s still going to be tricky to make your budget go round.

So to help you to make as many savings as possible, and to help you get the most from whatever budget you have, I’m putting together this 7 part guide. You can check out the other parts at the links below, or you can read on through this first part that’s all about how to make huge savings on the cost of your wedding dress.

Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 1: The Wedding Dress
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 2: The Reception
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 3: The Cake

So How Much Should A Wedding Dress Cost?

Obviously your wedding dress is probably the most important item you are going to purchase for your wedding day. The average cost of a wedding dress is now a whopping $1000, and that is going to take a big chunk out of any-one’s budget.

But with a bit of clever thought you could get the dress of your dreams for half that. So if you can save $500 on the price of your wedding dress, just imagine what that would mean.

Maybe an upgrade on your honeymoon hotel room?

How To Get Your Dream Wedding Dress For Half Price

So before you can start your search for the perfect wedding gown, you need to have a fair idea of the style and colour you want.

The best way to do this is to buy a few bridal magazines, make a cup of tea, and settle down on the sofa and find a dress that you like. This is important. You don’t want to end up buying a dress you’re not completely happy with just because it’s cheap.

So when you know what you’re looking for you’re all set. There are 3 main ways you can find a cheap wedding dress and these are Ebay, Vintage, or wedding shows. All these options can work very well, so let’s examine each of them.

Buying A Wedding Dress On EBay

Using the Internet is a great way to find a bargain. In the privacy of your own home, in front of your computer you can browse to your heart’s content. And Ebay is absolutely the best way to start.

You will be amazed at amount of designer dresses you can find here, all at a fraction of shop prices. This site also features gowns from small bridal boutiques, and amazingly cheap foreign import dresses.

If you don’t find what you want straight away, check back every day. The stock is constantly being updated.

When you are certain you have found ‘ the one ‘ it’s a good idea to go to a bridal shop and try on a similar design just to confirm this is the dress for you.

Buying A Vintage Wedding Dress

Weddings with a vintage theme are becoming ever more popular these days – and of course a vintage wedding means a vintage wedding dress.

This type of wedding is usually more traditional and sometimes more formal, so the dress is absolutely the most important part of the day.

But here again Ebay is a great place to start your search. And there are lots of shops that specialize in selling vintage clothes. And don’t forget the charity shops – often a great place to find vintage dresses.

So go retro – start rummaging! Just remember to check carefully for stains and any rips or tears when you are buying a pre-worn dress.

Buying A Dress At A Wedding Show

When you are planning your wedding it’s really exciting to go to a wedding show. It’s also a good place to go when you are looking for your perfect wedding dress at a bargain price.

So when you see one near you go along, maybe taking your chief bridesmaid with you for a second opinion. Here you will see rail after rail of fantastic wedding dresses – all sizes, styles, colours and designs.

Many designers and high-end bridal shops use these shows to sell their end of line dresses and samples at really knock down prices, so this another way you could buy the dress of your dreams for maybe half price.

At first, many brides wouldn’t like the idea of buying something as important as their wedding dress from an online auction, or a second-hand outlet, but you can still buy a fantastic dress that will look great.

Don’t forget, with a bit of clever shopping,you can walk down the aisle in a designer wedding dress, having saved up to $500.

So start your search now, and make it a task to find the biggest savings possible.

Check Out Part 2 Of This Complete Wedding Budget Guide
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 2: The Reception

7 Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Invitations

There are so many aspects to planning a wedding that it can very easily get on top of you and leave you feeling overwhelmed. And that’s why I like to put together these little FAQs on some of the areas of wedding planning where you might not be sure what to do.

So here are 7 frequently asked questions on the very important subject of wedding invitations, and I really hope they help you out.

1. When should Wedding Invitations Be Sent Out?

If you previously sent out save-the-date cards, then your invitations should be sent out around 2 to 3 months before the wedding. This allows your guests enough time to make the necessary arrangements to attend your wedding.

Some may need to book time off work, or sort travel arrangements if they are coming from out of town.

2. What Should Be Included On The Wedding Invitation?

  • The host’s names (Normally the bride’s parents)
  • The name of the bride and groom
  • Details of the wedding venue, including directions, car parking etc
  • Date and time of the wedding
  • Details of time and venue of the wedding reception, including directions
  • R.S.V.P cards
  • Web site address

3. One Or Two Invites For House Sharers?

This is a grey area really. But if two house sharers are generally regarded by their friends as a couple, either engaged or living together, then one invitation is fine.

But if two people are simply sharing a house then they would each need a separate invitation.

4. Who Should The RSVPs Be Returned To?

If you’re handling all of your wedding arrangements yourself then you’ll want the invitations returned to you, and you can then organize everything related to your guest list yourself. But if someone else is helping out with some of your plans, such as your parents or your partner’s parents, then this might be a good job to offload on them.

Whatever you decide, make sure to include the appropriate address with your invitations, and if you do get help with this and someone else handles the RSVPs, it’ll be a good idea to stay in touch with them as the invitations begin to come back, just so you can stay informed about how many guests there are going to be.

5. Can Guests Bring A Guest?

Well, my answer to this one is yes – I do think singles should have a plus 1 on their invites.

I know from personal experience, having been to a wedding without a partner that it can be very lonely and uncomfortable.

So, as long as numbers allow, it just seems like good manners to give singles the option of bringing a guest.

6. Should I Invite Children To My Wedding?

This is a question that many couples struggle with when planning their guest list. And there are always divided opinions on this.

When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we didn’t even have to think about it. We just knew we wanted all the children to be a part of our day. It made it such a happy family occasion, everyone had a great time, and we knew we had made the right decision.

But there are no hard and fast rules here, and it’s your wedding, so if you don’t want children there then you need to make this clear on the invitation.

If you just want children at the ceremony but not at the evening reception, then you need to send two separate invitations. One to the ceremony including the names of the children, and one to the evening celebration stating clearly ‘Adults Only Reception’.

7. Can I Make My Own Invitations?

This is something that is becoming increasingly popular. Making your own wedding invitations will not only mean they are unique, but you can design them to set the theme for your wedding.

Most people consider their wedding much too important to make their own invitations, but this is one of the best areas to save money and you will be surprised how good the results can be.

Pay a visit to a local craft outlet and pick up some ideas. Then you can follow through and make your own place settings, menus, and thank-you cards.