Smart Bride: Ways You Can Curb Your Wedding Expenses

 

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“Weddings are wonderful, but they do not have to be expensive. Marriage is about love, not dollar signs” –Author Unknown

 

Weddings have been known to be expensive.

Regardless of how hard you try to keep the costs down, it seems like one aspect or another would cause your overall expenses to bloat. Couples do try to stay in budget as much as possible but there is also that factor that says they are only going to be married once. In this regard, they would want their wedding day to be memorable as well and enjoyable. Unfortunately, to most couples this would connote as a huge expense.

However, this should not be the case. Your wedding should be memorable in the sense that people enjoyed it and you had great moments as well and not because you were overwhelmed with payables and budget deficits. Be smart in your approach and plan a wedding that is doable according to your budget. It might be a milestone in your relationship but going over budget and drowning yourself in debt trying to achieve that dream wedding you have can potentially make your marriage fraught with complications. However, keep in mind that this is not to say that your dream wedding is not within your reach. It is but it requires a little effort and creativity on your part to achieve. So, as a smart couple-to-be avail of wedding packages, do whatever you can to keep your wedding expenses small. Do not go beyond budget and perhaps, keep these small but useful tips in mind when planning and preparing for a wedding:

 

Have a well-defined budget

Saving money on your wedding starts with creating a well-defined budget. In this regard, your budget should be strict and clear. Take a look at the state of your savings and determine how much you and your spouse to be can afford to put toward your wedding. Keep in mind that you have to set a limit as well and not go overboard. Keep in mind that you would still need money to start out your life as a couple as well. List what your prospective expenses might be, tabulate them and put them in a spreadsheet. If you can already canvass prices for these, all the better as you would be able to include it in your sheet but for other expenses, it requires a bit of guesswork. Determine how much the average person is going to consume and how many guests you would have and what the overall price would be then include it in your spreadsheet.

 

Do not go for the most obvious and convenient venues

Convenient venues charge couples exorbitantly because they are obvious choices. They make everyone happy and they do not need little more work and effort just to get there. Sure, it might be tempting to book your wedding in places where it is accessible both to your guests as well as to you. However, by opting for unconventional and out-of-the-box choices, you can potentially save a lot. Remember, just because they are far does not mean they would be any less grand. If anything, you might even discover hidden gems in the suburbs or rural side of your town. Explore as many of your options as possible before going for the most obvious route.

 

Try to see if you can ask for discounts

Most couples do not bother with negotiating a discount solely because it is more hassle to negotiate. However, you should ask whenever you can but remember to be reasonable in your request. Remember that your suppliers are running a business as well so do not try to low ball them. Apart from that, scout out some family, friends and relatives who are in the business and ask them if they can offer you a discount or if they are willing to negotiate on one. Of course, as a way of saying your thanks, ask them if you have any skills you can offer them in exchange.

 

Buy your alcohol

You would be surprised as to how steep the markup on alcohol will be in catered events. Apart from this, some venues will even charge you extra for each alcoholic drink served. In this regard, it is best to go wholesale rather than pay retail. Buy boxes of wine or any alcoholic beverage and serve them up on your wedding. Not only would this make your bartender’s life easier, it makes your total expense significantly smaller than what it would have been had you paid retail.

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Joyful Weddings: Five Things You Should Never Include in Your Wedding Toast

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“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person”-Mignon Mclaughlin

 

One of the best things about attending a wedding reception is getting to hear various wedding guests—especially those closest to the couple—regale the hall with tales and anecdotes of the couple’s adventures (or even misadventures). At times, a lot of pressure is put on the wedding speech giver to ensure that what he or she will deliver would not only be perfect but memorable and a fun one as well.

However, remember that for the most part, the wedding speech you are giving is mostly for the couple and would only serve as entertainment to those listening in. In that regard, you would not want to include personal matters that only you and the couple are privy to in your speech. While you might want to entertain the wedding guests, you would also not want to disclose stories that are either too personal or embarrassing for the couple. Keep it light, fun and entertaining without being over the top. Remember, there is a variety of ways to keep your speech from being boring without resorting to spilling the sordid details of what your friend did way back in college. More importantly, it is imperative to keep in mind that with a captive audience of both the bride and groom’s family and friends, what you leave out of your speech or toast is just as important as what you put in. So, what should be left out then? Here are some of the things that should never be included in wedding toasts and speeches for comedic effect or whatever reason:

 

Your errant misadventures with your friend

Regardless of how small, funny or insignificant an infraction might be it should never make it into a wedding speech when it involves getting in trouble with the law. Sure, you and your friend might have found the time wherein you got busted for underage drinking funny but your friend certainly would not appreciate you sharing that fact to all of his or her friends and relatives. Reminiscing about old times might bring in the nostalgia but it is inappropriate to share with someone’s in-laws, colleagues and grandparents in the room. Save those stories for bachelor and bachelorette parties but for your wedding toast or speech, offer a fond memory that speaks highly of the couple’s characters.

 

Bringing up any trouble in paradise

If you happen to be privy about the couple’s private lives such as knowing whether or not the family approves of him or that one time they fought about their finances, know that they made you a confidante for a reason. With that said, your wedding toast is definitely not the best place to bring that up—even if the couple did manage to reconcile or patch things up. Leave any mention of internal family drama or conflict out of your toast as you might potentially spell trouble for them.

 

Any of the couple’s exes

A wedding is neither the time nor the place to bring up any of the couples’ exes. Remember, the wedding is about the couple who just tied the knot and are about to start a future together. In this regard, you should not bring up anything—or anyone for that matter—from their pasts as it would only succeed in making them feel uncomfortable. More importantly, it would be sure to make their wedding guests ill at ease as well. In lieu of bringing up their exes, regale the audience with a story of how the couple met instead.

 

What transpired in the respective bachelor and bachelorette parties

Your wedding toast is not an avenue for you to expose your friend’s shenanigans and wild side. Keep in mind that what happens on the respective parties should only stay there. Remind yourself of why you and your friend have been with each other for the longest time and have had each other’s backs through the good times and the bad. Do not include any unflattering stories about your friend or the couple in your toast and instead, use it as an opportunity to tell the audience what you love about the couple and why you value their friendship.

 

An inside joke

An inside joke is called an inside joke for a reason. In this regard, it should only stay between you and your friend. Remember, you want everyone to be able to relate to your speech about the couple. So, if you recall a time that only you and your friend would know about, you will undoubtedly have some of the audience members scratching their heads. As a result, the audience will feel left out and no one would understand why your story is actually funny. Remember, the guests want to know more about the couple and their relationship. So, try to steer your focus towards that instead of regaling them with inside joke only you would probably find funny.

 

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Prepping for Your Big Day: Reasons Every Bride Should Have a Bridal Session

 

 

 

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“Perspective: without a doubt, it is the most important thing that every bride should hold on to with both hands” –Author Unknown

 

One of the biggest and most momentous events in a woman’s life is her wedding day. In this regard, couples would want to immortalize that moment forever in the form of photographs and videos. With this in mind, brides should consider having bridal photography sessions or bridal sessions for short. Most engaged couples would already know about engagement sessions but have limited to absolutely no idea of what a bridal session is. While bridal photography sessions are mostly a Western tradition, they are worth incorporating to our local ones and would make excellent mementos of your soon-to-be big day.

What is a bridal photography session?

In sum, a bridal photography session is one wherein a bride would get dressed up in her bridal attire at any other time other than the wedding day. More often than not, bridal sessions are scheduled a month or two before the wedding. Unfortunately, even though this is a feature included in most wedding packages in the Philippines, not many brides would avail of it owing to the antiquated belief that a bride should never be seen in her wedding dress other than on her wedding day. However, to address this superstition, brides can opt to have a different wedding gown for the photo op session and a different one during the wedding itself. Having a bridal photography session allows brides to display their bridal photos at the wedding reception where they can choose to display a grand one or a series of small photos. Your options are limitless and it makes for a charming personalized décor in your wedding reception area. In any case, here are some of the reasons why you might want a bridal session:

 

The perfect trial run

In a sense, a bridal session is pretty much like a sneak peek of what your wedding photos will look like unless you opt to have a different dress for the wedding itself. Most brides would be excited to see how their dress would look on them with their bridal makeup, hair, accessories and shoes on. Your bridal session can be a trial run that gives you an insight to these things that you would have otherwise seen only on your wedding day. More importantly, it gives you a chance to iron out any details you might want to ahead of the wedding. As it gives you a preview of what to expect, you can make the necessary changes such as the hairstyle you choose or the makeup you go with which gives you a better leverage of your overall look during your big day. It saves you from decisions that you would soon regret the moment you see what your wedding photos will look like.

 

It calms your nerves

Having the pre-wedding jitters is inevitable. After all, you are making a significant and momentous life decision, so being a little anxious is normal. A bridal session would help you address these jitters and have you feeling more relaxed in your wedding attire. You can twirl around in your dress, feel like a beautiful bride and get you psyched up about your upcoming big day. More importantly, you can picture out the kind of photos you will make when your bridal session photos will get delivered. Looking through them will get you pumped up about your wedding day and allay any nervous feelings you may be having.

 

Take full advantage of your wedding dress

Unless you opted to go with another wedding dress for your wedding day, a bridal session allows you to make the most and take full advantage of your wedding dress. After all, you have pretty much paid quite the sum for that white gown, so why not utilize it to the extent by taking every opportunity to wear it and show it off? Select a location that is a different from where you are holding your wedding and the reception as it allows you to have a variety of photos that are diversely styled. Moreover, it gives you a preview of what your dress would look like in different milieus which would resultantly make your dress purchase more economic rather than expensive. Besides, you will realistically wear your wedding attire only once, why not psyche yourself up for the big day by modeling it out for your bridal photo shoot?

 

It is a special time for bonding

A bridal photo session allows you to bond with people closest to your heart such as your mother, sister or best friend—or even all of them! While you do not need an army for this photo shoot, it would certainly be nice to have most of the closest ladies in your life in attendance. Not only would they be able to assist you, but they would certainly make you feel special and excited about your upcoming day.

 

More photos

Simply said, a bridal session will give you more photos. More importantly, it allows you to choose which photos choose for your wedding day itself. As you have more photos to choose from, you can choose the best shots for a framed portrait and the appropriate ones as souvenirs to gift your parents and grandparents. Additionally, it frees some time on your wedding day wherein you do not have to spend a couple of hours just taking up wedding day portraits and allows you to bond with your wedding guests earlier.

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Big Days and Big Moments: The Top Five Things a Bride Forgets Before her Big Day

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“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction” –Antoine De Saint Exupery

No doubt, a bride’s wedding day would probably be the most significant day in her life she would look forward to.

In this regard, preparations would be made to ensure that everything goes up to speed and meticulous attention is given to every detail leading up to the event. However, as a bride is usually overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the event and the inundation of things to consider, they are bound to forget a myriad of things on the day of their wedding itself. It does not matter how organized a bride thinks she is, how organized they seem or how many spreadsheets they have prepared, they would inevitably forget a thing or two during the big day. After all, the couple of weeks leading up to your wedding are the most crucial and there will be a minefield of easily forgotten details. Sure, you have penned the details of the wedding ceremony down to the last detail and have hired a professional to take care of the various aspects in your wedding but oftentimes, what you forget are easily the most commonly overlooked things you should do the day before your wedding. To address this, it is best to add what these commonly neglected wedding tasks are and add them to your checklist so that come wedding day, you are as prepared as you can be.

Here are some of the most commonly forgotten wedding tasks a bride neglects to do the night or days before her big day:

 

Give your sparkler a shine

Of course, by the time you put the wedding ring on your finger, you would be showing it off far more than your engagement ring. However, as they will be located in the same finger, it would be worth your while to have your engagement ring cleaned and shined a day or two before your big day. Let it sparkle and take the center stage as well. After all, it would probably be featured in a myriad of shots in your SDE videos and photos.

 

Prepare your touch up bag

While your professional makeup artist would be there to take care of your make up and touch ups throughout the day, there are moments wherein they might not be able to attend to you right away. In this regard, it is imperative to have your own touch up bag and prepare it in advance. Have your handy compact powder, mirror and lipstick with you and pack all the basic essentials you would need to keep yourself looking fresh all day.

 

Get your bridal party gifts together

Modern weddings today traditionally include bridal party gifts which the bride would present to her bridal party or squad as a way of saying thank you. You can get these ready days leading up to the wedding and have it ready the morning of the big day. If you have gone out of your way of choosing something personal and special for each of them, be sure not to forget the gifts.

 

Prepare a playlist

On the morning of your wedding day when you and your bridal squad are getting ready, it would be best to have a list of jams which you could then play. After all, no morning getting-ready session would be complete without your favorite tunes and tracks and of course, a few glasses of your favorite drinks. You can ask one of your bridesmaids to do this. Have them compile a fun playlist that would keep everyone in the mood as they await their turn for hair and makeup.

 

Prepare comfy shoes

While it might seem like an extra thing to pack, you will never regret bringing along some comfy flat shoes for you to wear in case your feet get sore. Sure, you might have convinced yourself that you can strut the night away in your gorgeous wedding heels, but once you have had way too many to drink and would wish to dance, you will be glad you do not have to walk around barefoot in your wedding dress. At some point during the night, you might wish to take your heels off, so a pair of comfy sandals, slippers or shoes will surely save the day.

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Tying the Knot: What to Keep in Mind When Creating a Wedding Guest List

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It has been said that the guaranteed bulletproof way to create a guest list for your wedding is to imagine that person drunk, dancing and wild. If it is not funny nor does it suit to your liking, you should erase their name.

Unfortunately, wedding receptions in the Philippines have traditionally been so inclusive with more and more couples opting for a more expansive guest list than what their budgets would allow. This can be attributed to the couple’s wish to make everyone happy and ensure no one gets left behind lest they get offended. Unfortunately, including everyone you know from the top of your head can easily balloon your expenses. This would be all well and good if you have a limitless financial resource for your wedding but if you are operating on a budget, you might want to scale down on inviting so many people to your big day. Indeed, the prospect of drafting your first guest list can be daunting–especially if you are looking at an intimate celebration. However, drafting and cutting it bit by bit would help you arrive at a workable one that makes you happy. To ensure that your guest list drafting goes smoothly, here are some of the things you can keep in mind:

 

1.) Decide how you would divide the list before you accept any monetary help

Making a guest list can get complicated–especially if you have everyone else contributing to who should be invited–and even more so if both sets of parents are contributing to your big day financially. In this regard, it is best to be clear about your expectations from the get go. Know what you can afford before you even consider accepting financial help from them. If you have decided to pay for your wedding entirely by yourselves, get the families together and talk about your plans for the guest list to mitigate the likelihood of surprises. Remember, once you start accepting financial help, your family would feel pretty much entitled to invite anyone they want.

2.) Have a collaborative guest list

There is a myriad of ways to come up with a guest list but ideally, you should use one that is collaborative so that either one of you who has inputs can make edits in real time and see an updated version. In fact, it is best if you had a digital spreadsheet for your wedding guest list so that when a guest RSVP’s, you can immediately make changes to it. More importantly, this very same sheet would help you send out your thank you cards after your wedding.

3.) Design a dream list

In the initial stages of your guest list planning, note down the names you can imagine attending your big day. This list can be as inclusive as you wish it to be–even going as far to including your friends from grade school to that one classmates you had in art class. For this part alone, you can disregard your budget and venue for the meantime. After all, this is your base and you are going to do some trimming as you go. You might think why this is so important. Well, the answer is, this list would help you realistically think if someone should be in your wedding should you want to add any more persons to your final list soon. If they never made it to this list, do you even want them to attend your wedding at all?

4.) Be realistic about the number of guests to avoid stress

Crunching numbers and condensing your list is not exactly something engaged couples would want to do. Unfortunately, there is a figure you really cannot avoid: your guest list count. Your budget and your venue’s size determines how many guests you can realistically invite. Remember, each guest you have would add to the number of plates the caterer would prepare. Not only that, it would add to the favors, chair rental as well as the food. Choose a number that is realistic and be sure that this is a number that would fit your chosen venue. Remember, it is no fun to be squeezed like sardines.

5.)  Make cutting rules

Trimming your list is a crucial part of guest list planning until you reach a final number. Come up with a set of rules as to who to cut and stick to them. Rules are personal to the couple and can range from who you have not spoken or met ever to having no kids in your wedding reception. A bonus tip is to remove anyone who is on the list just because you feel guilty about not inviting them. It might be that they invited you to their wedding and you feel obligated to return the favor.

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Four Definitive (But Annoying) Signs You Are at A Filipino Wedding

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In the Philippines, a wedding would probably mark the biggest occasion of an individual’s life. They are traditionally big and festive events where a large group of people comes together—from the family to the relatives, friends down to the neighbors. Apart from being a grand and festive, Filipino weddings are predominantly influenced by religion—so much so that it is traditionally celebrated inside big churches situated all over the country. However, with the advent of modern weddings, a lot of wedding traditions have become lost as more and more weddings get wrapped up with the commercial or monetary value of the planning involved.

It is rather unfortunate that Filipino weddings are losing some of the aspects that made it distinctly Filipino—including some of the customs and traditions that made it one, however, there are still modern unions that do practice it today. While traditions such as setting a pair of doves free or pinning some bills on the bride’s dress in exchange for a dance have gone stale, there are a few practices that are still evident in almost every Filipino wedding you attend. From the elaborate wedding planning that includes wedding packages in the Philippines to other quirky and unique practices, here are some practices that make a wedding truly Filipino:

1.) Filipino Time

Regardless of the occasion, Filipinos are notorious for arriving late–so much so, that the concept of Filipino time was coined. It roughly means that if an event is to start around 7 PM, Filipinos do not get ready to leave until it is 6:45 PM. In weddings, this can be particularly stressful; guests would typically take longer than usual as they have to do their hair and makeup and primp themselves up. If your wedding invitation states that wedding is to start around 3:00 PM, you can expect a majority of the guests to arrive at around 3:30 PM to 4 PM. But the worst guests are those who skip the wedding ceremony altogether and just head to the reception in time for the buffet. To make sure this does not happen, announce that the wedding starts an hour early in your invitation. This would not ensure that all of your guests would arrive on time, but at least a significant number of them will arrive just in time.

2.) Delinquents

Even if your invitation has indicated that the dress code is strictly formal, you will undoubtedly find someone in a more casual outfit of jeans and slippers. Apart from that, you may have requested that guests give you monetary gifts as you would be moving out of the country, yet it seems like some of your guests have missed the memo. So, how do you deal? Check on everyone at least a couple of weeks before the wedding. Remind them of your dress code and if they do not have any available, see if you can help them borrow from someone else.

3.) There are several gimmicks

A reception is a combination of many different events, and it is more than just a simple wedding dinner. Though the wedding ceremony finished hours ago, you are not expected to eat until a series of presentations and speeches are over. For this reason, many couples have opted to include a cocktail buffet table that would serve guests finger food as well as something to drink to stave off hunger before dinner is to begin. Before a wedding reception, come prepared and eat a heavy meal before attending the wedding ceremony. This would not only prevent you from being hungry during one of the many speeches in the reception, but it would also help you avoid from hoarding food in the cocktail buffet table.

4.) Girls disappearing during the bouquet toss part of the program

In almost every Filipino wedding, women would readily make an excuse to go to the bathroom just in time for the bouquet toss segment of the program. It seems like women do not want to have the limelight on them during the couple’s special day. A good workaround to this problem is to introduce a crafty way to ensure that the ladies would be more receptive to joining. Apart from receiving the bouquet, consider giving a monetary prize to the woman who catches the bouquet.

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A Historic Wedding at La Castellana

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All of us wants our wedding to be as momentous as possible – the kind that lingers in the memories for many years. Having a memorable wedding takes more than just the attire and food, but also the venue. In fact, the venue can make or break any wedding. For a truly unforgettable wedding, La Castellana is the perfect wedding venue for you.

Dubbed as the melting pot of all celebrations, La Castellana is a Spanish-inspired al fresco site found inside Intramuros. The venue serves as the perfect backdrop for cultural weddings and religious matrimonial ceremonies. Aside from that, there are a lot of wedding package Philippines to choose from.

Guests are welcomed by the venue’s grand foyer adorned with equally grandiose amber crystal chandelier. Celebrations take place at the Salon de Joaquin Ballroom, a 400-seater covered courtyard built with an impressive cooling system. Salon de Joaquin is named after La Castellana’s patriarch.

Another courtyard is the El Jardin de la Luz, an outdoor sanctuary filled with swanky pocket gardens, spacious gazebo with mini waterfalls and elegant side arches. The courtyard features the Garden of Light, a cloverleaf-shaped fountain at its center. Hanging lamps made from crystal verinas embellished the courtyard, adding a cozier ambiance at night.

Further, the location has a luxurious bridal suite perfect for the bride-to-be called Sala de Gleceria. Glorifying the name of the owner’s matriarch, Sala de Gleceria is designed with the brides-to-be in mind. It’s like a sweet escape for the bride as she relaxes on the bridal oasis before wearing her gown, shoes and makeup. The best part is a string quartet serenades the bride and everyone in the suite all throughout the preparation.

Patio Domingo is the veranda overlooking Salon de Joaquin Ballroom. Named after the father of the La Castellana’s owner, the open-air veranda is the perfect location to view the breathtaking sunset while overlooking equally picturesque scenes such as Manila Cathedral’s dome.

La Castella has a very few elite partner caterers, one of which is Hizon’s Catering. The management is very scrupulous when it comes to on-site food preparation. Aside from the dedicated kitchen, there are shower rooms specifically built for the food attendants to ensure they are well-dressed when they serve the guests. They also get to relax in the crew lounge.

Other mention-worthy amenities are the vast parking spaces with ever-dedicated traffic marshals and well-lit comfort rooms with uniformed washroom attendants. There are also uniformed security officers. Finally, the location boasts of wheelchair accessible facilities.

Found inside the walled city of Intramuros, La Castellana can make any wedding a truly memorable one. To-be-weds will find facilities and amenities unique to the venue alone – those that majority of the venues in Intramuros lack. A one-event-at-a-time venue, couples, and their guests can have all of La Castellana to themselves and revel in the magnificence of the venue.Image source

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