How to Become a Wedding Planner, Part 1

Becoming a wedding planner can be a fun and exciting job, but also a high-stress one as brides of every type come to you for help in planning what should be the most special day of their lives.

Every bride wants her day to be perfect. The trouble is that perfect means different things to different people. Some brides will want the best of everything, while others will want a more simple wedding, and one that reflects their own style and personality, or of both she and her spouse.

If you have a romantic side and enjoy planning and organizing, and in particular planning live events, becoming a wedding planner may be an ideal career to consider.

The first step will be to become as familiar as possible with the wedding industry. And yes, it IS an industry. There is big money to be made in weddings, even in a bad economy. People may scrimp and save in some areas of their lives, but a wedding will usually rate splurging even if they have to max out the credit cards to get what they want.

You can find a variety of top wedding planning guides online that will give you many ideas about the kinds of things that are considered essential, and which are only optional, when it comes to planning a wedding. Creating a checklist so you can run through all the essentials first, with gold, platinum and diamond level options, as it were, for each essential, can help the bride and anyone else involved in planning for and paying for the wedding all get on the same page.

Traditionally, the bride’s family would pay for the wedding, and in some cases this might still be an expectation on the part of the bride’s family, in which case you might also have to deal with parents as well as the bride in reference to cost and final decisions.

Modern couples, especially those who have already established a household together and might even have children with each other already, will usually pay for the wedding themselves, but might have a range of particular needs because of this, such as being more frugal, or wishing to incorporate their children into the ceremony as much as possible. So if you are great with people, and detail oriented becoming a wedding planner might be ideal as part time or full time consulting work.

In the second part of this series, we will look at other aspects of becoming a wedding planner to see if it is right for you.


Nice Bachelorette Party Games Part 2

continued from part 1

Bachelorette party games are not only designed to bring fun to the party, but sometimes to help people get to know one another. This might be a good opportunity for the bride’s best friend to get to know the sister of the groom, or for the bride to get close to the groom’s cousin or niece. So an icebreaker game isn’t a bad idea.

This isn’t perhaps the most intellectual icebreaker game, but it will likely help thaw things out early in the evening before you head off to other events.

Play a game called “I never…” and see who takes the most drinks. So the first woman says, “I never…” and completes the sentence. The women who have done the thing the first woman says she’s never done take a drink, or get a point. Then the next woman claims to have “never” done something.

Some suggestions for this game are: “I never …”

*Lied about my age

*Lied about my weight


*Got a speeding ticket

*Ran naked through my house

The one with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. If you are playing for drinks, then the one who has the most points will definitely need a designated driver! Or the bathroom. Always be sensible about drinking at your bachelorette party, and make sure if it is taking place the evening before your wedding, that no one gets too exhausted and that it does not spoil the festivities for anyone the following day.


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Wedding Reception Centerpiece Activities

The question of who will get to take home the centerpiece can sometimes be a real bone of contention with guests, particularly if the centerpiece is particularly pretty or original.

Making a game of who gets the centerpiece, then, can be an amusing diversion and one many guests will enjoy participating in. It will also take out the envy element, the bossy one and the sense of entitlement issue. Here are some ideas for giving away that reception table centerpiece.

How about a game of 20 questions? Give each guest a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. The MC or DJ asks a series of 20 questions, but first gives the guests the basic background information, that is, that the answer is place, person or thing. Once that’s taken care of, people can shout out questions and the MC or DJ will answer yes or no, and whoever figures out the answer first gets the first centerpiece, and that particular table is done playing. The game is repeated until one person at each table has won the centerpiece. Obviously, this will work with small receptions.

One of the most popular ways brides give away the table centerpieces is to put a number on the bottom of the centerpiece and give each guest a number. At some point in the evening, a number is called, each guest checks his or her number and whoever has the called number gets the centerpiece. There are many ways to put a twist on this traditional activity.

For example, you might provide each table with a number, but make it a lower number (ie. between 1 and 10) and the DJ or MC could move from table to table and have each guest do something a certain number of times. So, at the first table, for example, the guests might need to do “head, shoulders, knees and toes” six times and whoever does it first gets the centerpiece.

Or, at the second table, the guests might be required to sing the alphabet 3 times or sing “twinkle, twinkle, little star” three times and whoever does that first get the centerpiece.

Another fun activity for divvying up the centerpieces is to require guests to produce a certain item. The DJ or MC moves from table to table, announcing what guests at that table will be required to produce in order to get the centerpiece. Maybe it’s a Georgia quarter or a mint, or a doctor’s appointment card. Whatever it is, the guest at each table who produces the requested item will get the centerpiece.

You can always make it easy and offer the centerpiece to the oldest person at the table, or the one who took the least or most number of years to finish college.

Perhaps you could create an activity where the person who has the strangest talent (as voted on by the tablemates) wins the centerpiece. Then, if possible, that person might show off the talent for the entire reception party.

If you like musical chairs, you can play a game of musical salt shaker in order to give the centerpiece away. The music begins playing, and everyone at the table passes the salt shaker. When the music stops, whoever is left holding the bill gets the centerpiece.

Or this game can be played a bit more traditionally with the person with the salt shaker being eliminated, and the game continuing until only one person is holding the shaker. That person can then be awarded with the centerpiece.

Or, for a fun twist, the shaker can be passed around and when the music stops, the person holding the shaker is told to return it to the person who first gave it to them. That is the person who gets the centerpiece.

Some fun, and fairly traditional, ideas include the birthday person getting the centerpiece. At each table, the person who has a birthday closest to the wedding date gets the centerpiece.

Or if there are married couples at the table, the couple who have been together the longest can get the centerpiece, or the couple who were married most recently.

Perhaps the centerpiece should go to the person with the longest hair, or the strangest shoes (again, this would be voted on by tablemates).

The wedding reception centerpiece is an integral part of the wedding but it can cause a bit of turmoil if people set their eyes on the same flowers and won’t take no for an answer, so having wedding reception centerpiece activities can solve that problem and make sure there are no hard feelings.

FURTHER READING:How to Live on a Lower Income

GREAT WEDDING ACTIVITIES AND GAMES: How to Entertain Your Guests at Your Wedding Reception and Other Wedding-Related Gatherings


Buffet Table Activities for Your Wedding

Most wedding receptions include a buffet-style meal where everyone stands in an enormous line waiting for ages while those at the food table decide if they want Italian or Ranch dressing on their salad.

There has to be a more unusual way to get people to their food, and a faster one at that, right?

There are several fun options you can employ to feed your guests quickly, and with a minimum amount of impatience, or groans of hunger.

Here are some fun options.

One of the most popular is the number system. Each table is assigned a number and the MC or DJ calls numbers at various intervals. The people at that numbered table then find the buffet and begin their feast.

You can place the numbers in a variety of locations. For the most utilitarian version, just place the number in the flower arrangement on the table.

Some brides don’t like this look of numbered table as if at a convention. In that case, you can put the numbers under the flower arrangements, or under the chairs. If you have place cards at the tables, you can write a small number somewhere on the card so people know which table they’re sitting at.

For a fun variation, you can have the florist play around with the table floral arrangements. If the arrangements are going to have a dozen flowers, you could have the florist add one extra flower to table “one”, two extra flowers for table “two” and so on and make the guests figure out which number table they are based on how many extra flowers they have in their arrangement.

The flower method could be cost-prohibitive, of course, if you have a large guest list and many tables.

Now, if the number system doesn’t thrill you or make you think “unique”, there are other options. Each table can have a color and the DJ simply calls out the color name. Depending, again, on how many tables you have at your reception, you could coordinate the tablecloths with the color of the table. So you might have white, pink, lavender, beige, and yellow tablecloths, and the guests sitting at that table simply move to the buffet table when the color of their tablecloth is called.

Another popular option for moving people easily to the buffet table involves having a little fun with your guests. You provide each table with a buzzer, either a bell like you might find at a store, or a small silver bell. Just something they can buzz or ring.

The DJ or MC asks a trivia question, or a question about the bride and groom. The tables buzz in with their answers. The guests at the table with the first correct buzzed answer move to the buffet table. You repeat the process until everyone is finally on their way to getting some food. Just make sure you know the correct answers to the trivia questions yourselves!

The trivia method is an especially fun way to help guests to get to know one another, as they might have to work together to come up with an answer.

If your guests are hungry, you’re sure to hear muffled groans and sighs of exasperation. But even with the small complaints, this is always a crowd pleaser because it’s fun and gets everyone involved.

Now, this next option is fun but can engender a bit of jealousy sometimes. When people get their place card, whether it’s placed on the table, or they pick it up when they look at the seating chart, you can put a number on it. But not everyone at the same table will have the same number. If you have 100 guests, for example, you might choose to have 10 people at the buffet table at a time. So each person would be assigned a number 1 through 10. This works best with small groups.

In the same scenario as above, the DJ or MC will call a number and those numbers will head for the buffet table. There are sure to be more than one person from each table heading for the buffet table, but the guests at each table won’t get their food at the same time.

This staggered feeding can be fun or a nuisance, depending. It solves the problem of half the room being finished with their meal while waiting for the “later” table to finish theirs before the festivities start, but it can also mean that one or two guests might be long done with their food (or wanting to head back for seconds) when others at the table haven’t even eaten yet.

You might also want to start the buffet with the people at the rear of the room, so they don’t have to climb over people milling around on their way back to the table, and risk spillage.

You also need to consider people who love to go back for seconds. Make sure everyone is served first before allowing people to go back for more. Also make sure that not all the food is put away when the cake is served, in the event you have latecomers or people who eat slowly or don’t like dessert.

Cheese and crackers, salad and so forth are ideal for this.

Whatever you decide, buffet table activities at a wedding can be fun and memorable.


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Wedding Cake Activities

Upon arrival at the wedding reception, many guests head for the cake table so they can admire the wedding cake. Some time later, the bride and groom come along for a picture opportunity and the grand ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake. Then everyone enjoys cake, and it’s just about gone. Believe it or not, there are many more activities that can make the wedding cake more about fun and less about tradition.

Of course, watching the bride and groom push cake into each other’s mouths is a long-enjoyed tradition, but there are many more fun – and less messy – activities to consider as well.

One new option that’s gaining popularity is to have cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. This is a method that is usually more affordable than having a many-tiered cake and it can be a lot of fun, and give your guests a lot of choices.

The little fancy cupcake holders can also double as wedding favors they can take home with them.

Cupcakes, like the wedding cake, can be decorated to match the wedding theme, but the cupcakes are instead arranged on tiered cake plates and displayed on a cake table until it’s time to eat them. The cupcakes can be simply handed out on plates to each wedding guest, or they can be sitting on the table to serve as wedding decoration, and, as we said above, as a wedding favor as well if it is in a cupcake holder.

Cupcakes instead of a whole wedding cake can save you a fair amount of money, since many reception halls and caterers charge a per slice fee to cut and serve the wedding cake.

You can also build activities into the cupcake presentation. For example, the cupcakes that are for the bride and groom can have a different decoration than the ones for the guests.

As an extra touch, you can have the baker include a special prize in one or several cupcakes. A small charm or tiny toy can be baked into the cupcake. Whoever gets the charm wins a special prize. These prizes can range from a gift basket or gift certificate to a restaurant, to a dance with the bride or groom.

Some brides like to use the Southern tradition and have charms baked into the wedding cake. Similar to the idea above for cupcakes, this involves baking small charms or tiny toys into the cake. The people who get one of the charms are said to have good luck. You might even consider having charm bracelet charms baked into the cupcake, which can then be made into a charm bracelet for the bride.

Not everyone enjoys cake. How about an activity for those who won’t be eating cake? They can be required to do the “Macarena” or the chicken dance during the time when everyone else is eating cake. If they manage to do the dance continuously while the other guests enjoy cake, they win a prize. Or they simply get to sit down, as now they are tired!

In keeping with the dance during cake theme, how about a requirement that in order to get a cake, a guest must perform an impromptu dance first?

There could be trivia questions about the bride and groom or about pop culture. Guests must correctly answer the questions before getting their cake. There could be competitions among tables or individuals for the most questions answered correctly while the wedding is going on and the cupcakes or cake is being served.

Many people believe that once the cake is cut, they are free to leave if they wish. Since cake cutting usually comes after the meal and after dancing and other traditional celebration activities, many people take the opportunity to leave the party after the cake is cut and enjoyed.

If the bride and groom want their guests to stay after the cake is eaten, it is worth some extra effort to build some activities into the cake-cutting event so people will stick around longer. This can be as simple as telling people not to leave, or can be more subtle and fun.

For example, each person could receive a slip of paper with his or her cake. These slips of paper could be prepared ahead of time and provided to the catering company with instructions that one folded strip of paper be placed on each plate with the cake.

The paper might give an agenda for the rest of the evening or might ask its recipient to perform a little dance, to head over to give the groom or bride a kiss, or might ask them to take the flower girl out on the dance floor for a spin. Everyone has to do their task before they leave, otherwise they don’t get their wedding favor.

By incorporating games into your wedding reception, particularly the cake cutting part, you will make your wedding memorable and keep guests of every age entertained. The unknown will keep all the guests guessing and provide some fun and excitement throughout the reception.

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Top Tips for Saving Money on your Wedding Gown

Choosing a gown for your wedding day is one of those moments that every bride eagerly anticipates. It is an exciting feeling to go into a bridal store and sift through the wads of silk, lace and tulle, imagining the effect a certain dress will create when you make your entrance. As the bride, all of your guests will be looking forward to seeing what you wear. Your dress will be admired long after as well, when it is forever captured in your wedding photos.

When you are planning a wedding on a budget, though, you may not be able to spend thousands of dollars on the gown you’ve always dreamed of wearing. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a wedding dress you truly love. Here are some tips you can follow for saving money on your wedding gown, so you can be a picture-perfect bride while still staying within your means.

Rent a Dress. One very easy, affordable option is to rent your wedding dress. Many bridal shops offer this alternative to buying your own. If you won’t regret not having a wedding dress of your own to treasure, and maybe one day pass on to your own daughter, renting may be a very good choice for you.

Hire a Seamstress. For brides who do want a dress of their own, hiring a seamstress may be the answer. Find a dress you like then have your seamstress make you a less expensive version of the dress. Your dress may be made more affordable if you use less expensive fabric, follow a less elaborate style, or just make some adjustments, like having a shorter train. You will want to find a seamstress who is experienced in sewing wedding dresses to make sure it turns out like you hoped.

Look for Clearance Sales. Bridal shops often sell off-season dresses and discontinued dresses at incredible discounts. Keep your eye open for these sales and for your perfect dress. When shopping at a clearance sale, though, don’t let yourself get distracted by the full-priced incoming stock.

Buy a Used Dress. Some brides sell their dresses after their big day. Look on Craig’s List or eBay to find one that suits you. There might also be some consignment shops in your area that sell used wedding dresses.

Borrow a Dress. Your mother, aunt, cousin, sister or friend might have a dress that would look perfect on you for your special day. Wearing a dress that belongs to someone you love may make the day all the more special for you. If you do decide to borrow a dress, be sure it’s within two sizes of what you wear in order for it to be altered properly.

Buy from Brides Against Breast Cancer. One more place you can look for a wedding dress is Brides Against Breast Cancer This is an organization that women donate their used wedding dresses to, and they are resold at a discount to raise money for breast cancer. They have sales in various places in the United States.

By following these tips for saving money on a wedding gown, you will be able to make the entrance you envisioned without going over your wedding budget.


Planning the Perfect Wedding


Great Wedding Cakes Even on a Budget

Traditionally, something that every wedding must have is the beautiful cake to serve at the end of your wedding dinner. Not only is it the finishing touch to your meal, it’s the focal point of many wedding traditions. For one, there’s the beautiful table set up with the wedding cake for everyone to stop and admire. Then there is the much-anticipated photo opportunity of the newlywed couple cutting the first piece of cake together. And, of course, the delightful moment of them smushing cake into each other’s faces.

You might envision having a multi-tiered cake with sugary flowers in the same shades as your wedding colors. However, these cakes can be quite costly. To help keep your wedding costs under budget, here are some ideas for stylish, delicious wedding cakes on a budget.

Cupcakes. One popular alternative is to bake or order cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. You can display them in tiers, as you would a cake, so you get the same effect. With the right decorations, cupcakes can be very elegant as well. One idea is to use icing to write the bridal couple’s initials on each cake. Another is to decorate them with icing or candies. Besides costing less than a traditional wedding cake, cupcakes are easier to serve than cutting and serving a cake. And who doesn’t enjoy eating a good cupcake?

Sheet cake. Instead of ordering a fancy wedding cake to serve all your guests, order a smaller version to put on display. At the same time, order a large plain sheet cake in the same flavor with the same icing. When it comes time to serve the cake, serve the sheet cake instead of the decorated one. No one will notice where their piece came from, and it will save you a lot of money.

Bake your own cake. Add a personal and delicious touch to your wedding by baking your own cake. If you’re not a baker, perhaps one of your friends or family members would like to bake one for you. Someone who enjoys baking might be honored to bake your cake as a wedding gift to you. To decorate, you can use candies, fruit, ribbons, or fresh flowers.

Styrofoam cake. This might not sound appealing, but it can give your budget a break and create a very beautiful effect. Rent, buy, or make your own Styrofoam wedding cake. Supplies are available at most wedding supply stores and craft shops. Then ice and decorate it just as you would a real wedding cake. It will look just like the real thing, without the expense. When it comes time to serve the cake, cut a plain sheet cake and leave the Styrofoam one up for decoration.

If none of these options fits within your budget, you can also skip the wedding cake altogether. Instead, serve one of your favorite desserts to your guests. Including a few non-traditional elements in your wedding can make it more memorable and personal for your guests.


Planning the Perfect Wedding

GREAT WEDDING ACTIVITIES AND GAMES: How to Entertain Your Guests at Your Wedding Reception and Other Wedding-Related Gatherings