Planning a wedding under normal circumstance is an expensive and time consuming task. For some people, however, time and money isn’t a luxury and planning a wedding needs to be fast and inexpensive. If you are getting married and time is of the essence, you don’t want your limitations to take away from the importance of the day. Planning a quick wedding might sound expensive, but it can be pulled off cheaply if you are willing to think outside of the box and be creative when it comes to marriage.
- Create a wedding checklist. Write down all of the items that need to be completed or purchased. Determine what your budget is and write it at the top of the checklist. Allocate a dollar amount to appropriate items on the list. Make a commitment to follow the list as closely as possible.
- Plan a civil wedding. Go to your local court or city hall to determine what is required for a civil wedding. Certain states may require blood tests; and pre-marriage counseling may also be mandatory. Obtain your marriage license. For last minute weddings, travel to states such as Nevada where no wait or blood testing is required for a quick ceremony.
- Send email invites. Go to websites such as Evites and send out low cost or free invitations to your friends. Personally deliver handwritten invitations to friends who live within driving distance. Pick up the phone and call anyone who may not check their email or who you are unable to reach in person.
- Save on your dress. Borrow your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress. Have alterations done by a friend or family member who is talented in sewing. Forgo a traditional wedding dress and buy a formal gown instead. Shop the discounted rack at bridal stores for inexpensive or clearance gowns.
- Recruit the help of friends. Involve as many close and talented people as you can to help you pull off your wedding within your time frame. Ask friends or family member to DJ, sing, decorate or cook.
- Plan a modest reception and keep your guest list small. Take advantage of a big backyard and plan your reception. Purchase discount decorations such as string lights, candles and flowers from discount warehouses or stores. Buy potted flowering plants versus cut flowers. Have a small reception at your favorite restaurant and ask permission to bring extra candles or flowers to decorate your table.
- Cut costs on your wedding cake. Look through magazines for pictures of cakes that you like. Take the picture to your grocery store, pick a flavor and ask if they are able to make it within your time frame. Buy separate pre-made cakes and place them on decorative tiers or have cupcakes made.
- Skip professional photographers. Have fun with your photographs and buy cheap disposable cameras for guests to take pictures of the event. If time and money allows, hire student photographers and offer to pay them at a cost that will be significantly lower than what you’d pay a professional.
Cleaning a wedding dress can be intimidating. These are some of the most elaborate and beautiful garments that can be worn–and when you factor in the emotional attachments that accompany a wedding dress as well as the delicate satin, the prospect of cleaning can be downright terrifying. Fortunately, you can clean almost anything out of a satin wedding dress in the comfort of your own home, saving you time and money.
- Do a quick spot clean. Do not treat grease spots, as they need special treatment. However, any dark dirt spots can be treated with a little warm water and a dab of mild liquid soap. Rub the spot lightly with a clean, soft rag, and the dirt should lift right out onto the rag. Do not scrub too hard, though, since you are about to clean the entire dress anyway.
- Treat any grease stains. While you can usually get sweat and makeup stains out fairly easily by washing, grease will not come out with water in most cases. Instead, squirt a small dab of mild dishwashing liquid on a clean, soft rag. Apply it (without wetting the rag) to the grease stain. Begin by blotting, then gently scrub if necessary. The dish soap should lift the grease off the dress. It is important to do this before you wash the dress so that you do not accidentally set the grease stain.
- Remove all attachments so that you can put the body of the dress in the washer. Generally, it is best to hand-wash attachments just because they are smaller and more likely to tangle in the wash. You can use the same gentle detergent and cool water.
- Turn the satin wedding gown inside out. This will help protect sequins and beads from banging against the sides of the washing machine.
- Apply natural fabric whiteners. Assuming that your gown is all white, you can remove yellowing from age, storage or even sweat by adding half a cup of lemon juice to the wash water. It will naturally remove stains and not harm the satin.
- Wash the gown on cold in the gentlest cycle possible. It will be labeled “Gentle” or “Delicates.”
- Hang the gown out to dry in the sun. The lemon juice will interact with the sunlight to brighten up the whiteness of the satin even further. Be sure to spread the gown out as much as possible and use plenty of clothespins to distribute the weight of the gown evenly.
You’ve always loved weddings; you love the colors, the flowers, the themes, everything. Perhaps this love of weddings has inspired you to start a wedding planning business, but you don’t have a ton of cash to advertise or promote yourself. What do you do? Here are some tips for starting a wedding planning business.
- Develop a website. If you have the skills to create your own site, there will be minimal start-up costs. If you don’t have those technical skills, work with a freelance web designer, who will be much cheaper than a web design firm. You should probably spend no more than $300. After your site is up, you will only pay for your domain name, a service provided by a number of hosts. Often, your web designer can take care of this for you, and you would pay them the fee.
- Educate yourself. Read bridal magazines, and study fashion and color trends. Make yourself comfortable with every area of wedding planning so that you are not only an expert planner but also an expert florist, decorator, photographer, videographer, caterer, cake designer and linen specialist. You need to know not only the names of every flower, but the colors they come in and how much they cost. You also need to identify vendors that you love in your area. Once you have chosen these vendors, try to create an affiliation with them. This will help bring business to both of you.
- Create documentation. Print business cards and brochures. The best way to do this without breaking the bank is to design these yourself, and then find an deal from a print shop or an online printer. Distribute your cards and brochures to your affiliated vendors, and ask them to hand them out to their clients. Offer to return the favor for them.
- Market yourself. Meet people, attend bridal shows and tell your friends and family about your business venture. Promote yourself by all means possible without exceeding your budget. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Craigslist can be very helpful for free promotion. Strive to get your website as many hits as possible. If you can afford it, advertise with large wedding websites as well. The more people hear of you, the more people will book with you.
Adding a corset back helps you fit into your wedding dress perfectly and saves you valuable money. Perhaps you’ve decided to wear your mother’s dress or buy one off the rack, which you deem perfect for your wedding. The dress fits you well for the most part, but it just wouldn’t zip all the way up the back. Creating a corset back, therefore, is a good, inexpensive solution. A corset back also complements most wedding dress styles and body types.
Making the Loops
- Remove the zipper at the back of the wedding dress with a seam ripper, being careful not to damage the dress. Once the zipper is removed, trim the excess zipper tape with scissors, leaving just enough for attaching the loops later.
- Make spaghetti straps. Cut a strip of fabric that matches the original dress fabric (bridal satin, silk, duchess satin, etc.), 1 inch wide and at least 12 inches long. Sew the ends together vertically, at about 1/4-inch from the edge. Trim the excess seam and turn it inside-out, using a fast turn. You now have a very narrow spaghetti strap.
- Cut the spaghetti strap into about 1 1/4-inch long segments to serve as loops.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3, making as many loops as necessary for the entire length of the gap at the back of the dress. Remember to make an equal number of loops for both sides of the opening.
- Trace a ready-made corset’s loops on paper to make a pattern for sewing together your loops. On the pattern paper, sew in the loops one at a time in a straight line down the middle, making the segments that meet criss-cross with each other. Peel the sewn loops away from the pattern paper.
- Pin the loops to the underside of the dress opening, from top to bottom. Sew them close to the edge of the cloth, leaving tiny loop openings that are just enough for the ribbon/cord to fit through snugly later on. Remove the pins. Do the same on the other side of the gap, making sure there are an equal number of loops on either side and that they are at the same level with each other.
- Fold the fabric (the same one where you got the loops fabric from) and cut into a V-shape, slightly wider and longer than the dress gap. The fold line should be on top and narrow to the bottom.
- Sew together one side of the modesty panel and turn it inside-out. Sew the unstitched side to the left side of the dress opening, leaving the other side hanging loose.
- Sew the original dress lining on top of the loop and modesty panel, making a neat edge.
- Take a 1/2 to 1-inch wide ribbon (organza and satin are good choices) or cord and cut it to a length of about 3 yards. This will give you enough flexibility in tying and adjusting the ribbon/cord later on.
- Insert the ribbon/cord into the loops, from top to bottom of the dress opening, criss-crossing them at the center. Make the lacing loose enough at this point to allow you to put on the dress.
- Once you’ve put on the dress, adjust the lacing of the corset back, so the ribbon/cord ends are of equal length and the dress fits you perfectly. Tie a knot at the bottom to secure it in place and create a simple bow for a beautiful finish.
Even if your budget is small and your wedding dreams are big, you can plan a reception that will provide a lifetime of cherished memories for the happy couple and their loved ones.
- Determine how many people will be attending the reception; then you will know what size space you need to rent. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant or country club. It can be a simple town hall, community meeting space or place of worship.
- Catering the reception can be expensive. Consider alternatives such as meat and cheese trays from your local grocer or fast-food restaurant. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls would work. Order your cake from the grocer as well. Cupcakes work well when small children are guests. Clear plastic plates and utensils work fine — don’t forget the wedding theme decorations at your local dollar or craft store.
- Decorating the hall depends on how much time and money you want to put into it. To make it a little fancier, put bows or balloons on the chairs, or cover with cloths. If using balloons, consider buying a helium balloon kit. You can purchase white paper tablecloths with plastic backing for the tables. If the hall you decide to rent does not provide tables and chairs, these can be rented. Order or create a small bouquet of silk or fresh flowers for each table in the bride’s colors. Buy or collect small plastic bowls to put nuts and mints in for each table.
- Putting up white or colored Christmas lights adds a nice touch. If allowed, you can staple, nail, or tape the lights to the walls. As for music, depending on the size of the room, place one or two CD players in the hall so the music isn’t overwhelming, but can be heard.
- Have large plastic garbage bags on hand so cleanup will be very easy. Ask the wedding party or guests if they would like to keep the flowers — then throw anything you can away.
If you take as much care in preserving your dress as you did in choosing it, it can be enjoyed as a family heirloom for generations to come.
- Save the bag your dress came in, or bring along a plastic bag to protect the dress en route to the cleaner.
- Select a professional dry cleaner, preferably one that specializes in formal gowns. Ask for recommendations from friends and your bridal shop or seamstress.
- Get the dress to the cleaner as soon as possible after your wedding.
- Alert the cleaner to any stains – a drop of bubbly, a smudge of lipstick from that first kiss – as well as to any ornaments that were glued rather than sewn on (these pieces are prone to fall off during the cleaning process) and to loose stitches. This information will ensure that your cleaner can give your dress the best care possible.
- Ask your cleaner for a special acid-free box to store your dress in, and pack it in acid-free tissue paper. You can also hang the dress by the bodice by sewing straps that are a bit shorter than the bodice onto the waist, placing on a padded hanger and wrapping in a clean white cotton sheet.
- Store the dress in a temperate, dry place, out of direct sunlight.
- Inspect your dress on each anniversary to check for any discolored areas or missed stains and to allow your dress to “breathe.”
Shopping for your wedding dress can be the most exciting, and also the most challenging, part of planning your wedding. Every woman wants to have the perfect dress and look her best. An important step in achieving that is knowing how to try on wedding dresses to find the best style, fit, and overall look that you’re hoping for.
Go Where the Sizes Are
- Go where the sizes are. Some bridal shops only carry samples of each wedding gown. Make some calls and find out what sizes they carry. If the samples are only in a size 10, and you wear a 2 or a 16, there’s no way you’ll get a proper image of what that dress will look like on you. Find the stores that carry a full range of sample sizes or off-the-rack dresses for you to try on.
- Give yourself time. Trying on gowns can take hours, so be sure to set aside a whole day. The more time you have, the more dresses you can try on, and the better decisions you can make.
- Bring a friend, not an entourage. Having one friend who knows or shares your sense of style is far more valuable than a pack of relatives and friends who all have differing opinions on what dress to get. Ten conflicting views will just confuse you more than help you and will waste valuable time. Many brides like to have their mother or sister along, but if their style is very different from yours, be sure to bring a bridesmaid or other relative along who shares your taste.
- Dress the part. Wear the style of undergarments, stockings, and shoes that you expect to wear on your big day. If you don’t have a strapless bra for all those strapless gowns you want to try on, consider buying one, or ask the store ahead of time if they have foundation garments available in your size to try with the dresses. Wear heels that are the height you’ll feel comfortable in. Even though many dressing rooms have a raised platform to simulate heels, it’s not the same as actually wearing the shoes. The whole carriage of your frame changes depending on the height of your shoes and can completely alter the appearance and fit of a dress.
- Skip the lipstick. It’s good to look the part when you’re trying on a gown, including make-up, but keep it on the low key side. Try to stick with water-based make-up and leave off the lipstick so that you don’t inadvertently stain the dresses you’re trying on. If you’re wearing foundation and/or powder, be sure to always keep the fabric of the dress away from your face when you pull it on. When you can, step into the gown carefully and avoid going near your make-up.. If you need something for your lips, stick with a clear gloss or lip balm.
- Start by trying on several different styles. Search yourself or ask the saleswoman to bring you dresses with a variety of styles you’d consider wearing. Try a strapless gown, an off-the-shoulder, a full gown or a a slender shift. One or two gowns in each style will help you decide right away which direction you’d like to go in. Styles that look great in magazines may not be at all what you expect when you try it on. Eliminating styles that won’t work for you will help you narrow your search down right away, and save time and effort.
- After you try on each gown, put it into either a “no” or a “maybe” pile. If you find a dress or two that you think are your favorites, you might want to create a third pile, but don’t eliminate the other “maybe” candidates yet. Have the “no” dresses taken out right away so you don’t accidentally mix up the piles.
- Try on all the remaining dresses again. Now that you’ve seen your options, you’ll see your choices more clearly. You should be able to discard more of the “maybe” dresses into the “no” pile. Repeat the process until you have two or three strong candidates.
- Get the complete picture. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, be sure to see the dress exactly as you would wear it. Do up all the buttons, laces, and fasteners. Try out the bustle if there is one. Get a veil to match, and try possible accessories if the store carries them. Knowing how the complete ensemble will look helps you make the right choice.
- Value the opinions of others. Ultimately the decision is yours, but remember that other people can often see us more clearly than we see ourselves. Our own imagination may make a dress we want into a better option than it is, and it’s important to listen to your friends and even other ladies in the dressing room if they tell you it’s not the best choice.
- Sleep on it. If you can’t make the final decision, give it another day. If the dresses are off-the-rack, ask the shop if they’ll hold them for 24 hours. For stores only showing samples, it’s no problem to come back the next day and try them on again. Walking away from the decision can help reduce the pressure and give you much-needed perspective when you return again. You might also visit another store to see other options. Often you’ll know right away if the dresses at the other shop were the right ones or if you should keep looking.
People of all types enjoy the adventure of getting married on the islands. It is important to understand that many tourist areas in Hawaii can be expensive when it comes to planning a wedding, but that does does not have to be the case with proper planning. Just like any other place in the world, Hawaii has hidden bargains and deals that you can find with a bit of smart planning.
- Work with a travel agent to arrange to plan your wedding during times of the year where travel is not as heavy. Plan to fly in May or June to take advantage of non-peak travel months. This will help you get better rates on plane fare. Consult your travel professional about group rates that offer discounts. Group rates are often available at hotels as well. Ask about packages that combine flights and hotels together to multiply your savings.
- Plan to get married at a location that you don’t have to rent. Hotels and resorts can be very expensive in regard to using to their facilities. State parks in Hawaii may need to be reserved, but they do not charge use fees. Visit places such as Diamond Head Overlook Park, Waialae Beach Park and Kapiolani Beach and Waikiki to look for a setting that can accommodate your wedding party and give you the setting that you desire.
- Utilize the location well. If you find a place with a tropical backdrop, you will be able to spend less on flowers and other decorations. Nature will effectively take care of that for you. Hold your wedding at sunset to take advantage of a free setting provided by nature.
- Shop local outdoor markets on the islands for special prices on local flowers and plants. Buy hibiscus, Hawaii’s state flower, orchids and the plumeria to add color. Select plants and flowers that are native to the islands for a more authentic feel.
- Speak with local catering companies about catering your wedding. Hotels and resorts can be expensive when it comes to catering, but many local companies can arrange for you to have traditional meals prepared right on a beach for a much lower price. Native Hawaiians will be more accustomed to local meals and traditions than places looking only for tourist dollars.
- Shop local entertainment companies for help in planning the music and other entertainment for your wedding. Polynesian dance troupes, hula dancers and fire-jugglers that are island-trained and not attached to a resort or hotel will give you the best rate possible since they are not paying a fee to the hotel to perform there.
Wedding table runners can use up valuable wedding budget funds. Whenever possible, it’s beneficial to create items you can make yourself instead of purchasing them ready-made. Standard table runner size is 12 inches wide and 108 inches long. Choose linen, linen blend, lace, satin or tulle fabric. The number of runners you require depends on the number of tables you will have at your wedding reception.
- Cut your fabric pieces 13 inches wide and 109 inches long, to allow for hemming. This is just a bit over 3 yards in length (purchase 3 1/8 yards). Since most fabric comes in widths of 45 inches or 60 inches, you can cut more than one wedding table runner from each length (three with 45-inch wide fabric and four with 60-inch wide fabric).
- Fold under and press 1/4 inch on the long ends of your table runners. Fold under and press another 1/4 inch and tack the fabric down with straight pins.
- Sew along the inside edge of all the hems you have pressed and pinned. Remove the straight pins.
- Hem the short ends of your table runners using the same process. Steam press all your table runners.