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Wedding Budget Breakdown Guide

The Knots Ultimate Wedding Planner- Charts & diagrams

Congratulations you’re engaged! Now what?

Well first things first, you have to have the money talk with your fiancé and BOTH of your families. Ugh, I know. Soooo awkward but believe me, it’s necessary.

Nowadays the financial burden is no longer shoved on the bride’s family. However that doesn’t mean it no longer happens but help from both families is even better. Weddings are expensive. Another strong possibility is that the bride and groom-to-be are handling the bills, either partial or in full. This has become somewhat of the “norm”, my fiancé and myself fall into this category.

 Whatever your financial situation is, find out who is contributing what amount. If you two love birds are putting money in, look at your financials and figure out how much you are able to save and can afford. The absolute worst thing you could do is plan a wedding that puts you in debt at the beginning of your marriage. Yes, it’s fun to dream of all the things you could do for your special day but come back down to reality. You do not want to put financial stress on the beginning of your life together. So, make sure you two sit down together and discuss what you BOTH want the most and what you BOTH could live without. ::Emphasis on ‘both’::

Once that’s all figured out… How much money should be allocated to what part of the wedding? Well, don’t worry. I put together a handy Wedding Budget Guide just for you! This guide is based off of a few sources; Pinterest has a lot of these and my handy-dandy  Knot Wedding Planner has oodles of information on this topic. Each chart varies slightly but looks very similar to my pie chart to the right.

Wedding Budget Breakdown

Now, don’t feel like you HAVE to follow this 100%. It’s a guideline that is meant to help but can definitely be altered to fit your wedding needs. For instance, my fiancé and I are lucky enough to not have a ceremony rental or an officiant charge (thank you MOG ?). Plus, I’ll be saving money (but not time) by making my own wedding dress, AHH (Read about my Kleinfeld experience here)! The money saved will be allocated into the reception budget to accommodate our ever-growing guest list ?.

Here are some other tips to save and or allocate your wedding budget:
  1. Shop around smartly for vendors. There are tons of wedding professionals out there that are high quality AND affordable. Usually these are the vendors that will be new-er to the industry or they are small local businesses. Don’t discredit these vendors, just make sure to do your research! Wedding Wire and The Knot are great places to start looking, not to mention references from previous brides and grooms. I suggest you do this for all of your vendors, big and small.
  2. Discuss all the possibilities with your vendors. Vendors should be able to give you different price point options and explain exactly what that entails. They also should be able to show you ways to save with substitutions; IE. a florist will know different flowers that may look like what you want but are way less expensive.
  3. Be OPEN and flexible to what is available for use. When you won’t budge on the table setting color or shape, then you’ll have to special order/rent them which adds up quickly.

There are a few things that you MUST remember to include: taxes and gratuities. Taxes are usually included in the bill and some vendors (like caterers) will include a set gratuity in their bill. However, if they don’t that means it’s up to you to include it in your final payment. Even though it’s your wedding, these people are busting their butts to make this day everything you want. So make sure to thank them verbally and tip them, well. Here’s a breakdown of who to tip, how much, and when you should.

Also, don’t forget to factor in potential overage charges and miscellaneous expenses. Some vendors will specify these charges in their contracts but if they don’t it’s safer to leave some room for overages. Better to be safe than sorry!

If you’re interested in finding out more information on wedding budgets and planning please follow me on Pinterest, especially my board “Pretty Little Wedding Planning“!

Happy planning! xoxo

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Say Yes To The RIGHT Dress- A Guide For Wedding Dress Shopping

Recently, I had an exciting and extremely emotional day shopping for a wedding dress. Not only did I try on wedding dresses but I got to be the bride. I’m so used to creating bridal accessories and apparel that it was such a great change of pace to be on the other side.

From the moment I saw the big window displays, I knew that the experience I was about to have made getting married a reality. Even though I’ve planned our whole wedding and secured almost 80% of the details, going wedding dress shopping made it real. Like really real.

I went into Kleinfeld’s with hopes of figuring out what dress style would look best on my figure. I already knew what I wanted but needed to be sure. (I had sketched the design immediately after he proposed to me, couldn’t help myself.) Needless to say, I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was to say “No”. Especially when they had almost exactly what I sketched up. What are the chances??

Trying to make a decision on whether to buy or to make was unbearably difficult. I had the bridal moment in the store. They took me to the main room, “jacked” me up, and even gave me a bouquet. I said “Yes” when they asked me. I was surrounded by tears from my family, myself, and from people I didn’t even know. It was totally my dress and as soon as I said “Yes” out loud, I thought “What the f@$! did I just say?”. Everything was pointing to yes, even the freaken price tag. It was a $4,000 dress marked down to $999 because it was the last dress available. The dress was in my size. I would have to take it in only slightly and repair a little bit of the illusion on the back, but no big alterations.

Everything and everyone wanted me to buy that wedding dress.

Within the twenty-some feet back to the dressing room, I realized that if I were to buy this beautiful wedding dress, it wouldn’t actually be MY dress. I wouldn’t have designed it. I wouldn’t have carefully picked out the fabric. I wouldn’t have spent hours drafting the pattern. I wouldn’t have had the late nights sewing and cursing at my machine. It would just be a dress that I bought and I would regret the fact that I didn’t make it.

So… after at least 40 minutes sitting on the dressing room floor discussing what to do with my mother, sister, and 3 phone calls to my fiancé, I decided that the dress was not for me. It was a hard choice, but the right decision… For me anyway.

Each one of us is unique and we all have our own tastes but when choosing your wedding gown, its extremely important that you pick a silhouette that properly accentuates your figure. Some silhouettes are extremely versatile, while others are less forgiving when it comes to hiding problem areas. Let’s be real, we all have those areas we want hidden on this special day.

So, before you make your appointments at Kleinfeld’s or at a cute bridal shop in town OR ask Alyson Nicole to make you a very unique bespoke wedding gown… do your research to figure out the silhouettes and styles you want to try. Keep in mind that its very possible that the dress you think you want is not the dress for you. Take a deep breath because its just not the one. Don’t force yourself into loving a wedding dress either. If you don’t have that moment or you have any hint of doubt, move on.

Below are some of the many options out there.

A-LINE DRESSES are slim on top, fitted at the natural waist, and softly flares away from the body. Flatters most body types by creating a slimming effect while accentuating your waist.

BALL GOWNS have a fitted bodice and a full skirt that can range in volume and length. These classic gowns work with most body types for average height to tall women. It is a very forgiving style due to the skirt hiding everything below your mid-section. If you are a shorter bride, this may not be the dress for you since the bottom might overwhelm your small frame.

MERMAID DRESSES are fitted from the torso down to the knees and then flares out to the floor. The mermaid silhouette is ideal for tall, slender brides and voluptuous brides who want to show off every curve.

 

FIT-AND-FLARE or TRUMPET DRESSES are fitted from chest to mid thigh and then flares out to the bottom. This silhouette is another style that will flaunt your curves in a very flattering way.

EMPIRE DRESSES are fitted at the bust and flare out to the ground. This wedding dress silhouette is an extremely versatile style for most body shapes due to the forgiving high waist line.

SHEATH, SHIFT, OR COLUMN DRESSES have a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem. Depending on the designer, this silhouette can be either be slightly fitted or not at all. This silhouette style is a timeless classic that looks best on brides that have lean frames and soft curves.

Below are some options of necklines, sleeves, and train lengths to consider when wedding dress shopping!

Wedding Dress Silhouette Glossary
Wedding Dress Neckline Glossary
Wedding Dress Sleeve Glossary
Wedding Dress Train Glossary

As mentioned before, the above options are extremely helpful to know when you are wedding dress shopping. There are also a few more things to keep in mind:

  1. BUDGET… Its extremely important to have a set budget that you can afford. It is also very important to let the attendant know your budget!  One of the worst things you could do is fall in love with a dress that is over your budget. Also, keep in mind that alterations (always needed) and taxes should be kept in mind. Alterations are never included.
  2. THE WEDDING DRESS YOU THINK YOU WANT, MAY NOT LOOK GOOD ON YOU and that is OK. That style wasn’t meant for you but there is a wedding dress out there that is. Even if it has to be custom made, cough cough.
  3. HEMLINES DON’T HAVE TO TOUCH THE GROUND you have more options. Tea-length hems stops below the knee but above the ankle, while the mini is usually above the knee and a bolder choice. There are also high-low hemlines that add a little bit of drama to the hemline and can go as high as you want.
  4. DON’T FORGET ABOUT ACCESSORIES they help tie together your look on the big day. Try on different options and see which one(s) you like best. Its possible that you might go for a veil instead of a flower crown but its best to try on options with the dress you are buying. If you can’t find any accessory that strikes your fancy, remember that bespoke accessories, made by yours truly, is another great option.
  5. HAVE FUN! This is the MOST important part of it! This should be an enjoyable experience and no one should stop that. Drink some champagne (if they offer it) or go out to lunch before/after and celebrate the experience. Whatever you do, just enjoy it!

 

I hope this was helpful for your future dress shopping! If you have any questions or would like to start your bespoke wedding dress OR accessories please email me at designs@alysonnicole.com.

Alyson xoxo signature

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The PROs and CONs of The Knot’s Wedding Planner book

Wedding Planning

The weekend I got engaged, I was so full of excitement that I was flying high in the clouds. (To be honest, I’m still floating and it’s fantastic.) We met up with our friends the Saturday after for plans we made weeks prior and I could not wait to ask questions about their wedding. That’s all us girls talked about. Where did you find your vendors? Where did you get your rings? What cost the most? Was there anything you wish you did differently? etc. and so forth. The one piece of advice she gave, which I took immediately, was to get a wedding planner binder or notebook.

If I’m 100% honest, I already had a wedding planned (without the vendors) but I needed something to keep it organized and make sure I didn’t miss anything. That coming Monday, I ordered The Knot’s Ultimate Wedding Planner and received same day delivery (yay Amazon Prime!). Monday night, I was in business.

I glanced through the whole book and immediately noticed helpful pages, important pages, and pages that weren’t needed for our wedding. I took out the pages that I didn’t need and started reading thoroughly section by section every chance I could. (I took it on vacation with me and I even took it on a few business trips.) It was extremely overwhelming at first but all I had to do was tell myself to relax and take a deep breath. Planning a wedding shouldn’t be stressful (even though it is), it should be as easy as possible and I believe this book really helps.

It also helps to read bridal magazines. There are tons of helpful articles that can help you make your final decisions or just give you some good advice. Yes, they can be expensive if you keep buying them, but I do suggest picking a few magazines up whenever you can.

MY FAVORITE THINGS/”THE PROS” TO THE KNOT’S WEDDING PLANNER

1. THE WEDDING TIMELINE.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- timeline

There are two options; “normal” 12 month engagement and an expedited 6 month engagement. This handy timeline tells you when to look, when to book, when to send, and basically everything you should do at different times during your engagement.

2. THE AMAZING GLOSSARY PAGES.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- glossary

Almost each topic has one and it is a great help when you want to know the difference between two things or just to know the proper lingo when talking to vendors. Each glossary page has pictures correlating to the term which eliminates the need to Google.

3. THE LOVELY CHARTS & DIAGRAMS.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- charts and diagrams

This wedding planner is loaded with charts and diagrams. There’s one for who to invite, how your wedding budget should be allocated, and more. These pages really help to put everything into perspective. Especially when you’re debating if you should invite your old coworkers that you haven’t seen or talked to in over a year.

4. SUGGESTED QUESTIONS.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- suggested questions

When your looking at a venue or talking to a florist there are certain things you should know. However, when you’re there speaking with them that’s when those questions are forgotten. Of course you can ask more than what’s provided in this wedding planner but for the most part all the important questions are listed.

5. THE LIFESAVING CHECKLISTS.

This wedding planner has a checklist for each section and helps make sure everything gets done. Extremely helpful when there is just so much to do when planning a wedding!

6. QUICK AND EASY CONTACT PAGES.

Besides the contact pages that are inside the sections, the wedding planner starts out with a master contact sheet. Why is this so helpful? Let’s say you don’t have a wedding planner (like me, because I’m basically doing it) and on the big day your phone gets misplaced in the mayhem but you need to contact the bakery and remind them about the fresh flowers you want on top. Well, these pages will make it easy for anyone in your bridal party (put them to work!) to contact any vendor you hired. Plus its always a good idea to have important information in print, no matter how tech savvy you may be.

NOW, FOR THE CONS…

INSPIRATION PAGES

My biggest pet peeve for this book is the pre-made inspiration pages. Maybe its because I have a design background but the layout for these pages are such an eyesore! Not to mention the fact that they limit the amount of inspiration you can put on the page. I don’t know about you but I’ve been “pinning” like a madwoman for this wedding and I have WAY more than 3-4 inspiration photos for every category. These pages also have valuable information on the backside making it hard to simply remove them from the book.

QUICK FIX: 

OPTION 1: Create your own inspiration page(s) with cardstock/regular paper, use a 3 hole-punch, and add it to the binder! I used cardstock for my inspo-pages, printed the photos, cut/pasted them onto the paper, and added some call-outs.

OPTION 2: If your not a crafty person or you don’t like to cut and paste, you can always create the pages digitally. For those of you who like Photoshop, go at it. For those who don’t have access to the Adobe suite, you can use Microsoft Word or Excel.

COLOR CHIP CARD

 

I love that this book gives you color options along with listing on the backside which colors compliment them best. However, the color chips are part of the tab divider for the whole section. Meaning, if you remove any of the colors for your theme/color inspo, you basically ruined the divider. Why would they do that? My guess is to save money. Another con to this is that the colors given are very limited and they don’t include any metallics. Again, they probably did this to save some money in printing but to be honest it would be so much better it if was a separate page or two with more color options.

 

QUICK FIX: 

If you want to use the chip cars but you don’t want to lose the divider, use a binder tab insert that’s also a sheet protector. That way it doesn’t get hidden and you can store the remaining chips inside the sheet protector.

If you’re like me and your colors are not on the chip page, there’s a few options.

OPTION 1: Use Pantone swatches. You can search for the actual pantone colors here, purchase the fabric swatches here. If you want to use paper chips, they can be bought by the book or by the page here. If you have access to a Pantone book, even better!

OPTION 2: Make your own color swatches digitally using Photoshop, Illustrator or even paint! Whatever you use, make sure you have a a decent printer in order to keep the printed swatches as close as possible to the digital ones created.

OPTION 3: Make swatches from photos you find online or in magazines. Pinterest is great for this. There are tons of wedding and color themes floating around. I’ve pinned quite a few on my ‘Pretty Little Wedding Themes‘ board. Feel free to check it out, along with my other helpful boards here! Happy pinning!

OPTION 4: Visit a local craft/fabric store and shop around for ribbon, fabric, paint, or any other materials in the correct colors you want to use. Get creative! Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics are filled with products that are perfect for this. OR go to your closest pharmacy and find nail polish in the correct colors. 😉

LIMITED GUEST LIST

When I first sat down to put together a tentative guest list, I thought there was absolutely no way I would have more that 125 people to invite. Well, I was totally wrong. We had close to 200 people and it was shocking. However, the guest list included only allows 150. If you’re having a small wedding it’s perfect, but if not it’s pretty useless. Another thing about the guest list is that it is only for the names. There’s no space to put RSVPs or even addresses.

 

QUICK FIX: 

Create a guest list by using Microsoft Excel or google docs. This way you can keep your guest list organized and add all the information you need, including RSVPs for all the pre/post wedding parties (engagement, bridal, rehearsal dinners), meal choices, gifts received, etc. You can even keep each event on separate tabs to keep better records.

All-in-all…

 

The Knot’s Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer is extremely helpful and I would recommend it to anyone planning a wedding. As I go through planning my own wedding (YAY!) I will reference some of the helpful information and pages from this book to give more feedback.

Be sure to sign up for my mailing list (below) to get notifications of when a blog post is up. PLUS, you’ll receive notification of any new products, sales, and discounts for custom accessories to help make your wedding day extra special! I promise not to spam your email either 😉

Happy wedding planning!