Money Saving Tips

Cheers To Seven Years As Charleston Wedding Planners!

The Top Seven Things We Have Learned In The Past Seven Years

Seven years later and we couldn’t be happier to still be able to do our dream job and work with the best people in Charleston! It’s hard to put into words everything we have learned over the years, because we are still learning every day and we are still striving to be the best planners we can be. Every day is a new experience and every client is new and unique in their own way. These are all things that make our job challenging but also keeps us on our toes and challenge us, which we love. We don’t want to do the same event for everyone – we want your event to be unique and to represent YOU! 

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Ceremony Decor

Outdoor Ceremony Statement Pieces

When planning your wedding, you want to think about that one special moment. The one where you actually get to say I DO! Although ceremonies are typically quick, you absolutely want to have the perfect back drop as your talented photographer captures one of the biggest  moments of your life. 

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How To Pick The Perfect Bridal Bouquet

Finding Your Bridal Bouquet

Your bridal bouquet is such an important accessory and decor piece, so we really encourage you to think about what will represent you and your style. Maybe you are vibrant and want something bold and beautiful, or you could prefer something that is simple and subtle, maybe you are a natural kind of girl and want a ton of greenery, or maybe you love to accessorize and want to add a fun ribbon or a statement piece to your bouquet. 

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Is A Menu Card A Waste Of Money? Think Again….

Menu Cards and your Table Design

We are quick to let our brides know when they are spending money that can be allocated for something important and we certainly don’t like to see waste. Unfortunately, we have attended/planned too many weddings where we see the guests politely decline the favor and we end up packing them all back up in your car at the end of the night. So you are then left with 200 trinkets and a thinner wallet. Put your money into the design and what will make your guests feel welcome and special!

Nothing finishes off a table quite like a menu card. The simplicity, color, and elegance of a menu card can really tie everything together and add to your overall design. Not to mention, you can always add a welcome note, a quick thank you, or a cute little design or monogram to show off your new married name. Your photographer will LOVE it, your guests will feel welcomed, and I guarantee people will be talking about how beautiful the tablescape looks. Remember a little touch goes a long way!

See some of our couples fabulous menu cards and let us know what you think!

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What is the Best Way to Exit Your Wedding?

Special Exits For Special Couples

We get this question ALL the time! First thing you want to do is check your venue contract. Several venues have very specific rules about the types of exits that are allowed, so before heading to Pinterest and spending your valuable time coming up with an exit, you will want to see what is permissible at your specific venue. We see a lot of couples put a lot of time and energy into these exits, which is super fun, but don’t feel obligated to do it – it’s your wedding – spend your time and money anyway you want!

We always recommend checking in with your photographer and following their recommendations, because they will of course be the ones to capture it. They can always give some great insight into what has worked the best for them and if they aren’t going to be there for the exit, it may not make sense to do an evening exit. In this case, we generally recommend to plan a fun exit following your ceremony, so they are there to capture that. Exits are very difficult to capture because there is typically no light, so you will definitely want to make sure if you have something super fun planned – you will want a professional photographer there to capture it for you and let them know in advance what you have planned.

Check out our fabulous couples and what they have done for their exits:

The Sparkler Exit

First up is the sparkler exit. This is by far the most popular, but also one of the most common exits not allowed at venues, so be sure to check your contract before you purchase anything! I would say this is probably a photographers favorite as well because it provides light and creates a beautiful picture. It’s probably a planners least favorite – depending on how much your guests drink! haha. We have certainly been burned before, and we have seen guests almost burn couples as well – so you may want to keep that in mind if your guests like to party!

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14 Pieces of Actual, No-Bullsh*t Wedding Planning Advice

We are DYING over this amazing article listing 14 Pieces of Actual, No-Bullsh*t Wedding Planning Advice by Kelly Faircloth – we just had to feature it on our blog this week!  For the original article, click here.

14 Pieces of Actual, No-Bullsh*t Wedding Planning Advice

 

There’s a lot of wedding advice floating around the Internet. Problem is, a lot of it is useless fluff dreamed up by a) relatively well-heeled editors contractually obligated to spend their days inventing absurd nonsense to fill pages surrounded by advertisements b) people who’ve never planned a wedding/mistakenly think their very specific experience can be extrapolated. Or both!

Sure, those mason jars wrapped in polka-dotted ribbon are a cute idea on Pinterest, but it’s a good way to wind up sobbing in the middle of your local Michael’s two weeks before the big day. And all that money-saving advice? Yeah, the buffet’s going to save you $10 per person, tops.

Maybe you’re planning to tie the knot at a 50-person backyard barbecue. Or maybe you’re hosting 350 friends, family and business associates to some Gilded Age castle. Whatever. A month out from my own wedding, here are a few pieces of real-talk wedding advice that you can actually fucking use.

1. Maybe pay someone to do that. Are you supremely artistic and experienced in the ways of crafting? Is your great aunt Martha Stewart? Unless the answer to one of these questions is yes, think very carefully about any D.I.Y. projects. Examine your own abilities with a critical eye. For instance, I once tried to complete a “Cosmos manicure” and ended up looking like I’d let a four-year-old paint my nails. Face the music: Despite what Pinterest would have you believe, some of us are just shit at art. And your wedding is probably not the time to learn that lesson. It’ll only be more expensive when you have to replace everything at the last minute.

2. Not everyone gets a date, and that’s fine. Look, lots of us wanted everyone we’ve ever known and loved at the ceremony. But that’s just not feasible unless your daddy is a robber baron. You’ll want to invite as many significant others as possible, of course, and if someone is flying from Shanghai to Cleveland for your reception, you’d better allow them a date. But at some point, it’s time to hitch the caboose to the gravy train, and once you do, stick 100 percent to your guns. Consider preparing an email in advance for anyone who truly does not understand that money doesn’t grow on trees.

3. You are not the Lone Ranger. Perhaps you want to be the Stanley Kubrick of weddings, strictly controlling every single aspect of the entire production. But that way lies The Shining, my friend. When someone graciously offers to help, come up with some very specific detail they’re well-equipped to handle. (If you’ve got it covered or this person is an absolute incompetent, politely decline, but I urge you to consider the offer, even if it’s as simple as logging RSVPs.)

Also, on a more specific note, unless you’re wearing that $100 H&M dress, seriously consider having more than one bridesmaid. If I’d known how much work getting my girdle on was going to be, I’d have a bridal party of eight or nine really strapping gals.

4. Write thank-you notes as gifts come in. Do not get behind, unless you want to spend your honeymoon crafting odes to the lovely Waterford from Aunt Mildred.

5. Be ready to show some backbone. I’m willing to bet that most readers of this blog are very, very committed to not being a power-drunk nightmare-person Bridezilla during their planning process—and that’s great! Never, ever be nasty. But know that it’s perfectly okay to say no, no thanks, not gonna to happen when your florist tries to talk you into expensive hot-pink table overlays. (You’ll also need to be prepared to wield that NOPE like a broadsword if you’ve laid down a law like no kids or no cellphones, by the way.) Let’s practice together! And once you put down a deposit on something, don’t feel guilty about making sure that vendor gets her damn job done. If you’re paying for a wedding planner, don’t let her drop the ball. If your sample floral arrangements are the wrong color, speak up.

Now, a corollary: Pick your battles and save your emotional energy for the big stuff. Maybe you hate your cousin’s formal kilt, or your bridesmaid’s spray tan, or the best man’s habit of wearing lime-green socks with dress shoes. For God’s sake, just let it ride. Save your fury in case the limo never shows.

6. All you need is Google Docs. I’ve got a binder, a website, several notebooks and pieces of wedding-related paper lying all over my apartment. But the only tool I really needed to get through this without rending my garments and running screaming into the night was Google Docs. Sure, maybe your dad still hasn’t gotten the hang of the Internet. But that’s what the export to PDF function is for!

7. If you must give favors, give food. Don’t give your guests something they’re just going to throw away. No one in the history of party planning has ever gone wrong with a light snack. Definitely do not D.I.Y. anything. (See above.)

8. Limit your options. I couldn’t have any old thing that flitted into my brain, because I am a reporter and not the third employee of Google. A lot of things were simply out of budget. But honestly? THANK GOD. There are too damn many options out there, and limitations are your friend. The name of the game in wedding planning is eliminating as many possibilities as fast as possible. If you’re pretty sure you don’t want to get married in a barn, put your blinders on and stop looking at barns.

And for the love of God, do not let yourself get bogged down in any single decision. I spent weeks scouring New York City for wedding shoes and a hair comb. My mistake was ever considering more than five options in the first place.

9. Ask (politely!) for discounts. Hey, it can’t hurt.

10. Treat thy bridesmaids as thou would like to be treated. I’m not talking no diet commands and no haircut lectures. That’s table stakes. I mean don’t pick a bridesmaid dress that would look good on you but not them. There are more body types than stars in the sky; maybe give them a choice of five dresses and let each pick her fave. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t match. Don’t ask them to spend a fortune on something they’ll never wear again, and give them some sort of thank you at the end.

11. Stop trying to be so damn unique. Look, weddings are not original. They are a template, a form letter drawn up hundreds of years before we were born. No matter how much money you throw at the planning process, your wedding is not going to be one of a kind. You don’t need a special, hand-crafted symbol of your cosmic love on every escort card. Chill.

12. There is no perfect dress. You’re probably not a paragon, and you’re not marrying one, either. We live in the world of reality, not Platonic ideals. So do yourself a favor and pick a gown that’s beautiful and within budget. Don’t let the dress shopping drag on until the entire experience curdles.

13. Ask yourself: Who actually cares? Agonizing over whether to have a champagne toast, or pay for chiavari chairs, or (god forbid) shell out for peonies? Here’s a question you should seriously ask yourself: Are my guests really going to care? Because this is technically a celebration of you, but REALLY it’s an enormous party that you’re throwing for your friends and family. This is not your fifth birthday party at McDonalds. You are hosting these people that you love. Every decision should come down to whether the guests like it, appreciate it, or notice it at all.

Remind yourself (as others have reminded me) that people care about the dancing, the food and whether a good time was had by all. They don’t care about how much painstaking effort you put into the hand-aged programs and the very firm email you wrote to get the perfect amount of greenery in the centerpieces. You’re better off focusing on the broad strokes that best facilitate the party than bothering overmuch with piddly shit.

14. Have fun. Unless you are Olivia Pope and thrive on details and chaos, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. (Yes, even if your plan is simply to order 25 pizzas and surprise all your buds at a bar, you still have to write the ceremony, write up the invites, etc., etc.) But this is fun! It’s a happy occasion! Go forth and drink until you can’t feel your face! And remember, as long as you’re married at the end of the night, it was a success.

Kelly Faircloth

Extreme Couponing Goes Bridal

When we think of couponing, we generally begin to think about the grocery store and the local Sunday ads that are displaying all the two for one specials in aisle six.  Even TLC  has a new show called Extreme Couponing, which has what we would consider professional couponers saving some serious cash. If you go check out the shows website, they have a Dollars and Sense guide, Coupon Chatter, and even an extreme coupon offer right there on the site. There are some really great budgeting ideas on the site and throughout the show that we could all learn from and begin incorporating into our daily lives.

What does this have to do with being a bride and planning a wedding?

Well, first of all, if we save money on groceries, we have more to play with for the wedding. Second of all, who says the wedding industry doesn’t have coupons? Of course they do! I just spoke with a bride the other day that saved fifty dollars because she Googled coupon codes for her save the dates and then on top of it she found a 50% off coupon for all wedding supplies at her local craft store. Many of us have geared towards shopping online and there are always online codes that offer a sweet discount on the product, but you can’t forget to do a google search and look for that coupon code.

Also, the wedding industry can be a pretty competitive market, and a lot of wedding professionals offer discounts or coupons if you “like” them on facebook, follow them on twitter, or if you post a comment to their blog. Vendors also have some sweet give-a-ways and raffles that are worth checking out and submitting your information if you can get free or discounted services. This all helps vendors with their marketing, and since you are helping them, they want to help you.

The best advice we can give you is to make a list of all the things that you need to buy for the wedding (this includes bridal jewelry) and begin regularly looking in your Sunday paper and online for coupons and slowly you can begin purchasing your items as they go on sale. Think about those fancy napkins or tablecloths that you want for the wedding, but they are not so budget friendly. In all honesty, they may be cheaper to purchase than rent if you are keeping your eyes peeled for spectacular sales or drastic discounts!  Couponing can actually be a ton of fun and nothing feels better than conquering the battle of the budget and getting everything you want at a phenomenal price!

The holidays are going to come and go before we know it, and the stores are going to start advertising their after the holiday or end of the year sales, so start looking for those shopping steals! Feel free to share your favorite coupon or coupon sites with our other readers, and don’t be afraid to call on Fabulous Fête for your shopping or couponing needs!

There is nothing these two Charleston wedding planners love more than finding brides the best bargains!!

The Incredible Shrinking Wedding Budget

This week I read an article that encompasses everything we believe in and do with our budget-conscious brides here at Fabulous Fête, so I couldn’t resist sharing it with you!

Below is a list of 14 different ways you can “slash” your wedding budget… and of course remember the ladies at Fabulous Fête always have the best deals in town – so we save you money as well!

  1. Avoid peak season. Get hitched in late summer or winter to shave up to 20% off your venue fee
  2. Cut in packs.  Shrinking your list by a table (8-10 people) for saving across the board, from staffing to rentals.
  3. Embrace all-inclusives.  A venue with catering packages (country club, hotel, banquet hall) or a private room in a restaurant can save up to $25 a head. (SOMETIMES!!)
  4. Local-ize buds.  Stick to seasonal and local flowers – they’re eco and econ-friendly.
  5. Have fewer VIPs.  A large bridal party equals a hefty florist bill.  Cut your posse from 6 to 2 and save big on blooms.
  6. Sorry, not shots.  Limit booze offerings to wine, beer, and a couple specialty cocktails for 25% cheaper tab
  7. Focus on deliciousness.  Pass 4 crowd-pleasing apps (in lieu of 10) and offer a plentiful spread of cheeses and bruschetta to save $10 per guest.
  8. Knock a star off the five-star meal.  Serve taste-alikes: prosecco instead of champagne, hanger steak in lieu of filet mignon, and grouper over cod.
  9. Welcome turntables.  Book a DJ.  On average, a talented one costs 5 times less than a live band of the same caliber.
  10. Don’t gild the cake.  Top it with one extra large sugar bloom instead of a cascade of edible flora to save $10 per slice.
  11. Give your photographer a curfew.  Who wants to pay for shots of drunk, sweaty guests at the end of the night anyway?  If you are a interested in an grand exit, just fake it so the photographer can get the shot and go home – and you can head back to the dance floor.
  12. Honk once for love.  Avoid having a fancy car on standby the entire day.  Choose to make a grand entrance or a big exit.
  13. Rein in albums.  Make one group-friendly exit so you can order the same album for yourselves, your parents, and your in-laws.
  14. Skip letterpress.  Print all your stationary digitally.  Go for great color and typography rather than pricey techniques and chunky paper stock.

-Brides Magazine

Cutting The Cake

Depending on if you are a traditional bride or a more modern bride, a great way to save a buck – is to consider your dessert options.

Brides are generally shocked to find out the continuously climbing cake costs and often times haven’t budgeted appropriately for this. The cost of your cake could potentially add up to $8 per person, which may not be a price you’re willing to pay!

There are tons of options to consider when booking a baker. If you are really traditional and have your heart set on a big cake, that can be doubled as a centerpiece/decor for your reception hall, then we strongly encourage you to fake it! That’s right, ask your baker if they have any “presentation” cakes you can rent or even create your own dream cake but ditch the flour and the eggs and head straight for the Styrofoam and icing (or fondant)! Once you cut the cake, it is swept from right under your nose so that your caterers can begin cutting it in the back, so none of your guests will have a clue that they are being served sheet cake. This way you can have a stunning cake and save over half of what you have set aside for your cake budget!

Other options, for our more modern brides, is to have a dessert table filled with your favorite treats. This could represent you or even the city that is hosting this fabulous celebration. Put out a table with classic treats like gummy bears, M&M’s and everyone’s favorite candies that will also bring a pop of color to your reception! These “Candy Bars” double as a wedding favor for your guests and you can always include a little bag if they would like to take some sweets to go.

Finally, consider a smaller cake and you can still have a dessert table or the sheet cake in the back that can be handed out by your caterers. Don’t be duped into thinking your display cake has to feed all of your guests! Get creative and don’t get caught up in the cake. It’s a sweet sentiment but it will not make or break your special day! We encourage you to contact use for more help, shop around, go to tastings, but just don’t let the sweets steal the budget!

Bargain Bling

Diamonds are a girls best friend, no argument there, but nothing could possibly make a woman feel better than a sale/bargain combined with a diamond. Diamond and sale – our two favorite words in just one sentence – it’s exciting just to think about! However, be careful when using these words together, sale is MUCH different than the word cheap (listen up all you men out there looking for tips and tricks). The goal we all have in mind is one wedding, one spouse, and one ring to symbolize that unity. So, don’t be cheap and don’t settle for something you aren’t happy with, because it costs more to upgrade or buy a new ring down the road than just being happy with the initial ring. So how do we save but not skimp?

Acknowledge that you are not an expert and go talk to one. Learn the pricing structure of rings and begin to shop around and compare the price tags on your rings of choice. You do not have to go to the most expensive and well known jeweler in town because we aren’t looking for a brand we are looking for bling. Also, do not expect to haggle or bargain with the fancy schmancy jeweler, but you can talk your way into a deal at a more modest jewelry store. Look in antique stores, shop for loose diamonds, these are all ways to potentially snag a great deal and design a custom ring. Don’t shy away from online stores, but do your research and make sure that it’s a reputable retailer and not a scam artist. Finally, are you planning a trip out of the country anytime soon? In the rare chance that you may be escaping to a foreign diamond producing country, definitely get your shopping done there – they have much more affordable rates in comparison to the U.S.

There are some quick ways to narrow down your search and one way is to remember that the more it weighs, the more it costs. This goes for diamonds as well as the metal. Diamond clusters, which definitely have the sparkle factor, will cost less than a solid diamond. Also, buying right below the next carat weight will save you a fortune. Go for .9 instead of 1 carat and so on and so on. Also, when looking at the metal options for the band, platinum is not necessary and is going to cost you a fortune. Go for white gold, but make sure you aren’t skimping on quality because you want the ring to be durable – so stick with a higher karat weight. In the same sense, if you already have your engagement ring, you are going to want to stick with the same or similar metal because you don’t want the stronger metal to damage the weaker metal since they will be rubbing together. Diamonds aren’t the only option either, women are definitely enjoying their gemstone engagement rings, and more environmental friendly couples are leaning towards lab created diamonds.

Think practically, shop wisely, and get insured! Ladies, I know we love our bling and we quickly jump to the bigger the better, but this isn’t always the case. Quality is imperative and once you have that engagement ring, do not try to out shine your engagement ring, you want them to compliment each other. The thicker the band, the thinner the wallet. Remember these hints, do your research, and don’t be afraid to try and get a bargain on that bling!

Happy Shopping for Bargain Bling!!

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