Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Your Paper Trousseau

Here is a quick review of all the items that make your wedding paper trousseau.  Whether you choose to include all the items or not is purely your choice, but it is good to consider each item and then include or reject it according to your needs.  What is important to remember is that the way you present yourself on paper will give your guests a clue about your wedding.  You can spend a small fortune on elegantly printed paper stock if you wish, but you don't have to.  Most experts will agree that aside from the invitations and thank you notes, all other items are nice but optional.

The full paper trousseau can include the following:  invitations, place cards, programs, thank you cards, announcements, save-the-date cards, escort cards, RSVP cards, reception cards, menu cards, cocktail napkins, cake napkins, dinner napkins, printed hang-tags for favors or personalized favor boxes, personal letterhead which includes your name, address, email, phone number(s) and wedding date for all vendor confirmations and a guest book.

Generally all printed items carry through the theme of the wedding with similar print styles and colors.
You can arrange with the US Postal Service to purchase wedding themed postage stamps for the mailings.  There is no surcharge for official stamps.  Or you can arrange with a commercial printed to have custom printed stamps that reflect your choice of design but expect to pay an additional charge for customization.  You can order custom sealing stickers for invitation envelopes as well.

Paper trousseau items can be lovely, so if there is where you choose to invest some funds, that is your choice.   For more information, call 605-348-8816 or email

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wedding Dollars-Spending Wisely

National statistics show a wide disparity in the cost of a wedding.  It all depends on where you live.  According to PARADE magazine in 2013 gown costs ranged from on average - $804 in Alaska to $3,027 in Manhattan.  That should be no surprise, just as it shouldn't surprise the couple that weddings require cash outlay.  What does surprise some couples is how fast and easy a budget can be exceeded if one is not careful.
Try to avoid the mindset which says, "I'll only do this once so I'll charge it now and pay it off later".  Once the wedding budget has been established, spending wisely and saving widely should be the guide.
·         Some couples start with a wedding piggy bank.  Get a large one (without the easy access of a cork in the bottom) and resolutely empty all the change into it every day.  If you have to smash the pig to get at the $$ you are less likely to spend from the pig.  Pulling out the cork or plug to grab a handful of change is too easy and too tempting.  With two people depositing change every day and an engagement of say 6 months, the pig should be full.  It won't pay for everything but the symbolism and daily ritual will keep you mindful of your budgeting vows.
·         Some couples consider a wedding day loan.  With interest rates fairly low, it might make sense for some.  Couples with adequate financial resources take out a wedding loan for convenience rather than necessity.  It makes it clear how much $$ is to be spent.  However, if one is taking out a loan out of need, it may not be a great idea.  It is a bad way to begin married life together, especially if either the bride or the groom or both are also handling paybacks on college loans.  Before a couple considers a wedding day loan, they should think long and hard about its impact on their lives.
·         One of the best ways to manage those wedding dollars is to establish a separate wedding planning account.  Whether it is funded by the couple or with parental contributions, that account is a good way to manage the funds.  It is too easy to get off budget when expenses are paid by a variety of credit or debit cards.  A wedding only account makes it clear where the money is going.
·         More and more couples are considering wedding insurance with covers accidents or damage at the ceremony or reception, and provides protection on a wide range of events like damage to the wedding gown or the failure of vendors to honor their commitments.  Investigate the various options covered and vet the company before signing on the dotted line.
For more information, call 605-348-8816 or email

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tipping for Wedding Services

Who should I tip and how much is a usual question our consultant's are asked.  Our advice is preceded by a reminder that tipping should always be about a job well done.  Consider this basic premise when allocating dollars for tips and increase or decrease from the following guidelines based on the service provided.  For simplicity sake, it is usually best to entrust tips to one person - the bride's father or the best man on the wedding day and to have the amounts prepared in advance and in labeled envelopes for distribution wherever possible.
Here are some service providers and suggested guidelines for gratuities.
·         Hair stylists - 15% -20% of the fees, plus 5% for the shampoo assistant.
·         Makeup artists - 15% to 20% of fees
·         Valets - $1 -$2 per car to be divided among all valets
·         Coat Checkers - $1- $2 per coat to be divided among all checkers
·         Chauffeurs - 15% - 20% of transportation bill
·         Catering staff - up to 20% of catering bill to be divided among all staff
·         Bartenders - 15% to 20% of bar bill if tipping by guests was permitted as in a cash bar, or up to 30% if guests were not permitted to tip.

For officiants at ceremonies and musicians/soloists check with your ceremony site contact about the usual fee.  If they say "free will offering" here are usual guidelines. 
·         For civil ceremony officiates - $50 - $75 - and for religious officiants the same.  The best man can handle distribution of these for the couple.
·         Ceremony soloists or pianist/organist - $35 to $75

Even florists, photographers, videographers, bakes, seamstresses may sometimes deserve tips under extraordinary circumstances.  Remember to include a line item in your wedding budget for tips to insure that no one will be forgotten.

For more information, call 605-348-8816 or email

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Name Changes

Don't forget to add this task to your to do list.  There are lots of places that need to know that your name has changed (or the groom's name if he is taking yours or you are joining your last names with a hyphen).  Be smart and wait to make the changes once your post wedding address is firmed up.  It's simpler to change both names and addresses at the same time and far less confusing for the organization involved.

Places requiring an update on your personal identification are: Social Security Administration, your state drivers license or ID card, voter registration card, credit cards, military ID, passport.
You will need to notify  these organizations and businesses:  banks, mortgage holders, landlords, employers human resources department, health care providers, insurance companies, utilities, US Post office, attorneys, licensing boards and any clubs to which you belong.

The following documents will also need to be updated:  your will, any deeds you have for property owned, any vehicle registrations you have and any legal contracts that bear your signature.

We also recommend that you obtain a few certified copies of your marriage license.  Social Security will need a copy and other entities might.  Just have copies available in case they are needed.