Wedding Wednesday: Setting (and staying within) a Reasonable Wedding Budget

It’s #Wedding #Wednesday, and we’re pretty sure the phrase ‘better late than never’ applies to today’s post! We’ve been working on some GORGEOUS fall weddings over here, and dreaming up ideas for next season as well – but what good is all of that prettiness without a solid foundation on which to build it? The reality of the matter is that weddings mean incurring a very specific set of costs, and surprises are not fun. Never fear: you can still have the wedding of your dreams without taking out a second mortgage or selling your handbag collection!

Said bluntly: most people over-spend on their weddings, fail to account for all costs up front, and get frustrated when an established budget isn’t enough to cover the realization of their hopes and dreams for their event. Planning a wedding is hard enough – when you add budget planning into the mix, the process can become overwhelming very quickly. Here are our top 5 tips to set a reasonable wedding budget – and stay within it – keeping you sane, happy, and in control:

  1. Play the numbers game: One very real (and controllable) expense is the guest count for your event. I can be tempting to invite everyone you have ever met and your dry cleaner to witness in your blessed event – after all, you’re wearing a gown! You paid for an ombrè aisle runner! The best predictor of wedding cost is the number of people you plan to feed, host, and entertain. Tailor your guest list to your budget – instead of trying to stretch a modest budget to cover 500 guests with an elephant grand entrance. In addition, it’s worth noting that the party who foots the bill for the wedding has the power to establish the guest list – so if your parents aren’t contributing, you don’t have to accommodate their request to invite Crew friends from the old days or their ex-business partners and their wives (anyone non-family) unless you want to. Tailor your guest list to exactly the people you want to celebrate with, and the rest will be fairly straightforward – after all, it’s your wedding, and its about your new union.

  2. Rank your priorities:  Are you a foodie who solely cares about the food and beverages served at your event? Or perhaps an interior designer, incredibly focused on the styled details of your wedding decor? Maybe you’re not sure what you care about most – but you really want the pictures from your big day to last a lifetime, and you plan to be picky about your photographer. Whatever your priorities are for your wedding (everyone has them), you need to establish a ranked list, in order to justify the cost of each line item as you book vendors. Typically, catering will be your largest expense – but that doesn’t mean you have to serve caviar and filet mignon. Your list should include typical areas of focus, including: florals, decor, rentals and furniture, attire, honeymoon, venue and location, food and beverages, photography, videography, dessert, and guest entertainment. My top 3 would be: Florals, food and beverages, and venue – once you have your list established, you can make decisions about which vendors are worth splurging on or spending more.

  3. Prepare for surprise costs ahead of time: There are always costs beyond what you see on a proposal. ALWAYS. Whether these are a broken glass here, missing lanterns there, or perhaps greatly appreciated gratuities you share with your service staff on the day of your event, the best way to handle these additional costs is to prepare for them. Ask your planner or research best practices around gratuities, comb through contracts with a fine toothed comb, choose vendors who come in below budget, and never assume your bill is final until it’s final. Budget for extraneous costs while you’re planning, and add 5% of your total budget as ‘swing coverage’, to be used just in case.

  4. Be willing to negotiate and compromise: Catering proposal too high? Not feeling like you’re getting enough bang for your buck with your floral contract? Really consider your priorities (refer to point #2), and decide where compromise is necessary. Perhaps you LOVE your floral design, but you’re slightly over budget – is there somewhere else you can cut back? Do you really need three cheese stations set up by your caterer, or would one suffice? When you’re flexible and deliberate with your budget, you can breathe easier, knowing that you’re not overspending in every category. Be willing to negotiate, but be reasonable: most wedding vendors are small and medium sized business owners, who are selling their artistry and craft as much as their product.

  5. Stay organized – the devil is in the details: if you do not have a wedding budget tracker (broken out by line item, proposed amount, actual amount, and due date) you’re not keeping track of your budget as closely as you can. As a planner, I have a spreadsheet template that I share with clients ahead of time, to give them an idea of standard percentages of your budget that should be devoted to each line item. For instance, typically, food and beverages equate to 30-40% of your total wedding budget. From there, keep a copy of every proposal and contract you receive/sign, to stay ahead of spending.

    Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Budget Advice

    Wedding planner by Confetti Shop UK

If your wedding finances are organized proactively, the planning process will be much more feasible and enjoyable!

Friday Fab: 5 pre-vacation things!!

Wooooo hoooo, it’s officially the Friday before vacation, and I could not be more stoked! I plan to do a TON of sleeping and sunning over the next 10 days – what are your plans for the weekend? Hope they’re amaze!

Here’s the best 5 things from around the web this week:

  1. The BEST homemade pickles (unless of course you’ve been to Super Duper Burger, where they make their own) – I’m addicted – follow this PureWow recipe to DIY:

    Detailed & Delighted // Pre-Vacay 5 Things

    Pickles via PureWow

  2. Can we talk about how rad this Frida Kahlo inspired wedding is? Truly dreamy – can’t get enough…

  3. In case you were wondering, here are 18 incredible beaches that prove summer is year round in the right places:

    Detailed & Delighted // Pre-Vacay 5 Things

    Oludeniz, Turkey via Huffington Post Travel

  4. Glamping, you say? I’m into it – and am getting inspired for a little fall getaway after clicking through this gallery:

    Detailed & Delighted // Pre-Vacay 5 Things

    Glamping inspiration via domino and Paws Up Montana

  5. Work life balance is a MAJOR consideration around here (in my office, and in our household – not to mention, San Francisco in general), and at D&D we’re taking our cues from the Europeans, and starting this vacation weekend on a de-stressed note. Here’s why they have the work/life balance thing down:

Wedding Wednesday: California Rustic Wedding Inspo

It’s really easy to forget that while I live in a bubble of weddings, sunshine, and the ‘California’ aesthetic, not everyone is a 30 minute drive from the magic that is wine country, or an hour outside of Carmel! Rustic luxury is a wedding ‘theme’ (I hate that word) that came into the popular spotlight in the last 10 years, and it’s major. Perfectly in tune with California’s look (golden hillsides, perfect sunsets, vineyards and ranches galore), rustic doesn’t have to mean your wedding happens in a barn or that it looks overtly ‘Pinteresting’ – the key to this look is simplicity and an abundance of natural elements. In keeping with easy breezy west coast style, California weddings are really popular, and they’re typically characterized by incorporating some of the outdoor beauty of the event venue into the design and styling of the event. You can get married in a garden, in a field, or in a forest – the idea is to keep the vibe ‘natural’.

Here are 5 key components that many rustic California weddings have in common:

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

1. An outdoor venue space, like this grape-covered area at Holman Ranch, in Carmel Valley

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

2. Natural wooden furniture, like these bistro chairs and farm tables (Photo by Michael Radford via Style Me Pretty)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

3. Lots of natural light and fine art photography (Photo by Delbarr Moradi via Style Me Pretty)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

4. A loose wildflower aesthetic, bonus points for peonies and dahlias (Photo via Inspired Bride)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

5. Natural greenery elements, and un-stuffy desserts and presentation, like this naked cake on a wooden cheese board, adorned in olive branches and tea roses (Photo by Jemma Keech)

Wedding Wednesday: The 10 BEST Wedding Favors

When you read the words ‘Party Favors’, what does your mind immediately recall? For me, I remember the incredibly thoughtful and creative goodies my mom would help me customize for all of my childhood birthdays. We’re not talking about plastic baggies from Party City filled with $0.89 cent plastic toys – that would not fly in our household. I’m referring to things like craft frames she had kids decorate at my cowboy party, and then filled with photos of them taken at the event in western garb. THAT level.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to wedding favors, I’m of the opinion that they should be completely tailored and customized to the bride and groom, as well as their event. I’m an eater – so edible gifts are my very favorite! A lot of couples opt for home items or small styled tokens instead – which, when done well, can be lovely. Here are three rules of thumb to keep in mind when choosing your wedding favors:

1. Is the favor either immediately edible or mainstream useful (like a bottle opener or dishtowel)? If not, it’s likely to end up in a junk drawer somewhere.

2. If you’re customizing or personalizing the item with a monogram or wedding date, can that be removed to lend the item to every day use in someone else’s home (such as the dishtowel mentioned above)? Consider finding a way to attach a tag or sign with the personalization, and keep the item neutral.

3. Does the item go with your decor, theme, or aesthetic? And if so, is it something you personally would be excited to take home or eat? If not, it’s probably not the right favor choice. You want your guests to be excited about the object that helps them remember your day!

Here are our top 10 FAVORITE favors from around the web, chosen for beauty, creativity, and usability:

1. Bottle Openers with personalized tags

2. Personalized Jam Jars in the couple’s favorite flavor

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Photo by Laura Gordon Photography // via Style Me Pretty (this is my friend Junie’s Wedding!!)

3. PIE POPS!!! Tied with Ribbons! These are my absolute favorite dessert, so obviously…

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Photo via Williams Sonoma

4. Customized miniature bottles of the bride or grooms’ signature drink (great for after-parties!)

5. Cake jars (dessert on the go!) with a late night treat inside

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Photo by Our Labor of Love via Martha Stewart Weddings (From Cacee Cobb and Donald Faison’s wedding!)

6. Customized candles from the BEST soy candlemaker in the world, Illatos Lang (The owner, Jade, is my cousin, and her candles are just BEYOND!!)

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Illatos Lang Australia’s ‘Love’ Candle

7. Honey jar favors with stirrer sticks and tiny tags

8. A perfect customized loose leaf tea blend in cute pouches

9. Mini succelents – perfectly pocket sized, and life-durable

10. Olive oil favors with custom favor tags in Italian – molto benne for an al fresco affair!

Wedding Wednesday: The 7 Golden Rules of Wedding Technology

These days, technology pervades everything – including the wedding industry. On the consumer side (that’s you, brides) there are a number of different ways to use technology to make your wedding day easier and more logistically feasible – think online inspiration boards, web-payments for your vendors, email communication, the wedding #hashtag, and so many more!

Here are the ‘7 golden rules’ of the tech game to remember as your big day approaches:

1. Facebook is not a glass of wine or your best friend – do not turn your profile into a perpetual wedding venting session.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Getty Images // Photo via The Knot

With friends getting married, I typically expect one of two social media circumstances: they’re either going to be overtly happy and excited, and only share the great things that happen along their wedding journey (fine), or they’re going to vent and complain publicly for 3-18 months until their wedding day. If the latter, I usually ‘mute’ them from my feed – it’s more a survival mechanism for our friendship than anything else. Try not to be this bride – if you need to vent, find an offline way to do so.

2. E-vites for classy weddings are not “a thing”.

This may be a hotly contested point by modern brides (‘People LIVE in their email inboxes!’) – but that’s the point, really. An invitation to a wedding should traditionally be a departure from the everyday (the inbox), and a call to something special (your wedding). A paper invitation sent by mail feels more formal and considerate, and every recipient will be grateful for the time and thought you put into crafting them/addressing them/sending them out. Looking to save money on paper goods? Try printing sources like Wedding Paper Divas and TinyPrints, who can help you design the invitations of your dreams at a fraction of the cost.

3. Do not waste money buying decor (or even your wedding dress) on a shady discount website.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo (and dress) via Ebay

Say it with me: “If it sounds too good to be true, it most definitely is.” That custom Marchesa wedding gown you’ve been dreaming of that’s listed for $50 online, special-mail-order-sight-unseen from China? That’s a hoax, and a ploy to chip away at your valuable wedding budget. Save yourself the time, money, and heartache, and order online from reputable sources only. If you’re looking for a discount, plenty of reputable sources exist!

4. Instagram is for documenting your life, not just wedding planning – remember to have one.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo via How He Asked

WE ALL HAVE THAT FRIEND that has posted 185 images of their engagement ring/dog in a bowtie/random wedding crap on social media this year, leading up to her wedding. It’s overwhelming, and can incite feelings of negativity and annoyance in friends, followers, and loved ones. Our best tip? Don’t spam their newsfeeds – keep the rest of your life intact, and make your wedding a small part of it. Instagramming and posting wedding details periodically can be an exciting and fun way to share your experience, but don’t forget everything else you have going on outside of your wedding.

5. Pinning is not the same as planning.

Pinterest is a FANTASTIC wedding resource – to a point. While you’re in your ‘inspiration’ and ‘design’ phases, online Pinboards and visual curations of your ideas are a great use of your time. But pinning won’t organize your service contracts, curate your wedding day timeline, or write your vows for your ceremony – so keep it in check. One last point: don’t confuse vision with action. You may have wonderful design ideas and taste – but it will take action, and a team of wedding professionals, to bring that to life.

6. Read every contract before you sign – even if it only takes one click online to ‘e-sign’.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo via Brides

Online signatures require very little effort – but do you know what you’re signing? Be sure to take the time to read each and every contract that you receive from vendors, including you event venue. Seem daunting? Hire a planner or month-of coordinator, who can do this for you – they’re trained to look for tiny nuances within wedding contracts that can make all the difference, and can communicate any changes that need to be made.

7. Emails are not always as impactful as conversations – don’t assume that people read yours.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo via OneWed

When in doubt as to whether or not someone has received your email (like a bridesmaid or your cake bakery), pick up the phone and call them. Tone and context are important, and everyone is busy – a quick call can do the work of 3 back and forth email conversations. You’ll be very thankful when you show up at your event, and everyone is accurately informed.

Wedding Wednesday: Destination Inspiration in Lake Como

Since the day I fell in love with weddings (and those of you who know me know just how long it’s been), I have been excited about the idea of planning a destination wedding. I picture somewhere far, romantic, and removed from every day life in the busy cities of San Francisco or LA – a departure from reality. We’re not just talking about Ojai, CA or Tulum, Mexico here – this wedding I’ve dreamed up is a a plane, train, and boat ride away on Lake Como, in Italy.

George Clooney and John Legend’s wedding aside, Lake Como has gained more and more popularity over the last 10 years – and it’s apparent why. Italian Lake Country (in the northernmost part of the country) is surrounded by steep alps, crystal clear lakes, and a seemingly endless array of sprawling Italian villas, rich with history. Though it’s not they type of wedding to be hosted on a small budget (flights alone are more than a thousand dollars), it is the type of exotic locale to inspire a week’s worth of wedding festivities, and a lifetime’s worth of memories. A destination wedding here would need to be tailored down to the tiniest detail: a guest list comprised exclusively of one’s closest friends and family, the perfect seasonal (and local, duh…) menu of Italian foods and beverages, and a perfect aesthetic of mediterranean elegance and organic elements (I picture a lot of green). Swoon!

Enjoy the inspirations below, and let me know if you could picture yourself in a villa on the lake, celebrating your own wedding and living ‘La Vita Dolce’ – I know I could!

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Lake Como Destination Inspo

Custom Invitations via Meagan Tidwell

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Lake Como Destination Inspo

Photo via Pinterest

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Lake Como Destination Inspo

Photo via Flickr

Wedding Wednesday: How to Address Your Wedding Invitations (featuring Wedding Paper Divas)

BHLDN Invitations for Wedding Paper Divas - Breathtaking Blooms // Detailed & Delighted

D&D + Wedding Paper Divas: How to Address Your Wedding Invitations

You’re engaged! Now what? Very soon, you’ll get to tell all of your favorite people, and if they’re lucky, you’ll be inviting them to the main event – your wedding celebration.

Wedding invitation wording can be tricky, particularly if you have an eclectic mix of attendees (which nearly every celebration does). There are so many different titles to remember, spell-checks to verify, and unexpected updates to keep track of (not to mention physical addresses for all of your guests) – and even though you will be sending out a large number of invites, your guests will each receive only one. This means that you’ll want to pay critical attention to the tiny details, as they make all of the difference – and as we know, how you do anything is how you do everything.

This week, I’m teaming up with Wedding Paper Divas to share a handy guide they created to help you address wedding invitation envelopes for every situation. Keep reading for illustrated instructions showing proper etiquette for addressing the outer and inner envelopes – Or, click here to use the interactive form for quick answers on how to address invitations for most everyone attending your wedding. Good luck, congratulations, Mazel Tov, complimenti, and best wishes throughout your wedding planning journey!

TO A MARRIED COUPLE

This is the most traditional form of addressing an invitation. Should you choose to include both persons’ names, the outer envelope can be addressed as Mr. and Mrs. HIS FIRSTNAME LASTNAME. An alternate version includes both names as Mr. FIRSTNAME and Mrs. FIRSTNAME LASTNAME.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO A MARRIED COUPLE THAT USES DIFFERENT LAST NAMES

It’s best to list the person to whom you’re closest to first on the outer and inner envelopes. If you know each one as well as the other, you may write them in alphabetical order.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO AN UNMARRIED COUPLE LIVING TOGETHER

Similar to the address for a married couple, both names should be included on the envelopes.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH A HYPHENATED LAST NAME

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO THOSE WITH DISTINGUISHED TITLES

If only one in the couple has a distinguished title, it is proper to write his or her name and title first. If the wife has the professional title, you will address her name depending on whether or not she uses her maiden name professionally.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

If both parties are doctors with different last names, both their names can be written on the inner and outer envelopes.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

If both parties are doctors with the same last name, you may address the envelopes as follows:

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

Many of the same rules that you use for doctors also apply for military personnel, judges, reverends, etc. If both parties have distinguished titles, it is best to write the person with the highest rank first. Also, make note to add “The Honorable” to a title in the case of elected government positions, excluding the President.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO A DIVORCED FEMALE

The best practice is to address her as either Mrs. or Ms. and use her maiden name if she doesn’t use her former husband’s surname.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO A WIDOW

Traditionally, you would use the deceased husband’s last name in the address, as well as his first name. However, this depends greatly on her personal preference and what she will find respectful. Some choose to use their own first name, and sometimes also their own last name. If you’re unsure, it’s best to ask what she prefers.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedTO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Younger guests can be included on the inner envelope of their parents’ invitation listed by first name. However, children are normally not addressed on the outer envelope. For girls under 18, you’ll want to use “Miss.” Boys don’t require a title until they’re 18.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted

TO PEOPLE 18 AND OLDER

Unless they live at home with their parents, they should receive their own invitations.

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & DelightedWedding Wednesday: Invitation Etiquette with Wedding Paper Divas // Detailed & Delighted