Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wedding Coordinator

Get a wedding coordinator. You'll be glad you did. When things go wrong on your big day, and things WILL go wrong, you want to have a point of contact for everyone to go to. You and her will work out where people stand and when they come in. Then it is her job alone to make sure it all happens.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wedding Suits

Guys have it easy. You're looking at around $150 for the tux rental and that is it. Ladies spend at least that on their dress, then you have shoes, jewelry, etc.

One twist that has been gaining popularity since the recession is to buy a suit instead of renting a tux. Why not? You pay the same price but get to keep the suit! S&K was having a buy one get one free sale so we all wore $200 suits for $100.

The shirts traditionally would be white but we decided to mix that up as well. Express for men has every color of dress shirt you could imagine. You'd be hard pressed to find a wedding color that you couldn't match in that store. We found our "pool" colored shirts in there, waited till there was a big sale, and bought them all at once. The deal was, buy 3, get $20 off all three of them. Then we had a coupon for 10% off that so we ended up paying $25 for a $50 dress shirt.

The tie was a bit difficult to find a good price. We looked all over for nice looking ties. S&K had some nice ones but since we needed seven, we were out of luck there. We did find them at a department store and bought all of the ties there. Normally $50, we got them for $30 so that wasn't too bad of a price.

$150 for suit, shirt, and tie and they got to keep it. I doubt the shirt will be worn that often being that it is a bright blue but you never know.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Setting up email notification on Verizon

I've got my gmail set up to send me notifications when I get a new email. I don't know how long it should take to update but here is how you do it on your LG env

1) Make sure you have internet on your phone.
2) Make sure gmail has pop forwarding turned on
3) Go to email messages on your phone and add an account.
4) Fill out your info and log in
5) Once you are in your inbox, click options
6) Go down past reply and forward to near the bottom where it says settings.
7) Change notification to always if that is what you want. You can also enable between certain hours.

Going outside with the Great Indoorsman

New Cell Phone

I've got a new cell phone and a new number. Some have said I've entered the 21st century. I can now text... something I was previously unable to do. I'm just happy I have more then 30 minutes talk time before having to recharge.

If you think you'll need my cell number, send me an email or reply to this post. I'd put it here but privacy, you know?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Toasting Marshmallows with the Great Indoorsman

Bridesmaids Flowers

Did you know you spend around $45 a person just so they can hold a flower on stage? That is crazy! One idea that is kind of catching on is to get the girls a purse instead. A nice clutch purse, while it cost about the same, is a much better idea in my opinion. It can look just as nice and it doubles as a gift for the girls. That's much better then something that will just die by the next day. We just went to the mall and looked at EVERY ladies store in there. An hour an a half later, we settled on a purse from Caché that was ivory in color and had a brooch of a flower.

Marcie thought about making her own flowers out of ribbon or buying some silk ones from Micheal's to put together but with the amount of things it takes to plan a wedding, she just didn't have time for anything extra.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Online ads

I always wondered how people make money advertising online. Being in the computer field, I spend a good part of my time getting rid of pop ups and advertisements. Well, today I answered the question "Who actually clicks on internet ads?" I'm married to her.

That's actually not a bad thing. Hopefully she knows the difference between a spam/virus ad and a good ad but we found both our photographer and our wedding album designer from ads on facebook. I should clarify that statement. Marcie found both our photographer and wedding album designer on facebook. I guess not all internet ads are bad. You learn something new every day.

ps - more about our wedding album in a later post.

Making a fire with the Great Indoorsman

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wedding Dance


That's one way to do it. Hopefully their relationship doesn't look anything like the singers relationships.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wedding Music

There are several types of music you'll need to consider. I'll break them down by time they are played and what we decided to do.

Before the wedding starts you probably won't want silence as guests just sit there. Marcie and I had Blue Sands Music play before hand. We went for the classic strings trio because that was the easiest thing for us. We ended up telling them to pick out the music themselves and we didn't care what they decided. Sam and Angela aka Samgela had an interesting twist. They had a college friend who is a very talented musician play for their wedding. Shelly Moore is an amazing Christian artiest and the Shelly Moore Band was a beautiful change to the normal strings prelude. Check out her website when you get the chance. You'll be glad you did.

When the wedding starts, the processional often includes cannon in D and Jesu. You are however not limited to that. Samgela had the Shelly Moore Band play Agnus Dei as Angela entered and Marcie and I had Jeremy, a very talented college student who is very involved at Colonial, play The Divine Romance by Phil Wickham. That was a last minute change from JD Loftis who is also a talented college student and son of the worship pastor.

Once everyone is in, there is often one to two special music songs played. We don't care for the sappy songs too much but preferred a little more spiritual songs. We ordered strings sheet music from the Getty's website for In Christ Alone and gave that to Blue Sands Music to learn. Because that day was a blur and we were taking communion, I can't remember who sang the the song for us but I think it went pretty well. Like any music played, you could play a recording over the sound speakers, have your strings play the music and some one sing or lead the congregation, or have a special band or singer songwriter sing/play something for you. The choices are open for you.

The exit should be something fun and upbeat. This leads into the the reception so everyone should be in a good mood. As the bride and groom are leaving, we had Blue Sands play the first 20 seconds or so of the Indian Jones Theme song (no Tim, that wasn't Star Wars, Tara was right). Swing music is also a fun choice as well as many other types. If you want more traditional, choose a classical song with an upbeat tempo. (a piece of advice here - pause, take it all in, and give the audience a chance to see you before you run off)

Finally, the bride and groom are outside and guests are leaving the chapel. You'll need about three more songs here. Again, you want something fun but not quite as fun as when the bride and groom were leaving. This was probably inappropriate for a church setting but we found a good strings version of Stairway to Heaven from Mona Lisa Sound and thought it sounded really cool. You typically want 3-4 songs however as I'm sure you know, Stairway is like 10 minutes long therefore we only needed 1-2 songs after that.

Oh, there is one more set of songs to be decided upon but I'll have to save that for the next blog titled wedding reception music.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

This is an expense typically occurred by the parents of the groom. Depending on where you are having the wedding and how close to the wedding the rest of your family lives, this could be done one of two ways.

First, you could cook something or have a lot of your family members bring some dishes. You want your parents to have a good time but this isn't the wedding day so don't feel bad if they are slightly distracted on this day. On the other hand, they shouldn't be so busy that they can't enjoy talking to all of the guests or participate in the rehearsal. It is first and foremost a practice run of the next day. Mistakes will happen but the more people practice, the less problems you'll have.

Second way is to go to a restaurant. We went to an Italian place but the choice is yours. It doesn't have to be super nice as it is just a time to spend with the wedding party and out of town guests. Oh, I guess I didn't mention this but typically the people that would be invited would be out of town guests and the wedding party. The wedding party for obvious reasons but out of town guests are typically invited also. Since they're traveling that far, you're giving them a little more time with the bride and groom.

Also, gifts for the bridal party are typically given out then.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wedding Rings

There are a lot to think about here. I should probably have written a blog on engagement rings and maybe I will later but for now we're talking about the wedding bands. Guys here have many more options. At one time it was gold and white gold. Now, you're not likely to find anyone wearing any form of gold. Today's generation doesn't wear gold despite its timeless look. Silver is much more popular and with the introduction to platinum, that color has solidified itself into the being the best color to have. White gold for a long time was the alternative to platinum but even that has been upset this year with the growing popularity of palladium. It has all of the same characteristics of platinum (won't tarnish, strength, scratch resistance, etc) but not the price tag. All in all, its actually cheaper then white gold. There are several other metals that I pursued but I really liked the chrome look of palladium the best.

For my ring, I bought a 6 mm width band with a comfort fit inside. That basically means that its slightly rounded on the inside so the edges don't dig into your skin as bad. Since I've never worn a normal band, I don't know the difference. It probably won't lay as flat as the traditional band would until my hand gets fat and the band is indented into my skin.

Price was my biggest concern when buying a ring. You can get the same ring at any store you looked at so which ever one offered the cheapest price would be the best one to go to. I've found Diamonds Direct offered me the best price on both Marcie's rings as well as mine. The same band I bought for $350 at Diamonds direct was $500 at one of the places in the mall and $700 at Jarrod's. They can always go down in price and you don't have to buy today so shop around like you would a car.

I will say that my experience at Diamonds Direct was not a good one. Marcie and I just felt like a price tag when we were in there and our guy kept forgetting to call us. I can understand since not many people special order custom designed rings but had we not kept on him, it wouldn't have been ready in time for the wedding. Buying my ring was a breeze however. It was in stock already so I just picked it up right then. If they weren't so much cheaper then everyone else, we wouldn't have gone with them for the wedding bands.

Also, my brother in law had a bad experience with the owner one time. Mike and him are on first name basis and one time at dinner, Mike tried to buy him a round of drinks. The drinks were refused and he pretended like he didn't know Mike, one of his best customers. Its a long story but it might have involved the owner with another woman. I'll leave it at that.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Starbucks Pastry

Free pastry at Starbucks on July 21st with the purchase of any drink. Just print THIS coupon and go between opening and 10:30.

Wedding Registry

You're going to want to go to Bed Bath and Beyond for your wedding registry.

First, for the free stuff. You might have looked at my registry and noticed a lot of crap that nobody would want. Thankfully nobody bought it for us because, it was crap. Bed Bath and Beyond has several programs where if you add certain items on your registry, you will get free stuff in the mail. I could go more into it but you'll figure it all out when you get there.

Second, for the free money. Bed Bath and Beyond has a referral program so when you register there, make sure you say you were referred by some one. BB&B will send that person a $50 referral gift card just for saying their name. They'll probably spend that money on you anyways so its a win win situation.

Third, for the discounts. I don't know about you but I get BB&B coupons in the mail all the time. I see $5 off a $15 order or 20% off one item. You shouldn't have to pay full price for any item there. Also, after your wedding day, they'll send you a coupon for 20% everything still on your registry. Its really a great deal. We registered for a nice set of knives and all the knives in the set individually. We returned all of the individual knives we got and with that money bough the full 21 piece set with the 20% discount. There is all kinds of ways to get more for your money there if you just spend some time planning.

When picking a registry however, it is important to keep your guests in mind. Most of my family is from Harnett County therefore they don't have a Bed Bath and Beyond near them. As an alternative for them, I created a Wal-Mart registry. That was great because I was able to put camping stuff and other fun activities that Marcie and I could do together.

There is one other option but I don't suggest it. I signed up for a honeymoon registery where guests can buy your honeymoon. Actually, they're just putting money in a bank account and you would get a lump sum just before your wedding. It seems like a good idea but they charge you 5% on every purchase therefore you're throwing away free money. Besides, a lot of people will give you cash or gift cards anyways so you're likely to get the same amount or more on your wedding day. We'll find out this weekend when we pick up the cards from my parents house.

Wedding Dress

I have no advice for buying a wedding dress. Actually, that's not true. Marcie told me a few things our wedding director told her.

The director was not a fan of strapless dresses for two reasons. First, when you bend over, you tend to show everyone everything. On your wedding day, probably the only person you want seeing that much of you will be standing next to you, not your guests. Also, the strapless dress can give what she called the "turtle" neck/back. That's when the pastor says "you may kiss the bride" both lean in to kiss. Evidently in a strapless dress, it is very important for the guy to come the whole way and the girl to keep a strait neck to avoid the hump back and giraffe neck. That looks the best in pictures.

You have a strapless dress, what now? Well, when you talk to a kid or need to bend over, drop to a knee but still keep your back strait. Also, remember to keep your shoulders back as much as possible and when you kiss your groom, make him come to you (this includes when people tap their glasses for you two to kiss).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wedding Magazine

There are a ton of wedding mags out there but few are worth buying. They're all filled with advertisements and you have to search and search to find anything but wedding dresses. We found the best mags to get are specialized ones such as mags about hair or mags about flowers, etc. If you want a basic magazine that has a lot of really good and creative ideas however, Southern Weddings is the mag for you. The website is also good and has a "real weddings" section that gives several great ideas. I've only seen that mag once so I assume they only plan on doing one publication a year.

enjoy!

Wedding Website

Everyone creates wedding websites these days. Its a great place for people to go when they quickly need info about your wedding like directions or where you are registered. While there are several out there and others more popular, I've found ewedding.com to be the best website. Unlike the knot, they aren't full of advertisements and crap for you to figure out how to get around. Also, its much easier for guests to search for you if they forget the web address and the layout is much cleaner and more professional looking.

I added a little extra touch to my page however. The website would have been something like ewedding.com/sites/marcieandbrantley however to make it just http://marcieandbrantley.com, I bought that website from GoDaddy.com. If you know computers pretty well, its not that hard to do but if not, good luck! You have to do some searching and once you've bought the website, it takes a little while to find where to forward the page to your ewedding site.

Now, creating the site, you'll start out with several options. many of those options will only be available for a month as a trial. Make sure you read what will be free after the trial period is over so you don't have to redo all the work you did the first time. Remember you can rename the pages so even if "out of towners" is no longer available, you can name another page to that name and get the same result.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wedding Food

Another large expense is the catering you'll need for the reception. We were originally thinking about having our family (extended) cook food for the wedding but we decided against this so that my parents could relax. If you do decide to have people cook, make sure you hire a point person that will accept all the food from everyone and put it out on the table.

With that said, if you decide as we did to hire some one and not worry about coordinating it yourself, your first reaction is to go to some one who caters for weddings. We quickly found that was a terrible idea. If you do that, you're looking at around $14 a plate and for average tasting food at that. On top of that, you'll have to pay for people to serve the food, transportation, gratuity, sales tax, and other miscellaneous expenses. The grand total for a 100 person wedding could be around $4,000 when you're all said and done.

The better option is to choose a restaurant that you like and find out if they cater. I've gotten into crepes recently and I really like how they look on the plate. It looks fancy and tastes great. The best part about it is they only charge per a plate. If only 80 people eat, then we would only be charged for 80 plates. Then again, you have to account for Darren who eats three times the amount of a normal person so you pay triple for him but most people would be good with one dinner crepe (galette) and one dessert crepe. They were $13 a person however that included service, gratuity, transportation, plates, napkins, sweet/unsweet tea, a dinner crepe, and a dessert crepe. The only thing on top of that would be sales tax which is unavoidable.

There are several other options as well. Chic-fil-a, Golden Coral, Moe's, White Swan BBQ, and several other "everyday" restaurants have a catering option. If there is a place you love to eat, be sure to ask the manager if they would be willing to cater for your wedding.

Wedding Location

Here is another expense that is hard to avoid. Unless your church offers the building for free, you probably won't be able to get some place for less then $500. Over $1,000 is common for most of the places we looked. You can however get creative on your location.

We liked the idea of an outdoor wedding therefore we began looking into parks, lakes, and gardens. There are a lot of options in Raleigh and most of them affordable. Due to the heat, we decided to keep the wedding in doors but we rented Lake Wheeler for the full day for only $120.

We were told Colonial would be free however once we decide to use the church for our ceremony, they switched their policy. It was around $500 when it was all said and done so that was fine however it was pretty stressful trying to figure out what the new policy was and if we could even use the church after the change.

Here are a few of the places we looked at.

Outside:
Duke Garden, NCSU garden, Lake Wheeler, Fletcher Park (historic house), my sister's back yard, the horse farm near their house, etc

Churches:
Soapstone Methodist, Colonial Baptist, Plesant Union (Harnett Co.), and all of the downtown churches

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wedding Photographer

It is given that there will be several large purchases. Pictures, flowers, food, and location are all high dollar expenses. They don't have to be though. Here's a few ways to cut corners and save some $$$.

How to save money on pictures: you don't! Pictures are the one thing that you keep with you to show your kids and grandkids. They are your one visible reminder of that special day that you will likely not remember because of everything else that is going on in your head. Here however are a few things you can look for to make sure you get the best value for your money.
  1. Style - This is the most important thing to look for. Look at their other albums and make sure you like their style. Are they more strait forward or artsy in style? Do they do formal settings or candid photos? Do they prefer black and white, sepia tone (spelling?) or color photos?
  2. Copyrights - This is the digital age now so it costs nothing for them to burn you a CD of all of the shots they took. A lot of photographers are giving you the full rights to all the pictures they take now so it isn't unreasonable to expect that. This is nice as you'll probably want to give pictures to family and friends and may want more for your house later.
  3. Availability - You should be their only priority that weekend. It takes time to shoot the girls getting ready, the wedding, and reception. All in all, they'll probably take 4,000 or so shots.
We went with (once like a spark) for ours and so far have been very happy with that choice. Hopefully pretty soon we'll get our pictures back and we'll know if our impression of them is the well founded.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Marriage

Its great but the first few days will be busy. Since neither one of us are right out of college, we both have our houses furnished. Most of it is cheap stuff but we have it all the same. Trying to combine our stuff and make room for all the wonderful things we received as gifts can be difficult. Right now I can think of many things that would have helped the transition. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I'll have time to leave a few blogs about what I did that worked and what I would have changed. Also, I want to talk about what it takes to plan a wedding in case anyone is interested in how we went about creating a cost effective wedding.