How to Plan your Wedding Favors on a Budget

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 | Filed under: Wedding Budget, Wedding Favors, wedding planning | author: By admin,    

How to Plan your Wedding Favors on a BudgetGiving great wedding favors is a big wedding trend in 2015, as more wedding couples love the look of pretty little gifts offered as treats to their wedding guests, and as in-the-moment gratitude gifts for attending their big day. We’re a global society, with more wedding guests traveling from afar to attend a wedding in northern NJ, so there’s a ‘thank you for traveling all this way to be with us’ element of wedding favors now.

Plus, the wedding favors shown on Pinterest and on top wedding blogs are just so lovely! Wedding couples are putting more thought into what their wedding favors will be, and while favors are one of the lowest wedding costs, you’ll still want to make the most of your wedding budget by choosing stylish and trendy wedding favors that look more expensive than they are:

  • Offer edible wedding favors. You might bake cookies or brownies on your own, spending just a few dollars for ingredients, or you might buy a box of brand-name cookies like Entenmann’s or Little Debbie – using a coupon to make it even less expensive – and wrap cookies to present as favors. Wedding guests love getting a snack to enjoy on the way home, and edible favors can be chosen to work with your wedding’s theme or season, such as maple-flavored brownies for a fall wedding in NJ.
  • Ask your wedding venue if some of your wedding dessert items, like zeppole that are so popular at NJ weddings, trendy wedding macarons, cookies and other treats can be packaged up and set out as wedding favors by the wedding venue’s exit.
  • Offer mini potted flowers. Local NJ garden centers offer tiny potted flowers for just a few dollars apiece, and these delicate blooms are pleasing wedding favors.
  • Offer flower seed packets. Again, your local NJ garden center displays racks of small flower seed packets that can tie into your garden wedding theme, or work just as well as bridal shower gifts. Use that wedding trend of variety to give guests their choice of several different kinds of flower seed packets, and affix a personalized DIY label to the packets without covering planting instructions on the back.
  • Offer scoops and take-home baggies or containers at your wedding venue candy bar. A colorful candy bar is a top trend in wedding dessert hours, and when you add craft store-bought scoops and baggies, cones or containers, guests can select their own take-home favors from the bar you’ve already paid for.
  • Shop locally at NJ stores. When you buy wedding favors at nearby stores and small businesses, you support the local economy and avoid paying shipping fees for your wedding favors.
  • Use coupons and coupon apps at your craft store, to get a percentage off your purchase, making some of your wedding favor wrapping supplies free.
  • Use credit card reward points to get gift cards to the store where you’d like to buy your wedding favors. The points you’ve accrued in your other wedding purchased might add up to a $25 or more gift card to a craft store or other shop, and you’ll then use this gift card to get your wedding favors for free. Just look into this far in advance, since it can take weeks for your Reward Points gift card to arrive in the mail in time for your use.
  • Buy candies in bulk at your nearby party supply store, and divide your supply into wedding favor bags or mini boxes, for budget savings.
  • Shop holiday sales for wedding favors that are non-perishable. For instance, Black Friday sales can let you buy non-edible favors for a very low cost. You then just store them away until your wedding day. You might save 50 percent or more on your wedding favors, and cross this task off your wedding to-do list sooner.
  • Skip the custom-ordered personalized ribbon imprinted with your names and wedding date. It’s not a necessity.
  • Think twice about printing out very colorful favor labels. Printer ink can be very pricy, eliminating any savings you wish to get from a wedding DIY project.
  • Make a donation to your favorite cause, and print up a sign to display at your wedding venue, letting guests know that you’ve made a donation in their honor. It’s now a big trend to add to this a basket of candies, so that guests get a little something to take home with them.

How to Plan Your Wedding Videography on a Budget

Monday, May 18th, 2015 | Filed under: Wedding Invitations, Wedding Videography | author: By admin,    

How to Plan Your Wedding Videography on a BudgetIn years past, wedding budget experts advised having a friend videotape your wedding, but we now know that is a big Wedding Don’t. Yes, anyone can own a good video camera, but it takes the trained eye of a professional videographer to capture the most beautiful and most special moments of a wedding, and then expertly edit wedding footage into your final wedding video creation that you’ll want to watch year after year. Expert videographers have the best video equipment, backups of both cameras and batteries, and the best video editing equipment money can buy. And since the video they shoot is so valuable, wedding videography packages will often be quite pricy.

Here are some ways to plan your wedding videography on a budget, so that you can have a professional shoot your wedding video without costing a fortune:

  • Ask your wedding planner and wedding venue for recommendations to the best professional videographers they know. It’s a wedding myth that the best wedding videographers will charge more because they’re well-known. In fact, top wedding videographers can often offer discount prices because they are well-known and successful. And top video professionals can work within your budget.
  • Limit the amount of time you’ll need your professional wedding videographer at your wedding venues. If you’re on a budget, you don’t need this pro to videotape you getting ready for your wedding. It’s fine to have a friend capture those getting ready moments for you. Plan your cocktail hour and reception to start immediately after your ceremony – a big benefit to booking your wedding at a top NJ wedding venue with ceremony and reception spaces – instead of having your wedding professionals on the clock during the hour or two between those two events. Cut your wedding cake earlier in your reception, and then your videographer can depart. This timing may mean that you can book a four- or five-hour videography package instead of a pricier seven-hour package, and you have all of your wedding’s important moments completed at an earlier hour.
  • Hire a local wedding videographer. Many wedding experts charge for their travel time, from the moment they leave their own parking lot to the time they return back to their own parking lot. So hiring a top NJ wedding videographer who is somewhat local, and measures up in your interview process, can save you money. (Never hire the closest and cheapest wedding videographer, since that can lead to a wedding disaster when the ‘expert’ is not very expert at all.)
  • Ask if they offer any referral discounts. If, say, you book your videographer, then refer him or her to your engaged friend and she books them as well, you may get a $500 discount or a nice percentage of your videography package credited to you. Not all wedding experts offer this kind of discount, but it can’t hurt to ask.
  • Check your chosen wedding videographer’s social media sites to find pop-up discounts and special pricing they share with their fans and followers.
  • Ask if you can get a free highlight reel as part of your wedding videography package.
  • Skip the fancy special effects. Black-and-white, sepia and color-fades are often included in what a wedding videographer does with the final version of your video, and extra effects like animation will often cost extra because of the time it takes during the editing process. Plus, kitschy special effects will date your wedding video, and may not be pleasing to you in the future.
  • Skip the fancy personalized DVD case or flash drive case with your monogram on it. A simple case will cost less.
  • Don’t skip the option of having a second shooter, an additional videographer, at your wedding, since two professionals can capture the big moments of your wedding from different angles. And when your wedding venue is expansive, two shooters can be in two places at once, capturing the beauty and excitement of your outdoor wedding elements as well as the festivities in your wedding ballroom.
  • Ask if you can order your wedding video ‘raw,’ which means un-edited, which will cost a lot less for the videographer. You can have this video edited later, when you have more money to spend, and perhaps as a very special anniversary present.
  • Be patient for your finished wedding video. It can often take months for the best wedding videographers in NJ to edit and deliver your wedding video, due to the time it takes to edit. If you ask for a rush order, it will cost you more.
  • Bridal party members don’t need their own copies of your wedding video, and if you’d like your parents to have a copy of your wedding video, you may choose to give them that freebie highlight reel, or ask your videographer to make a second copy of your wedding video for free (some will offer multiple copies as part of their package, or be open to a request, since technology makes it easy to ‘burn’ a high quality copy of your video once it’s edited.)

How to Plan Your Wedding Day Transportation on a Budget

Monday, May 11th, 2015 | Filed under: Wedding Budget, wedding ceremony, Wedding Day Transportation | author: By admin,    

How to Plan Your Wedding Day Transportation on a BudgetGliding up to your wedding venue in a spectacular stretch limousine, and getting those Just Married kiss shots in the back of a Rolls Royce can be part of your wedding dream, and you can arrange wedding day transportation on a budget to make that dream come true:

  • If you’ll have your wedding ceremony and wedding reception take place at the same wedding venue, a top wedding site in NJ that offers both beautiful wedding gardens and an elegant wedding ballroom, you won’t need to hire a limo or classic car to transport you between two locations on your wedding day. You might, then, just hire a car to whisk you both away from your reception at the end of the night, cutting your wedding transportation costs lower.
  • Compare wedding transportation packages carefully to be sure you understand all hourly and overtime fees, plus extra expenses like tolls and tips included in their contracts.
  • Plan your wedding day transportation carefully to determine how much time you’ll need, such as just a ride from your wedding reception venue to your home. If you book your car for too few hours, pricy overtime fees will cost a lot.
  • Just hire a luxury car for the two of you, skipping limos for your bridal party. A big trend in weddings now is for the wedding party to travel together in someone’s decorated SUV, which makes for fun photos and keeps your costs lower. The same goes for parents’ rides; they are more often travelling on their own, and we do see that the mother of the bride is joining the bride and her father in the limo ride to the ceremony, and the two of them hop on the hotel’s shuttle bus or ride with relatives or friends to the reception.
  • Ask your wedding transportation company for the price lists of each of the types of cars in their fleet. In many cases, a regular limousine costs less than a stretch limousine, and provides the same VIP feel on your wedding day.
  • Ask your wedding transportation company if a black limousine costs less to rent than a white limousine. This may be the case, and an added perk to hiring a black limousine is that your wedding dress looks beautiful in contrast to the black car when you’re stepping out of it at your wedding venue. And with top wedding dress trends including off-white dresses, you will also look better in front of a black car if you’re wearing an ivory wedding dress.
  • Ask your hotel for free use of their shuttle bus to transport wedding guests. Most of the top NJ hotels will gladly offer use of their shuttle bus for wedding couples when they book wedding room blocks at that hotel.
  • If you’ll hire a wedding party bus, ask about off-season discounts and other special rates to cut down on the cost.
  • Know your transportation company’s tipping policy. If you’ve already paid a gratuity as part of your package, it would be a wedding budget mistake to tip your driver again (although many of our NJ wedding couples say they like to tip a great driver more, on top of already-paid gratuity, when the driver is wonderful to them.)
  • Keep an eye on the clock, and have a responsible friend notify you when it’s time to leave your wedding reception. You don’t want to miss your departure time and, again, wind up paying overtime (unless you’re having such a terrific time at your wedding that it’s not a problem at all to pay the overtime fee!)

How to Plan Your Wedding Décor on a Budget

Monday, May 4th, 2015 | Filed under: Wedding Décor, wedding flowers | author: By admin,    

How to Plan Your Wedding De¦ücor on a BudgetEvery wedding couple wants their wedding ceremony site and wedding reception venue to be breathtakingly beautiful, and – inspired by wedding décor images on Pinterest, celebrity wedding planners and reality show weddings – they dream of gorgeous, ornately-designed, luxury wedding décor ideas. You may have your own vision of wedding gardens bursting with blooms, and an illuminated, stunning wedding ballroom that takes your breath away.

If you’re wedding planning on a budget, you’re likely looking for ways to plan wedding décor for less, and we have some top tips for budget-friendly wedding decorations:

  • First and foremost, choose a wedding venue that is so stunning on its own that you won’t need to add very much décor to it. When your wedding venue has gorgeous architecture, beautiful windows overlooking manicured grounds and a beautiful NJ wedding garden, gorgeous chandeliers drawing the eye to a stunning ceiling, and an elegant style all its own, you won’t need to spend a fortune on so many wedding flowers, arches and other elements that are needed to transform a blank, basic, windowless ballroom or a plain lawn area with no landscaping. Your wedding venue’s expert landscaping designers have done the work for you, and the venue’s own details need not be hidden by endless fabrics and flowers to make a big visual impact.
  • Use your wedding venue’s china, flatware, stemware, and table linens that are included in your package price, rather than spending money on rented tabletop items. A top 2015 wedding trend is a return to classic elegance, which means that a simple, unadorned china pattern and classic-styled drinkware are right on trend, and these classic styles are often featured in the best NJ wedding venues’ collections available to you at no extra charge. If you’d like a bit of extra shimmer to your tabletops, you can always add a rented or DIY wide table runner to add a touch of color. Keep in mind that the effect of tabletop design in your wedding ballroom is cumulative – when you design a single guest table with classically-elegant china, glasses, flatware and linens, then all of your guest tables make an even bigger impression in your wedding ballroom.
  • Follow the top wedding trend of alternating décor on guest tables in your wedding ballroom. Thanks to the artistry of top wedding planners in NJ and top wedding designers on television, one of the prettiest wedding décor looks is also an excellent wedding budget tip: not every guest table in your wedding ballroom has to be identical. From table to table, alternate some that have a colorful table runner and some that either do not or that have a runner in a neutral shade (less expensive to rent,) and you’ll get tremendous wedding savings from alternating high and low floral centerpieces from table to table as well. Depending on your floral centerpiece choices, you can save 20 percent to 50 percent on your wedding centerpieces with this plan alone. Pillar candles, too, can be alternated in height table-to-table for a pretty, trendy look.
  • Use in-season, locally-grown flowers for all your floral décor. The top NJ wedding floral designers work magic with in-season, local flowers – many of which come from sustainable resources and local NJ farms and NJ farmer’s markets – to design wedding floral pieces that look twice as expensive as they are, if not more.
  • Add height to floral centerpieces inexpensively by including flowering branches to your arrangements. Especially in a wedding venue with a tall ceiling, taller centerpieces look beautiful, drawing the eye upward to appreciate the ballroom’s ceiling and chandeliers.
  • Ask yourself, “What would reflect candlelight?” It’s an inexpensive way to make all your wedding décor look more glamorous on a budget. From wine glasses on your tabletop to strings of mini crystals in your floral centerpieces to a shimmery fabric tablecloth or runner, all of these budget-friendly décor pieces reflect the lighting in your ballroom for that luxurious glow of a dream wedding setting.
  • Get glass vases or vessels from your local craft store, using a store coupon or app that gives you 20% off your entire purchase for big savings and again, glass vases that reflect light in your ballroom.
  • Ask your wedding coordinator and floral designer about any leftover vessels, vases or décor items that they have in their storerooms, that you may be able to buy at a big discount for your wedding décor.
  • For larger wedding décor pieces, like trendy window frames and tables, follow flea market flip show ideas to DIY a décor piece for your wedding gardens at your outdoor wedding.
  • If you know a crafty friend who is very talented, you might ask that person to make a décor piece, and have that décor item be his or her wedding gift to you, making it a wedding freebie that looks like you spent a lot for it.
  • Specialty lighting that transforms a wedding ballroom might be included in your deejay’s or band’s package, or if you’d like to hire a specialty wedding lighting company, stick with their cheaper, basic lighting effects instead of ordering a custom lighting design like your names projected onto the ballroom dance floor.
  • Have your floral designer use any extra flowers or cuttings from floral design pieces like your garden wedding arch in bud vases to add little décor touches, as wedding freebies, to your family photo table, guest book table and other spots in your wedding venue.
  • Have your floral designer provide tall glass vases to hold your bridesmaids’ bouquets, and those too become budget-friendly wedding décor pieces.

Wedding Budget Tips: Wedding Photography

Monday, April 27th, 2015 | Filed under: dream wedding, Wedding Budget, wedding photography | author: By admin,    

Wedding Budget Tips Wedding PhotographyWedding photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding plans, since you’ll want top-notch photos from your wedding day. This is not an area to skimp on, so hiring the cheapest wedding photographer in NJ is not in your best interest. Yes, quality wedding photography is expensive, but it’s well worth the investment to have a skilled and experienced wedding photographer capturing those golden moments of your big day in perfect lighting, and delivering expertly-edited wedding photos to you in a timely manner.

That said, there are ways to get wedding discounts on your photography, even from those top-tier wedding photographers in New Jersey:

  • Ask about price breaks in off-peak wedding season. Like other NJ wedding vendors, photographers will often lower their prices, and offer special discounts on wedding photography, during October through March, considered off-peak wedding months. You may also find discounts on wedding photography if your wedding takes place on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday, even on a Thursday, a wedding budget tip that can save you 10 to 20 percent off your wedding photography costs.
  • Hire local wedding photographers. Many photography pros base part of their fees on travel time to and from your wedding, and in between your ceremony and reception venues. While some of our wedding couples do select NYC wedding photographers whose work they love, a NJ wedding photographer’s cost may be budget-friendly. Of course, you can always ask your photographer for a discount on travel fees if you’ll have your ceremony and reception in the same location.
  • Ask about discounts based on referrals. If a friend books a wedding photographer for her NJ wedding, based on your referral
  • to her, you may be able to get a portion of your wedding photography package discounted. Some wedding photographers will also grant you a discount if you mention that you saw them in a bridal magazine, on a top wedding blog, or on a top wedding site.
  • Choose the package that best fits your needs. Wedding photographers will often create their basic, gold and platinum packages based on the number of hours they’ll be on-site shooting your wedding. So if you figure that you can get all of your photos taken without rushing in six hours, you can save a bundle over the cost of the eight-hour package. (And keep in mind that a three-hour package might only be enough to capture your pre-wedding and ceremony, so don’t cut too low on this estimate!) Talk with your wedding photographer about the timing of your day and your planned shot list to determine how many hours are most realistic.
  • Choose a wedding photography package that offers fewer proofs. It’s far easier to select from 300 or 400 photos than it is to choose from 1,500 photos, so the lower number of print proofs or online gallery proofs can save you money and eliminate wedding stress.
  • Skip the print proofs and view all images online. Not having to print out photos means the photographer doesn’t incur those expenses, which falls to you as a discount.
  • Consider hiring your photographer and videographer from one company. Wedding companies offering highly-skilled professionals in both categories may offer a discount for booking through them, and some throw in extras like a photo booth for free.
  • Ask for low-resolution images on disk. Professional photographers often mark up the price of high-resolution images, so these ‘low-res’ images that work just fine for your social media posts will cost less, often 15 to 20 percent less.
  • Choose a magazine-style layout for your album. Multiple images printed on each page will cost far less than one big images mounted on each page, and will look far more modern as well.
  • Get just one album. Parents’ wedding photo albums are now not as much in demand as they were in past years, with parents happy to get one or a few framed photos as a gift. For your own album, choose a less expensive material like pretty canvas instead of a pricier leather album.
  • Ask for a free ‘brag book.’ Many wedding photographers will make a free, small photo album containing a dozen photos. This too could be your parents’ photo album.
  • Choose only free wedding photo special effects. Most wedding photographers won’t charge for black-and-white and sepia-toned prints, but will charge for more complex special effects you don’t really need.
  • Be patient. It can take months for wedding photos to be developed and delivered, and if you put your order on rush, it will cost a lot more.

How to Plan Your Wedding Entertainment on a Budget

Monday, April 20th, 2015 | Filed under: Party Planning, Wedding Budget, Wedding Entertainment | author: By admin,    

How to Plan Your Wedding Entertainment on a BudgetFabulous wedding entertainers in New Jersey bring the house down with music choices that keep the dance floor packed for those romantic, swaying slow songs and high-energy dancing hours, spotlight dances and surprise musical performances that make a wedding unforgettable and may even go viral when guests post that amazing song rendition or your choreographed dance to social media.

High-quality wedding entertainment is worth the investment, so while there are ways to plan wedding entertainment on a budget, it’s never advisable to book the cheapest wedding entertainers you find online, nor to ask a friend to be your deejay (unless he’s one of the best deejays in the tri-state area as a profession.) Cutting corners on your wedding entertainment is one of those mistakes we don’t want you to make, since cheap wedding entertainment almost always results in wedding nightmares, wedding regrets, and an empty dance floor.

Here are some of the top ways to plan wedding entertainment on a budget:

  • Compare both wedding deejays and wedding bands in NJ. It’s a wedding myth that deejays are always less expensive than wedding bands. Prices will always depend upon wedding entertainers’ experience, quality of equipment, reputation, and of course their quality.
  • Consider booking both a deejay and a band. When the deejay and band play half the time, it can add up to good budget savings compared to full-time performances from either.
  • Consider booking through a larger entertainment company. Some of the best entertainment companies in New Jersey are able to offer high-quality entertainers at discount prices, and may be able to help you choose the perfect wedding entertainers fitting your budget range.
  • Book your wedding during off-peak times. This is a general wedding budget rule, since prices may be lower with all of your wedding vendors. Off-peak wedding months of October through March, and weddings on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon, as opposed to Saturday night, may cost 20 to 40 percent less, depending on the details of your plans.
  • Avoid booking for too few hours. If you attempt to save money on wedding entertainment by booking them for under four hours, then want them to keep playing longer at your wedding, you’ll face hefty overtime charges.
  • Ask your wedding venue for entertainer recommendations. The best wedding venues in NJ have worked with the best wedding entertainers in NJ, so they know which companies offer the best quality performances at budget prices.
  • Ask if you get a discount for paying your bill in advance. Some wedding entertainers will offer a 5 percent, 10 percent or more discount when you pay up front.
  • Ask if you qualify for special discounts. Many wedding entertainers in NJ offer discount prices to military couples and other special clients.
  • Check entertainers’ social media sites for discounts. Some will offer their fans and followers 10 to 15 percent off special packages, and those sites may be where they announce their special seasonal sales and pop-up discounts.
  • Check music schools and NJ universities’ music departments for talented artists. You may be able to book your wedding ceremony musician for a third of the cost of a professional musician, and the student gains valuable experience, a resume credit, and an online review from you.
  • Ask which extra effects and details are included in an entertainer’s package. Some of the top NJ wedding deejays and bands include specialty lighting as part of their packages, with basic lighting being free and customized lighting and effects at extra charge. If your entertainer offers quality lighting effects, you may not need to hire a specialty lighting effects company.

Wedding Etiquette: 5 Tips for Creating a Wedding Menu with Guests’ Dietary Rules in Mind

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 | Filed under: Wedding etiquette, wedding menu, wedding receptions | author: By Paul Keenan,    

Menu It’s now a wedding planning Must to create a wedding catering menu offering dishes that can be enjoyed by guests who have particular dietary rules, such as eating gluten-free, vegan and Kosher. Many wedding couples now include Paleo cuisine in their wedding menus to accommodate their friends and family who adhere to that trendy diet. Read more…

Wedding Budget Tips: Your Wedding Invitations

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 | Filed under: Party Planning, Style Alert, Wedding Invitations | author: By Rolf Shick,    

Your Wedding InvitationsWhen guests receive your wedding invitations in the mail, they get their first glimpse of the elegance and style of your wedding to come, as well as an indication of the formality of your event. So much information is conveyed through the design and wording of your invitation, but what is most strongly received by your guests is excitement to join you at your wedding ceremony and reception, especially when they learn that you’ll be married at one of the best wedding venues in New Jersey, a grand wedding ballroom or lovely wedding garden setting that they have heard so much about or seen in top wedding blogs. Now, thanks to you, it’s their turn to experience an elegant wedding at one of the premiere wedding locations in the state. Read more…

Wedding Budget Tips: Your Wedding Flowers

Monday, March 30th, 2015 | Filed under: Cost Saving Ideas, Party Planning, wedding floral designers, wedding flowers | author: By Christopher Gellings, Banquet Manager, Highlawn Pavilion   

Your Wedding FlowersBeautiful wedding flowers are likely part of your dream wedding vision, with tall, glorious floral centerpieces on every guest table in your wedding ballroom, your wedding bouquet bursting with color and texture, and lovely seasonal flowers decorating your wedding ceremony and reception locations. Read more…

Wedding Budget Tips: Your Wedding Drinks

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, Wedding Cocktail Party, Wedding Drinks | author: By James Levinsky,    

Your Wedding DrinksThankfully, we’re long past the days of questionable if not completely unrealistic wedding budget tips for drinks. In years past, wedding couples were told to offer just two or three types of cocktails, close their bar an hour before the end of the reception, and even offer ‘drink tickets’ that wedding guests would hand to the bartender to get each of their two allotted drinks. Read more…

To make an appointment with a banquet manager, please contact us at 973-731-3100.