Tips To Improve Your Wedding Business Instagram

tips for your wedding business

“Excuse me, but do you have Instagram?”

How often have you heard that question? These days, everyone seems to care about your Instagram pictures first and everything else second. Sometimes, it may feel like your business depends on the attractiveness of your Instagram profile.

Why does Instagram matter so much? Well, according to research, Instagram is the fastest growing social media with 180 million active users uploading 70 million photos and video per day every month. Now, imagine yourself being one of these users and you wonder, how to not drown among thousands of other wedding vendors? Eventually, your quest is to get your name out, (really, really) inspire a bride-to-be and get picked as the wedding vendor.

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How to gain more followers and increase engagement?

First of all, take a good photo worth sharing for (or as people say, instagram-able). Then, write a simple, straightforward caption that explains your services and encourages your audience to “like”, “comment”, or “repost”. Remember to include relevant hashtags to make your posts easier to find. You can use 3rd party tools like or Iconosquare to discover popular hashtags for your product category and come up with your own specific hashtag (for example, #weddingcake #weddinginspiration #JohnDoeweddingcake).

Another one is to do cross-marketing with other vendors. You can either post a shout out (“hey, check out this new dressmaker sewing badass gowns in town @xxxx!) or ask to be tagged on other vendors’ posts if you’re all involved in the same wedding. Also, you can tag popular curation accounts that repost other users’ pictures and give credit by tagging and mentioning them. Use the hashtags specifically created to indicate your photo submission and who knows you’ll be featured!

As more people are engaged and follow you, you’ll be building a chain whereby people start referring you to their friends and the followers of your followers will start seeing more of you in their Explore Page hence, further increasing your followers.

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How to maintain your followers?

It is good to have a regular and scheduled post because the moment you lose your rhythm, you may lose loyal followers too. Try Buffer if you think you need a scheduling tool that will automatically post at the assigned times. The suggested number of daily post sits between 3 to 5 a day. A quick tip from Annie Malinkowitz, Bridalope’s Social Media Manager: a post has up to 2 hours of life before it loses its ‘hotness’. So, maximize the impact of every post by giving it time before uploading the next one.

If you’re an owner managing every social media activity related to your brand, it may be wise to separate the business account from your personal account to maintain professionalism. Sure, your audience want to know the person behind the scene so, it is OK to post about yourself once in awhile. But, remember that a lot of your followers are following you because of your wedding works. The moment your account start becoming too personal, they may become uninterested.

While posting is to gain followers, interacting is to maintain them. Make it a habit to acknowledge your audience by responding to their comments even if you can’t reply everybody. Let them know you appreciate their good words and improving feedbacks.

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When is the right time to post?

Posting at the right times bring more effective engagement. Malinkowitz said that Bridalope’s engagement increases on Mondays & Wednesdays. This isn’t to say you should post only on Mondays & Wednesdays because remember, post regularly and be scheduled. Test with your own audience and analyze everyday performance. This way you’ll be able to mark the days & hours when your followers are most engaged to tweak your marketing strategy accordingly.

Now, Instagram has 15 times more engagement than Facebook with users spending an average of 257 minutes every month. With interesting images of your works and proper engagement, you can represent your brand idea, increase brand awareness and achieve sales conversion. So, vendors, if you want to share your own Instagram experience, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. If you find this article useful, share it to your friends!

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10 Tips To Picking The Right Makeup Artist For Your Wedding Day

how to choose your wedding makeup artist

Everyone wants their big day to go smoothly. Gorgeous hair, beautiful skin and physique, captivating dress, and a classy setup. But just how do resourceful brides select their makeup artist for their special day? We spoke with numerous brides and came up with a list of common considerations. These 10 tips will help you make the right choice, and we’re not talking about your other half.

1. Start early

About eight months prior to your wedding, start taking note of makeup artists and their works. If you’ve recently attended a wedding and you liked the makeup style on the bride, ask for the name of the makeup artist and do some research on their portfolio to assess whether you like what they do. Also useful is creating a mood board that depicts the looks that you like. This can serve as a source of inspiration for your to-be makeup artist.

2. Reviews matter

Every makeup artist has a track record, and it pays to read reviews given by past clients. Participate and read comments posted on bridal forums to get a sense of who’s who in the bridal makeup industry. From there, you can shortlist the top few makeup artists that you’d like to speak more with or even select for your big day. Be mindful to take reference from reviews by other brides, and not just marketing teams out to convince you of how good their artists are.

How to pick your wedding makeup artist

3. Try it out

The same way car buyers request a test run before laying down their down-payments, ask if the makeup artist can do a trial session. After all, your skin is just as important as your big day and you would want to be in the care of those who know their stuff.

During the trial, bring photos of the makeup looks you like and share the mood board and all your preferences so that the makeup artist can get a sense of what you want. Schedule a whole day shoot, both indoors and outdoors. This way, not only will you see how well the makeup lasts in real life, you’d have it on print as reference. This can be especially helpful so that your makeup artist can decide on the type of foundation to use for your indoor or outdoor segments during the big day. Take note, though, that trials usually come at a fee.

4. Examine their products

Some makeup artists like to stick to a particular brand of makeup. If you dislike the smell or consistency of the product, it helps to discuss swapping them for some other products that you prefer. If you have specific skin concerns and can only use a limited number of products, remember to consider this in your short list as well.

How to pick your wedding makeup artist

5. Don’t forget about your hair

Your wedding look is incomplete without styled hair, and here’s a valuable tip a bride shared with us: it helps when your makeup artist and hairstylist can work well together. Schedule a trial session when both stylist and artist can work concurrently on you, so that you can preempt possible clashes in opinions or flare-ups. Remember that weddings can sometimes be high-pressure work environments, and when big families or wedding entourages come into play, it really helps to know you’ve got people who’ve got your back no matter what.

On the other hand, if your makeup artist is doubling up as your hairstylist, it will be a good idea to check out his or her hair portfolio too, to make sure you like the hairstyling as much as you like the makeup style.

6. Remember your entourage

Factor in makeup for your bridesmaids, family members, and special guests. Speak to your makeup artist and ensure that they have it included in the cost. Let your makeup artist know exactly how many other people will be needing her services, so she can decide whether she needs to bring along assistants. This is especially important if you have a huge entourage. Say, if you have a family of twelve, you might definitely need to get a supporting makeup artist to help your guests look good, while your makeup artist attends solely to you.

7. Inform them about your venue

One bride shared how she brought her makeup artist to the actual wedding location, so they could decide the required tools to bring. Granted, she had planned for a beach wedding and things do get messy with a bit of sand and sea. However, it is always better to let your to-be makeup artist know what they are working with, and that includes their surroundings. Some makeup artists have been known to politely turn down outdoor weddings as they prefer working in more controlled environments such as a hotel ballroom or a fancy restaurant.

8. Prepare the budget and plan B

Always work out a budget before meeting your makeup artist. A good starting point would be to aim for quality. Ask your makeup artist to help you understand what products they will be using, and what essentially you will be paying for. Some brides go as far as to engage standby makeup artists in the unlikely event that their key makeup artist cannot turn up on the actual day. While costly, this will give the bride peace of mind and the confidence to know that she has a contingency plan in place.

9. Get to know them personally

Ultimately, you’d want a makeup artist who has a good attitude. Therefore, it’s important to select someone you feel comfortable with and well taken care of by. It is one thing to have a creative flair that helps you look good on your big day and another when that streak runs its own course. Speak honestly with your makeup artist, and let them know if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of the agreement. It is your big day, and apart from looking good, it is crucial that you feel positive and happy throughout the day.

How to pick your wedding makeup artist

10. Prepare your skin

No matter how professional or seasoned your makeup artist is, you have to do the necessary things to look the part. Prepare in advance for last-minute emergencies such as sudden and unwanted red eyes or swollen lips. Use only linen that your skin is used to in the days leading up to the wedding. Eat simple and cut salt from your diet to reduce the appearance of bloating. Avoid new food or drinks, and do not test out new facial or skincare products two weeks before the big day.

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5 Tips About Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

What You Should Know About Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Thinking about writing your own wedding day vows? You’re not alone, self-written vows are becoming more and more popular, with couples looking to create a personalised touch to their ceremony. If you’re not quite sure where to start, we’ve put together a little guide to help get you started…

Know the legalities of self-written vows

First things first, if you’re looking to have a civil ceremony, legally, your vows cannot include any references to religion. Civil ceremonies must also include the statutory declarations during the exchanging of vows which is the following: ““…Solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, (name), may not be joined in matrimony to (name).” We’d always recommend that you speak to your registrar when writing your customized vows; they will be able to advise you of any potential problems before it gets too late. No one wants a last-minute panic.

Know the legalities of self-written vows

Take inspiration from your favourite examples

Before you hit pen to paper, it’s always a good idea to read as many different types of wedding vows as possible – from the very traditional to the highly personalised and perhaps even those from different faiths. The more variety the better – it will give you a general sense of what you like and don’t like so you can start considering the style that’s right for you.

Decide on a tone and stick to it

You’ll need to decide quite early on what kind of tone your wedding vows will take. Do you want something with a pinch of humour or will they be simple and romantic? You’ll also need to consider whether you’ll write them together or separately. If it’s the latter, will they be kept a secret until the Big Day?

Decide on a tone and stick to it

Think about your relationship milestones 

If you’ve been struck with writer’s block, take some time out to write about some of your best and most memorable moments together. Perhaps a special holiday or spontaneous road trip, maybe the first time you made each other laugh-til-it-hurt. If you’re still struggling, give each other a task of jotting down 10 things you love most about one another. It’s often those unedited, less-well-thought-out lines that sound best of all because they’re completely honest. When you do start writing try not to be too gushing or intimate, some things are best kept behind closed doors. You know what we mean…

Think about your relationship milestones

Do a practice run and time it

Of course your vows are important but no one wants to listen to you going on for 10 minutes, no matter how good they are. We’d suggest aiming for two minutes max and time yourself running through them. If they go over, start editing out the least important bits. At this stage it might be worth running them through with a friend who can give you another perspective on what to keep and cut. Don’t forget, you have a day of speeches and toasts so anything that doesn’t work in your vows might work better later in the day.

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The Ultimate Guide To Newly Engaged Couples

The Ultimate Guide To Newly Engaged Couples

There’s no two ways about it: getting engaged is big news. You’re marrying the love of your life and making plans for an exciting future together. Before you know it, you’ll have family and friends asking questions about the big day – often before you’ve even had a chance to pop the Champagne! Read on to discover how wedding-industry experts advise you to begin

Congratulations! We love a Christmas proposal and we hope you’ve got a ring on your finger that you adore. But that’s the easy part!

While planning a wedding is a fun task, it’s also hard work. So, before friends and family start asking you how you envision your day (trust us, they might even ask before you’ve clinked those celebratory glasses), check out what wedding-industry experts advise you to do in order to get your dream day off the ground, in eight simple steps.

Announce the news. Wedding day.

Announce the news

Whether you called your parents moments after you said yes or chose to enjoy the newly engaged bubble alone for a while, letting everyone know you’re engaged is an important next step. “Many couples send out an engagement announcement,” explains Vaishali Shah from Ananya Cards. “I think it’s especially lovely when they include a photo of the proposal!” You might prefer to bypass the cards and just post an engagement selfie on Facebook and Instagram – just be weary that not everyone is on social media so you may want to let close relatives and friends know privately before you go public.

Host a party.

Host a party

Traditionally, engagement parties were hosted by the bride’s parents to celebrate news of the happy couple’s forthcoming wedding. Today, many couples choose to host their own, giving them free rein on how, where and when they celebrate. It could be as simple as a barbecue, as elegant as a garden party or as glam as an evening of dinner and dancing in a country house – the choice is yours. It’s also a great way to practise the art of party planning on a smaller scale, before the infamous wedmin begins…

Choose a date and book your venue

Choose a date and book your venue

Booking your venue is typically the first planning step couples take – this gives you a time, date and location to make all your plans around. But there’s a lot to consider to find the perfect setting for you. “Think about the number of guests you’ll have, your budget and what time of year you’d like to get married,” suggests Wedding & Events Manager at The Bingham, Amy Braund. “There is no point looking at a venue that can only hold 60 guests if you’ve got 100 to invite.”

Send out your Save the Dates

Send out your Save the Dates

“Send out Save the Date cards once you’ve booked your venue and know the date of the wedding – especially if you’re getting married in the summer or at Christmas,” advises Vaishali. “You can give as much or little information as you like. Date and location are key, but if you already know it will be a certain type of celebration, a destination wedding, for example, let your guests know now.”

choose your bridesmaids
choose your bridesmaids

Choose your bridesmaids

Wedding planning is a bit like a rollercoaster ride. There’ll be highs when you find your dream dress, lows when you discover a supplier is fully booked and, in the end, you’ll probably wish you could relive the whole process again (even if you don’t think that at the time)! Who better to ride those emotions with you than your best friends? Choosing your bridesmaids early on means you’ll have their support throughout. “You could ask your best girls to be your bridesmaids with a scented candle featuring an engraved cover that says ‘will you be my bridesmaid?’, gifted to them as a surprise,” suggests Champagne and Flamingos’ Jane Helliwell.

Start thinking about your wedding styling and themes

Start thinking about your wedding styling and themes

Weddings are at their most joyous and beautiful when they are a perfect reflection of the two of you. Everything from the the flowers to your wedding cake can reflect this. You might find it useful to start creating different boards on Pinterest so when you begin speaking to suppliers, they have a visual point of reference. You’ll soon start to see your favourite trends emerging – even if you hadn’t realised. “A great cake designer will pull out little bits of this and design you a beautiful wedding cake that tells a story of you both and your special day”, says cake designer Suzanne Thorp from The Frostery.

Book a wedding dress appointment

Book a wedding dress appointment

You may already know exactly what you want or have absolutely no idea. Fear not, the earlier you start, the less stressful wedding dress shopping will be. Maria Yiannikaris from Mirror Mirror wishes everyone would plan ahead as much as possible. “We’re living in an Amazon world, where we all think we can just click ‘buy’ and it’ll be delivered the next day by drone! But gowns, whether they’re bespoke or made-to-measure take a lot of care and time to create. We think purchasing a dress eight months in advance is ideal – to allow fittings and alterations to take place without a lot of last-minute stress”. 

Once you’ve booked your first appointment, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of what you like and don’t like. Remember, it’s true what everyone says about keeping an open-mind. “Listen to the advice of the person that’s leading the appointment; they know what they’re doing and, quite often, you’ll be surprised by what you end up with”, advises Katherine Radford at Suzanne Neville.

Step up a gift list

Step up a gift list

One of the great perks of throwing a wedding is all the presents you’ll receive. If you want to give your guests a helping hand, it’s a good idea to set up a gift list. “It’s great to start thinking about your gift list nice and early. Start thinking about the items you have always wished for, and items you already own that you might like to replace as you wedding list is the perfect time to upgrade your home”, says Georgie Evans from The Wedding Present Co. You’ll want to ensure the details of any gift lists are set up before you design your wedding invitations so all the info can be included.

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How Much Do Wedding Invitations Cost?

Wedding Invitations Near Me

Need to send out invitations for your wedding day, but no idea where to start and how much to spend? This informative guide by an industry expert is here to help.

Sondra from The Silver Letter, an award-winning, Los Angeles-based luxury stationery design studio, talks us through the ins and outs of wedding invitations.

You’ve got your ring, the wedding date is decided, and the venue is booked. The wedding of your dreams is happening! So, what next? Well, at the top of your to-do list should be wedding invitations. 

This first glimpse into your big day sets the scene of what guests can expect from your special day. No matter your budget (there’s a stationer for budgets high and low), a great designer will help you create the perfect window into to your wedding day.

Do I have to send wedding invitations?

Do I have to send wedding invitations?

First things first: why are you spending money on stationery?

“An invitation is a super-important part of your wedding-planning process,” says Kendra from Sunnyvale Invites. “It is the communicator; the way that all your guests learn about your wedding – not only the date, time and location, but it’ll also give them a glimpse of the vibe of your day. 

“An invitation can portray a theme, and give clues as to what kind of day guests can expect.

Stationer Sandy Morris also makes a wonderful point: 

“I have three special mementos from my wedding: my dress, my photographs and an invitation. Things you can touch are incredibly powerful in recalling memories from the past.

” Your wedding isn’t an ordinary occasion, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, and sending invitations reflects that significance to your guests.

Sanjay from Nati’s Creative explains: 

“In this day and age, with so much technology at our fingertips, the excitement of receiving post is so easily lost. I want to help couples bring that excitement back for their guests.”

How much of my budget should I allocate to wedding invitations?

How much of my budget should I allocate to wedding invitations?

The amount you should be spending on invitations is very dependent on your total wedding budget. 

To give you an idea, though, the US Wedding Stationery Collective (USWSC) suggests you should be putting aside around at least 5% of your total budget on stationery – this includes your invitation suite and items for the actual day, such as place cards, menus and table plans.

For example, for an ‘average’ $30,000-budget wedding, you could put $1,500 of it to one side for invites. If you love stationery, then I always suggest you steal some more of your budget from the things you don’t love so much. Loathe it? Do the reverse. There are no hard-and-fast rules.

What goes into the cost of invitations?

What goes into the cost of invitations? 

Like most things wedding, how much invitations cost is really a case of ‘how long is a piece of string?’ – or perhaps, in this case, ribbon! To give you a rough, ready and realistic idea, the USWSC put together some guidelines based on an average 60 sets, which include invites and RSVPs.

If you’re looking for no special finishes and an off-the-shelf design? Budget for around $250 or over.

Want off the shelf with hot foil, letterpress, calligraphy or any other special finishes? You’ll need to allocate $500+.

Or, if you’d love something entirely bespoke with all the bells and whistles, you’ll be looking at spending around $1000 and over.

As an example, Anita Wilson of Anita Wilson Designs says, “for a bespoke illustrated suite with hot foil, on average, my brides spend around $2,500 on all stationery and save the dates, as well as stationery on the day. This often works out as 7% of their total budget.”

Why so expensive? Those special finishes are labour-intensive to create and take a lot of expertise, materials and time.

Martin at Collie Studio explains it well:

Pinterest and Instagram are awash with calligraphy and, because it’s everywhere, we’re fooled into thinking it’s easily attainable.

“However, calligraphy can be back-breaking work, especially if you’ve spent hours on end churning out gorgeous lettering. The amount of work doesn’t decrease like with printing, as each new piece must be put through its own individual set-up process. If a mistake is made, the process must be started again from scratch. Most calligraphers won’t calligraph 100 copies of your invitation by hand for this reason and, if they do, expect to pay a lot!”

Be wary of what you see on Pinterest

Be wary of what you see on Pinterest

Pinterest – the haven for all brides-to-be, but often a stationers worst enemy! Those beautiful Pinterest invitations have often been created exclusively for a photo shoot, using seriously advanced methods, which are unrealistic for most couples (in budget terms) to recreate for their wedding. 

What this means is that, while we absolutely can replicate something for you, you probably aren’t going to like it when we quote you in the $1000’s for those hand-painted, foiled, letter-pressed, gold-leafed, all-bells-and-whistles invitations. A better alternative is to use those photos purely as inspiration, and the results can often be even more beautiful.

Where to splurge and where to save

Where to splurge and where to save

I advise all my clients to focus on the invitation – the star of your paper show. This is especially important when it comes to spending on Save the Dates. It’s very tempting to spend big early on in your wedding planning, but wedding costs tend to pile up quickly. I have many a client blow the budget on a hot-foiled Save the Date and then have to reign it in later on with the invitation. 

I also love to suggest you mix and match your finishes. If, for example, you love hot foil, use it on your invite and keep the rest of the suite simple. You most certainly do not need a hot-foiled RSVP (however beautiful) and it’s going to end up back on your doormat in no time. 

Costs racking up and need to save somewhere? Wedding websites are becoming more popular and are an inexpensive way of giving your guests more information. Most stationers are more than happy to add your website to your invitation to direct your guests to RSVP.

Each wedding is as individual as the couple but, no matter what you do, an invitation with your wedding details is always essential.

Stationery for your wedding day

Stationery for your wedding day

How about on the day itself? This depends on your set up, but if your guests have allocated seating then you’ll certainly need a table plan. This can be on a traditional board – or you can do something more inventive.

“One of the main reasons for starting our table plan flag line was so that couples had something that was more realistic as a keepsake,” says Molly, one half of Blue Mansion Weddings. “A1l table plan boards can look pretty, but once they’ve served their purpose, they might get shifted around the garage for a bit and then inevitably make their way to the bin. We’ve had customers repurpose their flags into smaller hangings that are perfect for display in the home. One couple even repurposed theirs into a cushion cover for their first child’s nursery. Wedding keepsake goals right there!”

With designated seating, don’t forget place cards (combining this with a favour is also a great option). Laura at True Wonder Calligraphy advises “using something like agate for your place card. This is a great way to save some money and your guests get to keep a beautiful personalised keepsake from your wedding.”

Having a church wedding? An Order of Service is essential. The contents will often be dictated by your vicar, but the design is largely up to you.

Calligraphy invitations near me

Get Searching

So, stationery – love it or loathe it – is next on your planning list! Hopefully we’ve armed you with some insider knowledge on how to make stationery decisions all that much easier!

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How To Negotiate A Discount With Your Venue

How To Negotiate A Discount With Your Venue

If you’d love to secure a lower price but don’t know where to start, here’s my guide on how to negotiate a discount with your wedding venue to get the price you want to pay.

Not every wedding venue will be able to offer a discount, but there are some who are only too happy to negotiate as they’d simply rather have the booking than an empty venue, especially during times when there are fewer weddings on the horizon.

Some people like to haggle and won’t give up till they get what they want while many of us are prepared to pay the full price and won’t even think to ask for a discount, whether out of pride, embarrassment or just plain fear.  If you do want to pay less though, it is always worth asking; here’s how:

Confidence is Everything

The first rule of negotiating is to show no fear. If you are confident, you can ask for almost anything. Don’t, however, ask for the impossible or you may not be taken seriously – you are never going to get a million pound mansion for a fiver. If you are shy and find asking for anything very stressful, then it will help you to prepare.

First, you need to know exactly what to ask for. You may want to ask for a 10% discount, removal of one or two items from your package to lower the price, or for a substitution in the package that will give you a better deal (for example, fewer drinks for more food).

Negotiate discount with wedding venue

How Low Can You Go?

From the venue’s advertised price list, work out how much you could ask them to reasonably lower the costs. Asking for ten or even up to twenty percent off is acceptable and larger venues may be able to take off more – if they are willing. A word of warning on the ‘feel no fear’  however – don’t start off with a price that’s too low and say you’re not moving because you may end up having to walk away. Similarly, if you start off too high and they instantly agree, you might kick yourself for not asking for more off! There always needs to be room for negotiation, up and down.

Alfred Woodward at Winterville Tower Hotel told us, “We expect a couple to negotiate. Whilst we have set prices for our wedding packages across our wedding venues, experience tells us every wedding is different. Personalisation is key. Couples crave it. We work as flexibly as possible to ensure we offer value for money and a day that each couple and their guests will remember for years to come”. 

When to Negotiate a Discount

Understanding why and when a venue will come down in price should help you to get the best discount. A Saturday during peak season will never be hard to fill, and in previous years they might have had several couples asking after the same date. The best times to negotiate a lower price are for days when the venue has considerably less interest – that’s usually weekdays and weekends out of peak season.

Peak season for most US venues tends to be from June to September, around Christmas, and of course, Valentine’s Day on February 14th is also likely to get booked up fast.

Dianne Holby, the in-house wedding coordinator at The Wayne Gardens in Sacramento, said: “It’s definitely key to book out of season to get great deals on your wedding.”

We all dream of bright, sunshiny summer weddings where our photographer will make the most of our stunning surroundings and we can mingle with our guests in the late evening light, but it is worth bearing in mind that we will pay extra for it! The weather is never guaranteed in this country though and you could book your dream venue in July or August and still have heavy rain. So, if you want to save hundreds, consider planning your wedding on a Friday in March rather than a Saturday in June. Getting married on a Friday also means there’s the potential for a three day celebration, not just two!

Venues Offering Late Availability Deals

Many venues now offer deals for couples looking to book at short notice. Late availability deals can be had if you are planning your wedding in a matter of weeks rather than months, and it can pay dividends to marry out of season. An early spring or late autumn wedding can cost half as much as a mid-summer or Valentine’s Day wedding. Summer is, of course, more popular for the good weather and for more outdoor photography opportunities in gorgeous settings.

Wedding ceremony venue price negotiation.

How to Ask for a Discount

Do your research first. Ask around to see if anyone you know has managed to negotiate a discount locally. Visit three or four venues and discuss exactly what they offer and for what price. Ask if they could substitute any parts of the package such as offering room hire without in-house catering for less. That way you could save on fixed-price catering charges and bring in cheaper outside caterers. Ask about corkage fees – could you use their caterers but bring in your own wine for less?

A recent groom told us:

“When we were looking for venues we would find out where the venue made its money and investigate if they were open to letting us arrange the other aspects ourselves, saving on their prices for extras. The venue we booked was run by a catering company who made their money from the food and corkage and were very happy for us to do our own decor. Another venue we spoke with subbed out the catering so would have been happy for us to save money by bringing in outside caterers. I found it essential to keep the negotiation open and avoid ultimatums as when it’s kept positive, and both parties are actively engaged, the result is better for everyone.”

Once you’ve done your research on other venues in the area, you’ll be in a stronger position to know what is possible. You could start your negotiation by saying how much you have in your budget, how much you’re hoping to pay and then how much their competitor down the road has quoted you. You could put the ball in their court and ask what kind of a discount they could offer you but in taking this approach, you are giving them the control and once they’ve given their offer they might not budge on it. Better to ask them for your preferred price and see what they say even if you end up haggling up and down a little.

An Important Point to Remember

Once you have agreed a price, ask to have it confirmed in writing from the venue. Only pay the deposit up front, never the full amount and always take out wedding insurance to secure your deposit.

And finally, if you’ve fallen head over in heels in love with one venue and will do anything to get it, but know you can’t really afford it, be careful how much emotion you show. If the venue manager can see you have your heart set on it, they know you’ll be less likely to walk to away even if the price stays high. Play it cool, and you could get your dream wedding venue for less than the usual asking price. And the good news is your venue may be only too pleased to make a booking on a day they might otherwise have been empty, making it  win-win when you negotiate a discount with your venue.

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Planning An Autumn Wedding

how to plan an autumn wedding

With the heat of the summer passing, it will soon be time to welcome in cooler temperatures and the beautifully rich and colorful tones of autumn. For many couples, Autumn is the perfect time of year to get married – not only do many venues offer significant discounts or include extras to entice you to choose a date that is out of peak season, nature really does provide the perfect inspiration for those who want something a little different from their day. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be all pumpkins and toffee apples, there are plenty of ways to embrace autumn and create something beautifully unique for your wedding.

Here are our five top tips to creating the perfect autumnal wedding.

Work with what nature gives you

There’s no doubt about it – autumn really does a lot of the hard work for you with creating the perfect backdrop for your big day. As the leaves start to fall and the landscape changes to rich russets, deliciously deep reds and dark velvety brown tones, add in some metallic hints and beautiful foliage to create a warm, luscious rustic or boho vibe. Enhance a stunning natural setting with lots of wooden touches from log rounds on your tables to authentic apple crates that are filled with interesting and unusual props and pretties along with some personal photos. Natural materials and organic colour schemes work perfectly and don’t be afraid to play with texture using macramé, hand-dyed linens and imperfectly perfect crockery to create a tablescape of dreams.

Use the light to your advantage

As the sun starts to set much earlier, it’s also important to work with and enhance the lower lighting levels. Dot beautiful lanterns, candles and tea-lights around your venue to produce a cozy, intimate and romantic feel. If you are lucky enough to have open fires in your venue, keep these lit and gently burning away throughout the entire celebration. If your venue doesn’t allow naked flames, there are some amazingly good artificial candles and tea-lights available to hire or buy which are just as effective. Getting that beautiful sparkler shot becomes so much easier as your photographer can arrange this much earlier in the day when less of your guests are likely to have gone wandering! Lastly, fairy and festoon lights add a perfect twinkly touch both inside and outside – the more the merrier!

Comfort is key

If you are looking to avoid the heat of summer, but would still like some of your day to take place outside, autumn is the perfect season for you. Keep in mind that whilst daytime temperatures may allow for welcome drinks, photographs or even lawn games to take place outside, come the evening, temperatures will drop so you do need to be prepared. You can keep things very simple by dotting baskets with some pretty blankets around your venue or perhaps you might even consider adding a fire-pit for guests to relax around. As well as taking care of your guests, make sure you also think of your bridal party. Your bride tribe will almost certainly need some kind of shrug or throw to keep warm and do ensure there are some umbrellas and possibly even wellies to hand to keep everybody comfy whilst capturing those all-important outdoor photographs!

Food glorious food

Autumnal food is all about comfort and don’t be afraid to get imaginative here. Consider feeding your guests beautiful warming dishes like pie and mash or using street food trucks to serve some autumnal classics. Chili and rice, curries and jacket potatoes are guaranteed to go down a storm and provide much-needed energy for dancing the night away. For sweet treats, why not let your guests toast some marshmallows around the fire-pit, serve indulgently delicious crepes and offer a late-night hot chocolate or warmed cider to round off your evening celebrations.

The weather

Finally, one of the great joys of an autumn wedding – the weather. Yes, seriously! Most couples plan their autumnal wedding on the basis that the weather won’t be amazing, which means that even a hint of sunshine really puts the cherry on the cake!

Are you planning an autumn wedding? Perhaps you have had an autumn wedding? We would love to hear your story and see your wedding photos. 

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5 Tips for the Perfect Wedding Ceremony Soundtrack

Hiring a Wedding Band – 5 Tips for the Perfect Soundtrack

Here are 5 Tips for Perfect Wedding Music. It’s such a big day – no aspect of the wedding should be left to chance! We hope that these wedding music tips will give you some inspiration and confidence in booking.

1 – Work only with professional musicians.

There are of course students who advertise themselves or are advertised. You may think that they’ll be just as good and reliable. Well they may be – or they may not. But would you hire photography students? Dress making or cake making students? No thanks! Well the same principle should apply to the entertainment. Experienced and reliable professionals are much more likely to do a great job.

2 – Concentrate on quality over quantity.

You may think as long as someone is there and plays some music for several hours, that will do. But you don’t want them to be ‘part of the furniture’, like a waiter who’s there all day. You want them to be a feature of the wedding. Some of the best string quartets and London jazz bands for hire are more likely to charge the most if you ask them to stay for several hours. This is because they’re great at what they do and in demand. Many perform in 2/3 events on any given day, especially a Friday or Saturday. If you have a brilliant group, then it’s usually 2 – 3 hours max. They know that it’s much better that they finish and leave your guests wanting more, than to stay so long they no longer are noticed by anyone.

3 – Don’t do what you may have seen at other peoples’ weddings.

We spoke to a couple recently who said they’d been to weddings where the DJ was ‘like a 21st birthday party one’ – cheesy and a bit naff. We know from experience that such DJs are not really professional wedding suppliers. They have a website and lots of bravado, but it doesn’t add up to much. By spending a bit more time and budget on a superb wedding covers band or wedding DJ, then you’ll be rewarded. It’s your day and you want the best you can afford. Pushing out the boat slightly can bring value. Value is when guests are saying ‘wow the DJ was amazing’ and ‘Everyone danced – even Uncle Tony!’ You’ve made an impact and your wedding will be all the better for it. Both for your guests and most important, for you! You could go bold and have some surprise opera singers or an amazing wedding gospel choir. Or even a visual DJ with huge LED drums for the evening entertainment!

Wedding Music Band - 5 Tips for the Perfect Soundtrack

4 – Book early and get everything in writing.

Yes there are lots of entertainment acts out there. But the best ones tend to get booked earlier. Give yourself more choice by staying ahead of the game. Make sure you get a contract. Don’t rely on the email that says ‘Yes we have you pencilled in’. Some musicians may well pencil you in. But later on they may get offered another job and cancel on you. It’s something that we hate and don’t do here but it does happen. The artist you book should sign something that allows you peace of mind for one of the biggest dates of your calendar year and indeed your life.

5 – Go for music that you love (but remember friends and family!)

When you’re at a wedding as a guest, you tend to take your lead from the Bride and Groom. If they’re relaxed and clearly having the time of their lives, then it’s easier for you to as well. When it comes to music – go personal. Choose what you love to listen to. But think of a broad range. A great wedding band or DJ (or string quartet for that matter) will have a range of music. And that’s the spice of the wedding as well as life. True – you can’t please every guest but as long as the majority hear at least one tune that they love then you’re winning. Look out for acts with videos – live and/or pre-recorded. Then you get a great taste of what’s to come and it will be easier to feel confident in booking them.

We hope that these wedding music tips will point you in the right direction.
Contact us here at Liquid Strings for a friendly, no jargon chat about your music requirements for the special day.

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How To Choose the Right Wedding Venue

How To Choose the Right Wedding Venue

Everyone knows that in order to make your wedding day special you’ll need to make a few important decisions along the way. Among the biggest choices you’ll have to make is picking the right wedding venue.

What is the big deal about the venue? Wouldn’t any venue do? Here’s a look at the important aspects of why choosing the right wedding venue matters and tips to guarantee your hunt for the perfect venue goes as smooth as possible.

Creating the Atmosphere

The venue will be the central part of creating the atmosphere at your wedding. The venue’s style will be key to defining the rest of the wedding theme. Many even choose to build their theme around their selected venues.

If you already have a wedding theme in mind – perhaps you are looking to create a quirky vintage wedding, you can narrow your venue search for venues that suit the theme. For instance, if you want a relaxed, no-fuss wedding, don’t pick a posh hotel where guests have to sit at their tables.

Choosing the Right Wedding Venue

Adding Your Unique Touch

Not all venues provide the same opportunities for you to highlight your personality – in fact, some venues might not even be accommodating for slight color changes. If you are looking for a place to decorate yourself or to add your own unique mark on it, you need to find a venue that allows this.

On the other hand, you might prefer to have a venue that makes the whole planning process easier. Some venues will be decorated according to your selections and this allows you to focus your attention on other aspects of organizing the wedding.

Organizing the Entertainment and the Food

The venue will naturally be the setting for your wedding entertainment and the food – both crucial parts of organizing the wedding. Certain venues only allow you to pick from their caterers and from a specific set menu, while other venues might be more flexible with what they provide you.

Checking what the venue’s catering and drinks policy is should be one of the first questions you ask them before you necessarily even check them out. You don’t want to spend your whole wedding planning visiting venues that turn out to be ill suited for your needs.

Furthermore, if you are planning to organize special entertainment, such as a fireworks display, at your wedding, make sure you ask about the venue’s policy. It’s always a great idea to tell your suppliers which venue you’ve booked as soon as possible, so they can prepare for it!

Choosing the Right Wedding Venue

Staying Within the Budget

The wedding venue is one of the largest expenses, if not the largest, of your special day and you naturally need to find a venue that fits into your budget. You don’t want to go with a venue that doesn’t provide you the things you need nor do you want to get in debt just to book your dream venue.

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How Much Does a Rehearsal Dinner Really Cost?

Rehearsal Dinner Cost

The costs for planning your wedding includes more than just those for the day of: You have to take into account everything you might need for your bridal party, your bridal shower and bachelorette party, and, of course, your rehearsal dinner. So how much should you shell out for the night before your big night?

Rehearsal Dinner Cost

So, what’s the cost?

The average cost of a rehearsal dinner is $1,330—about one-twentieth of the price of the wedding. While some in-laws foot the bill, more couples are paying for it themselves. “You can still have a fun night. You just have to be strategic,” says Leslie Lukas, an event planner in Bozeman, Montana. “Mexican and Italian are generally bargains. So is a catered picnic at a park or in a backyard. Just don’t have it at your own house—you don’t want to spend the night before your wedding cleaning.” The most direct way of shrinking your bill, of course, is to cut the guest list. Etiquette gurus will tell you that the only people you must invite are immediate family and the bridal party. But we know plenty of brides who had a simple rehearsal dinner with just their parents—and yes, their attendants still speak to them. And although you might want to shrink the cost of the rehearsal dinner, you still want it to be a cohesive part of your wedding weekend.

Cost of rehearsal dinner

“Think of the rehearsal dinner and the reception as parts of one event—the wedding weekend,” says Richard Nix Jr., owner of Butler’s Pantry Catering & Events, in St. Louis. Having a formal wedding? Consider complementing it with a more low-key event. A huge trend is to serve up regional comfort foods, like a lobster boil or pig roast. “We threw a Vices of Virginia dinner before a Halloween wedding in The Plains,” says Maria Cooke of Ritzy Bee Events, in Washington, D.C. “There were local wines, oysters, bourbon milkshakes, and a cigar roller. It was totally sinful, and guests loved it.”

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