The Pros Bridal Showcase in NYC

Going to bridal and wedding expos is a great way for brides and grooms to learn about wedding professionals and ultimately narrow down what they like and don’t like. You have the chance to see photos, taste wedding cakes and hear wedding music.

Last night I attended a wedding showcase in New York City hosted by The Pros. The Pros specialize in wedding photographers, videographers and wedding disc jockeys. You can book one or all three of these services among the various packages they offer. Unlike the much larger bridal expos that feature hundreds of vendors and an overwhelming amount of information, this event was smaller and more focused.

Brides and Grooms enjoyed wine and cheese while they were able to speak with wedding photographers and videographers, view their work and get to know them.

Bridal Showcase by The Pros

There was a lively presentation by the wedding disc jockeys who work with The Pros, which was a terrific way to get a flavor for each DJ’s style and personality in addition to getting you in the spirit of your own wedding planning. They even got everyone up and dancing with the future brides doing the electric slide and then grooms-to-be showed off their spelling skills with the wedding favorite, YMCA.

The Pros were voted The Knot’s 2011 Best of Weddings. Whether you’re getting married in New York City or any of the other cities they’re in, you can check to see if they have a showcase near you. Oh, and there are door prizes too.

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How to Maximize Your Wedding Budget

Unless you’re a Kardashian, you probably don’t have several million dollars to spend on your wedding day. Fortunately, the wedding of your dreams doesn’t have to end up with the bill of your nightmares. You can still have a breathtaking and memorable day regardless by following a few simple rules to maximize your wedding budget. Although everyone has their own priorities for scrimping and splurging on various aspects involved in the wedding, the following breakdown will give couples a great guide for allotting the wedding funds in the most effective and budget-friendly manner possible.

Reception- 50%

Receptions are the biggest money hog of the wedding because they are usually the highlight of the entire event. To reduce the cost as much as possible, choose a date in an off-season where there will be less competition and limit the guest list as much as possible. Be sure to shop around for the best prices as well.

Ceremony- 2%

Surprisingly, the ceremony itself is going to be one of the least of your financial worries for the entire event. This is because most wedding ceremonies take place in a church or in a public venue (such as the beach, park) where the costs are significantly lower than renting out a private venue.

Apparel- 10%

The cost of apparel would include the bride’s dress, groom’s tux, and formal wear for all of the people involved in the ceremony. To really cut down costs, the bride could borrow a family dress for a sentimental touch to the wedding apparel that’s budget-friendly as well. As a general rule, you will want to order all formal wear from one place to qualify for bulk discounts.

Entertainment- 10%

A good portion of the entertainment costs will come from hiring a DJ to play music at the reception. However, couples can choose other forms of entertainment as well, from live music performers to professional dancers. Although live performances can be fun, DJs are usually the cheapest way to go about it. To cut costs, choose a DJ that is closest to the area of the of the reception.

Invitations- 2%

Wedding invitations may seem simple enough, but when you multiply it by all the guests you intend on inviting, it can end up getting pretty expensive. If you’re an extra creative person, you can probably get by making the invitations all by yourself with the help of a few other creative friends. Spend a day at a craft store and make a few designs to personalize the look and save yourself some money.

Photography- 12%

Photography and videography costs a bit more than most bride and grooms anticipate, but the cost is well worth the lifetime of preserved memories and captured moments from the big event. Although it may be tempting just to make due with mom’s digital camera photos, you won’t get the same lasting enjoyment as you would from hiring a professional photographer to capture the moments in high quality at your wedding. Prints are also included in the cost, so you can give out copies to the family and hang a few in your new home.

Flowers- 8%

Eight percent seems like a lot just for flowers, but they really do make a big difference to the overall mood of your wedding. The cost of flowers accounts for both bouquets and decorations, so it’s a pretty reasonable cost when considered in those terms. To cut costs, consider the time of year with the flowers you prefer to determine how easy they will be to acquire– this has a tremendous effect on cost. Also, incorporate more greenery into the arrangements since these are much cheaper than the flowers themselves.

Rings- 2%

In terms of percentages, the wedding rings should only amount to approximately 2% of the overall wedding cost. This may seem like a small amount, but nice rings really aren’t as expensive as they’re made out to be. Many couples just choose to have bands without a gem in the center to cut down costs. Remember: you don’t have to go to Tiffany’s to find a gorgeous ring.

Transportation and Parking- 2%

This category will apply for couples who prefer to rent a limousine or other luxury vehicle for the event. Although it may seem lavish, the price for renting these vehicles is fairly reasonable and is certainly worth splurging on for your special day. Parking may also be a factor for a long list of guests, but will most likely included in the venue price.

Gifts- 2%

You want to leave your guests with nice wedding gifts to commemorate to occasion. Most couples choose gifts in the form of picture frames or little gift bags with miscellaneous items. Gifts are typically inexpensive and they let your guests know that you appreciate their attendance– and the gifts they got you as well.

About the Author

Marty Rosenthal is a freelance writer / event specialist who plans and writes about weddings in the Philippines.

Finally Engaged – Now What Do I Do?

Congratulations! You’ve gotten engaged and you’re both very excited! After all the celebrating dies down, you will be setting a date to tie the knot and buying those unique wedding favors in no time. At that point, you have two adventures in your future: getting married with beginning your new life together and planning your wedding day. The first will put a smile on your face, while thinking of the second can be a bit overwhelming. If you put your thoughts down on paper and chart what you have to accomplish very methodically, you’ll have an easy go. To help you along, adhere to the following and the beginning of your task will be done.

Finally the Bride Ceramic Travel Mug

Finally the Bride Ceramic Travel Mug

Finally the Bride Notebook Journal

Finally the Bride Notebook Journal

Finally the Bride Ornament (Round)

Finally the Bride Ornament (Round)

Most important – set your wedding date. And this is not as easy as it sounds. You’ll want to consider times of year, seasons, especially if you want to give out fall wedding favors, vacation time allotment at your places of employment, etc. After you find the perfect day, find two more backup dates in case you cannot secure the reception venue you love at that specific time.

Next, purchase two journals. One is to keep you organized, allowing you to write down phone numbers, email addresses etc. of people you speak to regarding all of your needs. The second journal is for you personally. There will be moments that you will want to remember or times where you just need to vent and write down your thoughts. These two journals are priceless, as well as very enjoyable to look back at many years down the road.

Now is the time to announce your engagement. This can be done by having an engagement party, sending out personal announcements or taking out an ad in print publications. Also, making a website to announce your engagement is becoming very popular.

Once you have the above accomplished, you can breathe a sigh of relief; but only for a moment. Now is where you have to get very realistic. The wedding budget is next on our list. At this point, you probably know already if either set of parents are paying for, or helping financially with your wedding. This will determine what kind of a wedding you will plan. Set your budget at least $1,000 less than you can afford. Every wedding exceeds their financial resources and it will bode well when that day comes if you planned for it.

At this time, you should choose your attendants. Most wedding have between 2 and 12, but it is entirely up to you both as to large a bridal party you’d like. Remember, attendants do much more than walk down the aisle and look pretty. They will help with bridal shower planning, buy the bridal shower favors, throw the bachelor party, help with nonsensical responsibilities and help keep you both sane. Give this much thought, because once you ask, you cannot take back your invitation for them to be a part.

Probably the most important thing to do regarding planning the beginnings of your wedding day, is finding the perfect venue for the ceremony and reception. Many are booked even more than a year in advance, so have several in mind, always remembering that recommendations from family and friends are very important.

Lastly, if your budget allows it, consider a wedding planner. They do everything from finding you the perfect venue (and usually at a reduced cost) to making sure she has an emergency sewing kit on your big day. Even if you can’t afford a professional planner, get support in this area from family and friends. They truly can help this very stressful wedding planning time actually be enjoyable.