Get Hitched without Breaking the Bank

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When thinking of weddings, we immediately think of the damages. It will cost us the venue, guest list, gowns and suits, invites, food among other things. Then, there’s the theme to think about. A whimsical wedding at Blue Gardens, Quezon … Continue reading

Here’s a Mini Checklist Before You Walk the Aisle

This is a simple checklist to keep your head in the game. Preparing ahead of time is key to pulling off anything. Don’t sweat the small stuff and make sure no details are missed on during the big day. Continue reading

Caterers 101: Four Things Your Caterer Wishes You Knew

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“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate” –Alan D. Wolfelt

We might think their jobs are easy enough and straightforward, but the truth is, a caterer’s job is quite complex. Whether they may be providing the canapes for your daughter’s eighteenth soiree or providing all the courses to your elegant wedding, catering for an event is not as simple as creating a menu and cooking whatever is selected for the menu. The truth is being in your caterer’s shoes can be quite an overwhelming and daunting experience. In fact, there is a myriad of things your caterer would want you to know, so that the next time you are thinking of hiring one, you would have a better understanding of what goes on behind the kitchen doors.

Additionally, it would not hurt to know a few of some insider caterer’s secrets that might be helpful in aiding you make better decisions for the catering of the party you would be hosting next. So, before you start scouring for potential catering services in Bacoor, Cavite or elsewhere, here are some of the things you might want to know:

1.) Guests will drink more than usual

Guests tend to indulge themselves more at parties by drinking in excess and far more than used to. More often than not, this is because celebratory libations are free and of course, parties have an aura of euphoria to it which would prompt guests to drink. As this is the case, estimating the amount of alcohol needed for a particular event can present a challenge, but it is not impossible. Keep in mind that as your guests tend to imbibe more drinks than usual, so if you want them to indulge their drinking desires, buy more than necessary, or you can alternatively avail of cheaper packages.

2.) There is no need to create a menu around special diets

Some of your guests might be vegan, and there might be a few who might be allergic to gluten, this does not mean however that you have to bend over your back and design an entire menu to suit those preferences. Your caterer can always provide a dish or two for the guests who have particular or strict diets. Remember, you are feeding every single one of your guests—not only a fraction of them with specific diets.

3.) The kitchen at your site matters

One of the major snags a caterer would hit when it comes to catering for an event is a small kitchen—or worse the lack of one. Even if the food for your party is prepared off-site, a kitchen would still be ideal in order to reheat the food or keep it warm. In any case, having your caterers operate in a site sans a kitchen would result in creamy food being congealed and food losing its crisp. While this is not the case all the time (as you can always plan your menu with food that does not necessarily need to be kept warm), having a kitchen on the site would still be a good contingency plan.

4.) Pinterest is not always realistic

Some brides-to-be would come up to their caterers and ask them to imitate a particular food or cake they found off Pinterest and expect their caterers to mimic every detail. While Pinterest is a good website to inspire ideas for an event, not everything on the website is necessarily realistic. Apart from relying on the skills of your caterer, you also have your own budget to keep in mind. More often than not, the praise-worthy posts you have seen on Pinterest were probably created by food stylists who have employed innumerable inedible things (from shaving cream to glue) just to make food look the way it was advertised.

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Party Planning 101: Five Tips to Creating An Excellent Guest List

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“A balanced guest list of mixed elements is to a successful party what the seasoning is to a culinary triumph.” -Lentia Baldridge

A wise adage about successful parties has one said that, “The most successful event is the one that achieves your goal and exceeds your expectations”. But this sentiment begs the question, how do you plan an event that does exactly two things? How do you put together a party that accomplishes what you want by the time it ends and succeeds spectacularly beyond your dreams? Well, part of it is having a solid plan, a good and appropriate venue and more than enough food. However, your invitees would also play a pivotal role to the success or failure of an event. For this reason, you might want to be a little particular and meticulous about how you create your guest list. You might think that this is a negligible aspect when it comes to party planning, but whether you are throwing a children’s party with a fun ranch party package, or a party exclusive to adults, your guests’ presence would matter as they would contribute to how a party will go.

To create a good guest list, here are some tips you should keep in mind:

1.) Consider the mix

In creating your guest list, be extra mindful of the guests you invite and take into account what their interests are. In the same vein, try to invite guests who are within the same age group—after all, you cannot expect your teenaged guests to blend in and get along well with adults who are well into their fifties. Choose guests who you know would appreciate your invitation and actually make a conscious effort to contribute to the overall success of your party.

2.) Send your invitations the traditional way

While sending invitations through email or social media’s event invites might be a lot more convenient, and faster, there is a likely chance it will get ignored. Additionally, sending it digitally can cause a myriad of headaches as guest-list management is a lot more complicated when you do it over social media. Inviting your friends digitally would cause some of your uninvited friends to question why they were not invited and may hurt their feelings. Avoid this by using paper invitations.

3.) Do not let others bully you

“But, are you not going to invite all your cousins?”, “What about my friends from the health club? Are they not coming?”, These are just common statements from people who bully you into inviting more people—particularly people who are in the social sphere and not yours. This is especially true for weddings. However, if a relative or friend is pressuring you to invite more guests, politely tell them that it is your party and not theirs. In any case, you should not yield to any kind of pressure to supersize your guest list—whether it comes from a relative or your friends. After all, at the end of the day, you are the one who is going to be paying the event—not them.

4.) Give your single guests the option to bring dates if they have partners

While you are not obligated to extend the invitation to the romantic partners of your guests, you should at least be consistent. Do not give one guest that option while denying it to another. If you grant this option to one guest, make sure it is an option available to all single guests. Remember to include “and guest” in the designation of their invitations should you decide to let your single guests bring their plus ones.

5.) Beware the snowball effect

There is no rule in etiquette dictating that you should invite all the guests of your wedding to your kid’s christening party. If your budget dictates otherwise, invite only the people who you want to be in your party.

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Five Things You Should Never Say to A Bride Before Her Wedding

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“Happy is the bride that the sun shines on” -Robert Herrick

Weeks prior to a wedding, there is no one more stressed than the bride herself. For someone who has been dreaming about walking the aisle ever since her husband-to-be proposed, she wants every aspect of her wedding to be perfect, and the way she envisioned it—anything less than stellar would be unacceptable. Considering how she has meticulously planned every detail of the big day, from scouring the best catering services in pasay (or wherever she might be) to the wedding souvenirs, it would be no surprise if some brides would be near breaking point days or even weeks before her wedding.

Knowing all this, it would be unwise for any of her guests to say something insensitive to her that would cause her to either get uncomfortable or riled up. Unfortunately, not all of her guests have enough tact to practice it, and some may be none the wiser. So, if you are attending a wedding anytime soon, here are some things that you should never say when you are conversing with the bride-to-be:

1.) “Why are you not inviting (name of your brother, a roommate of yours in college, a common friend, the bride’s ex)?”

It may sound like you are just curious, but for some brides-to-be, this can be a rather touchy and sensitive subject. Remember that everyone is accounted for during the wedding reception and more often than not, the couple pays per guest. Seeing as this would be the case, most couples would opt to invite only their closest family and friends to avoid exorbitant fees. Stay out of this, and just be thankful you even made it to their guest list instead.

2.) “You should be able to get whatever you want. It is your big day after all.”

While you probably mean well, the bride might not exactly feel that way. Consider that one of the most private and incredibly delicate matters of planning wedding is the budget, so it is best if you do not get involved. At all. Do not suggest something more expensive than what she has chosen as she likely has her reasons for choosing them (and you will only sound like an insensitive friend when you do). Besides, if she could afford them, she would probably be getting them.

3.) “When are you starting a family? Will you be having kids?”

Again, you may sound like you are naturally curious, but it may come off as if you are prying. This is none of your business. Comment about the wedding decorations or the food, but stay away from something personal to the bride and groom. Who knows? Even they have not even figured the answer to your question just yet.

4.) “Are you pregnant?”

No, just no. Of all the questions you should never ask the bride, this one has to be the most insensitive of them all and more often than not, you would be indirectly insulting the bride. You may have heard it from the other guests gossiping or so, but if the bride does not offer this information to you herself, do not ask confirmation from her.

5.) Do not mention anything about divorce

If you are a married guest, you may just want to shed some wisdom, and if you are unmarried, you may just want to offer a little insight. Regardless of what you are, however, you are going to sound resoundingly bitter to the bride, and it would seem like you are raining on her parade. Remember that this is her big day, so any gloomy talk about divorce, separations and general unhappiness should be avoided. Do not even try to joke about this if you do not want to be at the receiving end of the bride’s or her her other guests’ death glares.

 

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Four Ways to Make Your Weddings Look Luxe and Expensive on a Budget

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“This is your wedding day. Do what you love. Invite the people you want. Dance to the songs that bring you most joy. Eat the best food you will ever have. Be the king and queen of the rest of your life. Enjoy all moments. Share the photographs with your children and grandchildren. Most of all, spend the rest of your days with the person you love.” -Anonymous

“There are no perfect weddings, just beautiful ones” -Anonymous

 

Almost every woman in existence has dreamed about what her wedding would look like and some of them would even have most of the details nailed down by the time they reach their teens. Some may like it big, grand and dramatic while some would prefer and intimate but sophisticated setting yet regardless of what kind of wedding you want to take place, a budget is undoubtedly needed. However, brides-to-be nowadays are under the erroneous impression that throw a beautiful wedding, you would need a rather large-scale budget and that those with financial and budget constraints or inflexible budgets would have to settle for something substandard.

This is absolutely not the case as there are ways to stay in your budget and throw an elegant and luxurious wedding party sans breaking the bank. Keep in mind though that with limited funds, prioritization is key and knowing which elements of the wedding are most important to you will be crucial when it comes to planning and allocating funds appropriately. Your initial bet into the wedding planning phase should be looking for wedding packages that might suit your taste (there are a lot of wedding packages in the Philippines that would cater to your needs). From there, you can follow these tips:

 

1.) When in doubt, opt for simplicity

No matter how beautiful you want your wedding to be, if you go overboard with the wedding decors, you are going to end up with a clutter and there is nothing tackier than that. If you are working with a strict budget, keep your wedding decorations simple and streamlined. Make the details simple and do not go overboard by executing a lot of DIY details that are better handled by the professionals. Elegance does not mean overabundance, so decorate minimally and simply but beautifully.

2.) Plan your floral decor strategically

Without a doubt, flowers would be one of the most important decors of a wedding. They are essential in beautifying a reception hall and the church, but they are also one of the most expensive items you would need for a wedding. To make sure you do not run up your bill with the florist, be strategic as to how and where you would put your flowers and what kind of variety they will be. Be smart with your choices and do not go for expensive flowers where you can get more on cheaper flowers for roughly the same price.

3.) Try your hand at DIY

Though it is not advisable to go fully DIY on your wedding decors, there are some aspects where you can dabble in a bit of DIY. If you are unsure about this, then go for the simplest and safest wedding decor you can possibly do yourself: Paper items. Handle the making of menus, seating cards, invitations and ceremony programs by yourself. At least in this way, you would not only be saving yourself the extra money, you would also be giving your wedding decors an interesting quirk by having done it by hand which your guests will surely appreciate.

4.) Limit your guest list

There is a huge difference between planning an elegant wedding with the same budget for 150 guests and throwing a wedding party with 70 guests in an attendance–the latter is a lot more possible while the former would have to make do with whatever shortcuts and compromises they can make. More often than not, a lavish wedding coupled with a lengthy guest list and a shoestring budget is just hardly possible so it would be advisable to crop your guest list. Spreading your small budget over a large number of guests would constrain you to cut corners and forego the things you originally want just to accommodate more guests. Having a smaller guest list on a budget on the other hand, would give you an avenue for having an intimate yet unforgettable experience.

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Five Ways to Throw a Successful Kiddie Birthday Bash

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Throwing a birthday party for a kid is widely different than throwing a bash for an adult. In some cases, it may be even more stressful and time-consuming. Whereas teenagers and adults would be fairly satisfied with food and drinks, kids, on the other hand, are another story. There are so many aspects to consider such as how to entertain your young guests and keep them entertained. After all, kids do not possess the same attention span as adults do and could easily get bored after a while. However, fear not, children are fairly easy to please after all. So, if you are planning a birthday party or are hosting a kiddie birthday party anytime soon, here are some tried and tested tips to make it a successful bash:

1.) Have a theme in mind

Generally, in planning a kid’s birthday party, it is best to have a theme in mind so that you can base the rest of the party from that theme. This is so you that the rest of the party’s aspects such as the decorations, the entertainment, and the giveaways would have congruence. One such example is to have a ranch style party that you can hold in a local barn with a petting zoo. There are so many caterers that would offer you fun ranch party packages that are affordable as well as fun and entertaining for the kids.

2.) Consider the Food Issue

Most kids would be picky eaters and are unlikely to eat something they are unfamiliar with. In order to have a good workaround to this issue, look for a neutral menu that you are certain kids would love. An example would be a menu that consists of hamburgers, spaghetti, fries, pizza, and stews. These are all inexpensive to make and kids will love it. Additionally, make sure to have colorful utensils as kids are attracted to color and as much as possible, these should be plastic so that should accidents happen, you would not have much to clean up nor replace.

3.) Get creative

To curb costs, opt to do the decorations and the souvenirs yourself most especially if you have a creative streak. It might be time-consuming but the money you will save from making this than buying them ready-made would be very much worth it. Apart from the money you can potentially save, kiddie party decors are pretty straightforward and are not all that hard to make. You would only need small inexpensive packets of construction paper, craft foam, a pair of scissors and some tape or glue which you can then transform into banners and paper chains of any color combinations you want.

4.) Decide whether you want to use your home

An integral aspect of planning a kid’s birthday party is the venue. This is because if your home does not have an area where kids can freely roam around and would have a lot of fragile objects, you are putting those items at a risk when the kids would run amok or when they play. True enough, home parties can save you a great deal of money as you can leverage how much you would spend on food and decorations, but if you do not want to put that much effort in and you would not want to run the risk of broken house items, then choose a venue.

5.) Decide if you want to have the parents stay

Most parents would leave their kids at the party venue and would go on about their day until it is ready to pick them up. Other parents, however, would want to stay and keep a close watch on their kids. To make sure there is no miscommunication, indicate it on the invitation if the parents are invited to stay or not.

 

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