Thursday, August 21, 2008

Something Borrowed

The wedding dress.Whether you're looking for a fairy princess dress or a more casual affair, finding the right dress for your special day can be an exhausting process. You do your research - checking out gowns online and scheduling consultations to try on a selection. You bargain hunt - checking Craiglist and ebay for deals. Where is that perfect dress?

Often brides are hampered by price range. The 'perfect dress' may cost more then the wedding itself if you are not careful. Rather than limiting yourself to the few dresses that are within your price range (and marginally close to what you are looking for) consider renting a weddings gown! This is apparently all the rage in places like Australia and Europe and is just starting to make headway in the U.S. Imagine a gown originally valued up to $2500 available for rent for less than $200. You can truly say 'price is no object.' You can have the wedding dress of your dreams for what it would have cost to preserve your bought dress for the next fifty years.

This is the route I personally chose for my wedding. Well, actually it was more out of necessity than choice. Time, life, and budget all worked together to keep my perfect dress just out of my reach. I was within two weeks of my wedding and just about to resort to altering a prom gown when I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist - Something Borrowed Bridal Boutique. Started by two friends, Carol Holm and Anita Sanders, these ladies had retired from their real jobs to open this business together. One was from Australia were renting wedding dresses is apparently a pretty common practice. Housed in the beautiful front room of one gal, the entire setup reminded me of a high end clothing store where models were going to walk out any second for me to look at dresses on. My mother, mother-in-law, and sister sat on comfortable couches and chairs just outside the screened area as I took my pick of the dresses on the rack. Each dress was unique and beautiful. Since they were all altered, size was relative and there were a lot of options. Shoes and jewelry were available with each dress so you could get the full impact of the dress as you show off in front of the full mirrors. It was truly a more pleasant experience than the more sterile one I experienced at David's Bridal. The ladies also took care of all the cleaning and pressing so I did not have to worry about anything on my special day.

There may a few sentimental reasons for buying a dress. You may want to keep it. Why? Are you thinking of saving it for your daughter? Come on! Did you for a second consider wearing your mother's dress? The likelihood that changes in fashions and your daughter's size would even allow for this is small. In reality, your dress will be carefully packed away (and expensively preserved) in the attic for years until you take it out for memories' sake to have a look. It's a bit of a waste of a beautiful dress really. Aside from the traditional sentimentality surrounding a wedding dress, renting the perfect gown makes more sense.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Doing it all yourself

When it comes down to the practicality of budgeting for a wedding, a professional wedding planner is not an option for many of us. "How hard can it be," you may say to yourself - a thought you'll look back and laugh once you're in the thick of flower colors and invitations and catering bids. The biggest mistake I see brides make is to try to do everything themselves. Unless you are one of those people who love details, planning an event the magnitude of your wedding (even a very small wedding) will drag the life out of you. Even those of us who excel at organization and taking care of details, you will lose sight of the bigger picture - YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED! Here are a few tips to make planning your special a bit easier.

There are a lot of people who want to help you - sisters-in-law, bridesmaids, mom (of course), and mother in laws too. Use them!

2) Take Vendor Recommendations
You know people who've gotten married before. Pick their brains for the right photographer, caterer, florist, and reception location. You don't have to do all the research yourself.

3) Group Effort
Get everyone - bridal party and relatives - together for things like invitations and decorations. The time goes so much faster with more hands.

4) Know What You Want
Everyone will have a suggestion or an idea for your big day. Politely listen (especially if they're relatives) but remember this is your wedding. It’s your dress and your reception band and your dinner menu.

5) Appoint a Director
Someone has to be directing the action during the rehearsal and the actual ceremony and its not going to be you. Appoint a director and tell them exactly what you want to happen. They'll be on the outside looking in making sure it all comes together and you'll be better able to enjoy your day.

6) Time is Precious
Decide if it is worth the time and effort to do the entire running around yourself. Florists, bakers, and equipment rental agencies will deliver. Caterers may be able to handle decorations, set-ups, cleans ups and rentals. Your hairdresser will come to you. Make this as easy on yourself as possible.