Tips for a Wedding

  1. Leave 10-20 extra spaces for guests if you are planning more than 6 months ahead. Extra people always pop up.
  2. Always interview at least 3 sources for each service e.g. caterers, florists, etc. Important questions to ask during the interview:
    1. Estimate of cost
    2. Details of payment e.g. deposit, what %, when is balance due
    3. Experience: You'd be surprised. This one lady was the president of the local chapter of Associated Bridal consultants and was very knowledgeable about weddings, yet she had never coordinated one by herself! I was not going to let an inexperienced person experiment on my wedding!
    4. If they do more than 1 wedding a day-- you don't want your photographer to rush off to another wedding after yours or to be late to your wedding.
  3. Consider hiring a wedding coordinator if your wedding is going to be greater than 200 people. This will reduce your headache.
    1. Don't go with a coordinator who charges a percentage of your wedding costs. What is their incentive to keep costs down for you if they get a percentage? None. Go with someone who charges a flat fee.
  4. Bargain between your top 2 choices for services e.g. Tell your top choices, "Well, company X said they would charge $500. I really like you but would hate to have to go with the other company just because you were $50 more."
  5. If you feel bad about turning down a company or you feel pressured to commit, use the "I have to ask my parents/fiance; after all, they are paying for it or (s)he's sharing the cost." line.
  6. Send out a wedding newsletter to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Keep them informed about the wedding and their duties. Things to put in newsletter: List of duties and financial obligations of attendants -- you can clip this from a bride's magazine.
  7. Buy a bride's magazine. They are good for hair, flower, and cake ideas. They also have calendars of things to do with due dates like "6 months before the wedding you should have done x,y,zetc."
  8. If you and your fiancee like posed photos, get wedding/engagement photos done at a Chinese wedding photo place. (such places can usually be found in your city's Chinatown) These will be the best photos of your life. You spend 1/2 a day choosing outfits -- usually 2 wedding gowns, 3 evening gowns. Then you spend a day like a glamorous model taking photos with exotic backdrops. They do your hair and dations packages.
  9. Have a luncheon instead of a dinner. Have a buffet instead of a sit-down dinner. Spend money on the food not the service. Have a "no host" bar which means guests pay for their own drinks.
  10. Consider how important your wedding cake is to you. If it is not that important, have an Asian bakery do it. A western bakery costs $500-$700. A Chinese baker costs about $175 to feed 200 people and the cake looks just as good.
  11. Don't skimp on your photographer. Don't have your family take photos instead of a professional. I've seen weddings where the brother of the bride took photos and they were OK. This is one of the most important/memorable days of your life and you want beautiful memories not OK ones.
  12. Don't have a calligrapher write your invitation envelopes. People will throw away the envelopes anyway and the US Postal service will stamp all over the envelope.
  13. Have fewer bridesmaids. More bridesmaids equals more costs for flowers, for bridesmaids' gifts, etc.
  14. Have your wedding and reception at the same locations. This saves lots of money on rental fees.
  15. Print unique invitations at PIP printing or Kinko's and save LOTS of $$$. I saw this beautiful invitation wrapped in cellophane and with a silk flower. The store wanted to charge $20 each. I made them for $4 each (The price of most invitations). Click here for a picture.

Elegant Touches

  1. Placecards for guests in a gold picture frame.
  2. Candelabra floral centerpieces instead of just flowers.
  3. Bride and groom leave in an antique car e.g. Rolls Royce.
  4. Have your hair and makeup done by a professional.
  5. Have a scroll with the menu at each placesetting.
  6. Write your own vows.
  7. Program acknowledging participation of honor attendants.

More Wedding Tips (Written after the wedding)

  1. You MUST GET a videographer. Else you will forget the wedding and all that hard work you put in. Don't tape the rehearsal dinner unless you plan some meaningful speeches. If your family is not one for speeches, don't expect them to change on the night of your rehearsal dinner.
  2. You can skimp on flowers. No one can tell the difference between a $30 bouquet and a $150 one. Also, people really cannot tell the difference between a $30 centerpiece and a $150 one (Only you will know.) Spend the money on something else. I had $150 centerpieces with candelabras and not even the bridesmaids could tell me what the flowers were afterwards!
  3. Don't waste money on expensive cake! Pay $300 max for 200 people.
  4. Keep a log of all your gifts and who they are from. Write down who you have sent thank you notes to. Write thank you notes as the gifts arrive (before the wedding). After the wedding you have 1 month to finish your thank you notes (or so Miss Manners dictates).
  5. If you want to have lots of memorable photos, have disposable cameras available at the ceremony/reception and ask guests to give the cameras back to you. You can develop the film and have lots of pictures. My favorite picture was taken by a guest (Christine Pham). Your photographer can't be everywhere taking photos from different angles, but your guests can.
  6. Try to spend time with guests the week before in leisure activities.
  7. Don't ride in a convertible, no matter how beautiful the car is unless your hair is down or you don't mind the wind blown look in your photos.
  8. Find a makeup person and try at least 1 month before the wedding to see if you will react to the makeup, same thing goes for your facial. I had a nasty allergic reaction to my facial.
  9. If you are not changing your name, tell all people that might be making announcements e.g. the DJ, Band, relatives who might give speeches, hotel personnel, etc.
  10. Go over your itinerary with your parents. I gave my parents a copy and assumed they know what it meant. However, they went home to rest in between the ceremony and the reception, and dinner was delayed because we had to wait for them.
  11. On your wedding day, realize that things may go wrong or not exactly as planned and enjoy yourself despite any mishaps.
  12. Have a great wedding!

Honeymoon

  1. Tell all hotels that you are honeymooners, because then you will receive special treatment e.g. free champagne.


If you have any questions or tips to add, please contact me, Sophia, at syen@geocities.com.

 

costs $500-$700. A Chinese baker costs about $175 to feed 200 people and the cake looks just as good.
  • Don't skimp on your photographer. Don't have your family take photos instead of a professional. I've seen weddings where the brother of the bride took photos and they were OK. This is one of the most important/memorable days of your life and you want beautiful memories not OK ones.
  • Don't have a calligrapher write your invitation envelopes. People will throw away the envelopes anyway and the US Postal service will stamp all over the envelope.
  • Have fewer bridesmaids. More bridesmaids equals more costs for flowers, for bridesmaids' gifts, etc.
  • Have your wedding and reception at the same locations. This saves lots of money on rental fees.
  • Print unique invitations at PIP printing or Kinko's and save LOTS of $$$. I saw this beautiful invitation wrapped in cellophane and with a silk flower. The store wanted to charge $20 each. I made them for $4 each (The price of most invitations). Click here for a picture.
  • Elegant Touches

    1. Placecards for guests in a gold picture frame.
    2. Candelabra floral centerpieces instead of just flowers.
    3. Bride and groom leave in an antique car e.g. Rolls Royce.
    4. Have your hair and makeup done by a professional.
    5. Have a scroll with the menu at each placesetting.
    6. Write your own vows.
    7. Program acknowledging participation of honor attendants.

    More Wedding Tips (Written after the wedding)

    1. You MUST GET a videographer. Else you will forget the wedding and all that hard work you put in. Don't tape the rehearsal dinner unless you plan some meaningful speeches. If your family is not one for speeches, don't expect them to change on the night of your rehearsal dinner.
    2. You can skimp on flowers. No one can tell the difference between a $30 bouquet and a $150 one. Also, people really cannot tell the difference between a $30 centerpiece and a $150 one (Only you will know.) Spend the money on something else. I had $150 centerpieces with candelabras and not even the bridesmaids could tell me what the flowers were afterwards!
    3. Don't waste money on expensive cake! Pay $300 max for 200 people.
    4. Keep a log of all your gifts and who they are from. Write down who you have sent thank you notes to. Write thank you notes as the gifts arrive (before the wedding). After the wedding you have 1 month to finish your thank you notes (or so Miss Manners dictates).
    5. If you want to have lots of memorable photos, have disposable cameras available at the ceremony/reception and ask guests to give the cameras back to you. You can develop the film and have lots of pictures. My favorite picture was taken by a guest (Christine Pham). Your photographer can't be everywhere taking photos from different angles, but your guests can.
    6. Try to spend time with guests the week before in leisure activities.
    7. Don't ride in a convertible, no matter how beautiful the car is unless your hair is down or you don't mind the wind blown look in your photos.
    8. Find a makeup person and try at least 1 month before the wedding to see if you will react to the makeup, same thing goes for your facial. I had a nasty allergic reaction to my facial.
    9. If you are not changing your name, tell all people that might be making announcements e.g. the DJ, Band, relatives who might give speeches, hotel personnel, etc.
    10. Go over your itinerary with your parents. I gave my parents a copy and assumed they know what it meant. However, they went home to rest in between the ceremony and the reception, and dinner was delayed because we had to wait for them.
    11. On your wedding day, realize that things may go wrong or not exactly as planned and enjoy yourself despite any mishaps.
    12. Have a great wedding!

    Honeymoon

    1. Tell all hotels that you are honeymooners, because then you will receive special treatment e.g. free champagne.


    If you have any questions or tips to add, please contact me, Sophia, at syen@geocities.com.