Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fun Twists on the Traditional Guest Book

In the last issue we talked about choosing the right music for your
reception.  In this issue we are going to talk about some fun twists on
the traditional guest book.

Did you know that just because you are having a traditional wedding it
doesn't mean you have to have a traditional guest book. Of course you
can purchase a standard guest book and ask your guests to sign it,
but there are so many more guest book activities that are much more
fun and unique.

One very popular option is to have your guests to sign a picture of the
bride and groom. Simply take a picture of the bride and groom (a
formal engagement photo works great) and have it matted with a mat
that is several inches larger than the photo itself. Place a in a frame, but
leave out the glass for now. You'll put it back in later.

Be sure to have a nice Sharpie marker handy and place the picture on
either a sturdy easel or on a table where guests are sure to see it. After
the wedding the picture can be framed as a wonderful keepsake for the
bride and groom to hang on their wall and cherish.

Another option is instead of providing a picture of the bride and groom
to sign, the guests are provided with a picture of themselves! Simply
provide a Polaroid camera and assign someone the job of taking
pictures of the guests as they arrive at the reception. Once the picture
is dry, provide a Sharpie and they can sign the picture, make a note to
the bride and groom or hand draw a silly picture. It can be whatever the
guest wants it to be. This is a unique, and personal, way for guests to
"sign in" at the wedding.

 Whoever handles the taking of the pictures should also handle putting
them in an album of some sort. A scrap booker might provide a special
memory book with the Polaroid pictures in it, or the pictures can simply
be placed in a nice album and presented later to the bride and groom.

Many guests don't give a great deal of thought to the guest book. They
whiz by the guest book table more concerned with getting their cocktail
and hitting the dance floor. If this is a concern, provide a "traveling"
guest book. Send each guest something either to sign or decorate
before the wedding.

In this "traveling" guest book, there are several options. One
of the easiest is to send each guest a small piece of paper and ask
them to write something meaningful or thoughtful for the bride and
groom on it. The pieces of paper are returned prior to the wedding (to
ensure a better response, provide a self-addressed stamped envelope
with the paper) and can be compiled in some meaningful way for the
bride and groom and presented to them on their wedding day.

If the guest list is a creative or particularly close group, there is one
other option that is even more meaningful. Again, in a scrapbook
fashion, send each guest a piece of paper to sign or decorate. The
paper should be the size of a photo album, so it might be a 6 x 6 piece
of paper, an 8 x 8 piece of paper, or even 12 x 12, if the guests are up
to that larger size.

In a letter that arrives with the paper, the guests are instructed to create
a memory page for the bride and groom. They might include photos,
quotes, little anecdotal stories, or combine all of these with stickers or
embellishments. It's thoughtful, meaningful and personal and it's an
excellent way to include guests who might not be able to attend the
wedding, but would still like to be a part of it.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  If you are feeling overwhelmed and could use some help planning
or coordinating your day, visit our planning page.  We have several
packages to choose from or if you prefer we have reasonable hourly rates!
P.P.S.  Did this DIY series help you come up with some new ideas to stay
on budget?  Is there something I should add to help brides in their DIY
planning process?  Please let me know!  I love to help!

Choosing the Right Music for Your Wedding

In the last issue we talked about finding the perfect cake for your
special day! In this issue we are going to talk about choosing the right
music for your reception, no matter what your budget.

Traditionally the wedding reception is a party to celebrate the union of
two special people. These special celebrations include music for you
and your guests to enjoy and dance to.

When it comes to choosing the music for your reception you have a few
options depending on what your budget will allow.

Most people like to have a disc jockey at their reception. This way they
can have a large selection of music available guests of all ages. When
it comes to costs a disc jockey is probably less expensive than a band,
but they can be a bit pricey too. Keep in mind that a good DJ will also
act as an MC and will help keep the guests entertained and move the
reception along.

When looking for a DJ make sure you shop around extensively and as
we have discussed before, be sure to ask your friends, check with
local colleges and even your local radio station to see who they would
recommend for the job.

When picking out music, make sure you take the guests into
consideration. It you have people for all different age groups coming
you should try to include a little something for everyone. For instance
Great Grandpa George may not enjoy an all rap repertoire, while young
Sandy and little Harry won't be dancing to the big band music either.
So, make sure there’s a mix of both to please both young, old and in

Here is a quick tip that will help encourage your guests to dance.
Assign each table a song, when that song plays that table should get up
to dance. You can even offer a prize to the liveliest table at the end of
the night. This will make them really want to kick up their heels and have
fun on the floor!

If your heart is set on live music, look for bands that have day jobs
and "jam" for fun. Don't rule out high school bands. Consider the time of
your reception. For instance if your reception begins at 1:00pm and
are serving food and having cake chances are you won't need the band
to start playing until 2:00 or 3:00. You can play nice mood music in the
background on the CD player until the start.

Be sure to interview several bands and find out where they are playing
so that you can see them perform live before you make your final

If you are on a very tight budget there is no reason why you can't make
your own mix CD’s and if you know of someone who has an awesome
stereo system, see if they would be willing to loan it to you for the day
and have people volunteer to man it to make sure you don’t have any
silent times.

The good part about  is that if you take some time, you can put
it together so that it plays straight through and no one will have to switch
discs. You can mix it up with an equal balance of fast and slow songs
and add in all your favorites as well.

Another fun option for music is to have a karaoke set up. You can
maximize on the talents of some of your guests and laugh with the not
so talented others.  Some people really come to life with karaoke,
so why not take advantage of that!

If you don’t own a karaoke machine or know someone who does, look
into renting one. You can download karaoke songs (music without the
lyrics) online to make your own karaoke CD’s then go to lyrics.com to
get the words and arrange the songs lyric's in a simple 3 ring binder for
your guests to refer to.

Remember your choice of music can help set the tone for your
reception and can make your day one to remember. No matter which
option you go with make sure that you take enough time to choose
songs that are memorable, touch the hearts of your guests and make
them want to dance the night away.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
some fun twists on the traditional guest book.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  I'm always looking for new ideas for music.  Are you doing
something unique that I haven't listed here?  I would love
to hear it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Finding the Perfect Cake Options for Your Wedding

In the last issue we talked about how to feed all your guests in style
without going into debt. In this issue we are going to talk about finding
the perfect cake for your special day!

Your wedding cake. There is no doubt that it is the centerpiece of the
reception. Not only is it a part of a tradition, it is a scrumptious dessert
for you and your guests to enjoy!

The prices of a wedding cake can run from the hundreds well into the
thousands of dollars. When it comes to picking out the perfect wedding
cake for your special day it is important to look at a lot of different ideas
before you decide on the one you want.

To begin your search for the perfect cake you can start by visiting
bakeries, looking at bridal magazines and browsing online. Keep in
mind that the more tiers and the fancier the cake is the more expensive
it will be. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the actual one
you have on display doesn't have to feed your entire guest list.

With that in mind you are open to having a smaller, but more elegant
cake for you and your intended to cut in to at your reception. Then have
an equally as tasty sheet cake in the kitchen to serve to guests.

You should also consider the time of year and location of your wedding
is important when choosing a cake. If you're having and outside
wedding in the summer, things like mousse, cream filling or ice cream
cake will not work well.

Here are some other quick tips that you can use to keep the cost of
your wedding cake as low as possible without sacrificing what you

- Try to stick with basic flavors and fillings for your cake, exotic
flavorings will add to the cost of the cake. If your heart is set on fruit
filling you can always offer guests various toppings like; fresh
strawberries, chocolate syrup, raspberries, sprinkles and whipped
cream for their slice of cake.

- Order from a grocery store rather than a bakery. Many grocers have
onsite bakeries, just like they have onsite florist departments. They
often produce cakes just as good as a specialty bakery.

- Why not try cupcakes as an alternative to the traditional tiered cake.
These can be made in a variety of flavors and arranged on a tiered
rack or in a creative design on the cake table.

Of course, the best way to save on your wedding is to make it yourself
or have a talented friend or relative bake it.  Consider the cost of some
cake mixes and frosting, and you can see how baking your own cake
can save money.

If you have plenty of time before the big day you can sign up for a cake
decorating class so that you can be sure to create a cake you will be
proud to share.

Remember wedding cakes don’t have to be elaborate, just tasty.  When
decorating, consider using fresh flowers. This will add some real class
to the cake and bring in the colors of your wedding too.

The cake topper is another place where you can show your uniqueness
as a couple and save money by having a less traditional and less
expensive topper.

Instead look for something original and less costly. Consider some of
the things that you and your intended share or like to do together.
Maybe you are Nascar fans, football fanatics, enjoy scuba diving or
music. Then begin to look around for, statues, figurines, bobbles or toys
that will work for your cake.

Did you know that there are places that will take photo's of the bride
and groom and turn them into bobble heads for your cake? It may not
be the inexpensive topper that we have been talking about, but it is a
fun and festive way to top a cake!

Be sure to shop around before you decided on the perfect cake, style
and decorations, Remember your wedding cake should be as
individual as you, but it doesn't have to bust your budget!

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
choosing the right music for your reception, no matter what your budget.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  Need more cake ideas to fit your personality or theme?
Shoot me an email.  I can help! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Unique and Budget Friendly Wedding Buffets

In the last issue we talked about wedding favors that won't put a big
dent in your budget. In this issue we are going to talk about how to feed
all your guests in style without going into debt.

Food can take a huge chunk out of your wedding budget. It's often
difficult to figure out what's acceptable as it is an area in which expert's
(etiquette or otherwise) opinions vary widely. It can also be difficult to
choose what type of food to serve at your reception, especially when
you consider all of the different varieties of food available to you.

If you are having your reception at a hall that offers food service as part
of the package, choose your menu wisely. While you may dream of a
steak and lobster meal at your reception, this will be quite expensive
and is not really viable when throwing a wedding on a budget.

There’s nothing wrong with an elegantly prepared chicken breast for
your wedding meal. Perhaps offer a vegetarian alternative like fish as
well.  Beef tends to be more expensive than poultry or fish, so be
completely committed if you must have steak, you'll pay for it!

Consider having hors-d'oeuvres if your reception hall will be catering.
Almost always, these will be cheaper than a sit down meal, and guests
can enjoy them just as much.

Here are some general tips for your wedding dinner catered by your
reception hall:

It's a myth that a buffet-style meal is less expensive than a served
one. In reality, buffets require more food and more labor so their cost is

If you are working with a smaller group (say 40 to 70), piggyback
onto another group's menu. This allows the hotel to buy in bulk and
lowers your price.

Consider other main entrees besides beef and chicken. Chefs can
do a lot of things with pastas and the price is usually very reasonable

For halls that will allow you to bring in your own caterer, the key here is
to shop around. Check with a local family restaurant and see if they
have bulk meals they will offer for your reception.  Almost all will or at
the very least, will try for the money.

If serving your guests a full meal isn't within your budget, don't worry
there are other options for you to choose from.

All of these options are less expensive than a full meal (whether
buffet style or sit-down) if you don't mind doing a good bit of the work
yourself and you aren't holding the reception during meal-time.

Breakfast is often served around 8:00 a.m., Lunch at 12:00 p.m. and
Dinner at 6:00 p.m., and these are the times in which a full meal is
generally expected by guests. These times also vary depending on your
area. You should hold your reception two hours before or after these
times if you don't plan on serving a full meal.

Let's talk about some of the types of reception in which a full
meal isn't served.

- Cake and Punch Reception.

The most common time of day that this type of reception is held is early
afternoon (approximately 2:00 p.m.), but it can also occur in mid-
morning (approximately 10:00 a.m.). A cake and punch reception
generally consists of the wedding cake and refreshments.
Refreshments can include: punch, coffee, tea, champagne, etc. You can
also supplement the wedding cake with other types of cake in different
flavors and textures.

- Dessert Reception.

This type of reception is one in which desserts are served. Desserts
can include pies, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, brownies, etc.
Another option, which can be combined with a normal dessert
reception if you'd like, is a sundae bar.

In this type of reception, you serve bowls of ice cream (usually vanilla)
and let your guests choose their topping. Toppings can include
chocolate or fudge sauce, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, crushed
walnuts, whipped cream, fruit toppings, etc. Basically, the same things
you'd find in any sundae bar.

Summer is the most common time of year for a sundae bar. A normal
dessert bar can be used year round though as there are desserts
specific to season. For example, pumpkin pie and apple pie would be
a great choice for fall weddings. This type of reception is also an
example of an inexpensive choice if you purchase the items on your

- Hors-d'oeuvres Reception.

There are actually two distinct types of hors-d'oeuvres receptions. The
first is light hors-d'oeuvres and consists of a lighter fare than the second
which is a heavy hors-d'oeuvres menu.

A light menu often includes items such as: crackers, vegetable platters
with dip, fruit, cheese, etc. A heavy hors-d'oeuvres often includes these
as well as items such as: meat and cheese trays, chicken fingers, egg
rolls, etc.

These types of receptions are also (casually) called "finger-food
receptions" in some areas. In order to save money on this type of
reception, check your local grocery store deli for prices on "meat and
cheese" trays as well as "vegetable" and "cracker and cheese"
platters. Their prices are often very reasonable. Another option is to buy
the ingredients yourself.

- Tea Reception.

This type of reception is a relic from a bygone era. Originally, tea
receptions were meant to reflect the mood of an "afternoon tea." An
authentic tea reception will include items such as petit fours, watercress
sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, scones (biscuits), etc.

Be sure to cut the crusts off the sandwiches and cut in a diagonal cross
(X shape) for an authentic look. If you're looking for a more modern
approach you can also serve coffee with the tea.

You can also serve: bite-size pieces of cake (such as carrot), any
manner of sandwich which is easy to cut, cinnamon rolls, etc. This type
of reception is relatively inexpensive depending on the items you
decide to serve and can be relaxing for both the couple and the

- Salad Reception.

This choice is becoming more popular and is a viable choice for
vegetarians who don't want to serve a full meal. Items served can
include: green (lettuce, spinach) salads, fruit salads, pasta salads,
potato salads, coleslaw, etc.

A veggie bar (to supplement green salads) can be added as well and
may have such choices as: chopped onions, carrots (baby or sliced),
celery, broccoli, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, etc.

A salad dressing bar can be chosen as well and may include such
choices as: vinegar and oil, Italian dressing, garlic and olive oil,
balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, etc.

Other dressing choices could include: bleu cheese, ranch, French, etc.
This type of reception is also inexpensive if you prepare most of the
items yourself.

Here are some other quick ideas for the food at the reception:

- Try a pasta reception in which your guests are served plain pasta
with their choice of toppings.

- Have a Mexican buffet.

- Provide simple lunch meats and cheeses with bread for sandwiches.

- If you’re a member of a church and will be having your reception there,
check with the ladies auxiliary and see if they'll do the food in exchange
for a donation to their organization.

- Try a local service organization:  the Kiwanis, the Jaycees

- Call a community college and see if their culinary students would
cook for you if you provide the food.

Now there is some debate on whether it's a good idea to add a line on
your invitation stating what type of reception is occurring.

Some examples of this are:

- Cake and Punch Reception to Follow Ceremony
- Light ors-d'oeuvres reception to follow at two o'clock
- Dessert Reception Following Ceremony.

My personal opinion is that it makes it easier, not only for the
you, but for the guests as well. It's a clear way to inform guests that a full
meal should not be expected and give them the option of eating a meal
(if needed) prior to or after the wedding.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
finding the perfect cake for your special day!

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380
P.S.  Did this help you find a way to have a unique wedding and stay 
within your budget?  Click here and Tell me about it!

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Custom menu's to fit your budget!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Making the Perfect Wedding Favors

In the last issue we talked about photos and videos to remember your special day.
In this issue we are going to talk about wedding favors that won't put a big dent in your budget.

The question of whether or not you have to give wedding favors to your guests is a
very common one. However, there is no easy answer to this question. While it's true
that you technically are not required to give your guests any type of wedding favor,
it is also true that your guests will likely be expecting to receive a favor.

Of course the decision is completely up to you and depends a lot on whether or not
there is room in the budget for you to provide favors.

Favors are a nice gesture as a thank you for attending your special day. They can be elegant,
fun, or practical. Today we are going to go over some great suggestions for fun and unique
wedding favors that will fit nicely into your budget.

Divinity fudge makes delicious cheap wedding favors. Wrapped up in white tulle and tied
with a white ribbon it would be beautiful. Add a tag; you make yourself, with a little message
like "Love is divine". Cut out the tag with scallop scissors and punch a hole for the ribbon.
One warning, divinity doesn't come out well in high humidity.

Regular candles are nice too for cheap wedding favors. Wrap in tulle and tie with ribbon.
Stick a small flower in the ribbon.

Tree seedlings, such as citrus or any kind of tree, are something everybody would love.
They will always remember your wedding with this unique wedding favor idea.
Wrap the plastic pot to disguise it.

Everybody loves herbs. Buy small ones and place plastic container right into
a small terra cotta pot. Put some moss around the top to disguise the plastic
planter. Include a pretty tag with instructions for care and attach to a ribbon
tied around the pot.

Flower seedlings or seed packets are a nice wedding favors. Wrap in
anyway that is appropriate for your wedding. Tie with ribbon, raffia or
paper ribbon.

Make wine glass markers from wire and beads. You can find
instructions at the craft store. One is enough for a wedding party favor.
Place in a small box and tie with ribbon.

Sachets made from lavender. Make a small bag from lace. Sew up
three sides, put the lavender in and sew up fourth side. Attach a small
silk flower. Potpourris in drawstring bags made of lace or tulle are
pretty. They smell nice too. You can use any kind of bag that's easy for
you to make.

Everybody loves herbs. Buy small ones and place plastic container
right into a small terra cotta pot. Put some moss around the top to
disguise the plastic planter. Include a pretty tag with instructions for
care and attach to a ribbon tied around the pot.

A strawberry plant is another live wedding favor idea. It can be
presented in the same way as an herb. Anything of this nature that is in
season is appreciated.

Candies, such as M&Ms in your wedding colors, Kisses or Hugs,
mints, a wonderful piece of chocolate or any kind that you would like,
look great in a cupcake liner. They come in different sizes and colors.
You can get M and M’s in your wedding colors at:
http://www.mymms.com place them in plastic bags and tie a pretty
ribbon on them.

For an outdoor wedding, consider buying umbrellas at the dollar store.
Wrap them in ribbons with your colors. This, of course, is for a smaller
wedding only, but can be a great gift to help shield guests from
inclement weather or the sun.

Buy plain chocolate bars in bulk or get the miniature version. Print
out new labels on your computer that you personalize for yourself and
wrap them around the bars.

Make your own CD using your favorite songs. Include the first
dance song, the cake-cutting song and all the traditional songs. Make
CD covers with your picture on it and gave all your guests a copy of the

For a Christmas wedding, give each guest a Christmas ornament.
Take a plain ball type ornament and use a paint pen to personalize with
your name and the date of your wedding

Pictures frames are a very easy wedding favor especially if they are
used as place card holders. Pictures frames are often used as
wedding favors but must people spend a great deal of time wrapping
each favor individually to create a beautiful presentation for the guests.

Do you and your intended share a love of something unique?  Are you
big Nascar fans,  love to golf or wild about a sports team?  Gear
your favors around these unique characteristics that are you.

Unless you have your heart set on taking home your table decorations,
consider giving them away to guests. A fun way to do this is to take a
hint from most class reunions. Give one to the guests that traveled the
farthest, the ones who have married the longest, married the shortest,
etc. This helps bring people into your reception and make them feel like
a bigger part of your special day!

While wedding favors may be one of the simplest part of planning a
wedding, they can also be the part of the wedding which is often left
until the last minute. This can make shopping for wedding favors quite
stressful. However, there are a number of different options as we have
discussed today for wedding favors which are very easy to do at the
last minute and won't put a big dent in your budget!

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
how to feed all your guests in style without going into debt.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  Did this email give you some new or creative ideas for favors?
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!  Shoot me an email!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Remembering Your Day through Photo and Video

In the last issue we talked about decorating the sanctuary or venue with
beautiful bows while sticking to your budget. In this issue we are going
to talk about photos and videos to remember your special day!

You want to be sure to have plenty of photos to remember your special
day. Unfortunately, a professional photographer can be a real budget
buster!  Today we are going to go over a few tips on how to save big on
your wedding photography.

There is no doubt that pictures are priceless, and you want to be sure
you have plenty of great pictures of your special day. Unfortunately, if
you’re on budget, professional photographers can eat up most of your

So how can you get beautiful photos of your wedding day without
breaking the bank?

- First talk to friends and relatives.

The best way to find someone is to talk to people who have recently
gotten married and have had pictures done. Find out who they used
and whether they were satisfied.

- Talk to several photographers.

Once you have found a few photographers, go and talk to them to find
out what their rates are. Find out what kinds of things that they offer and,
of course, if they are available on your wedding date. If you haven't
been referred to them by someone, you might want to ask to see
samples of their work and references.

Wedding pictures are a big part of your day, and there’s no second
chance to get them done if they don’t turn out right the first time so when
it comes to hiring a professional it’s important to know that you are
choosing the right person for the job.

Just like we talked about with your wedding flowers, try checking with
your local community college. They often offer photography classes,
and the students are eager to practice their craft for a nominal fee or
even just the experience. Talk to the instructor, however, to be sure
you’re getting the top in the class. You don’t want to take a chance and
get the beginner for your big day.

Don’t be afraid to call the local newspaper and ask to speak with the
staff photographer.  You don’t have to know anyone at the paper to offer
up the chance for them to make some extra money.  Many will perform
the service for a small fee as long as you buy the film.

At the reception, place disposable cameras on each table for guests to
take pictures at your reception.  A word of caution here:  place a note
on the table that asks the adults to please monitor the use of these
cameras. I have been too many a reception where children have gotten
hold of these cameras and the bride was left with many, many pictures
of people’s feet and hind ends!

Disposable cameras can be found at bulk warehouse stores or even
online.  Shop around for the best price and use them sparingly.
If you don’t want to put the cameras on the table, another idea is to
place the cameras in a basket at the door as guests enter the
reception. The ones who really care about taking pictures will take the
cameras. Have your guest book attendant monitor who takes them or
even have the attendant hand them out to adults only.

When it comes to chic, elegant wedding pictures, nothing beats the
look of black and white photos. Black and white film can be much less
expensive than color film. This tip can be combined with all of the
money saving ideas above. After the wedding, the photos can be blown
up and dry mounted for a long-lasting keepsake.

Now let's talk a little bit about your wedding video.

If you don’t have a lot of money but you would like a video of your
wedding, as with the photographer the best way to find someone is to
talk to people who have recently had an event captured for them. Find
out who they used and whether they were happy with the finished

Consider who do you know that likes to videotape everything?

Maybe you know one person who owns a video camera and has the
artistic ability to edit video already. Tada, you will have your own cost
effective videographer. With the wide variety of editing software
available there is no reason that you can't do the editing yourself and
end up with a beautiful video of your big day.

If you do have a friend or family member do your wedding video, but
don't feel comfortable editing it yourself or leaving the it in the hands of
a novice there are many studios around who can cut and splice parts of
the video together and add background music to create a precious
keepsake. Just make sure that you know your budget and do your
research before you make your final decision.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
wedding favors that won't put a big dent in your budget.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  If you need help finding a reasonable photographer or some ideas on how
to save on photography, shoot me an email.  I'm happy to help!

Monday, March 20, 2017

DIY Decorating your Venue

In the last issue we talked about how to have beautiful flowers on your
wedding day without busting your budget. In this issue we are going to
talk about decorating the sanctuary or venue while sticking to your budget.

You have the flowers for your wedding covered. Now it is time to think
about decorating the sanctuary or venue. Because you’re on a
budget, remember that less is more. Keep in mind that the wedding
ceremonies is often short and sweet but you can often repurpose your
decor and bring it to the reception.

While you want it to look beautiful you don't want to spend the majority
of your decorating budget on it. Instead save the bulk of your budget for
the reception decorations, because your guests will be their longer to
enjoy it.

Bows are always an elegant touch. They look beautiful at the end of the
pew and can be made fairly inexpensively. A good tip is not to decorate
each pew. Decorate every other one for the first 10 rows or so. Ribbon
for bows can get quite expensive, so doing every other pew is the frugal
thing to do.

When it comes to making your own bows it can be a little frustrating.
But once you get the hang of it you will have no problem creating as
many as you need. Just give yourself plenty of time to practice.

As with creating your invitations and flower arrangement there is a
wealth of information available to help you master this craft. Be sure to
check with your local hobby or craft store. Most of them will be glad to
offer advice and often hold classes that you can take for little or no cost
except for supplies.

You may want to consider using simple floral swags at the end of each
pew as well.  These can be found inexpensively and made even more

Many churches have single candle holders that you can use or rent for a
nominal fee. If you are a member of the church, ask!  The clergy has no
doubt been involved in many weddings. They might have some terrific,
low-cost ideas that you haven't thought of!

Here is another nice trick you can use. Visit a local discount store or
search online for battery operated candles. The kind that people put in
their windows around Christmas time. Attach them to the center of your
bows and put them at end of the pews. This way you will have an
elegantly lit sanctuary!

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, the scenery will be your most
dramatic decoration. Many couples opt for the traditional gazebo or
arch when getting married outdoors. You can often find these on sale at
a local wholesaler or you can rent them from a party rental place.
Decorate it with flowers, Christmas lights, or greenery to make it

Seating at an outdoor wedding usually consists of folding chairs.
These can usually be found at a benevolent association like The
American Legion. As I have mentioned before these are an excellent
place to find seating especially if you’re having your reception there –
churches, or community centers. You may have to pay a few dollars to
rent them, but it will be worth it!

Decorate the ends of the chairs with greenery and flowers to match
your wedding bouquets along with strategically placed ribbon. To set
off the “important guest” area (parents, grandparents, etc.) cover the
backs of the chairs with simple white pillowcases. They are a low cost
alternative to expensive chair covers and they look just as lovely when
tied on with a pretty bow!

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
photos and videos to remember your special day!

Until then happy wedding planning!

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  If you would like more ideas on what our DIY brides have done to
make their wedding unique on a budget, hit reply to this email.  I'm happy to help. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beautiful Flowers on a Budget

In the last issue we talked about finding the perfect gown for your
special day. In this issue we are going to talk about how to have
beautiful flowers on your wedding day without busting your budget.

DIY doesn't mean that you have to skip on quality for the sake of saving
money. Especially when it comes to having beautiful flowers for your
wedding. Flowers are la must and it's no secret that they can cost a
bundle from your local florist. But there are many little tips and tricks that
you can use that will save you a small fortune.

The first decision to make is whether or not you want silk or real
flowers. I recommend silk flowers because of the ease. However, real
flowers can be a beautiful addition to your wedding.

Keep in mind that real flowers need to be nurtured even up to the
moment you say “I Do”. If you have someone who can monitor the
freshness of your real flowers, by all means, have them!  If you want to
save yourself and your loved ones a little stress, choose silk!

If you do choose fresh flowers, make sure you check with several
florists before you make your final decision. When you speak with the
florist, avoid using the word "wedding" because they will often charge
much more for wedding flowers as opposed to a few bouquets for
around your house. Keep in mind that a professional florist will not save
you any money. They come at a premium price, so make sure you
factor that into your budget.

One way to reduce the cost is to order fresh flowers from an online
wholesaler. You can get some of the best prices around. However, as I
mentioned, unlike at a florist, you will be responsible for all of the prep
work of cleaning and trimming them, and keeping them alive until the

If you’re going for a simple look, you might want to contact a local
farmer. Where I live, there is an iris farm who will sell you bulk irises at
a discounted rate. Find your local farmer’s market and pick up some
freshly cut flowers for a simple bouquet. Consider also picking flowers
from your own garden.

Did you know that many local colleges offer courses in flower arranging.
Try giving the colleges in your area a call. For a small fee, they may be
quite accommodating in allowing their students to “practice” for your
wedding for a discounted price, often for the cost of the flowers alone.

Of course, making your own flowers is probably the most frugal choice.
But where do you start?

There are plenty of wholesale stores who will sell silk flowers at a
discounted price.  Working with silk flowers isn't and can be done by
almost anyone. You or a talented family member can put together all the
bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages for you weddings. Just make
sure you give yourself plenty of time to get the job done.

Tips for creating your own flowers are abundant. A beautifully simple
idea for a gorgeous bridal bouquet is to take several white roses,
bunch them together into a bouquet, wrap the bottom with floral tape
tightly, and wrap satin ribbon around the stems. Attach long pieces of
satin ribbon to flow down as you hold the bouquet and it will be

You can use this technique with either silk or fresh flowers, and it
doesn't have to be all roses. For a unique look, try out different flowers
in your wedding colors. You can also buy plastic nosegay holders at
many discount stores that make preparing bouquets super easy!

As far as flowers and plants as decorations are concerned, this can be
a great enhancement to your ceremony.  Many churches already have
floral adornments on their altars.  If you get married around the time of a
church celebration, you may be able to buy a few flowers and take
advantage of those that are already there.

For example, around Easter, lilies are the flower of choice in most
churches. Many people will buy Easter lilies in remembrance of their
loved ones. Offer to buy a couple of Easter lilies to add to the existing
ones, and you have a beautiful decoration on the altar.

The same applies around Christmas. Poinsettias are the flower of
choice at this time of year. Offer up a few poinsettia plants to add to
those already there and you'll have some beautiful altar decorations.

Large arrangements on an altar will only be seen from far away. Use
inexpensive flowers such as carnations, or large filling flowers such as
snowball mums.

If you are getting married in a church, almost all have some type of
floral decorations. All you need to do in this situation is to add a few
personal touches and you'll have a beautiful backdrop for your

Talk to your venues and see if any other brides have booked for the
same day. If the two of you can coordinate flowers and split the cost,
you'll save a lot of money. I would imagine both of you wouldn't turn
your nose up at saving a ton of money on church decorations and

Some party rental places will rent large potted plants such as tropical
palms or fichus. They visually fill a lot of space, and will help frame your
ceremony site or warm up your reception. Best of all, renting a potted
plant is far cheaper than buying large flower arrangements.

Just make sure that you know what you want, do your research and
there is no reason that you can't have beautiful flowers on your big day
without busting your budget!

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
talk about decorating the sanctuary or venue with beautiful bows while
sticking to your budget.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  Can't decide whether to go with fresh flowers or silk?  Don't know what flowers 
might be in season for your wedding?  Just hit reply to this email.  I can help!

Sponsored Ad ... Sharing a vendor we love!


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Selecting the Perfect Gown

In the last issue we talked about making the guest list and picking out
your invitations. In this issue we are going to talk about finding the
perfect gown for your special day.

One of the first things that comes to mind when a wedding is being
planned is the bride’s wedding gown. Finding the perfect gown is very
important to every bride to be.  Most girls want to feel like a princess as
they walk down the aisle to their prince charming!  You can look like a
princess without spending a whole year's salary on your dress!

But there are so many wedding gowns available. How do
you choose the one that is right for you?

Well, there are a few things to think about when you start looking at
wedding gowns. For instance;

- What  time of year is your big day?

The first thing to take into consideration is what time of year you will be
getting married. This will help you to decide on what type of cloth, the
length of your sleeves, and the length of your gown.

- What is your body type?

There are a couple of types of gowns that will work for all body types but
you want to be sure that your gown makes you look the best that you
can. A person at the bridal shop can help you select the dress that is
right for you.

- What is your personal style preference?

Think about what kinds of dresses you like, and that will also help you to
find a good wedding dress. It doesn't matter if they are plain or fancy,
every gown is beautiful. It’s always a great idea to take your mother or
another female relative or friend to help you choose your gown. It’s a
great bonding experience and it’s always a good idea to have a
second set of eyes.

Tradition is always nice, so you may also want to consider wearing your
mother or grandmother’s wedding gown. Can you imagine the pride on
their faces as they watch you stroll down the aisle toward your future
husband wearing the very gown they wore doing the same thing?

If you think that the gown is a bit out of date or it doesn't fit just right ,
consider hiring a seamstress to alter and update it a bit. You can often
find a seamstress or tailor for far less than the cost of a buying a new
wedding gown!

Don't cringe, but why not opt for a second-hand wedding dress? It’s
probably only been worn once or not at all and you can often get a very
expensive dress for half the price. Check out consignment shops or
thrift stores to see what they have to offer. Better yet, check out Ebay.

Another option is to rent your wedding gown.  Often you can rent
stunning gowns that retail for over $3,500 for as little as $75. Of course
you  can’t keep it, but considering that it will likely end up in a vacuum
sealed box that you don't dare open renting may be the perfect option
for you.

If your heart is set on a brand new gown that you can pass down to your
daughter someday make sure that you look around for discount
wedding stores, close out specials, liquidation sales or special events
at bridal shops in your area.

One last optin for you to consider is to pick out a pattern and hire a
local seamstress or someone that you know who sews to make
your gown for you. This probably won't be the most cost-saving route,
but you can have a designer gown for about half the cost.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
how to have beautiful flowers on your wedding day without busting your

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S. If you need help selecting a gown at an affordable price, shoot me an email.  I would love to help. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Making a Guest List and Picking Out Invitations


In the last issue we talked about how to save money when planning your
perfect wedding. In this issue we are going to talk about making the
guest list and picking out your invitations.
After you have set a date it is time to start working on your guest list
thinking about invitations.
Ideally, invitations should be mailed out 6-8 weeks before the big day to
give guests time to make arrangements to attend and RSVP back to
The first step is to get organized. Begin by making a list of the people
you just can’t stand to get married without them being there. This list
will most likely consist of relatives and close friends.
Next ask your parents and the parents of your intended to provide you
with a list of who they would like to invite including accurate addresses
for your guests.
As we talked about in a different issue it is a good idea to divide the
guest list into five categories:
- bride's list
- groom's list
- the couple's common friends
- the groom's parents' list
- and the bride's parents' list.
This will help you sort everyone out and narrow down your guest list!
Don't worry if the list is too big at first. It often takes several revisions
before you come up with the perfect guest list.
Word of caution: don’t think that you have to invite everyone you know.
For instance; if you haven't talked to your high school study partner
since graduation, they probably don't need to be invited. Try not to get
all caught up in possibly offending someone by not inviting them to your
A good rule of thumb is if they aren't family and you don't talk to them
frequently, chances are pretty good that they won't give it a second
thought when your invitation doesn't arrive. The goal here it to end up
with a concise list of must have people at your wedding. Once you have
your guest list, you'll have an idea of how many invitations you'll need.
Next, it is time to pick a design.
Wedding invitations shouldn't be a big expense for you. Yes, when it’s
delivered all pretty in its customized envelope and small tissue square
inside, it can make an impression for about a minute, but the simple
fact is that most people only read it once, note the date, take out the
RSVP card and throw the invite away. So, while you want your invitation
to make a statement and reflect your vision of special day you want to
keep your spending to a minimum.
If you are crafty you can save a great deal of money by creating them
yourself on your personal computer.  You can use Microsoft Word or
Publisher to create beautiful invitations that are ALL you!
There also are inexpensive programs specifically made for creating
invitations and greeting cards. You can buy a wide variety of beautiful
card stock at any craft, office supply or discount store. You can also find
complete kits including embellishments by doing an Internet search for
"wedding invitation kits" to make the job even easier.
Did you know that you can even design your invitations on your home
computer and take them to a specialized copy shop or office supply
store so that you don't have to use up all of your own ink.
The traditional practice for wedding invitations is to put the invitation
inside an envelope and then place that envelope inside another
envelope.  When you are trying to stretch your budget why not consider
one envelope and have your guests RSVP with a prepaid postcard, by
email or phone. This will be easier for them and cost effective for you.
Consider printing reception information directly on the invitation
itself. That way you'll have all the information right there for your guests
to refer to before the big day instead of them having to save a separate
reception card.
You can use labels to print out addresses on your computer. I would
suggest clear labels because they look better.  The most prominent
label maker is Avery.  Their website offers free templates to print out
your labels, so you may want to check that out before struggling with a
software program.
If you don’t like the impersonal nature of address labels, address the
envelopes by hand. You can get information about calligraphy online or
just use your best handwriting!
Now if you don't like the idea of do-it-yourself invitations don't get
discouraged, just make sure that you shop around. Check out local
businesses and look online for the place that offers the most savings.
When it comes to wedding invitations, one of the biggest expenses is
going to be the postage. You really don't have any control over that,
unless of course you hand deliver invitations to guest that live locally.
Your guest will appreciate having you personally handing them their
invitation. It tells them that they are special to you and saves you money
at the same time!
Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
finding the perfect gown for your special day.

If you need any help finding a source for your invitations or for supplies to make them, feel free to contact me for suggestions and referrals.  Just Hit Reply to this email! I look forward to hearing from you!!  

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How to Save $ Planning your Wedding

In the last issue we talked about how to plan the wedding of your
dreams without going crazy or going broke. In this issue we are going
to talk about how to save money when planning your perfect wedding.

When it comes to planning your own wedding there is so much to do, it
can be mind-numbing.  Good planning is essential, so I have put
together a nice checklist  for you. You can download them here:

DIY Wedding Checklist
DIY Budget Checklist

You should also invest in a folder to keep all of your notes in order.
Print out the checklists included in the file above and keep them in that
folder along with any receipts, quotes and notes that you have!

As I mentioned in the last issue, you will need to decide who will pay for
the wedding. Typical wedding etiquette dictates that the bride’s parents
pay for the wedding. These days that isn't always the case.

More often couples pay for most of the wedding themselves or the cost
is divided up into sections and shared between the couple and their

Now, assuming that you want a traditional wedding, the first decisions
to be made include: the date, your attendants, and the venue.

Traditionally, couples choose a Saturday for their big day, but they don't
realize that you can save a lot of money by having your ceremony on a
Thursday, Friday or a Sunday service on a holiday weekend.

When you are searching for just the right date you will be surprised to
find that there are many more open dates on these days and you'll save
big by choosing a less traditional day.

You may also want to consider an early wedding and reception.  For
instance a wedding at 1:00pm with a reception immediately following
can lead to a great deal of savings. Most guests will have already had
lunch before your ceremony and the reception will most likely be over by
dinner, so all you'll have to provide is some light finger foods instead of
a full meal.

Did you know that you can also save by planning your wedding between
the months of November and April. These months are less busy for
most wedding related services and locations. They are also more apt
to offer you extra discounts during the off peak season.

Where your reception will be held is another huge decision that has to
be made early on in the wedding planning stage.  If you want to opt for a
traditional reception hall, you'll have to book early to be sure you can
get the venue of your choice.

If you or someone in your family is the member of a benevolent
association (The Elks, The Moose, The American Legion), consider
these as viable options. They often give discounts to members and you
will probably have access to a huge area for your wedding reception
instead of Aunt Martha's backyard!  Just remember to book early!

If your budget is extremely tight you can look for a free place to hold
your reception such as a friend’s home, a church’s reception hall, the
local fire department’s reception hall!  Maybe even a local park, art
gallery, or your own home.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about
making the guest list and picking out your invitations.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

P.S.  If you need help creating that timeline for your day of events, let me know.  I would be happy to help.  Just click here and let me know!

I wanted to share a service we love ......

Stay comfortable on your special day!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Planning a Wedding Without Going Broke

Did you know that statistics show the average wedding costs $20,000 or more. Most young girls dream of the fairytale wedding including the long white gown, bridesmaids, a sit-down dinner, and a band that everyone will want to dance to.

In fact most brides have been dreaming about their wedding day since they were a little girl. However these dreams can often come with a a big price tag and the realization that their fairytale day may never happen. Even though weddings are very costly, rest assured that your dream day can come true.

By taking the time to plan every detail, you will be amazed at the amount of money that you can save and how it will help make your wedding a day to remember for you and all of your guests!

It's only natural to want the Cinderella fantasy wedding, complete with ice sculptures, a heavenly cake, and hundreds of guests who've flown in from all around the world to enjoy the festivities and it's only human to cry at the bill that this dream can come with.

It's no secret that the cost of the perfect dream wedding can add up fast. Especially when you factor in the cost of the dress, flowers, photographer, food, drinks, music, decorations and the venue your wedding can seem like an unattainable dream. But it doesn't have to be that way.

So, how can the average person have a beautiful wedding with all the bells and whistles without going into debt or going crazy?

Perhaps these three little words say it best!

They are "do it yourself" (DIY).

When you do it yourself you can have the elegant, beautiful wedding of your dreams without going crazy or going broke.

Don't panic, having a do it yourself wedding doesn't mean giving up style and flair. It means using your imagination, using your own hands as well as recruiting the help of family and friends.

So where should you start?

One of the first things to consider is the budget.The question of how much is available to spend and who is paying for what are two of the important questions when it comes to setting the budget.

Once the budget is set, the next step is creating a timetable. Some important factors to consider include honeymoon, work schedules, holidays and family occasions, and day of the week.

Then you will want to start looking at rings, making announcements, choosing invitations and planning the pre-wedding activities such as; engagement parties, a dinner for the families of both parties to get acquainted, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and so on.

After making the wedding known to everyone, the next step is the guest list. This list usually affects several aspects of the wedding especially the budget and the size of the party.

Here is a quick tip: Try dividing the guest list into five categories:
a) bride's list;
b) groom's; c) couple's common friends;
d) groom's parents' list and;
e) bride's parents' list.

This will help you sort it out effectively! Don't worry if the list is too big at first. It often takes several revisions before you come up with the perfect guest list.

As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to planning the perfect wedding there are many things to consider like the ceremony, reception music, flowers, wedding gowns, bridesmaids dresses, and the groom’s attire, photographers and more.

Inside each issue of the Your DIY Wedding newsletter I will do my best to provide you with the best tips and tricks from the experts to help you cut costs without cutting class and sophistication. We will explore different ways that you can plan and save on all aspects of your wedding.
Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking more about how to save money when planning your perfect wedding.

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Insider Tips to Help You Relax and Enjoy Your Day

Once you’ve spent all that time planning the look, the feel and they style of your wedding, it makes sense that you want to enjoy the day, right?

Talk to pretty much any bride after her wedding and she’ll tell you, “It all went by so fast!”

Here are a few wedding insider tips that will help you relax and enjoy every moment.

SECRET # 1 – Allow lots of extra time in your wedding day.

Wherever you can, allow for extra time. Think it will take you an hour to get ready? Give yourself two.
Most brides forget to allow enough travel time. It takes longer than 5 minutes for your girls to pile into the limo; remember to allow time to arrange dresses, gather   bouquets left in the church and take a quick bathroom break.

You can never have too much time on your wedding day. Those breaks and gaps will be a welcome chance for you to relax, breathe and take it all in.

SECRET #2 – Leave your cell phone at home.

  •  Be unreachable on your wedding day. Give your cell phone to your mother or Maid of Honor and let them run interference for you.
  • Make sure they have a complete list of contacts, but don’t carry it on you. They don’t make wedding gowns with pockets for a reason.
  • You’ve hired the best wedding vendors and planned for everything. Now let everyone else take care of it so you can relax and enjoy.

Nobody’s going anywhere without you! You can let go and let everyone else take care of the details.

SECRET #3 – Take your photos before the ceremony.

I know it’s traditional to not see each other before the ceremony. But it also means you’ll have a very tight timeline between your ceremony and reception.

A tight schedule means you’ll be rushed, stressed and anxious.

Arrange for a romantic “first glimpse” before the ceremony with just the two of you. Your photographer can capture those private moments from a discrete distance.
Then you’ll have time for a relaxing, fun photo shoot in the location of your choice. And at the ceremony, that “first glimpse” will have a whole new and special quality with your friends and family watching.

If you can do it, take your photos before the ceremony. It will have a HUGE impact on making your day more relaxing and stress-free.

SECRET #4 – Visit the “important” tables first.

A lot of couples want to do the “right thing” and visit each table at their wedding reception. The problem is that visiting 10 – 20 tables can take a very long time!

Before you know it you only have 45 minutes until the end of the party and your wedding day is over.

Rather than visit every table starting with #1, jot down the tables where your relatives and older guests will be seated. These are the people who will throw a fit if you don’t say hello.

Visit those tables first and then skip the rest. Your friends will meet you at the bar or on the dance floor.

It’s your wedding day; use your time for having fun!

SECRET # 5 – Stop and “take a moment” throughout the day.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the rush of your wedding day. Before you know it, it’s last call.

Grab your honey throughout the day and night and steal a quiet moment. Look out at the party, look over at your guests and enjoy the moment. Remind yourselves that this is really happening.

   True Story:  One of our couples made a pact before the wedding. Whenever one of their special songs was played, they would stop what they were doing and meet on the dance floor.

These quiet moments will help you remember how amazing your wedding day was. Take them throughout the night to enjoy it even more.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these insider tips! I’ve gathered them from my own experience, the advice of past brides and other wedding professionals.

As a way to thank you for reading these emails, I have a special free gift for you! Visit OC Brides Free DIY eBooks and select any or all of the following eBooks ....

Wedding Planning Simplified

A Brides Guide to Hiring a DJ

Wedding Budget Checklist

Wedding Speeches for the Bride

Wedding Speeches for the Best Man and Groomsmen

If you have any questions about what other brides have done to enjoy their day more, just let me know. I’m happy to help.  Contact me now!

Happy planning!

Cindy Lieber
Accredited Event Designer
OC Brides Event Coordination
(714) 970-6380


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