Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wedding Decorator hits the Sunshine State via the American Orchid Society

I have never before traveled to another state, much less across the country, to attend a wedding. So this is a first for me. This was also my first time at the American Orchid Society -- on an earlier visit to Florida, the bride, Belinda, had taken us for a visit, but they were closed at the time.

Belinda's colors were teal blue (I think) and bright green -- two colors I wouldn't have chosen for myself, but hey, its not my wedding. Above is Belinda's bridal bouquet -- packed with roses and dendrobium orchids tinged with light blue dye. The effect is easy to achieve -- just put pink/purple dendrobium orchids in water with light blue dye, and the dyed water seeps into the blossoms, changing the pink/purple to purple/deeper plum and the white to light blue.

The site for the reception was very small, really -- there were only ten tables. It would have also been great if the fountain had stayed on during the wedding, but I believe they turned it off because of the noise. The dance floor was alongside the deejay's table, at a platform above this area, to the left of this picture.

Just a word of advice if you attend a wedding in Florida -- unless you plan to be somewhere air-conditioned the whole time, and don't step outside at all the entire day, don't bother doing your hair -- its so humid, your hair will instantly frizz up or go flat. I learned that the hard way.

This is the table arrangement -- a trumpet vase with stalk of dendrobium orchids inside, surrounded by other vases filled with varying shades of blue water, with a candle floating in each one. I believe the flowers in the topper arrangement include roses, dendrobium orchids, larkspur and baby's breath. A closer look and more pictures are after the jump.

Normally, I would provide the name of the florist and a link to their site, if there was one available. But Belinda wasn't entirely happy with the flowers - she thought they looked a bit old and the florist hadn't bothered to remove browning petals. The baby's breath, which I actually don't like in arrangements anymore, especially with orchids, also looked kind of dry and sparse.

Another shot, looking toward the platform where the dance floor was.

The real draw of these types of venues -- botanical gardens and the like -- is how they look at night. The lush trees, exotic orchids, candlelight from the party and the lights of the garden are a heady combination.

There wasn't much of a cake table since there wasn't much of a cake -- more like a cupcake tower. This is apparently a new trend. I'm not entirely sure where I would lean toward -- I kind of dislike the awkwardness of eating cupcakes and muffins. But, if its cheaper - hey. Why not?

I have more pictures than these, of course -- just check them out on Flickr.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Rock the vote: October leads as favorite wedding month

October Clawson Wedding by Flickr's chrisgscottSpectacular photo with some tasteful Photoshop effects of the October Clawson wedding by Flickr's chrisgscott

I checked in today, as I lounge in my Ft. Lauderdale hotel room in preparation for attending a friend's wedding tomorrow, to see that, as of this writing, October has taken the lead with seven votes for best month to get married.

I'm apparently not the only person who's noticed this trend. I also don't think its a new trend. This article believes that October is an ideal month because of the fairer, cooler (in most places) weather and the bounty of colorful flowers available in the fall. That makes sense, except for in California -- October, in recent years, has been a reliably fire-prone month in the Golden State, thanks to the Santa Ana winds. That doesn't mean that there has been a dearth of October weddings, though -- I think I've attended at least one October wedding the last three years in a row. That's especially noteworthy since I usually only attend two weddings a year.

Anyway, as I searched for the possible reasons why October is such an ideal wedding month, I stumbled on these interesting wedding statistics.

  • The average American engagement is 16 months.
  • During the engagement period, couples buy:
    • $4 billion in furniture
    • $3 billion in house wares
    • $400 million in tableware
  • June is the most popular month for weddings, then August, followed by September October and May
  • Every year an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the U.S.
  • The Wedding Industry is a 50 billion dollar a year industry
  • Average age for first-time brides is 25 years, for grooms it's 27.5
  • 175 guests are invited to an average wedding
  • One third of engaged couples retain a Wedding Consultant
  • An average honeymoon vacation is one week
  • The average household income of a newly married couple is $60,000/year
  • Couples are waiting longer to get married
  • Tuxedoes are typically purchased 5-6 months after the wedding gown
  • Median age for remarriage is 34 for women and 37 for men
  • Bridesmaids' gowns are general purchased 3-4 months in advance of the event
  • Average size of wedding party: 12
  • Most brides (30%) plan their weddings for 7 to 12 months
  • Most (about 75%) first-time brides will receive a diamond engagement ring (67% of repeat brides).
  • About 15% of weddings include ethnic customs
  • 35% of weddings occur in the summer; 29% in the spring; 23% in the fall; 13% in the winter.
  • 11% of winter weddings are Christmas weddings
  • $22,000 is the average amount spent on a traditional American wedding
  • A total of $72 billion is spent on weddings annually in the U.S.
  • $19 billion is spent buying presents at wedding gift registries
  • The average amount spent on a bridal gown is $800
  • David's Bridal accounts for 20% of all bridal-gown sales, and that percentage is increasing
  • The average ring costs $2,000
  • Las Vegas (100,000 weddings/year)
  • Hawaii (25,000 wedding/year)
  • Bahamas (5,000 weddings/year)
  • Jamaica (5,000 weddings/year)
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (4,000 weddings/year)
  • 80% of traditional weddings are performed in churches or synagogue.
  • Four out of five brides are employed.
  • There is a 43% chance of a marriage ending in divorce.
  • 35% of Brides and Grooms have a valid passport.
  • Percentage of couples living together before marriage: 64%
  • Percentage of engaged couples who’ve known each other longer than 3 years: 69%
  • 166,000: Wedding ceremonies performed annually in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Percentage of brides who say they’ll be changing their surnames: 60%
  • 93,750: Approximate cost, in dollars, of an average Japanese wedding
  • 150,000: Wedding ceremonies conducted in Canada in 2002
  • 53% of weddings occur in the afternoon; 31% in the evening; 16% in the morning.
  • 30% of receptions are held in churches; 20% in hotels; 20% in country clubs; and 10% each in fraternal halls, private homes, and other locations.
  • 38% of weddings have a buffet; 34% have a sit-down dinner; 28% serve only cake and punch.
  • 62% of weddings have a flower girl.
  • 56% have a ring bearer.
  • Brides 18 to 39 receive 85% of all wedding cards.
  • More than 4.2 million unmarried couples live together.
  • 67% of women continue to wear the same fragrance they wore on their wedding day.
  • January 4.7%
  • February 7.0%
  • March 6.1%
  • April 7.4%
  • May 9.8%
  • June 10.8%
  • July 9.7%
  • August 10.2%
  • September 9.6%
  • October 9.4%
  • November 7.4%
  • December 7.8%
  • Reception 28.3%
  • Consultant 15.0% (if hired)
  • Wedding Rings 11.5%
  • Photography/Video 6.6%
  • Bridal Gown 6.1%
  • Music 5.2%
  • Flowers 4.6%
  • Bridal attendants' apparel 4.5%
  • Rehearsal dinner 4.2%
  • Men's formal wear 3.2%
  • Invitations 2.8%
  • Attendants' gifts 2.1%
  • Mother of the bride apparel 1.7%
  • Bride's veil 1.6%
  • Clergy and ceremony fees 1.2%
  • Limousine 0.9%
  • Groom's attire 0.8%
I don't know exactly how old these statistics are, but they are interesting nonetheless.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Make your list, check it twice

With so many brides in full planning mode, I figured this would be the best time to revisit an article I found on Yahoo a million years ago (probably last summer). The article addresses some of the financial pitfalls of having a wedding planner with allegiances that sometimes clash -- keeping the client (you, the bride) happy and making as much money as s/he can. The first four of the Top 10 Things your Wedding Planner Won't Tell You:

1. "Something old, something new � and everything over the top." Weddings sure aren't what they used to be. A sharp jump in what couples are willing to spend has boosted the wedding biz to a $120 billion industry, according to David Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants. Today's nuptials, costing $27,000 on average, tend to be "much grander," Wood says. And the grander the affair, the more a couple needs help putting it together. Enter the wedding planner, a profession that emerged in the 1950s. Once catering to the wealthy elite, wedding planners have gone mainstream in recent decades, doubling their numbers over the past three years, to 20,000. Some 270,000 couples hired planners in 2006, up from 200,000 in 2003.
2. "You say you need a reference? Well, you're looking at her." When Keisha Barnes and Christopher Johnson, of Cerritos, Calif., first met with a wedding planner, they say she showed up an hour late, then took them to see churches much too far away. After the next appointment, when she recommended Lutheran churches (the couple are nondenominational Christian), they began researching venues on their own. "I felt like I was the wedding planner and that I was servicing her," Barnes says. "She clearly had no idea what she was doing." Since wedding planning requires no formal training, anyone can hang out a shingle, and a growing number of former brides are doing just that.
3. "I'll do whatever it takes to keep you calm, cool and oblivious." Just 15 minutes before setup, wedding planner Sasha Souza, of Napa, Calif., found out that the deejay she'd booked had been arrested. In a panic, she called up a sub, who lived three hours away, and told him to get there ASAP. What did she tell the bride? Nothing.
4. "I won't necessarily be there on your big day." As the industry continues to grow, wedding consulting has gotten more specialized � and confusing. Planners now offer tiers of service, from full (meaning they manage the entire process from start to finish and charge about 10 to 15% of the total wedding budget) to partial (they select the photographer, caterer and other vendors for an hourly rate of, say, $25) to day-of (they oversee the event as it happens, usually for a flat fee). In addition, many venues now offer complimentary "wedding planning" as part of their package.

Read the full article for the last 6 things, plus more details.

And as a bonus, as I searched for the image atop this post, I came across Wedding Planning Software -- a list of downloadable programs that you can use to organize your seating chart, plan your wedding schedule or keep track of RSVPs. Sweet. Most of them, however, are Windows only programs - sorry Mac brides.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

When to get married?

I've noticed more traffic the last couple of weeks. I'm guessing quite a few people have gotten engaged over the holidays -- congratulations!

But now I'm curious as the time table people have set for themselves. Not everyone does a year -- God knows, with my own wedding, I got a promise ring at the end of our first year together, underwent pre-marriage counseling 6 months later for about 3 months, and about 2 years into our relationship, figured it was time to move in together, thus get married. But I've seen many brides plan their weddings at least a year in advance. Exception: my friend, in whose wedding I was a bridesmaid, got engaged in December and married the next June.

But besides that, is there a certain month that brides favor? I know June is supposedly the wedding month, but in my experience, October is as much a wedding month as June.

Anyway, provides a handy dandy list of dates to avoid in 2008 -- and for you looong-term planners, 2009:

Holiday weekend wedding have pros and cons. You've got an extra day for the festivities (and recovery!), plus it's easier to host the affair on Sunday, which is often less expensive than Saturday events. However, costs of travel and hotels may be higher. Also, having your wedding on a holiday weekend might adversely affect your guest list. Some families have standing holiday weekend plans or traditions that they'd prefer not to have disrupted.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (always a Monday)
January 21, 2008
January 19, 2009

President's Day (always a Monday)
February 18, 2008
February 16, 2009

Memorial Day (always a Monday)
May 26, 2008
May 25, 2009

Independence Day
Friday, July 4, 2008
Saturday, July 4, 2009

Labor Day (always a Monday)
September 1, 2008
September 7, 2009

Columbus Day (always a Monday)
October 13, 2008
October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving (always a Thursday)
November 27, 2008
November 26, 2009

New Year's Eve
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Thursday, December 31, 2009

Religious Holidays
Be mindful of religious holidays (yours and your guests') when planning your wedding. There may even be restrictions at your house of worship as to whether you're allowed to marry at these times.

Palm Sunday
March 16, 2008
April 5, 2009

Easter Sunday
March 23, 2008
April 12, 2009

Passover (begins at sunset the night before)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rosh Hashanah
In 2008, begins at sunset on Monday, September 29, and lasts until nightfall on Wednesday, October 1
In 2009, begins at sunset on Saturday, September 19, and lasts until nightfall on Sunday, September 20

Yom Kippur (begins at sunset the night before)
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monday, September 28, 2009

Hanukkah (begins at sunset the night before)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 25, 2008
Friday, December 25, 2009

Begins Friday, December 26, 2008
Begins Saturday, December 26, 2009 through Friday, January 1, 2010

Costly Holidays

If you're looking to marry around Valentine's Day, be wary of your floral bill, especially if you've got your heart set on red roses -- they're likely to be more costly than at any other time of the year. Likewise, reception sites often charge a higher fee for a New Year's Eve wedding.

Notable Holidays

April Fool's Day
If you and your fiance are jokesters at heart, this could be the perfect wedding day for you. If not, choose another day.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mother's Day
Make sure your mom is okay with sharing this weekend with your wedding -- but it could be the perfect opportunity to honor her. If you do choose it, at your day-after brunch make a toast to all the mothers in the room.
May 11, 2008
May 10, 2009

Father's Day
Ditto for dad.
June 15, 2008
June 21, 2009

Avoid it if you're terrified that someone might actually show up in costume.
Friday, October, 31, 2008
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Days of Remembrance
Historically significant days may cause a conflict of interest for some guests.
September 11: Falls on a Thursday in 2008 and a Friday in 2009
December 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: In 2008 it's on a Sunday, and falls on a Monday in 2009

Super Bowl
If you don't live in Arizona or Tampa, and are marrying on the Saturday rather than the Sunday of Super Bowl weekend, then the big game shouldn't affect your wedding too much -- unless you and your hubby are diehard pigskin fans and can't bear to miss the big game for your honeymoon. If in doubt, steer clear of these dates:
Sunday, February 3, 2008, Glendale, AZ
Sunday, February 1, 2009, Tampa, FL

Final Four/March Madness
Everyone loves the excitement of college b-ball (and betting on it!). Keep your sports fans at bay by avoiding these dates:
Saturday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 7, 2008, San Antonio, TX
Saturday, April 4, 2009 and Monday, April 6, 2009, Detroit, MI

Quirky Dates
8/8/08: Although it lands on a Friday, numerological significance and the novelty of marrying on a date that occurs once in a lifetime make 8/8/08 an attractive wedding date. (Click here for more info on 8/8/08 weddings)
03/06/09 falls on a Friday
09/09/09 falls on a Wednesday

Other Dates to Avoid

College reunions and/or homecoming, big conventions in your city (call your local chamber of commerce), and any annual charity events that involve your family or close friends.
Happy Planning!

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