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Hudson - Litchfield News 12 - February 25, 2011


Wedding Woes Be Gone! How to Make Your Dream Wedding a Reality


Brides and grooms often have an ideal of what their wedding will be – a vision of their perfect day. While each couple’s vision is unique, they all share the same burden – the ever-rising cost of weddings. Be it a lavish ceremony and celebration with hundreds of guests, or a more intimate affair at- tended by only close family and friends, weddings are never easy on the bottom line. Thankfully, cost-conscious couples can take some creative steps to ensure they still have the wedding and honeymoon of their dreams without breaking the bank to do so.


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pects of their pending nuptials. One increasingly popular trend is to have the wedding “sponsored” by local vendors. In exchange for discounted services rendered, couples agree to mention contractors in their wedding program or display business cards at the reception table. For example, wedding photographers often make their money through word of mouth, so a reference in the wed- ding program might be enough to garner couples a discount on the photographer’s services. Such “sponsorships” will need to be agreed upon be- fore the big day, but can save couples a significant amount of money.


* Get help with the honeymoon. Unlike couples


of yesteryear, today’s couples often live together before walking down the aisle. This has made tra- ditional wedding registries somewhat obsolete, as couples often already have everything they need. “We already lived together and had all the


kitchen gadgets, towels and bed sheets we could possibly need,” says Sarah, who lived with her now-husband Patrick prior to getting married. Thankfully, Sarah and Patrick discovered Hon- eyfund.com, a free online honeymoon registry catering to couples who could use some help planning and paying for their perfect honey- moon. The ideal solution for couples without the need for a large traditional registry, Honeyfund enabled Sarah and Patrick to plan their dream honeymoon while allowing guests the satisfac- tion of giving a gift the newlyweds would truly


enjoy. Wedding guests can conveniently choose from a host of activities listed by the newlyweds themselves. From dinners and hotels to ferry and gondola rides, even airline and train tickets, Honeyfund offers a wide selection of gifts for wed- ding guests while helping savvy and creative couples significantly reduce the cost of their first getaway as a married couple. * Save, save, save. Tradi-


tionally, the bride’s family foots the bill for the wedding. With that tradition fading and today’s couples now baring more of the burden of paying for their wedding, saving is critical. As bridal


Couples have options, including cash registries, to help them avoid breaking the bank to pay for their dream wedding


couples enter the biggest buying period of their lives, escalating costs of home down payments, furniture, appliances, and child rearing only amplify the need for savings. Couples can get some relief by directing their friends and family to gift registries like Honeyfund.com, where guests can contribute to a down payment for the young couple’s first home, or a general savings fund that can be used for projects, furnishings or anything the couple needs. Guests often love knowing how their financial contribution is being spent, be it


for a home down payment, home improvement projects or other savings. “Wedding gift givers are flocking to cash regis- tries because they are hassle-free and provide an opportunity to give something unique,” says Sara Margulis, CEO of Honeyfund.com. “A honeymoon experience or a contribution toward the couple’s first home are memories that last a lifetime.” To learn more about Honeyfund, visit www. Honeyfund.com.


Honeymoon Planning How-To


With all the work that goes into planning a wedding, it can be easy for couples to overlook their own honeymoons. But in the middle of all those seating arrangements and reception hall negotiations, couples also need to plan and look forward to the rest and relaxation that awaits, which will no doubt be a well-deserved escape once the wedding has come and gone. Couples can take the following advice to ensure their getaway goes off with- out a hitch.


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Holiday season is engagement season. But after he pops the question and she says “yes,” the reality of wed- ding planning sets in - and that feeling of joyful romance can fade as quickly as Christmas lights on an overloaded circuit. Here are the top five questions you will need to answer to make your wedding planning journey a pleasant experience. “After Valentine’s Day, the holidays are the most popular time of year for couples to become engaged,” says wed- ding planning expert Raymond Miller of My Wedding Reception Ideas.com, a leading online resource for brides seeking unique wedding favors, decorations, and gifts. “Many brides-to-be who get engaged over the holidays will begin their planning efforts in the first months of the new year. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming.” Brides should begin their planning by answering five basic questions, Miller advises. 1. What is our budget? “Funding your wedding can be one of the most expen-


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sive undertakings you’ll tackle in your life together as a couple,” Miller says. “Many couples only spend more on buying a house or car, or funding their children’s college educations.” Setting – and sticking to – a budget for your wedding is an essential step toward starting your married life on a sound financial footing. Determine where your funding will come from – if your parents can help or if you’ll be paying on your own – and decide how much you can afford to spend without going into debt. 2. What season works? Virtually as soon as you announce you’re engaged, people start asking what the wedding date will be. To make answering that question as simple as possible, start by considering in what season you would like to be married. Would you prefer a spring ceremony? Or do you dream of a holiday wedding? By narrowing down the season, and selecting it well in advance, you’ll be able to secure a date that will work for everyone.


3. Where do we want to get married and have our reception? Will you have a destination wedding? Or do you want to keep it local? While wedding planning is usually most successful when done well in advance, if you’re interested in a destination wedding, planning far ahead is essen- tial. Popular destinations book quickly in prime wedding seasons and you may find venues in the destination of your choice are booked a year or more in advance. 4. What kind of venue do you want? Do you dream of a big church wedding? Or saying your


“I do’s” in a beautiful natural setting? Perhaps you want your reception to be in a grand hotel. Knowing the type of venue you desire will help you refine your options and choose a specific location down the road. 5. Who do you want to officiate? Is it important to you to be married by your own church’s minister? Or are you OK with a justice of the peace? Do you fantasize about being joined in marriage by a ship’s captain? Or does your mother have her heart set on seeing you married by the rabbi who was there at your bat mitz- vah? Just as popular venues book quickly, favorite officiants also have their dance cards fill fast for popular wedding seasons. As soon as you know who you would like to offi- ciate at your wedding, it might pay to approach him or her and find out about future availability. “Of course there are many, many things to consider


when planning a wedding,” Miller says. “But these five points are the basics you must address and everything else about your wedding will be planned around your answers to these questions. Once you’ve made these initial deci- sions, it will be easier to refine your options and decide exactly what will make your wedding wonderful, memo- rable and perfect for you.” For more wedding planning and wedding reception ideas visit www.MyWeddingReceptionIdeas.com.


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* Be budget-con- scious. Many couples could enjoy a hon- eymoon to Siberia in the dead of winter after their big day has passed. After all the stress of planning and paying for the wed- ding, couples will likely just enjoy the time away. Take this into consideration when planning a honeymoon. If a dream trip isn’t in the budget after all the wedding bills have come due, don’t fret. A less expensive getaway is still a getaway, and couples will enjoy their well-deserved break no matter where it is they’re putting their feet up. * Plan an off-season honeymoon. That dream honeymoon might be affordable after all if couples can wait till it’s not the height of tourist season. Most weddings occur during the


summer months, when tourist season is in full swing.Couples who can put off their honeymoon until the off-season will no doubt find their dream honey- moon is much more affordable. * Start early. It’s never too early to start planning the honeymoon. The ear- lier couples begin to research possible destinations, the better feel they will have for what they can and can’t afford. Research can be done well in advance to give couples an idea of what their dream trip will cost. But don’t book any flights or make any reservations too far in advance. The best deals are often available a few months before the trip. * Spread the news that you’re new- lyweds. Hotels love hosting newly- weds, and many will upgrade rooms for recently married guests. Couples should not be too brash about it, as fully booked hotels won’t be able to upgrade their guests. But let the hotel know you’re on your honeymoon when checking in, and they might just up- grade your room and comp you a bottle of champagne as a gift. * Think outside the box. When asked


about a dream honeymoon, couples will often bring up Hawaii or even Paris. While those are beautiful places to spend a honeymoon, they’re also expen- sive. Fortunately, there are a bevy of locales, be it domestic or international, that aren’t nearly as pricey as the most popular honeymoon destinations but still make wonderful options for a honeymoon getaway couples won’t soon forget.


You’re Engaged! Now What? Top Five Wedding Planning Questions to Answer First


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