Wednesday, July 27, 2011

'Always a Bridesmaid?'

One of our favorite 'InnCredible Events' followers, Natalie, asked if we'd do a blog post on the responsibilities of a bridesmaid before, during and after the wedding. Well, of course Natalie...we'd love too!!!

However, (and there's always a 'however' with me, right!) in doing my research for this post, I found some fascinating information on how the tradition of bridesmaids came to be. So I thought I'd share these facts with you so you can see just how far we've come since ancient times.

It seems the tradition of having bridesmaids, and groomsmen as well, can be traced all the way back to early Roman times when bridesmaids would form a 'human shield' to protect the bride from thugs and thieves who might be interested in stealing her, or her dowry, as she made her way to her groom's village. This group of loyal women would dress identically to the bride so these ruffians wouldn't know which lass was the actual bride. Genius, right?

Later, it became Roman law that a bride and groom must have ten witnesses, who again, dressed like the bride and groom. It was believed this would ward off the nasty evil spirits who attended wedding ceremonies to do nothing more than to cause harm.

In 19th century Britain, folks believed that ill-wishers would join in the festivities to bring harm and bad 'juju' to the happy couple. So the tradition of everyone in the bridal party dressing identically continued. If you look at a wedding picture from Victorian England, it's often difficult to tell who the bride and groom are because everyone is wearing similar clothing. Is it the couple in the front, hmmm, no one really knows...LOL!

Others reference the Bible, and the story of Jacob and his two wives, Leah and Rachel, who according to the Book of Genesis, came with their own 'maids'. These 'maids' were actually servants and not chosen friends. :(

And just so we don't leave the grooms out completely, similar traditions were in place for the guys as well. As the story goes, way back when, grooms would have to steal their beloveds from their families who usually weren't as excited about the pending nuptials as the bride and groom. It's believed that the groom would hold his bride by the left hand so he could fight off opponents with the sword in his right hand. This is where many believe the tradition of a bride standing on the left side of her groom at the altar originated. I had no idea!!!! Did you?

Today, we're a bit more civilized and have relaxed these ancient traditions quite a bit. Instead of needing a 'human shield', bride's today choose their best friends and favorite family members to be their bridesmaids. So, what does this honor mean? And what responsibilities does this honor come with? Well, read on....

According to 'The Bride's Maids'...
  • The Bridesmaids are a collection of the most important women in the Brides life. You do not have to like them all, but you do have to get along. Leave all pettiness at home, be gracious - even if it kills you.
  • The Bridesmaids will accompany the bride when she goes shopping for her dress, if the wedding party is large, only the Maid of Honor should accompany the Bride, too many opinions make it difficult for everyone.
  • The Bride and the Bridesmaids will choose the bridesmaids dresses, accessories, shoes and jewelry. This may be a time consuming and expensive shopping trip. Who pays for what will be a big question, each situation is unique. Be sure that everyone is aware of the expectations before committing.
  • Hair and make up expenses are usually paid by the Bridesmaids, if the Bride wants everyone to be made up together, then the Bride should cover part or all of the costs.
  • Help address the invitations.
  • Assist in creating the wedding favors.
  • The Maid of Honor with the Bridesmaids will plan a bridal shower and a bachelorette party.
  • Help to spread the word about where the couple are registered, this is not mentioned in the wedding invitation - ever.
  • Help coordinate the out of town guests, arrange transportation and accommodation, and prepare a welcome basket for the out of towners.
  • Collect the gifts and envelopes at the reception and make sure they are safe.
  • Help direct guests to their seats, making them feel comfortable and generally overseeing the reception.
  • They will need to be trusted friends, and good listeners, carry lots of tissue and do some hand holding.
  • They will make sure you have something to eat, get plenty of rest, and take over where Mom left off.

If you want a complete listing of your duties from 'pre' to 'post' wedding, check out, ''. Here you'll find a printable checklist for you to refer to. This checklist will give you everything you ever wanted to know, and maybe a few things you wish you didn't know, about being a bridesmaid in today's weddings.

There's a lot of information out there on the internet, so if you'd like to do more a little more research, just 'Google' 'bridesmaids responsibilities' and see what comes up!

Until next time....

Making your wedding InnCredible
'InnCredible Events'

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Budget Battle...

In the excitement of an upcoming wedding, many couples don't consider the bottom line, or a budget. Many head out into the wedding world all 'gung-ho' ready to make their wedding the ONE wedding that everyone will remember...end of story! But, the bottom line is, whether they want to admit it or not, every couple has a budget. What that budget is, is an individual decision. But, more and more, Marjorie and I are hearing couples tell us they have a 'strict budget'...and a number they want to stick to.

Unfortunately, the majority of couples we talk with have no idea how much the average wedding costs. While there are several variables involved in the 'bottom line', there are averages that can give couples an idea of what to expect. So, in an effort to help you stay within your 'budget', I'm taking a break from all the fun of planning a wedding and getting down to some 'brass tacks'.

In the US, the average wedding costs over $24,000. However, according to, most couples spend between $18,000 and $30,000...with a number of couples going well above these totals.

Gasp...I know...I know! But, don't despair, there is help. If you click on this link...
'Wedding Cost Estimator' will help you figure out your 'bottom line' before things get out of control. In addition, I also found a couple of other websites that were very easy to use: '' and ''. Both these sites immediately brought up editable worksheets for you to use . If you prefer to use a word document use 'Our Dream Wedding'. Like Excel, then 'Wedding Planning on a Budget' is for you.

So how do all the individual costs break down? Good question. Let's find out!

Ceremony...$2,462 - $3,953*
If you hold your ceremony in a church, synagogue or temple, expect to pay for the use of your chosen place of worship, in addition to paying the Officiant for their services as well. These costs usually range from $50-$150.00. And, you'll need to tip your Officiant another $50-$100.00, so be sure to add that into your ceremony cost.

If your ceremony takes place in a garden or venue, typically your only cost is for your Officiant, plus their tip.

Added to your ceremony cost is your Rehearsal Dinner. Experts say, depending upon the number of people invited, this total can easily reach $1,000 or more. So, plan accordingly.

Depending upon your vision, your venue can be one of the most costly parts of your wedding. Some venues discount pricing if you hold your wedding on a day other than Saturday, so check with each venue for possible discounts. Also ask your venue if they have an 'all-inclusive' wedding package. While your vendor choices may be limited , these 'all-inclusive' packages are usually your most budget-friendly options.

Without a doubt, your reception is, by far, the largest expense of your entire wedding. It equates to about 37% of your total wedding budget, with alcohol being the largest expense. Included in your reception total will be the costs of your florist, DJ or band, catering, cake, alcohol, photographer and videographer, rentals and decor. So, let's see how these break down!

Photography and Videography...$2,978-$4,781*
These two make up an estimated 10% of your wedding budget. If you're 'going for the gold' with these two professionals expect to pay upwards of $3,500 or more for your photographer, and $2,000 for your videographer. But, remember, these vendors are the ones who are going to capture all your wedding memories for you to cherish for years to come. So, depending upon what is most important to you, you might want to splurge in this area.

Most weddings include lots of flowers. Flowers at the church, flowers at the reception, flowers on the tables, bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, baskets...etc. On average, if you love flowers, expect to pay dearly for your 'pop of color'. However, many couples are beginning to tone down their use of fancy floral displays and opting for simpler table arrangements and bouquets, which cost considerably less.

To help couples save money, some florists will order your flowers for you at wholesale prices, and allow you and your bridal party to come into their shops and put everything together as a group. It's a less expensive alternative and a great bonding experience...and loads of fun!


Food is a very, very important part of any wedding...and for some couples, it's the most important component of all. But above all, alcohol is the number one charge to the catering bottom line. It's estimated the average couple spends $2,800 on alcohol alone...and if you choose to have an 'open bar' expect that total to increase significantly. To reduce your catering cost, cut down on the number of choices for guests, and look to simpler options...or, if your venue allows it, do a 'self-catered' wedding.

Also, often times, local wineries and breweries, will give significant discounts for look locally first. You might be surprised by what you find!

Ah, to the fun part. Music makes your wedding fun, no doubt. The sight of guests dancing the night away is one of the best 'take-aways' from any wedding. But, these professionals can be costly. So, here again, you as a couple must decide what aspect of your wedding is the most important and where you want to put the most money. Some couples are opting to put all their ceremony and reception music on an iPod and have a professional monitor it and act as emcee...this costs much less. But, remember to check with your venue if you're choosing this option.

Wedding Cake...$454-$730*
Your cake is another very important part of your wedding, especially if you're wanting to do the traditional 'cake cutting' ceremony. However, many couples are choosing to downsize their cakes and use a smaller cake for display and have a sheet cake cut for guests to enjoy. This will cut your costs dramatically. If you want to do a 'dessert bar', you can opt to have family and friends bring their favorite handmade desserts to serve to guests, even if you and your beloved are 'cutting the cake'.

One thing to remember is...above and beyond the categories I've mentioned here, there are several more things that will ultimately add to your bottom line. Don't forget your wedding dress and headpiece/veil, the grooms tux, rings, invitations, guestbook, place cards, 'save the date' cards, 'thank you' notes, reception decor, rentals, hair and make-up, wedding favors, attendants gifts, wedding planner, transportation
...etc. All these things add up quickly and should be considered when you're figuring out your budget.

So, there you have it...the ugly truth about the costs of weddings in California. If you want to find out exactly what the averages are in your area, click on and drop in your zip code, then click 'Show Wedding Cost' and viola, the totals specific to your area will pop up!

So, before you panic, look at the numbers provided by these great websites and decide what things are most important to you, and go from there. One great way to cut costs is to look for newer vendors that are trying to break into the marketplace. They are usually priced substantially below the veteran professionals and are eager to do whatever it takes for a great recommendation. My son, Cameron, and my daughter-in-law, Tiffany, did just that, and aside from one vendor who didn't live up to their expectations, everything else was perfect.

And, of course, always hire a Wedding Planner. They'll be able to help you with the fine details, negotiate on your behalf and make sure you stay on 'budget' and don't get talked into doing anything you don't want to do.

My special thanks to my son and daughter-in-law for letting me use photos from their InnCredible wedding!
I love you both with all my heart!

Until next time...

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events

Estimates from 'Real Simple' magazine. For more detailed information and a breakdown in each of the above categories, go to:

Friday, July 8, 2011

'Bye Bye Birdie, Bye Bye'

I have to admit, it's been quite challenging for me to find inspiration during this time when I'm in the process of selling my house and relocating to Coloma, CA. But, through all the chaos and long hours of cleaning, painting and moving, the one thing that is a constant in my life are the lovely little birdies that wake me every morning with their sweet songs, and keep me company all day long. So, to honor this blessing, I'm dedicating this blog post to my feathery friends who grace my days with joy and happiness.

I love fact, I don't know too many people who don't love them...well, except for our darling Missy Meagan, that is! There's even an episode of the TV show, 'Portlandia' titled, 'Put A Bird On It'. This episode happens to be my daughter, Ailis, favorite! And she's got birds on she says, just, 'put a bird on it', and it's sooo much better.
So, it was loads of fun finding the creative inspiration that couples have used to incorporate these lovlies into their weddings.

I even found a killer pair of shoes with feathers that I'd LOVE to have! Fabulous, right?

Can't you just see them with this amazing wedding dress....???? Oh yeah!

Even our darling bride, Jenn, is planning on hanging vintage bird cages from the gorgeous weeping willow tree on the grounds of Coloma Country Inn as the backdrop for their ceremony. I can't wait to see her InnCredible design. Jenn is a manager at Anthropologie, so you know it's gonna be an InnCredible 'Anthro' inspired look!!!! I promise to post pictures!! We're all still wondering if she chose a BHLDN wedding dress...hmmm? We'll find out on September 18th!

(Jenn & Andy)

If you're using birds in your wedding decor, please post your pictures and let us all see what creative ways you're letting them fly into your design.

Ok, that's it...
I'm keeping it short and sweet...
Until next time...tweet tweet!

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baby You're a Firework!

I know I've been a 'bad blogger' the past few weeks, and I do apologize! But those of you who know me personally, know that I've been working like a 'crazy woman' trying to get my house ready to sell so I can officially move to Coloma, CA and run 'InnCredible Events' out of the 'Coloma Country Inn'.

So, my time lately has been taken up with painting...painting...and more painting; fixing and replacing things; touching up things here and there; cleaning, cleaning and then cleaning some more; packing a trailer; moving the trailer; unloading that trailer; and then coming home and doing it all over again. And all this time spent getting the house ready to go 'on the market', and hosting two 'Open Houses' back-to-back, has meant one thing...very little 'free time'! And this lack of 'free time' equals no time for blogs... :(
I'm so sorry!

However, I decided on this 4th of July, I'd take a moment to share a bit of wedding inspiration for all you brides out there who are looking for a 'red, white and blue' wedding next year. Some of what I found was fun and fabulous ...and some was, well...over the top.

In the 'fun and fabulous', of course!

Personally, I think the red shoes are fabulous! But, I guess that goes without saying. LOL! Couldn't pass these up, could I?

These red crystal earrings are simply stunning! I bet they look like a cascade of fireworks when they catch the light!

And this white Anna Maier Ulla-Majia wedding dress is absolutely gorgeous with it's explosion of fantasy on the side. Perfect for celebrating your wedding and spirit of America!

However, if you're a bride who wants to add a bit more color to your red, white and blue wedding, take a look at this beauty! Stunning, elegant and festive!

Want to be a wee bit more patriotic? This dress will definitely put you and 'Old Glory' way 'over-the-top!' Wouldn't it be fun to walk down the aisle to a John Phillip Sousa march? Now, that's patriotic!

And speaking of 'over-the-top', take a peek at this head piece. I think Prince William's cousin, Princess Eugenie, might have worn this as a 'fascinator' if the Royal wedding was over here in the States. Hee hee....! Although, she'd have moved it to her forehead...oh my!

I have to admit, no matter how hard I try, and believe me, I have tried, I can't say I was 'fascinated' by this 'fascinator' about you?

Ok...ok, enough of my poking fun at that hat. In the spirit of our nations birthday, I'd like to leave you with the cutest little '4th of July' flower girl ever!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Until next time,

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events