How to Become a Successful Wedding Planner With Inexpensive Weddings

Can you make a living planning weddings? Yes. As a self-employed professional, you can either charge a set fee for the wedding or a percentage of the total cost. Your income can be uncertain when you first start planning these extravaganzas, but as your reputation spreads and you gain more experience, your income can increase dramatically.

Of course, you will make more income on an elaborate, huge wedding, but several smaller and simple weddings will be less stressful when you are starting out and, when the separate income is added together, you will probably make the same amount of money.

Some agencies who track salaries report yearly incomes in the $50,000 range for wedding planners. One such agency, PayScale, currently reports these average hourly rates for the profession:

* California $28.00

* Georgia $27.50

* Massachusetts $20.64

* New York $15.00

* Louisiana $14.00

* Pennsylvania $10.23

* Texas $9.00

As with any self-employment, your success depends entirely on your creativity, reliability and marketing skills. There are online courses you can take to teach you the skills you need to plan the perfect wedding for your clients. Some of those courses will lead to certification as a Wedding Planner, which will give you more credibility with your clients and improve your professional standing with your colleagues.

Getting Started

What a professional Wedding Planner actually does is take on the details and responsibility of the event, relieving the bride and groom and their families, from the stresses involved. In turn, this allows them to enjoy the preliminary wedding events, like bridal showers and picking a honeymoon location.

There are lots of details you, as a Wedding Planner, need to know to keep things running smoothly and within the budget available. You will have to have a set of resources you can tap into to get the best service at the best prices, like reserving the church or chapel, catering the reception, ordering flowers, getting the wedding dress designed and ordered, selecting invitations and announcements, booking the music and hiring a professional photographer, among many other tasks.

It would probably be very good advice to start your career on small and somewhat inexpensive weddings. Giant extravaganzas can be very complex and time consuming to the most experienced Wedding Planner and you would be well-advised to start smaller and work up.

Some of the following tips should help you get started on planning a smaller wedding that will save money on several of the more expensive features of normal weddings. The bride’s father will love you for it.

The Wedding Gown

* The wedding gown can be expensive enough to break any budget. You can offer your client several options that are affordable and will still make the bride look like an angel as she floats down the aisle.

Renting a gown is becoming more popular every day. Think about it. The bride is going to wear it once and it was probably worn once before she rented it. It also avoids the storage problem for 20 years if the bride will not be saving it for her firstborn child to wear at her own wedding.

* If a member of the bride’s family is a good seamstress, suggest that she ask the family member to make the dress. Providing all the material and even paying the family member for the service will more than likely be less expensive than buying one from a bridal store.

* Another way would be for the bride to wear her mother’s wedding gown, if she saved it. You might want to check it carefully for any deterioration before the bride commits to wearing it. The mother is probably from a generation that thought saving her wedding gown was an obligation of the marriage and believed for several decades that her daughter would wear it at her own wedding.

The Reception

Another budget-buster is the reception, but some planning with a true reality check can reduce your client’s expenditures here.

* Think smaller. Talk to your clients about how they can downsize the guest list. When the excitement of the coming event takes over, your clients and their parents will many times have a very long list of people to invite to the wedding and the reception after.

Many of the parents’ visions of the reception can resemble an extravaganza with hundreds of guests, munching caviar and drinking champagne all night long in a huge ballroom. If their budget will not cover the considerable expenses involved in their dream reception, your skills as the Wedding Planner will be well served here.

To start with, keeping the guest list small and only inviting close family and friends will save money and still provide the dream celebration your clients want. If your client hasn’t had a close relationship with college friends or neighbors from four moves back, don’t put them on the list.

Instead of renting the largest hall or club banquet room in your town for the reception, you have a couple of inexpensive options that might appeal to your clients:

* Check out restaurants in the area. Some have banquet rooms that they will either rent out or provide free if you use their services for the sit-down meal or the buffet.

* Consider suggesting that your clients hold the reception at their home. The party does not have to include a full meal. Catered hors d’oeuvres and a champagne fountain will set the festive mood your clients want.

* Weddings held in gardens or other natural settings are very popular and beautiful. There’s minimal decoration needed and the only expense might be for the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace.

* Not having a full bar will save a lot of money, regardless of where the reception is held. The champagne fountain mentioned above can also be combined with beer or wine if the clients want to provide additional libations for their guests.

The Photography

The formal wedding service requires a professional photographer who will create a beautiful album to record the special day and preserve the memories to relive as they wish. If you create a relationship with several photographers as you build your career, you will know which one to hire for your client’s purposes.

The rest of the celebration can be recorded by all their friends and relatives with a digital camera in their pockets. Some clients put disposable cameras on tables for anyone to use. Have a decorated basket nearby and visible to give your guests a place to leave the cameras when they go home.

The Wedding Invitations

Newly engaged couples can go way overboard on their wedding invitations and your task, as their Wedding Planner, is to suggest ways for them to save money on this expensive item.

Those engraved invitations with the ribbon attached or the edges cut into curvy designs are expensive. The same effect can be achieved with a good card stock and one of those edge cutters used for scrapbooking. The necessary items can be found in any good craft store and some stationary stores. They come with matching envelopes, too. The actual text can easily be printed with a good inkjet or laser printer.

One way to make homemade invitations special and very personal is to order stamps from the US Post Office with the couple’s engagement picture on them.

Consider suggesting that your client include making her own thank you notes and, even the place cards, if you are including a sit-down reception for their wedding. Once again, a good laser or inkjet printer can do the fancy fonts and include a picture of the couple to make them personal. The thank you notes would stand out if they were sent with a wedding picture on the stamps.

The Flowers

It is not necessary to buy fancy floral arrangements and pay for the floral designer’s time and expertise. Simple flowers arranged beautifully in clusters or cascades can be created by either the bride’s family or a crafty friend. They can be delivered to the church by you or by friends.

If you are building your business, create some relationships with flower vendors and provide that service to your clients. They will be delighted at the savings and the vendors will love you for the business.

Depending on the time of the year, the flowers can be picked from the bride’s own backyard or from a friend’s yard. A few inexpensive vases, some ribbon and both the wedding and the reception will be beautifully decorated while not breaking the family’s budget.

A few flower arrangements can attractively set off a buffet table or on the tables at a sit-down dinner. Think about several weddings you have attended as a guest. How many flower arrangements do you really remember? During the entire wedding ritual, most of the guests were focused on the bride and groom; weren’t they?

A simple floral bouquet can be easily arranged from flowers out of a garden with the stems wrapped in a ribbon that complements or matches the bride’s gown. When you toss the bridal bouquet before you leave the reception, you will be tossing out a truly personal memento of your wedding and not one that was exorbitantly priced.

Any flowers left over can be scattered in the bride’s hair to make her even more beautiful as she walks down the aisle.

The Wedding Cake

There’s lots of tradition around the wedding cake, including saving a piece to be eaten on the first anniversary of the wedding. The top layer of the cake is normally put aside before the cake is cut and frozen to preserve it. Some bakers have been making a top layer that is a light fruitcake. It freezes well and thaws better a year later.

Wedding cake history can be traced as far back at the Roman Empire and the traditions have gone through so many changes between now and then that there is no comparison.

Today’s “traditional” wedding cake practices can be anything the couple wants them to be. Some have abandoned the white wedding cake and substituted frosting colors and decorations that reflect the bride’s choice of décor or the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

The multi-tiered cake is not an obligation and can be a heavy drain on a limited budget. Friends can make the cake for the reception or something else can replace the cake entirely, like a wedding cake made of frosted cupcakes stacked in layers. The cupcake wedding cake is becoming very popular, not only for economy, but for it’s novelty and the range of cupcake flavors that can be offered.

As the Wedding Planner, you will need to have a list of different and affordable wedding cakes to give the couple choices. If no one in the family or set of friends can make the wedding cake, you will also need a list of economical bakeries.

Lists – How To Plan A Small Wedding

When you first begin to work as a Wedding Planner, you will be buried in details that can only be managed if you know how to make ordered lists. Over time, you will probably create your own templates on your computer and be able to print out a complete set of templates whenever you book a new wedding.

Your templates will be your “spare brain” and will keep you informed of what needs to be done and when, along with favored vendors, the services they provide and what their fees are.

Your templates should include the following information:

* A reasonable timeline for all activities concerning the wedding from start to finish. That should include preliminary details, like scheduling the bride’s appointments for fittings, reserving the banquet room or restaurant for the reception, booking the chapel and anything else that needs advance scheduling.

Waiting too long may require rescheduling that might interfere with the travel arrangements made by the out-of-town guests or make finding a caterer difficult, to name only a couple of serious possible problems.

* After your templates are printed and initially filled out, you need to make a preliminary wedding budget and include the fees for your services. As the director of this event, you will be spending the money and have a responsibility to provide records when requested.

* The actual wedding ceremony should be painstakingly detailed to ensure that all aspects are taken care of in advance. Leave nothing to the last minute.

o Have the bride and groom choose their wedding date as soon as possible. Everything needed to be in place for that date has to be scheduled and confirmed before any other plan can be completed.

o Decide upon the wedding site, church, chapel, garden, park, etc. Make that decision specific. Get the details of the church or chapel, the address of the garden and the phone number of the relative or friend who owns it or permission of the agency controlling the park.

o Book and confirm the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace who will be performing the wedding ceremony.

o Start selecting the music with the couple for the actual ceremony. Include the music for the reception and book who will be providing it…disk jockey, small band, etc.

o Send the couple to get the marriage license. For their book of memories, see if a friend or family member will take a few photos of this necessity.

One thing you might consider is using your own digital camera and recording most of the less dramatic events of preparing for the wedding, like getting the marriage certificate, making or addressing the invitations, trying on wedding dresses.

A CD or DVD given to the couple after they return from their honeymoon will serve two important purposes.

1. They will have something to remember all that went into the ceremony that will not be included in the normal wedding album.

2. When they share the CD or DVD with their friends, some of whom might be contemplating their own wedding, your name and contact details will be prominent.

Referrals are what will build your business. Subliminal ads, like on the CD or DVD label and at the beginning and end of the photos might bring you some business. At the very least, your unexpected gift after the excitement that goes with any wedding, will be remembered by the bride and groom.

The wedding ceremony rehearsal needs to be scheduled as soon as possible. It normally takes place a night or two before the actual ceremony (after work) and can be easily forgotten in the rush of last minute details. Additionally, the church or chapel might be previously booked by another wedding party.

Some have a small dinner party in a restaurant after the rehearsal. If your couple is planning one with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, make the reservations as soon as possible and confirm a few days before the rehearsal.

Make sure that everyone knows who will be in the wedding processional and the recessional and what to do. Practice it with the actual music, if possible, so it looks graceful during the actual event. Never forget that you are creating life-long memories for the couple.

The wedding reception has its own set of details to schedule and set in motion.

1. You need to determine the time of day for the reception. Be sure to allow enough time for the photographer to take the album photos after the ceremony and for the newly married couple to travel from the church to the reception.

2. Make sure the place for the reception is set up, decorated and stocked. It would be a wise decision to check with the restaurant or hall about a week before the wedding to check details and to discuss any changes in the menu or times with the manager. A phone call the day before the event wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3. Normal wedding reception activities need to be scheduled and coordinated so they feel like a natural progression before the couple leaves the reception.

Those activities can include the receiving line, the first dance, cake cutting, tossing the bouquet, speeches and toasting from the best man, parents or friends.

How To Find A Job In The Wedding Industry

There’s over a dozen different industries that might be interested in hiring Wedding Planners or consultants, if you were interested in working with companies.

Resorts in popular vacation spots are becoming sites for destination weddings and would have the need for a Wedding Planner. This would be a way to work and enjoy all the amenities available in some of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Hotels almost anywhere, even in your current location, are always sites for weddings or receptions in their banquet rooms and many might need a Wedding Planner or Event Coordinator to keep their wedding parties from becoming a disaster.

Churches and synagogues might be on the lookout for someone to handle the weddings being scheduled at their churches and temples. Distributing a well-designed flyer at each facility might get you referrals, if not an actual job. Make sure to include some business cards with the flyers.

Finally, do not forget to leave your business cards with local bridal shops, caterers and florists. These businesses handle some aspect of the wedding preparations every day. They would be good reciprocal referrals for your services. If you, in return, used their services in the wedding planning, it would be a Win-Win situation for all involved.

You should have enough information to decide if being a Wedding Planner is the career for you. You can find eCourses to take online and several step-by-step eBooks or manuals that explain everything you need to know and even provide templates to help you organize the details.

Planning Your Wedding In Australia – Ideas For Choosing The Right Location For You And Your Guests!

Weddings in Perth, Western Australia and Beyond!

Australia’s North West from Exmouth to Broome and beyond! The Northern winter or dry season is April to September and boasts long days of blue skies and beautiful sunshine, some would say this is the perfect WA weather! However many European visitors will wait for the summer wet season where the temperatures are in the mid 30s and you can experience a balmy combination of heat, humidity and sunshine!

Below the Tropic of Capricorn in the south the weather is far less dramatic, with Perth enjoying more sunny days in a year than any other capital city in the country! Because of this beautiful weather Western Australia has built up a reputation for fine food and world-famous wine regions, and overall needs no explanation as to why it would be the perfect place for you to organise your destination wedding. Whether you are from Western Australia, interstate or abroad there are so many advantages to getting married in Perth, the internet is a wonderful place and you can do a little research to find out about Perth and WA to choose the perfect wedding venue and location for your big day!

The Coral Coast; Experience the whitest sand and the bluest ocean that plays host to some of the most breathtaking and exotic marine life in the world! You can find Ningaloo Reef, the world heritage listed site that is awesome for fishing and diving, one of the few places that you can swim with a whale shark, be sure to extend your wedding into a honeymoon – what an amazing thing to do after your big day! With a wide selection of fabulous wedding venues and accommodation to suit your personalities and number of guests you will be sure to have plenty of choice.

Australia’s North West; home to the world-famous Kimberley, a true desert wilderness that offers an outback adventure for those four-wheel drive junkies! Be sure to stop off at the Bungle-Bungle Ranges, the Karijiini National Park and Lake Argyle on your tour of this region. Maybe you will choose The Billi Resort or Cable Beach Club in the North West near the town of Broome. These beautiful venues offer outstanding ceremony and reception settings.

South West; when you hear the name Margaret River the first thing that springs to mind is top-class wineries and scrumptious local produce. The perfect location for a wedding boasting spectacular views and idyllic settings for your ceremony and reception venue.

Perth; the gateway to the west. Direct flights to Perth airport make it easy to arrive both from international destinations and around Australia, you can arrive in the western capital via rail, taking the Indian-Pacific service that spans the entire country from sea to sea, you can hop on in Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide and the whole journey would take 3 days. Might be the way to travel back after your wedding, a short honeymoon journey for the newly-weds. Alternatively, in the summer months you can get on board a coastal cruise as part of your honeymoon, much of WA including Perth, Broome and Esperance will feature on a world cruise itinerary.

Once you arrive in Perth this relaxed city spends most of its time with sunny blue skies and has so much to offer, with an exciting and young vibe you will be able to find something to suit you and all of your guests and create a truly unique experience for your wedding in Perth, WA. You can choose a beach or garden wedding and from an extensive list of venues like the Northbridge Hotel or Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club. You can also take the trip over to Rottnest Island, an increasingly popular destination for weddings as there is a Chapel or Catholic Church as well as a selection of beautiful outdoor locations for your ceremony. The Rottnest Island Lodge and Aristos Waterfront venues can cater for all your reception needs.

Maybe you will venture inland to the Swan Valley where you will encounter the oldest wine region in Western Australia, also a fabulous location for a wedding in WA.

Say “I do” in Sydney, or Regional New South Wales.

There are so many locations available to you in this beautiful state from remote outback to Sydney and all along the coast of New South Wales!

Outback New South Wales; some of the most remote towns including Lightening Ridge, Tibooburra and Broken Hill can be found in outback NSW. The rugged landscape provides some stunning scenery for any event, with outstanding Aboriginal rock art and national parks covering most of the land.

The Broken Hill region would provide a unique and romantic setting for your outback wedding, you could choose from the Broken Hill sculpture park or if you are the adventurous type say ‘I do’ from the top of a historic mountain range.

Country NSW; if you are looking for a country themed wedding or fancy getting married next to the highest waterfall in Australia then you have come to the right place. The Wollomombi Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park would be a spectacular location for your ceremony. Country New South Wales has so many gorgeous locations for you to choose from, make sure you add your own little country twist to your bridesmaid outfits with the addition of cute cow-girl boots!

Be sure to check out Corowa, Deneiquin and Moama, you can hire a houseboat for your honeymoon on the Murray River, an amazing and romantic experience, or for something really different why not hire a boat big enough for all of your guests and get married on board.

Hunter Valley; if you and your guests enjoy good food, good wine and stunning views then the Hunter Valley would be the perfect place for your destination wedding! With vineyards in abundance and garden weddings becoming ever more popular you will be spoilt for venues in these wonderful surroundings.

With famous wineries such as Lindemans and Wyndham Estate offering wedding packages to suit all, you can get married on the banks of the Hunter River or amongst the vines in this picture perfect location, the ideal setting to create fantastic memories.

North Coast; the Northern Coast of New South Wales is home to some of the most popular beaches in Australia, stretching from Byron Bay to Newcastle, you can follow the Pacific Coast route and be astounded by the delights of Lennox Head, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Port Stephens! All of these beautiful coastal towns are fabulous holiday destinations and would make the ideal location for a beach wedding in Australia.

Check out the Aanuka Beach Resort perfect for an elopement package or a small wedding, they also have several ceremony locations to choose from so that you can have things just the way you wish for, they have a stunning resort chapel or you could get married on the lawn by the beach!

Snowy Mountains; this is the perfect location for the adventurous bride and groom looking for some winter wedding inspiration and a celebration that is flourishing with snowflakes, blue skies and après-ski! You could even arrive at your ceremony or reception on a husky led sleigh or even on your skis depending on how skilled you are so that you don’t get your outfit covered in snow!

The aptly named Snowy Mountains home to the well-known snow fields of Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass have so many hotels and resorts that would be the ideal, check out The Station at Jindabyne or Lake Crackenback Resort for two fabulous options for a winter wedding!

Lord Howe Island; located about 600km off the North coast of NSW this World Heritage listed haven is home to some of the most amazing species of flower, crystal clear water that is great for exploring the underwater marine life and the rare coral that makes up the island’s marine park!

This island would make an exclusive location for your wedding as there can only be 400 visitors at any one time. Consider the Capella Lodge as a place of serenity for your big day, whether you go for an intimate elopement or book the entire resort this place of beauty will be sure to provide the perfect backdrop.

Sydney; this amazing city would be a spectacular location for your wedding no matter what style or size you choose. Maybe you will have the Opera House or Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background of your ceremony or perhaps these will be the scene for your fabulous wedding photographs. This bustling metropolis has wedding planners, wedding accessories and Sydney wedding photographers in their hundreds; you will be spoilt for choice and will need to do some specific research to create the perfect occasion.

Sydney harbour and the romance that surrounds it is simply remarkable, combine that with a unique wedding venue and you will have yourself the perfect day! Sydney harbour wedding cruises are a fantastic idea for a wedding that you and your guests will never forget! You can choose from a small boat up to the Harbour Ballroom or the Sydney Showboat, both able to accommodate up to 350 guests – obviously your choice will be dependent on your budget and the number of people you will have with you on your big day!

Celebrate in Adelaide and South Australia.

The entire state of South Australia boasts long, warm summers from December to February and mild temperatures throughout autumn and winter. The state’s capital Adelaide is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island, and is easily accessible by air. It is also home to a small population of just over a million people Adelaide is classed as one of the most liveable cities in Australia.

Adelaide City; with its cafe culture lifestyle and diverse mix of people the city has a modern feel and an amazing variety of cuisine. With the choice of the Hills and Beach within half an hour drive of the city and state heritage listed parklands surrounding it this wonderful place can make a fabulous destination for your wedding.

The city prides itself on the many ‘green’ initiatives and set up as Australia’s most sustainable city; this is therefore the ideal place to hold an eco-friendly wedding. Bring in some natural elements to your big day, make sure that you pick native flowers that are in season, beeswax or soy candles for your decorations and choose bonbonniere gift ideas that your guests can take home and use time and time again to minimise their negative impact on the environment.

Adelaide Hills, Barossa & Clare Valley; boasting stunning views across the Valleys the Adelaide Hills has so much to offer, known as one of the finest areas for cool-climate grapes there are charming boutique wineries in abundance. The Lane Vineyard, Bridgewater Mill and the Stirling Hotel are amongst the many places that make the Adelaide hills the perfect spot for your wedding or reception venue.

The fresh produce is just one of the things that might pull you towards the Barossa Valley for your wedding venue! You can also follow the butcher, baker & winemaker trails to check out some of the culinary delights on offer in this special place – a great excuse for a trip to SA before the big day!

Looking for a more intimate setting for your wedding ceremony, then head to the Care Valley, there are many cute bed & breakfasts in this area and some stunning locations to get those perfect shots of you in your wedding dress in the South Australia scenery.

Flinders Ranges & The Outback; perhaps for the more adventurous this will be on the list of possible destinations for your adventure honeymoon. Pack up the camper-trailer and head off into the dusty red desert. Keep your eyes open for wedge-tailed eagles and lazy lizards along your journey into the wilderness and you will be sure to get some fantastic photographs of the bush backdrop.

Maybe you are a couple that just love the country, if an outback setting for your wedding is more up your street then why not seek somewhere like the Arkaba Station, a wild bush luxury resort on the southern edge of the Finders Range National Park. Choose for your wedding in the ranges from a ridge top dinner to a woolshed venue, or boutique heritage homestead to a deluxe swag for two and camping under the stars! With 4WD trips, hot air balloon rides, viewing the local wildlife, mountain biking and many other adventurous activities to keep your guests amused this is the perfect location for your outback destination wedding.

Kangaroo Island; just a Kangaroo’s jump away from Adelaide this island is a true sanctuary of wildlife and tranquillity with untouched bushland and immaculate beaches. You can choose from a waterfront location or head to the West of the island to the Wilderness Retreat for an intimate ceremony. Rest assured that your guests will be well fed and watered on this amazing island, due to its location in South Australia a state that is renowned for its produce and preparation, Kangaroo Island is one of the must-do food and wine experiences in Australia that you and your guests will remember for years to come.

The Murray River; there are two river regions on the Murray in South Australia, known as the Riverland and the Murray lands both great locations to begin your adventure. Why not experience the romance of this mysterious river aboard a houseboat, you can hire your own for an intimate celebration or take all of your guests on board a serviced boat like the Proud Mary, get married and hold your reception on the Murray River!

This is such an amazing place for all of the family, consider it one big waterpark with boat ramps along the way for you to launch your own or hire a boat, jet-ski, water skis or wakeboard. For the more relaxed approach grab your kayak or canoe and drift down stream in the wonderful outdoors.

Getting Married in Melbourne.

The city of Melbourne is made up of the city centre and a number of precincts and inner-city suburbs, each with their own character and charm. Renowned for its art and culture, live music, dining variety and shopping, Melbourne has a wealth of opportunity for you and your guests when you choose this wonderful city for your wedding.

The city ‘Laneways’ are famous for their back street corridors covered in graffiti making an awesome backdrop for your wedding photography, and there is nothing stopping you from saying your vows in front of your favourite piece of art.

With parks and gardens in abundance this city welcomes the garden wedding trend, and offers a huge selection of intimate settings for your nuptials. From the rotunda in Alexandra Gardens to the Old Cheese Factory in Berwick, there are hundreds of beautiful spots in Melbourne for your garden ceremony, and hotels and venues of all different styles to carry on into the evening for your reception.

Docklands; in the early 90s this disused port and rail area was transformed into a modern urban waterfront. In the Docklands, where the city of Melbourne meets the water you will find the perfect location for your inner-city wedding. You can choose from a heap of function venues to suit your wedding, cocktail packages to formal sit down receptions, you will find all that you could wish for with the city as your backdrop.

Yarra Valley; this picturesque area surrounding the Yarra River is one of Australia’s leading wine-producing regions, with wineries in abundance you can discover a whole world of beauty from art galleries to restaurants, markets and more. If you are looking for a winery for your wedding then you have certainly come to the right place, the Yarra Valley has some amazing venues to choose from including the Yering Station Winery and Rochford Winery.

If you’re looking for an intimate venue for your closest family and friends then you could try Stones of the Yarra Valley, they offer a stunning Chapel, Dairy and Barn combination all intertwined with paths and luscious green gardens making a perfect setting for your wedding photographs.

Mornington Peninsula; to the east of Melbourne and below the eastern suburbs you will find the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, this picture perfect piece of land is covered in rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves all within a stone’s throw of the ocean.

With the pretty seaside villages from Mornington and Dromana along Port Phillip Bay and down to Sorrento if you are planning a beach wedding then these beautiful locations will certainly fit the bill, in the summer months you can expect gorgeous weather, creating some stunning backdrops for your wedding. Perhaps you would prefer to take in the views from higher ground; Arthur’s Seat is one of the most popular locations on the peninsula for hilltop weddings.

Phillip Island; connected to the mainland by bridge from the town of San Remo to the Island town of Newhaven, Phillip Island is located less than 2 hours away from the city and is easily accessible from across the whole of Victoria. Tempered by the ocean breeze the island tends to experience milder weather all year-round, making it a wonderful place for a summer wedding that is not too hot!

Great Ocean Road; travelling this famous stretch of road is one of Victoria’s greatest highlights, from Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula all the way along to Warrnambool you will see some spectacular sights and take in some breathtaking scenery.

Planning your wedding in this part of the country leaves everything to the imagination; you could consider Apollo Bay as a central point, or beautiful Lorne where you could marry in the gorgeous settings of the Lorne Beach Pavilion, this is in the perfect position to allow a beach ceremony followed by a sit down reception or cocktail event in the cafe or restaurant right on the beach front.

If you are looking for somewhere completely different then why no rent the famous Pole House, in Fairhaven, it could be a place to retreat to as your bridal suite or perhaps as a location for your actual wedding, ideal if you are only having your close friends and family.

Your Wedding in the Northern Territory

From the coast to the red centre the Northern Territory has so much to offer. With a landscape like no other stretching from Australia’s famous monolith Uluru, to the Barkly Tablelands and the Tropical North where wetlands and waterfalls cut through the national parks to create a stunning backdrop for any wedding photograph. Make sure that you take some time out to meet the locals and soak in the rich aboriginal culture and history, be mindful to watch out for some other locals like the crocodile!

Darwin & Surrounds; with its tropical outdoor lifestyle, beautiful harbour scenery, surrounded with World War II history and its cuisine heavily influenced by their nearby Asian neighbours, Darwin is a true adventure paradise for you and your guests.

Renowned for its sunset markets, if you need to pick up a last minute gift for the bride and groom, or grab some final wedding decorations then you’ve come to the right place as you can expect to see arts and crafts in abundance here! For a truly unique wedding experience you could take in a Darwin Harbour Cruise or discover the Melville and Bathurst Islands, (Tiwi Islands) on tropical sailing journey. Say “I do” on-board a private catamaran!

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground then Darwin also has some amazing hotels and resorts that can cater for all of your needs to create the perfect wedding in Darwin! The amazing Sky City has some fantastic wedding packages on offer to help you plan your big day!

Kakadu & Arnhem Land; in this stunning location you can witness world heritage-listed scenery and outstanding rock art, Australia’s largest national park features cascading waterfalls, giant crocodiles and exotic birds! Check out the Wilderness Safari Retreat for some exclusive bush luxury, you can speak to the lodge team about arranging your wedding in Bamurru Plains, an amazing marriage amongst the wildlife.

Perhaps for the more adventurous this is somewhere to consider for your honeymoon, you could hire a campervan and takes the Nature’s Way Tourism Drive for a romantic adventure! Experience the Mamukala Wetlands, Nourlangie Rock, Jim Jim and Twin Falls along the way, what an amazing way to start your married lives together.

Katherine & Surrounds; the Katherine region extends from the Queensland border in the east to the Kimberly region in the west and is a wonderful gateway to nature and adventure. Perhaps the more remote areas like Elsley National Park would not be ideal for your ceremony but certainly your honeymoon of adventure might start with a bushwalk over the spectacular Katherine Gorge! You could hire a car and go on the drive of your life, crossing the Daley river and onto the Douglas Daley area, off into Butterfly Gorge and explore the many waterholes and hot springs that natures beauty has to offer.

There are heaps of wedding venues in the area including Knotts Crossing, secluded amongst tropical gardens near Katherine River is the perfect location for your wedding in the Northern territory.

Alice Springs & Uluru; famous for the personality of its locals, their love for contemporary art and traditional aboriginal influence along with all the natural wonders around it, Alice Springs is the gateway to your outback adventure and a true Australian wedding location.

You could consider a romantic hot air balloon ride over the West McDonnell Ranges for a unique red centre experience. Maybe you could convince your Alice Springs celebrant to go up with you and say your vows in the sky. Venture out to the spiritual heart of Australia and experience the one true gemstone that is Uluru, also known by the name Ayers rock this awesome sight is a must see. With its extraordinary display of ever-changing colours, you simply cannot miss the natural show at both sunset and sunrise, just amazing!

Voyages and Ayers Rock resort offer a choice of apartments, a luxury wilderness camp, hotel, backpacker rooms or campground accommodation! You can choose whichever style suits your needs, and your guests, however the Longitude 131° offers a truly wonderful experience for your nuptials. In 5-star luxury you and your guests will have private views of the sunset and sunrise over Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, what an amazing way to start your married lives together in awe of Australia’s most amazing rock.

Getting Married in Tropical Queensland.

With sunny days in abundance and a year round temperate climate, Queensland really does have so much to offer and countless places to visit! No matter what type of adventure or Queensland wedding you are seeking you will be sure to find something to suit your style. With a variety of terrain from rainforest to ocean, outback to reef you can be sure to tailor a fantastic package to suit you and your guests anywhere in QLD!

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef; this is Queensland’s Tropical North where you will find thousands of locations for a wedding and discover a place that is full of natural wonders and beauty! Cairns City, gateway to some spectacular scenery from rainforest to the Great Barrier Reef with the village of Port Douglas offering a more sophisticated, low-key escape. This is an extremely popular place for couples looking for a more intimate wedding to elope to and there are so many amazing deals available in this part of Australia.

Perhaps you are looking for a unique spin on your wedding, and well this is one of the most renowned places in the world for scuba-diving. You could even go completely different and say ‘I do’ amongst the coral, you would have to hold up cards of acceptance to your vows at an underwater wedding but what a magical and unusual way to get married!

The Daintree Forest is also a must see, the oldest surviving tropical rainforest on earth is home to an astounding amount of plants and species of animals. You can get an indigenous guide to give you a tour to find out more about the culture and history of the surrounding area and its people.

Townsville; this beautiful coastal region has such a diverse terrain, with the ocean reefs in the east and the outback in the west the opportunities for exploring are simply endless. The town of Townsville is at the centre of all that is on offer, you should take a trip up Castle Hill to take in the views of the city and the nearby Magnetic Island. This tropical island offers some outstanding resorts and is a wonderful destination for a beach wedding with the perfect setting for a unique escape. Getting to the island is only a short 25 minute cruise across the bay, a beautiful way to begin our journey.

Be sure to think about your honeymoon in this area too, perhaps the more adventurous might take the Great Tropical Drive, a self-driving route that will take you from Cairns and Townsville to some amazing places in Tropical Australia. Take in Charters Towers and sample outback life at a cattle station farm stay or see the historic gold milling site at Venus Battery. Ravenswood is another old gold mining town well worth a look.

The Whitsundays; the 74 island wonders that make up the Whitsundays are mostly uninhabited and provide the perfect setting for a day of exploring or simply relaxing on the secluded beaches and coves.

Airlie Beach is the gateway to these stunning islands and the epitome of a beach town, with a carefree vibe and packed full of palm-fringed beaches, waterfront parks, restaurants and bars. The after dark backpacker and travelling vibe is full of energy and most will party to the early hours before embarking on a party boat or organised cruise.

Be sure to take in Whitehaven Beach, this 4 mile stretch of pure white silica sand has been voted one of the best beaches in the world. If you have a little more budget to play with then why not take a romantic flight over heart reef, a stunning collection of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart and looks amazing from the sky above.

The resort islands include the Hayman Island, one of the top luxury destinations for weddings and honeymoons. Hamilton Island, this is the largest inhabited island and has an airport making it easily accessible for both families and couples. Daydream, Lindeman, Brampton, Long, Hook and South Molle Island are scattered across this beautiful ocean, all offering an array of resort accommodation to suit your personal preference.

Fraser Coast; this wonderful region is filled with some of the word’s greatest attractions and beautiful scenery. If you can plan your wedding between June and November then the perfect treat for you and your guests would be to venture to Hervey bay and take a trip on the water to see the humpback whales that frequent this water during this time.

Just a short ferry ride from Hervey Bay is the outstanding Fraser Island, you can arrange your own way across or join a tour to take you along the highway of sand and the tracks that lead you to some spectacular lakes and waterholes including Lake McKenzie with its crystal clear freshwater.

You will also find the eco-friendly resort of Kingfisher Bay, if you are planning a wedding with them then they offer discounts on guest accommodation, advice about hens and bucks nights on the island along with a special wedding package and honeymoon visit all in one.

Brisbane; this cosmopolitan city has some top-notch restaurants, cafes and bars. From the river to the coast this green city has the perfect climate, with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year you would be unlucky not to have the sun shining on your wedding day. From the Brisbane River to views of the Storey Bridge there are so many places to visit in the locally known ‘Brissy’.

If you are looking for something alternative, then why not hop on board The Kookaburra Queen from Eagle Street Pier, this beautiful paddle wheeler boat is an icon of the Brisbane River and will offer you an experience you will never forget! You can also check out the Brisbane Powerhouse, with their rooftop terrace offering a unique space for a memorable event. Or the XXXX Brewery has a wedding package to suit any beer lover and their guests.

The Sunshine Coast; just north of Brisbane, this beautiful stretch of beach from Caloundra to Noosa has so much on offer with sparkling water and breathtaking scenery what more could you wish for to create your perfect wedding. Noosa Heads is one of the most popular destinations for a wedding in Australia. With pristine beaches and stylish settings, it is the perfect spot for a beach ceremony or your wedding reception.

Often weddings held in the region will bring family and friends from all over Australia and the globe to help you celebrate in style. After the wedding celebrations are over, your guests may wish to extend their stay and take advantage of this holiday haven. With resorts like Oceans Mooloolaba and Out-rigger Noosa you will be spoilt for choice!

Now that you have picked the perfect location and venue for your wedding you can start to organise the fun stuff! Whether you are based in Australia or overseas there are so many resources available to you locally for your wedding dress choices, decoration ideas and of course your bonbonniere personalised gifts – be sure to check out ideas that offer a direct postage service so that if you are travelling you can arrange for your wedding gifts to be there when you arrive.

Happy planning!

Finding a truly Australian wedding gift, personalised bonbonniere or wedding favour ideas can be quite a task. Tradition says that the bride and groom should provide a thank you gift to all of their guests for making the effort to attend their wedding and for sharing their special day. Why not go for a real ‘Aussie’ favourite and design your very own personalised wedding stubby holders, you can even add individual guest names to each product for a very unique and personal gift!

Engaged Brides and Grooms’ Road From a Wedding Dream to Planning and Having a Dream Wedding

The road from your wedding dream to your dream wedding is often paved with uncertainty and lots of apprehension, anxiety and stress. As newly engaged bride and groom, you are suddenly faced with having to make many decisions and probably, don’t know where to start and what to do. So, what should be your most exciting and fun time, could become a burden.

In previous generations, wedding planning was left for the bride with or without her parents. In fact it was customary that the bride’s parents would plan and pay for the wedding

Today, most engaged couples prefer to plan their wedding and pay for it too. That is, today’s grooms do not like the idea of being a guest at their own wedding. Rather, they want to be actively involved in all aspects of the wedding planning and preparation with the obvious exception of the bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses. Therefore, brides and grooms discuss, share opinions, check their budget and decide what they expect their wedding dream to be like.

I wish you a fun, stress free and memory building engagement. Hopefully, this article, tips and suggestions, will provide you with a road map so you will not get lost.

Suggested Wedding Planning Steps to Consider Starting with Your Engagement Decisions:

The Appropriate Order for Announcing The Engagement. In other words who to tell first, second etc…

How to announce the engagement to everyone else.

Pre-Wedding Parties Organizing Tips.

Whoever plans your engagement party should do the inviting.

If you have chosen your wedding date send out save the date announcements.

Before your wedding you will probably have a shower in your honor. Usually the shower is not a surprise party. You need to decide whether it should be a Bridal Shower, a Groom Shower, or a Wedding Shower. That is a wedding shower for both bride and groom.

Setting Your Wedding Budget, Tips and Ideas

This could be the most stressing part of your wedding planning. You need to set up a wedding account and get a “wedding” credit card. Having both, you need to figure out:

Who pays for what? Remember to include any family participation.

Do you want a local wedding or a destination wedding followed by a honeymoon?

Prepare a wedding budget by category after you finish reading this article.

Traditional Roles And Wedding Responsibilities

You must consider who to appoint for various tasks. Before you do so, you must define the Duties of the:

Bride And Groom,

Bride,

Groom,

Maid Or Matron Of Honor,

Best Man,

Bridesmaids,

Groomsmen,

Ushers,

Flower Girl or Boy and their parents,

Ring Bearer and his or her parents,

Guest Book Table Attendant,

Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom or both,

Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom Or Both.

Have you considered having a theme wedding?

Having a theme wedding and choosing wedding colors are very popular. A well thought of wedding theme can save you money.

You need information about:

the 13 Phases of Wedding Planning – Timeline Schedule, Wedding Planning, To-Do And Checklists. Also, you must have a wedding planning – appointment and events calendars, and if possible, you should attend bridal shows.

Wedding Guests -Tips And Ideas

If you do not have the appropriate guest wotksheets and checklists, compile the information you need for the following items you may be lost without it..

About out of town guests – who, how many, preferences, arrival date, accommodations, transportation etc.

Notes and etiquette for guests such as proper attire – black tie formal, garden reception semi casual, barbque casual etc.

Guest Lists – You may need to trim the number of guests to fit your budget.

Invitations sent and replies received. You will need this information for set-up, for catering and for cake serving.

Guest accommodations and transportation – hosted by friends and family, staying at a hotel, transportation from the airport to their lodging destination, transportation to and from your wedding events etc.

Guest table decorations, favors and seating assignments. I personally like guests to sit where they want. Less possible conflicts and no seating cards needed. But this is my preference.

Individual guest cards are needed only if you have assigned seating.

Reception seating arrangements and seating chart – Basically how many guest tables do you need and where and how to place them.

Invitations And Wedding Stationery

To save money, word and print your own wedding invitaions and stationery.

Bridal Gown And Wedding Attire

Before you look for it, you need to decide about the formality of the wedding attire for your attendants and who should pay for it. It is quite common today for the attendants to pay for their own attire. But, be sensitive to an attendant who cannot afford the expense.

Do research to find the perfect gown for the bride and dresses for the ladies – before you purchase or rent. You also need to decide whether you or your ladies should pay for their dresses.

You may consider to gift your ladies with jewelry to complement their outfits.

Things to take into concideration before you chose your wedding gown or dress

Your bridal attire budget – wedding gowns are priced from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred dollars or possibly less.
Will you get your attire in a brick and mortar dress shop, a salon, a dressmaker, on the Internet, look for private sellers?
Shopping on the Internet will save you a lot of money because the sellers do not have the operating expenses stores have. So they pass the savings on to you. However, to purchase on line you need to provide the seller with accurate measurements or dress size.

For the men: You need to decide if they should wear their own suites and button down shirts or tuxedos. When it comes to tuxedos, they are usually rented. Here too the question is: “who should pay the rental fees.”

Like the ladies, the men wear jewelry such as cufflings and tie clips. Since you probably intend to gift your attendeds, gifting them with jewelry is very appropriate.

Destination Wedding and Honeymoon

Destination Weddings are very popular. The main reason is that they leave the attendees with a lifetime of memories.

With the escelating costs of tradional weddings, many brides and grooms choose to combine their wedding and honymoon. Basically they invite only their families and very close friends. So, instead of feeding many peple, some of whom, such as coworkers of their parents, the bride and groom are not even familiar with, they prefer to provide their loved ones with a memorable exprience.

Planning a Destination Wedding is very different from planning a traditional wedding. Once you decide on the location, you may need to hire a wedding planner who knows what is available in their area. However, if you have friends or family in that vicinity, they may be able to coordnate your wedding to your specificatons.

Case in point; My granddaughter who lives in Texas, is planning to get married near Rochester, NY in July. Her future in-laws live there. So, she and her groom provided his parents with instructons, and trust them to plan and execute the wedding. I can’t wait to fly to NY for the wedding.

If you plan a Destination Wedding – Honeymoon, be sure to draw yourselves one packing list for the bride and her needs and one for the room and his needs. Make sure to include your driver’s and marriage licenses, cash and credit cards.

You have to prepare to work with Wedding Vendors, Professionals And Service Providers

To choose the wedding vendors, professionals and service providers who are right for you, you will need to interview them. Don’t be shy! Negitiate with them. They want your business. Before you choose, be sure to interview at least 3. For example: Interview at lease 3 florists. Ask to see samples of their wedding arranements and choose the one that impressed you most with both their work and the price that is most compatible with your budget. When you interview bakers, make sure to not only see samples of their wedding creations but taste a few of their goodies. When it comes to photographers, depend on their work. Photographers are not vendors to save money on. You want the very best! this is the only vendor that will create your wedding memories, to enjoy and pass on to your children and theirs. Be very choosy!

Create Your Wedding Day Schedule!

By the clock. Hour by hour.

By activities both at the ceremony and at the reception.

Ceremony

as a ceremony site you may choose either your place of worship or the location where your reception will be held.

Choose and appoint your officiant to preside over your marriage ceremony. Some officiants may quote you a fee for their service. Others especially within your place of worship require no fee, but expect an honorarium.

You may want to personalize your wedding ceremony with flower arrangements, and family traditions. Add your own touch such as tying a knot, lighting a unity candle, the wine ceremony where white wine and red wine are combined, representing the souls of the bride and groom uniting as they have become soul mates. How about inviting the mothers and giving each a rose?

The order of a Christian ceremony processions is different than a Jewish one. Both are different than a Moslem one. Indian and Oriental are still different. And so on.

You also need to:

Pick and choose the music you want for the ceremony,
Readings you want recited,
Pew seating arrangements for the family. Usually the front row of the sanctuary.

Reception Venue

Your wedding reception does not have to take place in a wedding hall or hotel ballroom that are very expensive. Instead, you can get creative have fun and save a lot of money.

You may choose to have a beach wedding, a garden wedding, a wedding at a historical site, an apartment complex club house etc.

Once you secure the wedding reception location, it is time to plan the reception and figure out your costs. Note: The recepion is the most expensive part of the wedding but, you can control the costs.

Your saving depend on the location and the vendors, professionals and service providers. Keep reading and you may get some option ideas.

Reception Rentals

Most wedding halls provide you with all your reception needs. However, if you choose an alternative wedding reception site you may need to rent chairs, tables, and unless you provide them, table cloths, napkins, dishes, cups, flatware etc. you’ll need to rent them too. If you hold your reception in a garden, on the beach, have a barbeque reception etc. using paper products is acceptable. In fact it makes clean-up easy. But, you may still need to rent furniture. Finding the right rental company depends on their price and whether they deliver, set-up and pick-up.

Bakery

Every wedding must have baked goods, the most important of course is the wedding cake. Yet there is a way for you to save money.

Don’t be shy! Ask wedding invitees to help and participate in your wedding. Find out if there are any bakers and ask them to bake goodies for your wedding. You may even find bakers who will be able to create your wedding cake. Most will feel honored to be asked and you will save money.

Finding the right bakery is quite easy especially if you have been to a wedding recently. Ask for word of mouth recommendations. visit and interview at least 3 bakeries.

See their work,
taste their baked goods,
find out if they charge for cutting and serving cake to your guests,
negotiate the prices,
calculate additional costs,
select the bakery you want to hire for your wedding.

Once hired, you will need to provide the bakery with the approximate number of servings.

Catering

When it comes to catering, you have lots of options. Some depends on your wedding style, the number of guests, and the time of day your wedding takes place. morning or early afternoon wedding – (lunch can be a catered sit down, light buffet, salads and cold cut sandwiches, finger foods ), afternoon wedding – (light buffet, salads and cold cut sandwiches, barbeque, finger foods or tea time and deserts) evening wedding can be casual (serving a buffet) or formal (serving a catered sit down dinner with a few courses).

If you plan on a catered meal, whether a sit down or a buffet, choose the caterers carefully.

Make sure that they have a license and are top graded.
Ask to see their food presentation. You must be impressed to impress your guests.
Request a menu that you can select from.
Taste, taste and taste some more.
Be sure that the food meets youe expectations.
Compare the presentarion, the food choices and the pricing of at least 3 caterers before you hire.

Your reception food setting

You can:

Have a catered and served sit down lunch or dinner,
Provide your guests with a catered self serve buffet,
Serve a buffet with food items you or your family and friends provide. Here you can be creative.
treat your guests to a tea-time and desert party reception, a barbeque or even a picnic, etc.

The FREE, personalized and printable wedding planning guide you should download from our magazine, offers you ideas for Self Catered Buffet. It includes items and quantities needed for 50 or 100 guests.

You must also decide if you will serve alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks. If you plan to serve alcoholic drinks other than the toasting champagne:

Will you place a bottle of wine on each table?
Will you hire bar tenders to serve your guests?
Will it be an open bar where guests pay for their own drinks? (This is quite common.)
Will the bar tenders charge you a ‘corking fee’?

Florist

Flower selections offer you many options.

You can choose:

fresh flowers,
silk flower,
seasonal flowers,
flowers to match your wedding colors,
locally grown flowers,
imported flowers,
to have flowers purchased in a store,
to order fresh flower arrangements from stores like Costco or Sam’s Club
to have stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby create your arrangements from silk flowers
Order your flower arrangements from a wedding florist.

Note:

A wedding florist will set-up your flower arrangements in your ceremony site and at your reception.

Stores will not. When you order flower arrangements at a store they will have the flowers avaiable for pick-up. You or someone you designate will have to pick the flowers up, deliver them and set them up at both the ceremony and the reception sites.

Yoy will need to provide the florist or your designee with information about delivery and set-up at the ceremony and reception Locations.

Music And Entertainment

Music and entertainment are the soul of a wedding celebration. However you have options.

You can choose:

live performance, (live band, live singers, live entertaunment) etc.
a DJ – Master of Ceremonies,
pre-recorded music, or music right out of your computer. – You will need to set up good speakers.)
classical selections,
dance music
Songs of specific era ( the 20s, the50s, the 60s etc.)

Photographer

When it comes to a photographer, choose the very best! Do not hire a photographer based on price! Hire the photographer whose work quality is more than superb. The same goes for the videographer. Your wedding pictures will become a family heirloom. They will be handed down to your children and theirs and will tell the history of your family to up-coming generations.

Transportation

It is most important that you arrange for transportation. The transportation company must be super reliable!!! You don’t want anyone stranded!

You need them to:

transport out of town guests from the air port to their hotel or other lodging facility.
you will have to arrange guests’ transportation from the hotel to the ceremony and to the reception and back to their hotel or other lodging facility.
You will need special transportation for the bride and groom too.

You will need to provid a transportation providers with all the details: Service date(s) event(s) number of guests, pick-up locations, times, etc.

Our Wedding Rings

Budget for your wedding rings and selct them accordingly.wll they be gold, platinum, another metal, with or without diamonds, what shape diamonds?

Don’t forget to budget for:

Wedding Favors for your tables
Gifts for your family members and wedding party.
Tips for your vendors
Taxes if applicable

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