Feb 29 2012

Practical Tips for Planning your Wedding, (or large party!)

So you’re a bride on a budget, and maybe slightly, (very) overwhelmed.  

You are planning possibly the largest sized party in your life!  You want it to be beautiful, memorable, personal but mainly feasible for your budget and sanity.


Don’t fret! There are lots of brides who have already successfully conquered this obstacle course with lots of class.  You too can join their ranks, and these tips are here to help.


Today’s tips come from the lovely Merly Long, who definitely planned her wedding with style and grace.  Former bride and current newly-wed, she just finished coordinating a 100+ baby shower in February, (pics to come!).   Here are some of her tips from vast personal experience, (think schooling and several huge parties under her belt).  Below, photos of Merly’s big day taken by the exquisite Christine Choi.



Keep reading for tips!




Major Keys to Success for Planning a Large Party

Checklist(s) +  Having a great theme/colors + Setting a budget


The Food Factor

Definitely one of the big cost-drivers at any event, people won’t be happy if their belly’s aren’t full.

How to Save: Have more sides, starches, and breads

Considering Quantity:  Consider gender of guests, and  time of day, then come up with your selections.

When coming up with menu keep in mind balancing heavy and light selections, and be strategic.


Seating Arrangement Strategy:

Just get the names out onto excel spread sheet in grouping s in the number of guests at each table.

From there start playing shuffle until the arrangement suits you.


Flower Arrangement Tips:

Research what flowers are in season

Wash vases in bleach

Cut flower ends at an angle, and cut upwards into the stem

Change water everyday, (help prolong life of flowers)


Cost Effective Flower Ideas:

Pair different flowers in the same color family an almost no-fail and often cheaper alternative

Be creative with your vases–dress up vases with leaves, rhinestones, lace, ribbons, and or vintage finds.


Best Cost Saving Tips:

This is pretty well-known but often the best way to get around a budget is to do it yourself! Sometimes these are not as labor-intensive as you think.

**Research & buy as much as you can yourself

Make your own tablecloths

Do your own floral arrangements

Have a smaller cake paired with delicious desserts

Get creative– modern brides are breaking boundaries all the time, do what’s right for you!


Great Party Decisions vs. Bad Party Decisions


The Good:

1. Cookie Buffet, (fun thing)
2. Good DJ
3. Time of Year, (summer!)
4. Lots of Flowers
5. Great Color Combo


The Bad:

1.  No Personal Touches, (make it your own)
2.  Lack of Overall Cohesive Look
3.  Timing of Event,  (cocktail hour, not having people wait around too long).



Two Last Essential Tips!

Budget: Know your priorities, (parcel them out into percentages) and do lots of research into costs, because it adds up quickly!

Consider your resources: Ask friends and family to borrow decor, find their talents and have them help you out!  It will make the experience more memorable and they help lift some of the burden.


Thank you for your insights Merly!

I hope this was helpful for all you busy brides or party planners.

Please let us know what you thought, and if you’d like more practical tips.



One thing that really helps bring all the details together are the paper goods.  Smitten on Paper is one of the only online stationery companies to offer entire wedding suites, (menus, table numbers, thank you cards, the works!) at an affordable price to boot.


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