20 Secrets to a Fun Wedding ReceptionOkay, they're not really secrets—just awesome ideas we encourage you to steal.
by The KnotWhile your wedding ceremony is both special and crucial (it's when you'll actually get married!), the reception is probably what you and your guests are most looking forward to—who doesn't want to eat, drink and dance? The best celebrations incorporate personal, fun and unique touches to keep guests smiling and talking about it long after the last dance. Get inpsired by our favorite reception ideas, from simple planning tricks to wow-worthy entertainment below, and by taking our fun Style Quiz. Then start planning your party here.
Just Engaged and Completely Overwhelmed? Read This Now!
Simply put, the key to a glitch-free wedding is smart planning. Spare yourself multiple headaches by making a plan and sticking with it—and our helpful wedding planning tips, tools and apps are perfect for staying organized and minimizing stress.
by The Knot
First of all, congratulations! If you haven't started basking in the glow of being engaged yet, we highly recommend it. And while family members and friends will definitely want to know all the details and plans (you know, the ones you haven't made yet), don't be afraid to tell them you're just enjoying this special time together for now. And when you're finally ready to start wedding planning, let us help. Not to brag or anything, but we're kind of pros at this. So, first things first...
Stay OrganizedThis one's pretty obvious. The more organized you are, the less likely something will go wrong. That means your first to-do is to check out our All-In-One Wedding Planner app, where we'll keep track of anything and everything, from defining your wedding style to managing RSVPs and all the details in between. Start by taking our fun Style Quiz, then search and book amazing vendors, manage your budget, guest list and registry, and even create a detailed, day-of timeline (although you don't need to worry about that detail quite yet)—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you're someone who likes to handwrite your plans, pick up The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer. Keep all your wedding information in it: receipts, contracts, ideas, dates, times, locations—you name it. Bottom line: We're here to keep you sane and organized every step of the way.
Start Your Personalized ChecklistOnce you determine your wedding date, create your personalized wedding checklist on The Knot to figure out what your to-dos are on a month-by-month basis. Don't stress yourself out in the beginning by setting deadlines that might prove to be unrealistic—let us guide you on which essential tasks to do when. And we know that it may seem a little scary to try and get as much done as possible in the first few months, but that way, the last few months won't be as hectic. You'll thank yourselves later—promise.
Set Aside Weekly Time to PlanChoose a day or two during the week when you'll focus on wedding planning (or choose a time to do one or two things every day if you're pressed for time). It's also good to sit down together and plan. This eliminates confusion—i.e., one of you thinking you're supposed to call and check on hall rentals when the other's already narrowed it down to what will suit their needs. Even if you're just perusing The Knot Real Weddings page and Pinterest boards for real inspiration, finding local vendors or booking a venue with our Venue Concierge team (it's free!), clearly allocating time for wedding details can only help you in the long run.
Divide and Conquer (While Communicating)This is the best way to get things done. You and your partner should both be involved every step of the way. Make a list of details to be taken care of, then divide the list in half and choose what you each want to do—your partner may not be concerned with exactly which flowers you carry, and maybe you're not picky about what your partner's wedding party wears, but even though you have your checklist, it's good to over-communicate. If you're sharing duties, you should also be sharing the details. It's okay to take care of certain things by yourself, but don't neglect to tell each other about it so the caterer isn't contacted twice. And when the planning gets tough, take a break from contracts and seating charts to create your official wedding website. It's free and a fun thing to do if you can't look at any more cakes for the day.
Be Flexible and FairSo, you really didn't want the ushers in tails and top hats. And maybe your partner doesn't want the wedding cake to be lemon with pecan icing. Each of you is going to want things the other doesn't care for (or care about), but flexibility is a must, so be willing to bend. If you really object to something, let your objection be duly heard and noted—and have a good reason for it. This may come up the most when you start deciding on your guest list and budget, but with our Wedding Guest List Manager and Wedding Budget Calculator, it's easy to keep track of each choice you make and make adjustments along the way.
Details, Contracts and NegotiationsWhen dealing with wedding professionals (caterers, florists and so on), be sure to clarify all the details and your expectations during the initial discussions. Make sure you always, always get a contract specifically stating dates, times and locations—in other words, spell everything out. It's not about nitpicking, it's about paying for and receiving exactly what you want to make your day spectacular. Try to negotiate the best deal for goods and services, but don't sell yourself short on important things just to get a better price.
Most importantly, be sure to read the fine print on every contract before you sign it, and make sure you're aware of cancellation policies and fees. Also ask if there's a grace period to cancel just in case you change your mind about the service or vendor, or something happens and you need to postpone the wedding (better safe than sorry).
Wedding Budget 101Whether you have $100,000, $10,000 or $1,000 to spend, here's how to budget for the wedding of your dreams.
by The Knot
Talk with your families about who will pay for what: Some brides' families still pick up the entire tab, but more and more groom's families are participating too. How do you bring up the conversation? For many couples, talking to each family separately is the best way to have truly open discussions. When you do talk, here are strategies for determining your initial budget.
Ask both of your folks if they're planning to contribute to the cost of the wedding. If so, ask them to commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to create your budget.
Alternatively, it may be easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding (such as the ceremony, honeymoon, or catering) instead of just committing to a dollar amount.
Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding. (43 percent of the couples we polled in the The Knot 2014 Real Weddings Study say they're planning to contribute financially to their wedding.)
If you're planning on a formal candlelit dinner in the grand ballroom of that amazing hotel downtown, your budget is clearly going to have to be much bigger than if you've sketched out an afternoon tea and dessert party in your parents' pretty backyard. In general, there are several major factors that will really affect what you'll need to set aside.
Guest List Size
There's a per-head cost for food and liquor, and these two are typically the biggest expense in the whole wedding, so changing the guest list size is the surest way to increase or decrease your costs. On top of that, the smaller the guest list the more you'll save on all your other details, including décor, stationery, favors, and rentals, because you won't need as much of everything.
Some cities and towns are just more expensive than others. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are the obvious culprits, but small towns and remote destinations can entail greater costs if things like flowers and talent have to come from afar. Tourist towns can also up your wedding price tag during peak season. Likewise, certain venues are more expensive than others. Some—such as a city park—come with no (or low) fees, while others, like a grand ballroom, might cost you the equivalent of a year's college tuition. Also, be aware that many popular locations have head count minimums, meaning they won't host a wedding that's too small, and some may also have a per-head minimum that requires your event to be a certain size.
Date and Time
Highly sought-after seasons and days of the week are pricier for obvious reasons. An evening reception is usually more expensive than a brunch or afternoon reception, not only because of higher catering costs for dinner, but also because people tend to drink less during the daytime, and many couples choose to go more low-key on elements like lighting, music and décor.
The more formal the affair, the more expensive, because you'll have to match the site, food, and musical entertainment to the overall upscale tone. The outlay for a full six-course meal is typically greater than for a cocktail soiree with mostly hors d'oeuvres; the fee for a twelve-piece band is greater than that for a DJ or a quartet; all-out décor like lighting, specialty linens, and dramatic floral displays also will run up the bill. Plus, fancier affairs tend to be larger.
How Much Do You Actually Need?
Just like buying shoes, an apartment, or a pair of jeans, when it comes to financing a wedding, you should figure out how much you need to spend to get what you want. Set your expectations accordingly. Knot Note: The average wedding cost is $31,213.
Here's a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:
Reception: 48-50 percent
Ceremony: 2-3 percent
Attire: 8-10 percent
Flowers: 8-10 percent
Entertainment/Music: 8-10 percent
Photography/Videography: 10-12 percent
Stationery: 2-3 percent
Wedding Rings: 2-3 percent
Parking/Transportation: 2-3 percent
Gifts: 2-3 percent
Miscellaneous: 8 percent
To avoid stress, allot 5 percent of your budget for a "just-in-case" fund.
If you're paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.
How Much Can You Save?
As soon as you're engaged, start putting aside as much of your income as you can for the wedding. Saving 20 percent of your monthly income is a good—though lofty—goal. The longer your engagement, the more you'll be able to sock away.
Ways to save: Limit your spending on small stuff (watching Netflix instead of going out, curb your Starbucks habits and so on). These changes will hardly affect your quality of life, but after a year, the extra cash will cover some wedding essentials.
Make the most of your money: Instead of stashing your money in a low-interest savings account, consider buying CDs or opening a money-market account. The interest rate can be double that of a savings account. Just check the fine print to avoid penalties.
Staying on BudgetNow that you've established your budget, you'll spend the next few months keeping track and allocating your funds. Follow these four points to make sure your spending is where it should be.
Step 1: Get a System
Put your accounting skills to the test by deciding on a budgeting system to track all the money coming in and out.
The easiest way? The Knot Wedding Budget Calculator, which automatically tells you how much you should be spending on everything from music to mother-in-law gifts, and allows you to track all your payments and their due dates.
Otherwise, you can put all your info in an old-fashioned spreadsheet. Just make sure you record every payment you make and who you owe what.
Step 2: Explore Hidden Costs and Extras
Knowing all the costs up front will guarantee that your budget can actually cover it all.
Avoid overtime. If the party's hopping, those extra 45 minutes may whiz by, but you'll probably pay dearly in overtime costs for everyone from the photographer to the venue manager. If you suspect the wedding may go long, work overtime costs into your budget—if you don't use it, it'll be a nice surprise chunk of cash.
Factor in tips. From the sexton who cleans the church to the hotel steward who delivers your welcome bags, even conservative tipping can add hundreds to your wedding cost. Make sure to account for these costs in your initial budget.
Ask about service fees. The "service charge" is not a tip for the event staff—it's actually an additional fee that venues charge to cover their own cost of hiring servers, coat checkers, and bathroom and parking attendants, which typically amounts to 20 to 25 percent of the event's total food and drink fee.
Remember that trials aren't always free. A florist's demo may be gratis the first time, but if you make repeated changes, you risk being billed. And you'll definitely want to factor in your hair trial with your stylist into your overall hair budget.
Don't forget the little things. Things like stamps for the RSVP cards, ribbons for the favors, and marriage license fees seem so small that you can shrug them off, but like any costs, they add up. Going "just over budget" in a couple different categories with a vague plan of making it up somewhere else can push you past your limit.
Budget for gratuities. You should also set aside at least $800 for gratuities (the additional amount given to your vendors for their hard work). As with a waiter or your hairdresser, tips are generally expected unless you're unhappy with the service.
Step 3: Plan to Go Over
If you account for budget overages, then you never actually blow your budget. Try to earmark 5 percent of your budget for unforeseen costs.
Here are three areas where you might go over.
Flowers: A last-minute realization that something previously unconsidered needs to be decorated, or a request that an additional family member wear a boutonniere or corsage.
Weather-related expenses: Umbrellas for a rainy day, space heaters for an unseasonably cool day or additional shade for a particularly hot or humid one.
Small accidents: Gown needs last-minute spot removal, something breaks in the days before the ceremony or menus get damp and need to get reprinted.
Step 4: Be Smart
Take advantage of budgeting and money management tricks along the way.
Put all your wedding money in one separate account, so you can easily track additions and withdrawals without getting it confused with the rest of your day-to-day funds.
Pay for as many of your expenses as possible on a credit card that gives you benefits like mileage, rewards, or cash back. Make sure everyone making purchases (your fiancé, your mom and so on) are all on the same card system, allowing you to benefit from the rewards and also from the easy tracking of your purchases. To avoid credit card fees, pay the bill off in full each month.
10 Ways to SaveWhatever your budget, you don't have to resort to DIY bouquets to come in on target. Follow these 10 tips to have a chic wedding without sacrificing one iota of style.
1. Decide What's Most Important
Pick your top three priorities and allocate a little extra money for them (like your gown, catering, and band). Next, pick the three things that come lowest on your priority list (maybe flowers, cake and invitations), and budget accordingly.
2. Cut the Guest List
We know it's tough, but one of the fastest and most effective ways to lower your wedding cost is to pare down the invitees. Get out that red pen! At $100 a head, taking 10 guests off the guest list saves $1,000! Also consider the size of your wedding party: Gifts and transportation are cheaper for two than for ten.
3. Pass on Pricey Details
Glamorous details on items that you're indifferent about spike costs without adding any fun to your day. Free yourself of the pressure to upgrade and instead make honest choices based on what you want. As a general rule, before you sign a contract, look through the itemized list of what you're buying and, ask yourself, "Will anyone notice if we don't do this?"
4. Consider Printing Costs
Having two shades of ink on your invitation might match your color scheme, but it can also add massive printing costs; square invites also requires extra postage.
5. Get a Smaller Car
Town Cars will shuttle your wedding party to the reception just as effectively as a Hummer stretch limo.
6. Skip the Special Effects
If you're happy with simple wedding pictures, pass on options like sepia tones, multiple exposures and split frames.
7. Substitute Less Expensive Flowers
Choose flowers that are in season, and pick locally grown flowers rather than blooms that need to be flown in from afar to reduce costs. For example, if you exchange Black Magic roses for more reasonably priced, deeply colored dahlias in all your bouquets and table arrangements, you'll save about $4 a stem. If you were planning on having five roses per bouquet and 10 per centerpiece, and have a wedding party of five ladies and guest list of 150 people, you could save $700.
8. Simplify Your Menu
Reduce the number of overall dinner courses (making three courses fabulous costs less than serving five individual courses) and keep your menu simple. Stick with the specialties of the season and region.
9. Save the Good Stuff for Later
Have the caterers bring out the fancy Dom Perignon for the toast, but pour a less expensive champagne the rest of the night—no one will ever see the bottle or know the difference.
10. Pare Down the Cake Extras
Order a small, fabulous cake that's exactly what you want and, in the kitchen, have several sheet cakes of the same flavor cut for your guests. And stay away from tiers and (time-consuming) handmade sugar flowers, fancy fillings and special molded shapes. Have your caterer decorate each plate with a flavored sauce instead. Buttercream frosting is also tastier and less expensive than fondant.
Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you.
30 Essential Wedding Planning Tips and TricksCover all your wedding planning bases with these expert tips no soon-to-be-wed should be without.
by The Knot
When planning your wedding, there are things that are nice to know, and then there are things you need to know—advice so essential that any bride who's lucky enough to hear it thinks, "I'm so glad someone told me that!" If you're wondering whether there's something you may have missed (or even if you've got everything under control), check out our indispensable planning secrets below.
1. Guests Come FirstGet a grip on the approximate number of guests you'll invite before settling on a venue. This will ensure there's ample space for your crew. As a rule of thumb, allow for 25 to 30 square feet per guest. That may seem like a lot, but it's not if you count the space you'll need for the tables, bustling waiters, the band and a dance floor.
2. Investigate Wedding Blackout DatesKnow ahead of time if your wedding date falls on the same day as a trade conference, charity walk, or other local event that could affect traffic and hotel room availability. Here's a handy list of potentially problematic wedding dates coming up in the calendar.
3. Listen to Mother NatureHeed the weather and other potential annoyances. Guests have been known to skip out early from hotter-than-hot summer tent weddings and improperly heated winter loft receptions. Bugs (gnats, deer flies and mosquitos) also swarm in certain areas during certain seasons. Consider renting pest control tanks to alleviate the problem or including bug repellent in guests' gift bags. And if you want a sunset ceremony, make sure you know when to say your vows by checking SunriseSunset.com.
4. Check Your CreditTake advantage of the high cost of weddings and sign up for a credit card with a rewards program. Whether it gives you airline miles or great shopping deals, consolidating all wedding-related purchases to this card will help you accumulate thousands of rewards points (which could be used for your honeymoon).
5. Pay It ForwardLet one vendor lead you to another. Your wedding photographer can tell you which florist's blooms really pop, and your reception manager should know which band packs the dance floor.
6. Lighten Your ListThe easiest way to trim your wedding budget? Cut your guest list. Remember, half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If it's costing you $100 per person, eliminating one table of 10 can save you $1,000.
7. Ask and You Might ReceiveRequest an extra hour for cocktails or for your band to throw in that Frank Sinatra sound-alike before you sign on the dotted line. Most vendors would rather secure the reservation than nickel-and-dime you early on (which might turn you off of them). Later on, though, they may be less inclined to meet you halfway.
8. Make a Meal PlanAnother unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew. Before you sign the contracts, make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don't forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.
9. Get Organizationally FocusedIn a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings, and photos or tear sheets from magazines you want vendors to see. Set up a special email address dedicated to your wedding, and store important vendor numbers in your cell phone. For on-the-go planning, download the The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app to keep all of your planning info digitally on-hand at all times.
10. Tend to Your BarTypically, you need one bartender per 50 guests to keep the line at a minimum. But if you're serving a signature cocktail that cannot be made ahead of time (or in large quantities), consider adding an extra server designated to this task.
11. Leave Some Room in Your WalletYour wedding budget should follow this formula: 48 to 50 percent of total budget to reception; 8 to 10 percent for flowers; 8 to 10 percent for attire; 8 to 10 percent for entertainment/music; 10 to 12 percent for photo/video; 2 to 3 percent for invites; 2 to 3 percent for gifts; and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding coordinator. It's essential to allocate an extra 5 to 10 percent of your money for surprise expenses like printing extra invites because of mistakes, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a rainy day and ribbons for the wedding programs.
12. Don't Be Afraid to AskYour wedding vendors should be your go-to, most-trusted experts during the planning process. When working with them, you should feel free to really explore what it is you want—maybe it's serving a late-night snack instead of a first course or doing a bridal portrait session rather than an engagement session. The bottom line is that you should feel like you can have an honest conversation with them about what it is you want. Their job will be to tell you what you can and can't make work given your wedding budget.
13. Wait for a DateSometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favor. The closer your date, the more bargaining power you have. Since most people book their wedding venues at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent. And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.
14. Manage the MailOf course you want the perfect stamps for your wedding invitations. But not all stamps are widely available at every post office, especially in large quantities. Save yourself scouting time by ordering them online at USPS.com. And be sure to weigh your invitation and all the additional paper products before you send them out so you can attach the right amount of postage. Ask your stationer about the need for additional postage for oddly shaped envelopes.
15. Prepare for RejectionKnow that as a rule, about 10 to 20 percent of the people you invite won't attend. Naturally, this depends on the location of your wedding (destination weddings are harder to attend), how many out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests may have annual holiday plans).
16. Make a Uniform Kids PolicyYou have four choices: You can welcome children with open arms; you can decide to have an "adults only" wedding; you can include immediate family only; or, you can hire a child care service to provide day care either at the reception space, in a hotel room or at a family member's home. To prevent hurt feelings, it's wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others (unless, of course, the children are in your bridal party).
17. Prioritize Your PeoplePare down your guest list with the "tiers of priority" trick. Place immediate family, the bridal party and best friends on top of the list; follow with aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends you can't imagine celebrating without. Under that, list your parents' friends, neighbors, coworkers and so on. If you need to make some cuts, start from the bottom until you reach your ideal number.
18. Take It One Step at a TimePut together a wedding planning schedule and do things one by one, in a logical order, so you don't take on too much too fast and end up with everything snowballing around you. Don't hire any vendors before you've confirmed your date; don't design your cake before you've envisioned your flowers; and don't book a band before you've settled on a space.
19. No Ring, No BringIf your guest list is bursting at the seams, assess the plus-one scenario. Do a faux seating chart in your mind, and imagine whom your single pal would sit with. If it's a table of singles that she knows pretty well, then you're all set. If it's a table of couples (making her the odd one out) or if it's a table of singles where she won't know anyone, consider bending the rules. If asked why you're not allowing single friends to bring guests, size or budget constraints or your parents' never-ending guest list are always good reasons.
20. Release RoomsAs soon as you've picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding block and a reduced rate. You can then release any unbooked rooms a month prior to your wedding. If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no—you don't want to be responsible for rooms you can't fill.
21. Provide Accurate Driving DirectionsMake sure guests know where they're going. As easy as online map programs are to use, sometimes the directions are wrong or there's a quicker, less traffic-prone route to take. Ask your ceremony and reception sites for printouts or digital copies of recommended driving directions and even test out the routes yourself. Then include the best directions on your wedding website or email them to your guests to print out if they'd like.
22. Keep a Paper TrailGet any nonstandard changes to your agreements in writing or send the vendor a confirmation email saying, "Hello, just confirming that you'll keep the venue open until 2 a.m. versus midnight." Don't just assume everything's all set—sometimes, by the time the actual day rolls around, your contact for a certain may no longer be working there to vouch for you.
23. Schedule the SetupYou must make sure there's ample time for setup. If you're renting a venue and bringing in outside help, ask what time people can come in to start setting. See if they can do it the day before, or at the very least the entire wedding day, before the event starts.
24. Learn About Marriage LicensesYou can check your state's license requirements online, but confirm with a call to the county clerk's office to see when they're open. Even if it's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they may issue marriage licenses only during slower times like, say, Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Give a copy of your marriage license to your mom or your maid of honor (just in case you lose yours during the final days before your wedding).
25. Go Over Ground RulesBe prepared—ask the manager of the house of worship or site where you'll be married for the list of restrictions (if any). For instance, is flash photography or bare shoulders prohibited? Or, if you're exchanging vows outdoors, are you allowed to plant tent stakes in the lawn (which is often not allowed)?
26. Classify Your CashWedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a checklist of the crucial details, like the music, your wedding gown, the invitations, the flowers and the photographer, and assign a number to each—one being the most important and three being the least. Invest your money in all your number ones and cut corners on your number threes. (But everything can't fall into the number one category!) For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements.
27. Help Guests Pay AttentionMake sure your guests can both see and hear from their seats. If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, consider renting a mic and a riser. This could range anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the equipment used. You'll need to coordinate the delivery and setup with your ceremony space, so put your wedding planner or best man in charge of this task.
28. Write Down Your DigitsKeep an emergency contact sheet or phone with your vendor contacts on you on your wedding day—it may come in handy in case your limo driver gets lost or you decide you'd like your photographer to take some behind-the-scenes shots.
29. Call the Fashion PoliceDon't go dress shopping on your own—all the gowns will start to look the same after a while and it will be harder to recall which style you really loved. But be careful about who you do bring. If your mom or sibling can't make the trip, ask a friend who is truly honest. This is the time when you really need to know which dress looks best.
30. Be Realistic With Your TimeWhen it comes down to the last month of your planning (and when you're particularly harried) look at your mile long to-do list and cut three things. Yes, cut three things. Not crucial things that you just don't feel like doing, such as picking a processional song or confirming final details with all of your vendors. Eliminate only the over-the-top tasks like hand-painting "Just Married" signs, or baking cookies for all of the welcome bags. Cross them off and make a pledge not to think about them again.
Wedding Dates to Avoid in 2018, 2019 and 2020
Ready to set a date?
Check this list of dates you might want to steer clear of when booking your wedding.
by The Knot
One of the first things you do when planning a wedding is picking out a date—or multiple date options, to avoid pigeon-holing yourself. Use our guide below to make sure you pick the right one (and once that's done, check out our All-In-One Wedding Planner app to get some extra help with the rest of those wedding planning duties).
Personally Significant DaysCheck your own calendar for college reunions, family weddings, anniversaries or other events, like big conventions or festivals in your city (call your local chamber of commerce), and any annual occasions that involve your family or close friends.
Holiday WeekendsHoliday weekend weddings where you have Monday off from work have pros and cons. You've got an extra day for the festivities (and recovery!), plus you can have your wedding on a Sunday, which is often less expensive than a Saturday one. But costs of travel and hotels may be higher. And if you're looking to marry around Valentine's Day, be wary of your floral bill, especially if you've got your heart set on red roses—they'll likely be more expensive than at any other time of the year. Likewise, reception sites often charge a higher fee for a New Year's Eve wedding. Also, don't forget to consider the impact of a holiday weekend on your guest list—some families have standing plans or traditions they'd prefer not to miss.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (always a Monday)
Weekend of January 13–15, 2018
Weekend of January 19–21, 2019
Weekend of January 18–20, 2020
Presidents' Day (always a Monday)
Weekend of February 17–19, 2018
Weekend of February 16–18, 2019
Weekend of February 15–17, 2020
Mother's Day (always a Sunday)
Make sure your moms are okay sharing this weekend with your wedding. And ask yourself: Do you want your anniversary to fall on the same weekend as Mother's Day if or when you become a mom?
Weekend of May 12–13, 2018
Weekend of May 11–12, 2019
Weekend of May 9–10, 2020
Memorial Day (always a Monday)
Weekend of May 26–28, 2018
Weekend of May 25–27, 2019
Weekend of May 23–25, 2020
Father's Day (always a Sunday)
As you would with your moms, check with your dads about doubling up on this day. And grooms, make sure you're okay with celebrating your anniversary the same weekend as Father's Day if you decide to have kids.
Weekend of June 16–17, 2018
Weekend of June 15–16, 2019
Weekend of June 20–21, 2020
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Thursday, July 4, 2019
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Labor Day (always a Monday)
Weekend of September 1–3, 2018
Weekend of August 31–September 2, 2019
Weekend of September 5–7, 2020
Columbus Day (always a Monday)
Weekend of October 6–8, 2018
Weekend of October 12–14, 2019
Weekend of October 10–12, 2020
Avoid it if you're terrified that someone might actually show up in costume (and embrace it if you want them to!).
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Thanksgiving (always a Thursday)
November 22, 2018
November 28, 2019
November 26, 2020
New Year's Eve
Monday, December 31, 2018
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Religious and Cultural HolidaysBe mindful of religious and cultural holidays (your own and those of your guests) when planning your wedding. There may even be restrictions at your house of worship as to whether you're allowed to marry at these times.
March 25, 2018
April 14, 2019
April 5, 2020
April 1, 2018
April 21, 2019
April 12, 2020
Passover (begins at sunset)
Friday, March 30, 2018
Friday, April 19, 2019
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Tisha B'Av (begins at sunset)
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Saturday, August 10, 2019
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Rosh Hashanah (begins at sunset)
Sunday, September 9, 2018 until nightfall on Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Sunday, September 29, 2019 until nightfall on Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Friday, September 18, 2020 until nightfall on Sunday, September 20, 2020
Yom Kippur (begins at sunset)
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 until nightfall on Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 until nightfall on Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Sunday, September 27, 2020 until nightfall on Monday, September 28, 2020
Hanukkah (begins at sunset)
Sunday, December 2, 2018 until nightfall on Monday, December 10, 2018
Sunday, December 22, 2019 until nightfall on Monday, December 30, 2019
Thursday, December 10, 2020 until nightfall on Friday, December 18, 2020
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Friday, December 25, 2020
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 until Monday, January 1, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018 until Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Thursday, December 26, 2019 until Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Ramadan (dates may vary based on the lunar calendar)
Tuesday, May 15 until Thursday, June 14, 2018
Sunday, May 5 until Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Thursday, April 23 until Saturday, May 23, 2020
Eid al-Fitr (dates may vary based on the lunar calendar)
Thursday, June 14 until Friday, June 15, 2018
Tuesday, June 4 until Friday, June 7, 2019
Saturday, May 23 until Sunday, May 24, 2020
Eid al-Adha (dates may vary based on how each family observes; the holiday lasts for about four days)
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Monday, March 26, 2018
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Monday, September 3, 2018
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Days of RemembranceWe're talking about historically significant days (like the anniversary of September 11) that may be off-limits if you come from a big military family. Or, that could make them all the more meaningful—it's up to you to decide.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Friday, September 11, 2020
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Friday, December 7, 2018
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Monday, December 7, 2020
Major Sporting EventsIf you're die-hard sports fans—or if you're worried your guests might have a hard time choosing between your wedding and the big game—avoid getting married during popular sporting events. And if a lot of your guests come from the same alma mater, watch out for homecoming weekends and bowl games that might conflict.
Super Bowl Sunday
February 4, 2018, in Minneapolis, MN
February 3, 2019, in Atlanta, GA
February 2, 2020, in Miami, FL
Final Four During March Madness
Saturday, March 31, 2018 and Monday, April 2, 2018, in San Antonio, TX
Saturday, April 6, 2019 and Monday, April 8, 2019, in Minneapolis, MN
Saturday, April 4, 2020 and Monday, April 6, 2020 in Atlanta, GA
Unlucky DatesIf you're superstitious, you might want to watch out for these historically inauspicious dates from across several cultures.
The Ides of March
For ancient Romans, an "ides" was simply a date that marked the middle of the month—until Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15 in 44 BC. Since then, "Beware the Ides of March" has become the mantra of this superstitiously unlucky date.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Friday, March 15, 2019
Sunday, March 15, 2020
Friday the 13th
The unluckiest date of the year has questionable origins. Some historians say it comes from the 13 diners who were present at the last supper, but the famous Babylon's Code of Hammurabi doesn't include a 13th law, which suggests this superstition is as old as 1700 BC. And it wasn't until a successful novel titled Friday, the Thirteenth was published in the early 1900s that Friday became part of the unlucky equation.
April 13, 2018
July 13, 2018
September 13, 2019
December 13, 2019
March 13, 2020
November 13, 2020
Greeks and Romans thought starting any new life event—from getting married to baptizing a child—in a leap year would bring bad luck.
Next Leap Year: 2020
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Following Leap Year: 2024
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Wedding Planning Strategy
1. Take It Easy
The first step in planning a wedding is to take it one step at a time. Brides should sit down and make a schedule of everything that needs to be done to prepare for the wedding. The schedule should go in a logical order; the date comes before the vendors, the flowers come before the cake, and the place comes before the band. This schedule may have some adjustments along the way, but having a starting schedule can make all the difference when it comes to stress levels.
2. Think About Guests
Right after the schedule is written out, brides need to decide on the number of guests to invite to the wedding. The number of people invited should include any vendors that will be staying on the grounds, such as servers and the disk jockey. And remember, the guests are the most expensive part of the wedding. If a meal is $50 a person, a table of ten seats $500 worth of guests. When expenses are a problem, the guest list may need to be cut.
3. The Wedding Date
The date is the most important part of wedding planning, of course. It's the day when everything comes together and the bride and groom have their moment. The day needs to be picked right off, and when choosing a day, brides need to look to the weather. A wedding in the heat of July with ten million mosquitoes around does not make for the perfect day. Knowing the weather and conditions beforehand can make all the difference.
4. A Strong Budget
Weddings can become very costly very fast, and without a solid budget, brides can get a little carried away. Brides may also want to use a credit card with a good rewards program behind it for big purchases. The reward points can build up and be used for flight miles or shopping sprees on the honeymoon.
5. Vendor Hop
When looking for photographers, florists, bands, and caterers, people in the business know other people in the business. A photographer may now a great catering business with good deals, and the receptionist may know a good band for weddings. Letting one vendor lead you to another can end up in a well put together entourage.
6. Be Organized
Brides can grab a binder and pen and keep up with vendors, notes, and photos without any hassle. Having everything all in one place makes magazine pictures for the florist and that other photographer's number equally easy to find.
7. Budget Check
After talking to vendors and looking at ceremony locations, brides should recheck the budget to make sure it's working. Half of the budget should go straight to the reception, and the remaining money should be split between flowers, attire, entertainment, and photos with a little left over for the random expenses that come up.
Note to Brides and Grooms: Don't Forget to Buy Each Other a Present (436)
(NewsUSA) - If you're reading this story, you're probably one of the approximately 825,000 couples who've just gotten engaged since Thanksgiving and are now planning your wedding. So here's perhaps the single most important reminder -- and grooms do seem to need more reminding than brides -- anyone will offer: Tradition holds that you both exchange wedding presents.
(Yes, grooms, even though you just bought her an engagement ring.)
But what to get?
"Gifts should come from the heart," says WeddingChannel.com.
Well, yeah. But that still leaves a lot of room for error. So here's some tips to keep in mind whether you two opt for some type of jewelry -- the traditional and most popular choice -- or something else.
* Practicality can wait. Etiquette dictates that gifts be exchanged at one of three times: the night before the wedding, the morning of the ceremony, or right before you leave on your honeymoon. So you could see where this has the potential for becoming a bigger disaster than Chernobyl if the groom's idea of "practical" is, say, a toaster.
* Being uniquely personal is appreciated. One of the best examples we've heard of is a guy who had a photographer secretly capture the moment he proposed in New York's Central Park, and then presented the results to his bride on the day of their wedding.
"So cute!" read a typical blog post.
The downside, of course, is that pulling it off requires imagination and -- in this instance -- a lot of advance planning.
* Jewelry can be "traditional" without being boring. Case in point: the very hot Argyle diamonds trend (www.diamondswithastory.com), which fulfills the quest of even the most eco-minded couples for diamond fashion jewelry since the stones are produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way from the Argyle mine in Australia. And the diamonds, themselves, come in gorgeous neutral shades like champagne, cognac, silver and gray.
"If your bride likes something different from what all her friends have," says jewelry and style expert Michael O'Connor, "then the Argyle diamond bracelets, necklaces and earrings are perfect and available at many retailers across the country -- I've even spotted women at gyms wearing the diamond pendants. And the cufflinks for men are truly elegant."
Perhaps because prices start at as little as a few hundred dollars for some pieces, O'Connor calls them "the ideal gateway gift." Meaning, you can use other occasions -- think birthdays and anniversaries -- to add to your collection through the years.
Yes, brides and grooms, you'll soon have to start planning your next milestone together.
8 Steps to Crafting Your Wedding HashtagConsider yourself officially enrolled in Wedding Hashtags 101.
by www.theknot.comThe Knot
Unless you're having an unplugged wedding, we're betting that shortly after getting engaged, you started thinking of the perfect wedding hashtag. We don't blame you—it's one of the first fun things to start planning! Read on for the top tips from wedding planner Jesi Haack and social wedding concierge Sophie Pyle of Tweet the Bride for the scoop on how to create a successful hashtag.
Step 1: Start with your names.This may be a bit obvious, but let's start with the basics. Use your first, last and nicknames as your starting point. Remember that cutesy mash-up name your friends gave you guys in college that stuck for some reason? Well, this may be the time you actually want to embrace it. "It makes it easier for the guests to remember, which means more people will actually use it," Haack says.
Step 2: Use numbers for a simple way to set your hashtag apart.If you don't have any standout monikers or can't come up with anything quirky, using the year or date of your wedding is an easy way to make it your own. There might be a lot of #JackandJill in the world, but you'll probably be the only #JackandJill111717.
Step 3: Get punny.This is one part of your wedding you can really have fun with, especially when it comes to word play. Look for alliterations, rhymes, synonyms and puns for a hashtag that's both clever and memorable.
Step 4: Avoid easy misspellings.Read over your hashtag for any obvious ways it could be misspelled by your guests (especially when the drinks start flowing). For example, you may want to shorten longer last names or move words around if there are two of the same letters in different words next to each other. It could be as simple as flipping #saraanddave to be #daveandsara.
Step 5: Capitalize the first letter of each word.Capitalizing the first letter of each word can help with readability if guests can see where each word starts and ends. Doing this will also make it more likely that everyone will get your joke or pun. With or without the capitalization, your hashtag will work the same either way.
Step 6: Check the hashtag.Before you print those save-the-dates, do a quick check of the hashtag to see if there's already been something tagged to it and, if so, how many photos. If there's only a handful of other photos that don't seem wedding related, go ahead and use it, but if there's an entire other wedding with the same exact hashtag, you may want to switch a letter to a number or pick a different rhyme to avoid getting the photos mixed up. "Hijacking someone else's hashtag is no bueno," Haack says.
Step 7: Spread the word.After you've decided on a hashtag, it's time to get the word out. Start early by telling your wedding party and putting it on your save-the-date and wedding website. At the wedding, you should also have reminders in case they forget. Pyle suggests using a cute sign that matches your décor. "Putting it on the menu is nice too," she says.
Step 8: Don't overthink it.Will you remember your wedding hashtag forever? Maybe. Will you love the photos everyone took forever? Definitely. So if it turns out your couple nickname happens to be the word for a delicacy in another language and you start seeing food photos that aren't on your catering menu, just roll with it. "Turn it into a light joke," Pyle says. At the end of the day, it's the photos you'll really care about having, and that everyone had fun with it.
Find your perfect wedding hashtag template here.
Looking for ways to creatively display your wedding hashtag? Right here.
Including this sweet tradition at your wedding? Here's all the cake-cutting know-how you need.
by The Knot
The wedding cake has long been a symbolic detail—the tradition of breaking the cake over the bride's head dates back to the Ancient Romans. Customs evolve with the times, of course, and today the ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake has remained a popular and meaningful wedding reception activity (The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study reveals 89 percent of couples include the cake cutting during their reception). It provides both a fabulous photo opportunity and symbolizes the couple's first joint task as newlyweds. Find out all you need to know about this wedding tradition below.
Cake Décor and Extras
Since the wedding cake is the main focus, many couples decorate their dessert with a festive and personal cake topper. Use a traditional miniature or look for something modern and unique to suit your style. Some couples throw it way back and include vintage Victorian cake charms or a Southern ribbon pulling ceremony for good luck.
Making the Cut
Even if you think you're a pro at cutting sweets—at birthday parties or entertaining—check with your cake baker or caterer for special instructions to make the first cut. You wouldn't want to place the knife in the wrong spot and cause the delicate tower to topple over. Your baker will often recommend you cut from the bottom tier. This might sound obvious, but remember to use the knife, not the server, for the quickest and cleanest cut. (The slice can be modest since you really only need two bites' worth.) Slide the slice onto the server, then place it on a plate. Use the knife to cut the slice into two small pieces. You can each take your pieces from the same plate for the ceremonial feeding.
Smashing Is Optional
Once the initial piece is cut, the newlyweds usually feed each other the first slice, symbolizing their commitment to provide for one another. In some cases, this moment is replaced by a different tradition: smashing cake into each other's faces. How you feed each other the cake is up to you, but remember—you don't need to smear frosting on your new spouse simply because you think your guests expect it. You just had your hair and makeup done and you're probably both in pricey outfits—don't risk any staining if you don't want to. Either way, ask your baker or caterer to have napkins (or even a warm, damp cloth) nearby to wipe up any rogue crumbs and frosting quickly.
Get the Best Shots
The cake cutting is often one of wedding photographers' favorite images to capture. Before the celebration, be clear and specific with them about your shot list. Do you want the traditional posed shot of the two of you cutting the caketogether, or do you prefer a more candid, documentary-style one? Is a close-up of your hands on the knife important, or are you only interested in the big picture? Nailing down these must-have photos will steer your pro in the right direction so you can be totally in the moment instead of worrying about whether or not they're capturing the right shots.
Feeding the Crowd
Once you've cut the cake, the catering staff will take over and often bring it back into the kitchen to slice for the rest of your guests. Couples used to freeze the top tier of their wedding cake for the baby christening that was expected to follow soon after. Today, many still opt to save a tier or even a few slices to enjoy on their first anniversary, Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve together. In the past, couples actually sent their guests home with cake, or sent pieces to those unable to attend. While this tradition isn't as common anymore—replaced by separate favors—it's still a nice gesture (and a great way to avoid wasting cake) to offer boxed slices for guests at the end of the evening as a sweet takeaway.
Ready to talk wedding cake? Search cake bakers in your area here.
38 Bible Verses About Marriage
Looking for wedding readings or guidance for your marriage? Read these 38 Bible verses about marriage and love.
Couples who wish to show their devotion to each other and to their faith often turn to Bible verses about marriage when planning their nuptials. These scriptures on love from the Holy Book serve as spiritual and sentimental reminders of the love that you share, and provide you with a way to honor your religious beliefs while celebrating with friends and family.
Marriage Bible verses give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and emotions, even when other sentiments may fall short. There are times when only a carefully chosen piece of scripture will suffice, and now you don't have to peruse the Bible on your own to find the right words. You can use these Bible verses about marriage and love to express the joy, gratitude and happiness that you feel toward your significant other while paying tribute to your faith. Here are some of the most treasured Bible verses about love, marriage and relationships that you can incorporate into your wedding day.
Bible Verses About Marriage
The Bible contains numerous references to the sanctity and beauty of marriage. Its poetic love scriptures eloquently sum up what it means to be in love and to commit yourself to your significant other for the rest of your life. These Bible verses about marriage are the ideal addition to your wedding vows, however, for your reception toast or invitations, consider using Bible verses about love that everyone can relate to. After all, there’s a myriad of ways to love one another outside of marriage.
Genesis 1:27-28: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' "
Malachi 2:14-15: “But you say, 'Why does he not?' Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant."
Isaiah 54:5: “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called."
Song of Solomon 8:6-7: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised."
Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?"
Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her."
Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, ..."
Bible Verses About LoveThe Bible has a lot to say about the bonds of love and devotion. Bible verses about love speak of the perfect love that everyone should have toward their friends, family and mankind, not to mention the Lord. However, Bible verses about love also offer a revealing look at the strength and hope that romantic love can provide. It can be difficult to put your feelings for one another into words, but these Bible verses about love seem to capture its essence just right.
Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."
1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
1 Corinthians 13:2: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."
1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love."
Song of Solomon 8:7: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."
Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."
Proverbs 3:3-4: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Song of Solomon 4:9: “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace."
Bible Verses About Relationship
There is no relationship manual that tells you how to overcome obstacles and strengthen the ties you have with your loved ones. Thankfully, Bible verses about love serve as excellent guides; these scriptures offer jewels of wisdom that can help you navigate the ups and downs of love, as well as convey your heartfelt thoughts to your future spouse. There are a number of wedding scriptures and Bible verses about love that touch on the subject of relationships that you may want to mention on your wedding day.
Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Proverbs 30:18-19: “There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don't understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman."
1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
Proverbs 31:10: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
Ruth 1:16-17: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."
Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."
1 Peter 4:8: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."
Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
Genesis 2:18–25: “Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' ... So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man."
1 Peter 3:7: “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."
In addition to these Bible verses about marriage, love and relationships, we have these Bible love quotes and an additional 150 quotes about love.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.