Savings Tip for Wedding Expenses: Make It Yourselves!

Mother of the Bride, as you look for ways to save on the multitude of wedding expenses in front of you, be sure to ask yourself this question: Can we make it ourselves? Of course, expense is still involved when making things yourself, but the cost can many times be cut in half or more.

Start by making a list of all the items you or the bride or other family members and friends could possibly make. Your list might include: the bridal gown and veil, the garters, bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dress, your own dress, bouquets and boutonnieres, favors, pew bows, invitations and programs, the cakes and/or other food for the reception, and centerpieces and other décor. I’m sure you’ll be able to add other ideas to your list as well.

But keep this in mind—several factors need to be considered before deciding to make some items yourself.

*Do you or someone you know have the skills needed to make the items?

*Will the savings be significant enough to justify using your time in this way?

*Do you (or the person making the item) truly have the time to give to the project or will it add too much additional stress?

*And also, is there enough time before the wedding to make the items on a reasonable schedule?

Remember, MOB, always balance the savings against the stress and time involved. After you’ve made your decisions, go forward with joy. If you can save a little money while making your daughter’s big day one that she’ll remember forever, what a great bonus. But if you need to buy most items to save your sanity, that’s a bonus, too, right?!

*You might also like to read Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow! 

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by thepatrickCreative Commons License

Post-Wedding Decision: Bridal Gown Preservation

To preserve or not to preserve—have you and your daughter had this discussion yet, Mother of the Bride? The answer will depend on whether or not your daughter wants to keep the gown in good condition for possible use by her future daughter or for another relative or friend. And it will also depend on which expert’s advice you listen to. I found two vastly different viewpoints.

First let’s look at what The Knot has to say. They offer some great advice in an article called Preserve Your Wedding Dress. Be sure to read the entire piece for all the details you’ll need to know, but I’ll give you a snapshot look in this post.

Here are a few of the highlights:

*Cleaning the gown is the most important part of the preservation process. All stains—even hidden ones like sugar—must be removed.

*Have the gown cleaned while the stains are fresh. It can wait until after the honeymoon if need be but don’t wait much longer.

*After cleaning the gown, a reputable specialist will wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or muslin and place it in a museum quality archival box. All storage materials should be clean and completely acid-free.

*Get referrals for a preservation specialist. Many dry cleaners claim to clean wedding gowns, but they are not specialists. If you go with a dry cleaner, they should process at least 100 gowns a year. (By the way, that number seems pretty high to me.) Try to find a professional gown preservationist with a good track record.

*Will the preservationist company guarantee their work? How will they reimburse you if you discover damage after a number of years? Will they reimburse only for the cost of the preservation or for the gown itself?

*If you open the box and handle the gown, be sure to wash your hands first or wear clean white gloves.

*Beware of those who quote a price before seeing the gown. Different gowns will require different treatment depending on the fabric and type of stains, etc.

*Expect to pay $250-$700, maybe even up to $1000 in metropolitan areas.

The authors of Bridal BargainsDenise and Alan Fields, express a different view of gown preservation. Again, I will give only a snapshot of what they say in the book. I recommend reading the entire section on gown preservation to get a thorough look at the authors’ findings and conclusions.

The Fields reference one horror story in particular and offer a statistic from the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops regarding preserved gowns that are brought in to be sold. They stated that 80% of the gowns are found to be dirty. They go on to call the gown-preservation-box scheme a rip-off and then recommend that brides don’t do it.

The authors suggest cleaning and preserving the gown yourself or selling it as soon as possible after the wedding. They claim that most wedding gowns can be washed and offer a few how-to tips and also recommend storing it in an acid-free box. They say it can be wrapped in a clean white cotton sheet and stuffed with acid-free tissue paper if desired.

For those who don’t want to try to clean their own gowns (that would be me!), the Fields do give some advice on using a dry cleaner. They also go on to recommend two companies for gown preservation, even though they first advised against it. Of note, when I compared my copy of Bridal Bargains, the 7th edition put out in 2005, to my friend’s copy of the latest edition (11th) put out in 2013, I noticed the information on gown preservation had only been changed slightly. It makes me wonder if the 80% statistic given is still accurate. I also felt like they could have used updated examples.

I know it’s confusing to hear two different recommendations by those who specialize in all things wedding, but I hope this helps in some way, MOB, as you and your daughter decide what to do about the gown. Remember to examine the more in-depth info found in the article from The Knot and in the book Bridal Bargains itself. Good luck!

*If you have any info or insight or personal experience to add, please share in the comments. Everyone reading is all ears, I’m sure!

*You might also like to read Wedding Planning Tip: Post-Wedding Inventory.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Photo by Will Flowers

Time-Saving Wedding Planning Tip: Insider Info from Vendors

Mother of the Bride, selecting vendors for the various aspects of a wedding is a huge job. Whether the bride and groom make the decisions or it’s a joint effort including you, hours and hours of work can go into narrowing down the best choices.

Try this time-saving tip, MOB: Once you get one or two vendors secured, ask them for their recommendations in other areas. For example, if you’ve found the perfect florist, ask which caterer he would recommend or vice versa. The vendors in any given region work the same weddings at some point and become very familiar with each other’s work. They know who excels—and more importantly, who doesn’t. Ask them to give you their best recommendations.

Asking vendors for insider info can come in especially handy if you’re planning an out-of-town wedding. When you’re unfamiliar with the vendors you need to book and you feel like you’re starting from scratch, asking reliable vendors for their advice can save you tons of time. Both of our daughters had out-of-town weddings, and I wish I had learned this tip early-on.

One word of caution, though, MOB. Make sure the vendor you ask is not getting any kind of kick-back from the recommendations he makes. How do you do this? Come right out and ask. But instead of using the term kick-back, ask “Do you receive any commission from services you recommend?” You employ tact, MOB, but you also get the info you need!

*You might also like to read “Time Management: Give Yourself a Break, MOB”.

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from April 2014 helped you today!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by abnormalbeauty, Creative Commons License

Time To Hole Up

Holed Up in Winter

Arctic weather isn’t the only reason I hole up when I can in January. After December’s demands and any traveling I do, I often need some catch-up time and a bit of a slower pace. I need to be at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t lounge on the sofa eating bon-bons—though that sounds pretty good. No, I faithfully work on writing projects and take care of the stuff of life that has needed my attention. And I’ve got to admit it’s a welcome change after a season of increased demand.

Do any of you hole up when you get the chance too? I’ve found that whether we’re forced to stay put due to weather or we choose to sequester ourselves for some regrouping or restoration, we usually feel ready to break out after a time and experience life in the greater world again. We get rested, recharged, and . . .  a little stir crazy!

It’s not so different in our spiritual lives. There are times when we need to slow down and catch up a bit. Times when we need to hole up and be “at home” with the Lord. If we’ll take that time, I bet we’ll find ourselves feeling rested, recharged, and . . . yes, ready to break out. Ready to do the work God calls us to do with fresh energy.

So where are you right now? Feeling a little stir crazy or are you needing some time to hole up? Wherever you are, whatever you do, do it with the Lord. He faithfully offers a welcome change!

“he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 NIV

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from January 2010 blessed you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by MuffetCreative Commons License

A Grandmother’s Prayer

Since we often think about both mothers and grandmothers during the Mother’s Day season, I’d like to share a bit of my heart as a grandmother with you today.

I became a grandmother a little over three years ago, first to a set of twin boys and then nineteen months later to another set of twin boys. Yes, you heard right. And yes, we are incredibly blessed!

As with any grandmother, my joy-factor skyrocketed to a new level when our little loves were born. I’ve thoroughly embraced my new status and want to be the best grandma I can be. And the best way to express my heart’s desires as a grandmother is to share what I’d like to say to the Lord about the new role he’s entrusted to me.

And so I give you “A Grandmother’s Prayer.” It’s not so much a prayer for grandmothers to pray for their grandchildren, rather it’s a prayer for grandmothers to pray for themselves. I hope it will bless you—and that even if you are not a grandmother, you will be able to make it your own in some way. May it inspire prayers from your own heart’s desires!

A Grandmother’s Prayer

Oh Lord, what a gift you’ve given to me, what a trust. The chance to be a loving grandmother to precious and dearly loved grandchildren. My heart leaps and sings for joy just thinking about it. Thank you for this awesome privilege.

I pray, Lord, that my sweet grandsons will never question my love for them. May they always know how crazy I am about them and that I’m in their corner. And more than that, I pray that my love for them will be a picture of your unconditional and unfailing love. May my love and presence in their lives be one of the things that draws them each one to faith in you.

Help me, Lord, to be a winsome example of how to live a life that honors you and encourages others. Whatever happens in my life, help me conduct myself in a manner worthy of you. (Philippians 1:27) And from that, Lord, may my grandsons see traits and qualities they adopt and develop in their own lives.

Finally, Lord, remind me continually that time is short and that these little ones will grow up in a flash. Help me to be an involved grandmother who invests my time, attention, and affection in the precious grandchildren you’ve given to me. Please bless me, Lord, with year upon year of making memories with them and with watching them become men who love and honor you.

All this I pray in your name, Lord. May it be so!

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1 NIV

*How can you pray for one of your heart’s desires?

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*My daughter Kristin’s photo