Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Modern Wedding Trends

 :: Modern Wedding Trends ::

One thing MRSter totally promotes is that your wedding is what YOU want, not somebody else’s idea of what your wedding should be. For the modern couple, we’ve noticed that new trends are cropping up everywhere. We thought we’d share some ideas we really like that you might think is right for you.

:: Consider different entertainment options :: Utilize your musician friends, hire a contemporary choir, use a cabaret singer, entertain with a retro big band orchestra or a rock and roll band or a blues band, or ethnic music of any sort. You can hire a combination of different styles for different parts of the evening. For instance, have a cabaret singer perform during the cocktail hour and a big band orchestra perform for dancing the night away. Find entertainment options by clicking here and searching your location.

Wedding Entertainment

Photography :: Berg Photography

:: A modern take on the wedding party :: How about getting Grandma and Grandpa to act as flower girl and ring bearer? If done right, this can be both dignified and a beautiful, heart warming addition to your ceremony.

:: Create unique centerpieces :: We’ve seen centerpieces of submerged flowers, shimmering jars with candles, desert plant groupings, teacups or wine glasses, fruits and veggies, twigs, paper and marbles, and much more! Virtually anything you can conceive of can be turned into attractive centerpieces. Check out our florists listed on our FABuLIST to connect with a designer.

:: Dance your way back up the aisle :: Hey, it’s a joyous occasion! What better way to express your happiness than dancing all the way back up the aisle as your friends and family are cheering you on? Whoo hoo! This isn’t necessarily a new trend but we believe strongly in the power of music and we’d like this trend to stick around.

:: Food… Glorious food :: Who says you have to keep to the traditional plated chicken dinner? Love hamburgers? Hire a catering truck. Getting married at the beach? Have a clambake. Honeymooning in Italy? Serve spaghetti. Love Mexican food? There are a variety of taco trucks out there… Or have a burrito bar. You can provide munchie stations, dessert stations, cheese and cracker stations, sushi stations… The ideas are only limited to your imagination and your budget.

:: Looking good :: You can be fancy or casual in your wedding clothing, dress up or down, wear sneakers and jeans, show off your western wear, utilize ethnic dress, have a costume party wedding or any kind of themed wedding wear, ask all guests to wear specific colors for a feeling of unity, or just be traditional! It’s all up to you.

What is a trend you are planning or have seen recently that you love?

VENDORS :: If you’d like to become MRSter Approved to be placed on our FABuLIST you can do so by clicking here.

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner Before You Hire Them

:: Top 5 Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner Before You Hire Them ::

Hiring a wedding planner is a big deal. Some are great, some are not so great. Some are all about equality, some are, simply put, not! A place to start is right here on MRSter, which lists vendors that embrace high standards and treat all people with respect. Check out our awesome FABuLISTers here!

Before interviewing candidates, be sure of a few basics, for example: your budget, the date of your wedding, and how many guests you are expecting. In the meantime, here are the top five questions you need to ask a wedding planner before you hire them…

1 :: What is included in your services? Wedding planners have a multitude of services they can offer, so you need to be sure they can fulfill your needs. Can they fulfill your vision? Can the planner offer you a timeline of tasks? Will the planner provide a breakdown of dollars spent for each budget item? Ask to look at a typical contract. Be sure you get a breakdown of every service you require. There are planning checklists online that will help you determine what you need your planner to do and what you can do yourself. Take notes.

2 :: What is your level of experience? (and associated questions)? How long has the planner been in business. Does he or she have credentials or awards? Does he or she have a business license? How many weddings does the planner typically do in a year? Does he or she have the proper number of staff to run your event?

3 :: Which vendors do you work with? Are we only able to work with your vendors or can we choose our own? Note that wedding planners usually develop relationships with tried and true vendors who they know are reliable and will charge fair rates. But, if you have a friend who is an awesome photographer for instance, you might want to have the liberty of hiring that person.

4 :: Tell us about a really big complication you ran into in planning a wedding and how you solved it. This will give you some insight into the planner’s ability to problem solve.

5 :: Can you provide us with references? Experienced planners should easily be able to provide references. They should also have a portfolio of photos or videos of weddings they have done.  

After the interview, you need to ask yourself how you felt about the potential planner. Were they open and receptive to your ideas, or were the determined to sway you in their direction? Were they friendly or did you detect a distancing? Did you get the impression that the planner was hearing you? You will be working with this person very closely so you need to feel comfortable with the relationship and confident in the planner’s ability to create a beautiful event based on what you want to do. Be sure to interview several planners. Take a few days to decide. You’ll be glad you did.

What questions did you, or will you, be asking your wedding planner?

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Wedding Floral Tips

:: Top 5 Wedding Floral Tips ::

MRSter is pleased to present this post from Robin of Bootah Jardin Florists! Robin is VERY knowledgeable about flowers and can help with budget-friendly ideas or full service arrangements in the Vancouver, BC area.

Her family-run business specializes in do-it-yourself event and wedding flowers, so who better to ask for some top tips to keep that floral budget down?!

1 :: Don’t focus on seasonality alone :: Requesting seasonal flowers is the single most suggested tip for trimming your flower costs, but it’s also the most out-dated. This might have been true at one time, but an expansive international floral trade has made seasonality a much less prominent factor in pricing.

There are still flowers that fluctuate in price with the seasons, but by and large, most flower pricing is stable. Rather than seasonality, flowers fall into categories- they’re either budget-friendly, high-end, or somewhere in between. So the flowers you love- despite being in the peak of their availability- may not be the most cost-effective option.

Wedding Floral

Photography :: Andrea Ball Photography

2 :: The influence of colour on price :: Colour isn’t a factor for all flower pricing, but it is for certain blooms. Where we live, particular flowers- like callas, peonies, and dahlias- are priced differently by growers based on colour. This is basic supply and demand, so unless a particular flower/colour combo holds special significance for you, request a general colour theme versus specific combinations.

3 :: The effect of flower holidays on pricing :: The two weeks preceding Valentine’s and Mother’s Day are the busiest times of year in the floral industry, and the increased demand causes a significant spike in pricing. Not only will you feel the effects of this increased demand when you seek a quote, but you may also struggle to find a florist willing to take on your wedding during these busy times.

Red Rose Bouquet

Photography :: Wilson Lau Photography

4 :: Flexibility goes far when it comes to getting the best quote :: It’s great (and fun!) to have a vision for your big day, but the more specific you are with your requests, the more expensive your floral quote is likely to be. Your florist is restricted to buying flowers in bunches and buckets, so to meet your requests exactly, they may have to order more than they will need to use. You will still be charged for those extra flowers, so if you’re flexible on certain details, this may save you some money in the long run.

5 :: Fillers and greens are not cheap :: Adding greens and fillers to an arrangement may bring the cost down, but like all things floral, it really depends on the details. Certain greens, like dusty miller and silver brunia, are more costly than many flowers and have the opposite effect on pricing. In general, adding accents tends to increase the cost of arrangements, as the added fillers provide great texture, but don’t add much to the volume. This is why those wildflower bouquets that look simple and inexpensive are often more costly than a basic rose bouquet. It takes a lot of flowers to achieve that look, and they all add up in the end.

Wedding Floral

Photography :: Alyssa Schroeder Bouquet

MRSter wishes to thank Robin for her willingness to share her expertise on our website. We think she has some great money saving ideas, don’t you?! Be sure to check out her website here!

Top Five Friday :: Cash Bar VS Open Bar // Pros & Cons

:: Cash Bar VS Open Bar // Pros & Cons ::

A common conundrum that couples face when planning their wedding is deciding to have a cash bar or an open bar. There are many differences of opinion as to what is the ‘best’ option to go for, and it can be a tough choice to make. Today, we will be discussing the pros and cons of both cash bars, and open bars.

A cash bar is defined as:

A bar at a social function at which guests buy drinks rather than having them provided free.”

An open bar is defined as:

“A bar at a special function at which the drinks have been paid for by the host.”

We consulted business owner Dave Foreman, of {MRSter Approved} Pour Masters Bar Service, for his professional take on cash vs an open bar.

Dave states:

You have 2 scenarios to consider. Licensed and unlicensed locations. Usually when there is a cash bar, there is a liquor license on property. This can get expensive for the [happy couple] if they have an open bar since the bottle prices are very high. If it’s a cash bar then you will have more of a variety and a lower invoice.”

Please see his further comments as indicated in our Top 5 Pros and Cons list as follows:

:: Pros // Cash (No Host) Bar ::

  • 1 :: Less risk of guests over-indulging. Dave adds, “The bartenders will always have control over how the guests drink, so it’s a small variable between a hosted and non-hosted bar.”
  • 2 :: Less expensive for the hosts
  • 3 :: Easier for controlling costs
  • 4 :: Less liability
  • 5 :: May be considered acceptable in your area

:: Cons // Cash (No Host) Bar ::

  • 1 :: Worry over what guests will think about having to pay for their own beverages
  • 2 :: Guests may not have thought about bringing cash for drinks
  • 3 :: The drinks may be too expensive
  • 4 :: Guests may leave earlier
  • 5 :: You may be perceived as a party-pooper

:: Pros // Open (Hosted) Bar ::

  • 1 :: Many guests will expect an open bar
  • 2 :: It’s widely considered classier
  • 3 :: It’s a way of giving back to your friends and family
  • 4 :: People will loosen up and enjoy the party even more
  • 5 :: Guests will generally have more drink choices

:: Cons // Open (Hosted) Bar ::

  • 1 :: Some guests may take advantage of your hospitality
  • 2 :: It may yield some unruly guests if people feel free to drink too much
  • 3 :: You may run a greater risk of people driving home drunk
  • 4 :: It may act as a distraction (hanging out at the bar) and keep people from watching or participating in other activities
  • 5 :: It’s expensive. However, Dave tells us that, “When you have a open bar at a non-licensed site, you can control your costs better and choose the brands you would like to serve.”

MRSter thanks Dave Foreman, who has been serving in the bartending industry for over nineteen years. Dave believes that bartending is not just preparing drinks, but also the customer service given. Way to go, Dave!

What are your thoughts on cash bars VS open bars? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments below!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Handle Common Wedding Planning Disagreements

:: How To Handle Common Wedding Planning Disagreements ::

Teamwork is super important for any joint effort. When it comes to planning a wedding, emotions tend to run high and passionate disagreements may arise… Especially when it comes to budgets and choices.

We asked expert event planner Chanda Monique Daniels, Creative Director and owner of {MRSter Approved} A Monique Affair, how to handle common wedding planning disagreements. Here are her valuable insights:

MRSter ::  Assuming parents are paying for the wedding, should they have final say, or should precedence be given to the couple who are getting married?

Chanda ::  If parents are investing in the couple’s wedding, a compromise of power should be reflected. The parents should be encouraged to understand that the couple, whose day it is ultimately, should have the final say. The couple is creating their love story, not the parents. Unless it’s something the parents have strong feelings about, such as inviting a distant cousin, which really has little bearing on the outcome of the wedding, the couple’s desires should be given preference.

A Monique Affair

Chanda of {MRSter Approved} A Monique Affair

MRSter :: What if the wedding is being paid for by the couple and they are in disagreement?

Chanda :: For the couple, I tell each person to decide early on in the planning process to pick one thing each that they absolutely must have, or have strong feelings about, such as music or food choices. Then, when, and if, these disagreements come up – there can be a check in, like, “Is this your big feeling item? If not, let’s keep it moving!”

MRSter :: Should the person who is contributing most to the wedding have the final say?

Chanda :: No! I can totally say that because the planning process is actually a good test to see how your marriage will be, because you are going through the money conversations, which often require compromises, etc. The wedding is about the couple and not just about the person who is paying. That would be totally unfair and a complete opposite of what a marriage is about.

“Money – Savings” by 401(K) 2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Money – Savings” by 401(K) 2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

MRSter :: What is your primary suggestion for solving disagreements over budget/choices involved in wedding planning?

Chanda :: Have solid conversations in the beginning! Find out what those items are that you have strong feelings about. What is the solid investment amount that makes you both feel comfortable? Once you have those conversations and things come up, you can go back to that original conversation as reference. Meet with a planner so you can know what a realistic investment for your wedding should be. That’s where the drama comes in – not knowing the true costs.

Did you and your significant other run into any disagreements during the wedding planning process? How did you handle them?! We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

:: Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding… Without Anyone Missing a Thing ::

As we all know, weddings are expensive! For the budget conscious engaged couple, having a wedding with family and friends may seem like an impossible dream, but never fear! There are ways of having a lovely wedding without breaking the bank (or robbing one)…

1 :: Check out inexpensive venue options :: Your venue does not have to be some fancy pansy hotel with impossibly high rates. Choose a place where you can have your ceremony and your reception. How about a beautiful park or a community clubhouse like a senior center or a VFW hall, or even a friends backyard? Get married at the courthouse, then celebrate with friends and family at a local hangout. Think outside the box and take note of what is available in your neighborhood.

2 :: Avoid guest book bloat :: Be thoughtful about your guest list. How many people can you afford to invite? Be prepared to make some tough decisions. Be cognizant of your budget bottom line and develop your guest list accordingly.

3 :: Supply your own beverages and food :: Buy your booze at a cut rate liquor store. Or just serve beer, wine and soft drinks. Make sure you have plenty though… Nothing spoils a party like running out of spirits. Are you having an outdoor wedding? Consider a barbeque. Or how about a relatively inexpensive Italian feast of spaghetti, meatballs and salad? Or a Mexican meal with big containers of rice, beans, shredded beef, tortillas and condiments so guests can put together their own plate?

4 :: Save on wedding attire :: Scout for sales, or display items, or gently used, or discontinued clothing lines. Check for buys after high school prom nights. Think beyond “wedding attire”. How about after Christmas holiday dresses that can be fabulous substitutions? Wear a suit instead of a tux. Or, go casual and comfortable and leave tradition behind.

5 :: Enlist the help and talents of friends and family :: Do you know any musicians who could play at your wedding or during the ceremony? Can someone with a good PA system act as a DJ utilizing your pre-planned song list? Does anyone you know know someone who is an excellent baker and can make your wedding cake for a bargain price? Put out a call for help. Ask for ideas. You can even suggest that friends help with the wedding instead of buying gifts!

How did you, or are you, saving money on your wedding?! We would love you to share your suggestions in the comments below…

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Who Pays For What In The Modern Wedding?

:: Who Pays For What In The Modern Wedding? ::

In times long gone, brides were considered chattel, like a piece of furniture. The bride’s family was expected to pay a dowry to take the girl off the family’s hands. This is where the custom of the bride’s family traditionally paying for the wedding came from! Can you believe it?

We asked Julie Hurt of {MRSter Approved} Simply Elegant Event and Wedding Design a few questions on the topic of who pays for what in the modern wedding.

MRSter :: Traditionally it has been the responsibility of the bride’s family to be entirely responsible for the cost of the wedding. Is this still the case?

Julie :: Gone are the days of the bride’s family paying for everything! In my 10+ years in the wedding industry I have come across several different scenarios on this subject. More and more couples are now opting to pay for their event themselves, and sometimes, will have each of their families contribute if needed. This results from the average age of couples now being a little older, and couples waiting longer to get married. If this is either clients second time around the marriage pole they will always pay for everything themselves.

MRSter :: Does wedding etiquette dictate any hard and fast rules for who pays for what at a wedding, even if the responsibility is divided between families?

Julie :: If we follow the traditional route of who pays for what, “wedding etiquette” would be followed in the traditional sense that the Bride’s family is paying for everything. Therefore they have final say in things such as guest count, style of the wedding, etc. With couples who pay for everything themselves, or families that are sharing the costs, they each have a say in the planning process. There are other expenses that each family can contribute to also, for example, one family may host the entire rehearsal dinner and wedding night accommodations. The other family may opt for the services of the wedding planner and that’s where we come in!

MRSter adds that for the modern union, many old fashioned notions have thankfully flown the coop. For LGBT couples, oftentimes they don’t have the support of parents in the first place, sad to say. Also, many couples have already established a bank account and like Julie says, “are opting to pay for the wedding themselves”. So, the bottom line is that for the modern wedding, there are no hard and fast rules. It really depends on the financial climate of the families involved, the support that is willingly and realistically offered, and setting a reasonable budget based on the dollars that are available. Let individual circumstance and common sense prevail.

What are your thoughts on the subject? We would love to hear!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Budget-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations

:: Budget-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations ::

Traveling with your love can be SO exciting, and a Honeymoon destination should be given careful consideration. Whether here or abroad, careful planning will give you the most bang for your buck.

Booking ahead is one of the best ways to find deals. Make sure you have a reasonable Honeymoon budget in mind, and resolve to stay within that budget. Here are MRSter’s top five budget-friendly honeymoon destinations to book now for a Summer celebration:

1 :: Puerto Rico :: With oodles of indoor and outdoor activities, a fabulous nightlife and historic sites to visit, you won’t have a moment of boredom in beautiful Puerto Rico.

Photographed by :: Frances of Rincon Images

Photography :: Frances of Rincon Images

2 :: Florida Keys :: If you enjoy the ocean, this is a great option for you. There are many water sports to do including snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking. Enjoy the beautiful beaches and travel over 100 miles of scenic highways.

3 :: Ireland :: Lovely and luscious, Ireland has become one of western’s Europe’s best travel value. Visit charming villages, incredible castles, and see scenery that will take your breath away.

4 :: Lake Tahoe :: Featuring options from beaches to mountains, Lake Tahoe has it all. Take a ride in a hot-air balloon, view the beautiful mountains from a gondola, and enjoy scenic lake cruises.

5 :: Rocky Mountains, Colorado :: Featuring some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the USA, the Rocky Mountains offers many romantic Bed and Breakfast establishments as well as secluded cabins. Enjoy hiking and picnicking on beautiful trails and in gorgeous meadows.

Did you go on a budget-friendly honeymoon? We would love for you to share your suggestions on where to go in the comments below!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ring Shopping Tips!

:: Top 5 Ring Shopping Tips ::

How exciting! You are ready, and it is time to go ring shopping for that perfect engagement/wedding ring. The ring represents a huge milestone in your life and you want to get the very best you can afford. This adventure can be daunting…


Photography :: Rincon Images

First of all, there are so many jewelry stores to choose from, so it’s probably a good idea to start your search by narrowing down your shopping venues.  You can do this by asking questions of your married friends. Where did they buy their rings? How was the quality? Pricing? Service? Of course, you can also search the internet. Reputable jewelers should have credentials from a gemological school. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for credentials and even references. After all, buying a ring can be a big investment. Once you have settled on a jeweler, here are MRSter’s top five ring shopping tips to help you find that perfect ring:

1 :: Determine your budget. Get a figure in your mind before you start shopping and firmly let the jeweler know how much you are prepared to spend. Don’t let sentimentality rule. Stick to your budget!

2 :: Size. Have an idea of the size needed if it’s to be a surprise. Sneak a ring out of your loved ones jewerly box and trace the dimension on a piece of paper.  But don’t worry too much. Most rings can be sized.

3 :: Type. If you are shopping together, develop an idea of what type of ring you are interested in before you set out. The kind of gem, the size and shape of the gem, and the type of metal the gem is to be set in are all considerations, as is the general look of the ring. Is it to be classic or modern, delicate or chunky, snazzy or understated? If this is to be a surprise, you should have an understanding of your loved one’s style.

4 :: Have a basic understanding of the 4 C’s of gem buying…

  • Color :: The best color rankings are D, E and F, all of which are considered colorless. The ranking describes how much light the stone reflects. The less color, the brighter the shine.
  • Cut :: The cut of the diamond as represented by its many facets, faces, and edges all work together to enhance the brilliance of the gem.
  • Clarity :: The clarity is a measure of how flawed a diamond is. The ideal is the “FL” grade, meaning completely flawless. But that grade is rare. Stick as close as you can to the top of the grade, but unless you are going to look at the gem under a microscope, don’t worry too much about it.
  • Carat ::The higher the carat, the bigger the stone. Just remember that bigger is not necessarily better. It’s a matter of budget AND taste.

Knowledge of the 4 C’s of gem buying, even just an elementary knowledge, will help you find that perfect ring (and impress the jeweler and your loved one).

5 :: Take your time. Don’t feel like you need to walk out of the store with the ring the very first time you see it. Take a photo. Mull it over. Sleep on it. Sleep on it for several nights if need be. Think in terms of forever.

One last thought… While it is true that a diamond is forever, don’t feel like you need to be ruled by convention. You can utilize other gems that may have a special meaning to the two of you.  Sometimes, a simple band is the best choice. Or maybe your grandmother would like to pass down her ring, which you can use as is, or have updated. The choice is yours… Happy shopping!!


Photography :: Melissa Hesse of Rivets and Roses

Haven’t popped the question yet, but you’re ready to buy that perfect ring? Check out our top 5 proposal tips here!