Category Archives: Wedding budget

Forget Me Not Friday: All About Tents Part I

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Tenting 101!!

So you need a tent….

Whether you are having your reception entirely under a tent or adding onto a building to create some extra space – tents come in a ton shapes and sizes.

Let’s start with the 4 main types of tents that are used to create event spaces.

Pole Tents: A traditional pole tent is constructed using center poles to push up the canopy portion of the tent. The tent is stabilized with guylines, which are ropes or cables that are used to restrain the motion of the tent, at each of the side poles.  Pole tents are usually installed on grass or soil since they are staked into the ground. They need about 8’ extra feet of clearance around the perimeter to accommodate the length of the guylines. We tell our clients that a pole tent has that circus feeling with swooping high ceiling.

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Sperry Tents: Sperry Tents are constructed out of sailcloth canopies that have geometric support patches and sweeping seams.  These handmade tents have support poles within the tent that are built out of solid wood. The peaks of a Sperry Tent can also be topped with pennant flags! When you light the ceiling of a Sperry they have an amazing glow.

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Frame Tents:  A frame tent is a versatile and free standing structure that can be installed on about any surface! These tents are constructed with a heavy aluminum framework and are anchored down with weights. Since they are freestanding structures frame tents can be installed against an existing building to create an extension of an indoor space. Frame tents do not have center poles allowing for a clear interior space. They are not very beautiful as the ceilings are quite low. If you can afford to do some draping to disguise the poles and beams that is ideal.

Navitrac Tents: Navitrac Tents and Frame tents are very similar in terms of appearance. However, the structural elements of Navitrac Tents are a bit different. Navitrac Tents are designed with thicker beams, thus eliminating the number of metal poles within the tent. Frame and Navitrac Tents come come in two forms: white top and clear top. The Navitrac is sturdier  than the frame so if weather conditions are not optimal the Navitrac is the best bet

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Wedding Tents

Image 1 courtesy of Lucy O, Image 2,3,4, and 8 courtesy of Lynne Brubaker, Image 5,6,7, 10 and 11 courtesy of Patrica Lyons, Image 9 courtesy of Jen Fariello.

Forget Me Not Friday: All About The Wedding Cake

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The wedding cake is a wonderful way to celebrate, and is a quintessential part of the wedding rituals.  Whether you choose to have a small cake just to cut or you decide to have a five-tiered embellished display, the wedding cake is more than just a dessert. As Sylvia Weinstock said, “ a cake, it turns out, is more than just dessert- and serves many purposes at a party. It’s decoration, a conversation starter, a backdrop for photos, a keepsake.”

When thinking about your cake, maybe the most important choice is going to be in the icing—the cake has to taste amazing, of course, but it has look just as good! The two most common icing types are fondant and buttercream, and both have their own characteristics and flavor. If you’re looking for that smooth, porcelain texture, fondant should be your first choice. Kneaded from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin until it’s impossibly silky and pliable, fondant has that picture-perfect look, and in any color you can think of! Sheets of fondant are carefully leveled with a rolling pin and then draped over the cake before the final smoothing.

Fondant can be a finicky choice, however: fondant is hard to rework and any mistake or flaw the baker makes can be impossible to fix, so everything has to go perfectly. The extra time and care that goes into making each tier in one-shot is partially responsible for fondant’s extra cost—fondant can be up to three times more expensive than buttercream (think three to 10 dollars a slice!). Of course, neither icing is going to hold up too well, so it’s important that your cake stays fresh (and, really, you’d want that anyway).

Always make sure you’re aware of the cake’s delivery time and the logistics of the backroom storage so your cake is as fresh as possible. Ensuring icing and cake freshness takes coordination plus time and space for assembly. With fondant, the problem becomes its tendency to dry or peal. With buttercream, the icing may start to melt or it may gain condensation under refrigeration. Many bakers address the dryness of fondant by adding a layer of buttercream underneath the fondant layer—basically, a little thought and preparation goes a long way!

As far as taste goes, popular opinion says that buttercream is tops (like its name suggests, buttercream is an irresistible blend of butter, confectioners sugar, milk, and flavoring); however, new flavors of fondants, like marshmallow and white chocolate, are giving buttercream a run for it’s money. And even though the buttercream may taste better, it is harder to get that porcelain look. But don’t let that stop you! A good baker is able make buttercream as smooth as fondant. And, of course, if you don’t like the porcelain sheen to begin with, go for buttercream! Buttercream can be piped, swirled, set in waves, or piled up for rustic, organic perfection.

Of course, icing isn’t the only factor in the cost of your cake: behind all the icing, there’s a lot of labor and love that comes with it’s own dues. If you’re trying to cut costs, think about how ornate you want your cake to be: sugared flowers are beautiful (and edible!), but real flowers have their own distinct integrity and style…at a better cost. And who is forming those handmade flowers? A celebrity chef is going to be more expensive than your local (and equally as talented!) baker.

When should you start making the cake-styling decisions? Later, not sooner. As you start planning your wedding, you could get caught up with the cake before you even know the theme and tone of the event! The cake is often in direct conversation with your décor, your color scheme, or even your dress; it’s important to wait until you know the bigger details. Go ahead and decide on your baker, the kind of cake or filling…but leave the outer layer until last. Having a cake at your wedding is as much about eating it and the theme of celebration, as it is about having all those final ta-da’s that make your wedding the real deal. Some couples even decide to have a small, display cake (the one they cut and eat before friends, family, and photographer) and a less-expensive sheet cake (kept in the back) for the masses to enjoy! The real cake, small or big, should be out and on display–not carted out from the back–like the focal point it is!

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Maggie Austin created sugar flowers on this tiered wedding cake.

Keswick Hall

Displaying the wedding cake on a beautiful linen and in a visible area allows your guests to enjoy the cake before it is cut and served.

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Kathy, from Favorite Cakes, recreated the motif used on the printed materials to the wedding cake!

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Anita from Maliha Creations used fresh flowers on this couples wedding cake. Ask your florist if they will provide flowers for your wedding cake, and make sure they have not sprayed the flowers with pesticides!

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One of our brides loved the lace detailing in her wedding dress and she wished to have this pattern translated onto her wedding cake. Sylvia Weinstock’s creative design helped bring all of the details together!

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Maggie Austin incorporated colors into her cake that were used in the decor of the wedding. Tones of orange and red were interspersed throughout the event in the form of pillows, draping, and even lighting.

Image 1 courtesy of Jen Fariello and cake by The Clifton Inn, Image 2 and 3 courtesy of Eric Kelley and cake by Maggie Austin, Image 4 and 5 courtesy of Patrica Lyons and cake by Sylvia Weinstock, Image 6 and 7 courtesy of Paul Morse and cake by Favorite Cakes,Image 8 and 9 courtesy of Patricia Lyons and cake by Maliha Creations, Image 10 and 11 courtesy of Patrica Lyons and cake by Maggie Austin, Image 12 and 13 courtesy of Patrica Lyons and cake by Sylvia Weinstock.

Forget Me Not Friday: You’re engaged! What’s next?

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Congratulations to all of the newly engaged! You’re getting married! We are here to let you know that the big day doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep your thoughts straight, your wedding vision in mind, and follow your initial instinct. First things first: take some time to clear your mind and focus on your dream day… the colors, the sounds, the smells, the people, the food. What are your priorities? What mood do you want to set? Perhaps it’s a large affair or more intimate. Are you leaning towards sparkles or burlap? Limit this list to several sentences and refer back to this constantly throughout the planning process. Brides tend to loose focus as they meet with their vendors and spend time looking through wedding blogs and magazines.

The next step is securing your vendors. These include: the venue, your coordinator, your photographer and videographer, your DJ or band, your caterer, your florist, and booking the rental company. Once these are booked and contracts are signed you can begin focusing on the details. Each vendor can offer specific advice and experience to help guide you through major decisions. Your florist will introduce elements of design and color options, your band will help you with audio and lighting decisions. The wedding coordinator will take your hand and make sure you are staying on track throughout the whole process.

The key is to stay calm. Do a bit everyday. By staying on top of your tasks at hand you can eliminate stress. The planning process is supposed to be fun and exciting and we are here to help!

Image 1 courtesy of Lynne Brubaker, Image 3-8 courtesy of Jen Fariello, Image 9 and 10 courtesy of Holland Photo Arts.

Forget Me Not Friday: Signing Contracts

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Contracts, Contracts, Contracts!

You’ve found the perfect photographer, a swinging band, and a florist whose arrangements make you swoon.  You may think you’ve got every detail for your dream day all buttoned up, but you’re not quite there! Do you have a signed contract?

Even though you may have discussed your details multiple times over the phone or via email, be sure to get a signed contract from each of your vendors. Typically, a vendor will ask for your signature first, and will return a countersigned contract to you to hold the date.  If your vendor has not returned the countersigned contract, don’t hesitate to ask for it two or three times if necessary. Remember: No matter how gorgeous the florals are, nothing really counts until you have received back  a counter-signed contract binding you and your vendor.

Image 1, Images 2 and 3.

Forget Me Not Friday: Your Budget

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One of the most important steps in planning your perfect wedding is determining the budget.   Once you have taken special care to establish the amount you are able to spend, making decisions about other key details will become much easier.  Here are a few of our tips for planning a budget.

1. Assess the total wedding fund.  One of your first steps in planning will be to decide the amount of money available to devote to your wedding events.  Discuss with your families how much each of them will contribute to the celebration.  We see more and more that parents of the bride, parents of the groom, and the bride and groom themselves collectively contribute to the wedding budget.

2. Determine guest list.  Once you establish your “do not exceed” number, it is time to create a budget to determine how many guests you will be able to invite.  Often, we meet with a bride and groom who have created a much larger guest list than they can actually afford to host.  It is difficult to cut down your invitations, but it is a necessary step in throwing the wedding that will best serve the guests in attendance.

3. Determine major costs.  To create your budget, start by contacting a few wedding venues to get an idea of the average food & beverage costs, including tax and gratuity.  The food & beverage expense will typically comprise 40% to 50% of your overall budget.  Ask the venue for a sample breakdown of an all-inclusive proposal of a typical wedding held at their site in the last six months or so.  Some venues will charge only a venue access fee and you will then need to meet with a couple of caterers to get separate estimates on food & beverage.

4. Assign budget values to other wedding priorities.  Search for sample wedding budgets and use these as a guide to get ballpark figures on other anticipated costs beyond your venue fees.  Determine what parts of your wedding are most significant to you and allocate a larger percentage of your budget there.  For instance, if photography is of utmost importance to you and your family, then perhaps you can cut down on your florals budget in order to book the more expensive photographer.

The wedding budget is always a hot topic in wedding planning, so stay tuned for more Easton tips in the future!

All images from real Easton Events weddings!  Image one courtesy of Patricia Lyons, Images 2 & 3 courtesy of Lucy O Photo, Images 4 & 5 courtesy of Lynne Brubaker