choosing a caterer…yum!

16th March, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Choosing a caterer is one of the most important parts of planning your reception– it will probably be the most money spent on your wedding day so it’s important that you’re please all around with whom you choose. This is the meal that all of your guests will partake in and it is what connects and entertains your guests all night. Your caterer or catering company will be responsible for so much more than just putting a plate in front of your guests– it is here that you’ll most likely book your china, linens, hire your servers, and compile your beverage menu. With all of these tasks under one vendor, it’s someone you should be very happy with.

I attended my second wedding menu tasting last week because while I had a great first tasting with another caterer, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the service, all they had to offer, and the pricepoint. I was more than pleased in attending my second tasting and my fiancee and I will be going with this particular vendor.

Here are some questions to ask your caterer before attending your menu tasting:

1. Have they catered a wedding at the reception venue you chose?

2. What is included in their catering quote ?

3. Are they willing to include all rentals and menu choices for a certain price point?

4. How are dietary concerns met? Allergies, low fat, diabetics, etc.

5. What is the timeline from the arrival of the caterer to serving?

6. What serving options are available– i.e. buffet, plated, family style, etc.

7. Are the willing to create a menu on your specific choices, family recipes, cultural desires, etc?


Happy Tasting!

A Mediterranean menu tasting for my upcoming wedding!

cake time…sweet decisions.

15th March, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Last week I finally got to attend my first cake tasting. I’ve emailed various bakers back and forth, had a couple phone conferences and exchanged business cards with a few bakeries at bridal shows. With so many different vendors to pick from, it’s hard to hone in on just one! Here’s some tips when choosing your baker:


1.Price. Know your cake budget before going into the meeting– find out the price difference between fondant and buttercream, edible flowers and decorations, and cake vs. cupcakes, etc. What are you willing to spend, and what can you do without?

2. Cleanliness. It’s important to see the facility of a bakery– I encourage you to go to the actual location of where the cakes are made so you can get a good idea of how clean and neat this particular baker is.

3. Reputation. It’s a wise idea to go with a baker that has built a reputation with other brides in the area. Ask to see previous wedding cakes and cupcakes, ask to be referred to their review Facebook page or feedback, know your baker and how they operate their business before you sign any contract or put down a deposit.

4. Ask Questions. You are paying your baker to give you what on your special day– so make sure that they are professional, give you what you’re looking for and will be able to create and deliver it within the time frame you need. Regardless if it’s just a matter of wanting a different shape flower, a different colored ribbon, or a food allergy– speak up and ask questions, give specifics of what you’re looking for.


Two of my possible cupcake designs from my chosen baker here in Grand Rapids.

the frugal bride….

11th October, 2011 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Planning a wedding isn’t easy—it’s time consuming, expensive, and sometimes overwhelming.

There are ways to cut corners in your wedding planning without loosing the classiness or quality of the wedding you’re trying to create. It is possible to plan a fun, affordable, and dare I say it, EASY wedding without it looking like a hot mess:

1. Ceremony:  Many modern day brides are having more intimate and tinier ceremonies, then hosting a large wedding reception the day of or at a later date. This creates more of a private and intimate ambience, saves money on the ceremony location due to a smaller amount of guests.  This way the happy couple can say their vows, have close friends and family present but also allow it to be a private and quieter moment.

2. Connections: If you have friends in different avenues of the wedding business (bakeries, DJ services, catering, bartending, etc) then don’t be shy about asking for some help as you book your services! If they’re able to get you discounted rates on many services, then why not use their connections? If your friend is a bartender…ask them to make your guests drinks! Have a friend that DJs downtown? Have him spin tunes at your reception! Is your friend’s mom a culinary genius? Ask her to cater the wedding!  Your friends love you and want to help, just ask—it’ll save you $$ and they’ll be happy to help.

3.  Location:  While a traditional wedding and reception maybe held in a church and then a reception hall, you can save time and money by altering your dream wedding location.  Consider an alternative location…your favorite park,  the alumni house at your old university, or your parent’s large and spacious backyard. It’s amazing how any location can be transformed to the scene and vision you would like it to be, and doesn’t need to be limited to the traditional church or reception hall scene.

4.  Time: Have your heart set on a 3 pm ceremony and 5 pm dinner? You may be able to save quite a bit of money if you hold your ceremony and/or reception just an hour or two earlier than you originally wanted. Be sure to also compare prices when renting reception venues. Note the difference in room rental prices on 4 hour reception vs. a 6 hour reception, the price differences can be in the HUNDREDS. 

5.  Secondhand: Many people turn up their nose at the idea of secondhand items for their wedding, or anything for that matter. Don’t chalk it off quite yet, websites like and are extremely popular sites with different categories of once-used items from past brides weddings. You can purchase centerpieces, lights, lanterns, tulle, even bridesmaid and wedding dresses all secondhand and all used—ONCE. Save up to 90% on all things wedding in excellent to mint condition.

Keep track of your budget with our free budget planner at!

two easy D.I.Y. centerpieces…

8th September, 2011 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Last year in 2010, we were stunned with the shocking figure that the average wedding costs $26,000. If we put this into perspective, we can see that a figure like this is the same amount as a new car, a down payment on a car, your accumulated student loans, or even one’s annual salary.  While not every engaged couple and their families are spending this amount, it does bring a good question to the table…how can we cut costs in our wedding planning?

Three Letters for you: D.I.Y.

 “Do it yourself! “

This is a coined phrase used everywhere, and very popular in the wedding planning process. Brides everywhere are looking to cut corners in their spending, one DIY project at a time. There are several ways to save money as you plan your wedding with DIY projects; today we will focus on two DYI centerpieces ideas, each costing you under $20 per table.  


Many brides choose to use floral arrangements for their centerpieces on their reception tables.  Long stemmed flowers in tall vases, or short and bountiful bouquets, many use this is a the focal point for your table. While this is a beautiful and classic means of decorating your guests tables, it can get costly. One can still use flowers on tables, but perhaps in a minimal fashion. A great idea is to purchase shorter, wider fishbowls and fill with glass stones that are the colors of your wedding theme. Place floating candles in the fishbowl full of water, and gentle lay the tops of the flowers of your choosing to create a dainty and elegant centerpiece.  This still incorporates your flowers into the centerpiece while saving a ton of money.

Take your centerpiece to a personal level by letting each table tell the story  of how you and your fiancée met. Pick a photo for each table of you and your fiancée, a different photo for each table. Let the setting, location, and time period in the photo set the theme for the table itself. Example:  a photo of you and your groom-to-be in college and your freshman dorm days. Collect your college color memorabilia, old football ticket stubs, or a textbook to be set in the center of that table—speaking to your college days together. Did you take a tropical vacation with your fiancée you want your guests to re-live? Place a photo of you two at the beach, with some sand, shells,  coconuts and some tropical looking flowers scattered across the table. The ideas for photo-themed centerpieces are endless and easy to do, just depends on the photo and the memory you want to capture.


Looking for traditional centerpieces but still counting pennies? Purchase those items secondhand! Only used once and up to 90% off the usual price. Head over to and for decorations and centerpiece items of all colors and themes.