The Traditional Breakdown of Whose Family Pays for What

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By Lauren Frankfort

 The line of who pays for what for weddings these days is definitely blurred. But, if you or your parents want to stick to tradition (or just want to know the way it used to go for reference) there are very strict delineations for who should pay for what. Here, our etiquette experts outline exactly who should front what bill, according to age-old customs. Please keep in mind, though, that this all depends on your particular financial and family situation.

Traditionally, the bride’s family foots majority of the bill. Of course, this rarely applies these days, but it’s interesting to note all of the costs that the bride and her family were once held responsible for. They include obvious things like the wedding dress and accessories and the bride’s gifts to her bridesmaid and groom. A lot of big-ticket items fall on that list too like the wedding planner or coordinator, invitations and all its corresponding stationery, majority of the flowers, total reception costs, all photography and videography expenses, the groom’s wedding ring, music for the church and the reception, any rentals, the bridesmaid’s luncheon, accommodation for all bridesmaids, and, lastly, all transportation needed for the big day. 

As for the groom and his family’s traditional expenses, they’re a bit less of a burden. Costs include the bride’s engagement ring and wedding rings, the groom’s attire, the groom’s gift to his groomsmen and if wants their attire too, his gift to the bride, all of the boutonnieres and corsage for appropriate wedding party and family members, the officiant’s fee plus accommodation and transportation if they need to travel to the wedding, the marriage license, rehearsal dinner costs, lodging for the groomsmen, and transportation and lodging for the groom’s family and groomsmen.

7 Tools That Will Save You 5+ Hours Each Week

By Heidi Thompson

Most of the time, when people say they’re too busy, they’re just not organizing their tasks properly. I hear people tell me all the time how hard it is to keep up with their email or social media or about a million other things, but it’s not if you use the right tools and approach it strategically. There are lots of tools that will help you make the most of your time but these 7 tools easily save me 5 hours per week at the very least. That’s a bare minimum of 20 hours per month or 240 hours per year. Imagine what you could do with that kind of time!

 

Unroll.me

I subscribe to a lot of emails and I love reading them but they can be distracting. Unroll.me has allowed me to create an actual system for going through all of the great emails I get. Every afternoon, Unroll.me sends me a digest of the emails I got in the form on 1 single email. That allows me to take 30 minutes to go through it all at once at a time that works for me. If you use Google Apps to host your email, check out Unroll.me here.

 

Buffer

Social media can be a huge time-suck for people and it’s easy to get lost in it. That’s why I knew I had to figure out a way to scale back the amount of time I spent on social media while still sharing great content. I had been using Hootsuite to schedule posts but it’s not the easiest way to schedule them so that didn’t stick. I came across Buffer and it has totally changed the way I use social media. It let’s me schedule posts to my Twitter account, Facebook page, Google+ profile and LinkedIn profile with the click of a button. Now I only spend about 30 minutes each week scheduling my social media posts.

 

Google Calendar

In order to make sure I get everything done, I use Google Calendar to manage my schedule. I actually make appointments with myself and treat them as appointments with other people. Let me explain. If I know I need to write 3 blog posts this week, I’ll put a 2 hour appointment in my calendar. Now I’m not meeting with anyone but if I schedule it, I know I’ll do it. Also, I’m horrible in the morning so if I don’t have my day planned out the night before, I’ll just be totally lost until about noon. When I start my day, I can see exactly what I need to do and when so I don’t have to waste any time figuring that out.

 

ScheduleOnce

Do you find yourself going back and forth with people trying to decide when to meet? ScheduleOnce lets you make your calendar available to whoever you give the link to. They can choose a few times for you to approve which elimates the back and forth emails trying to choose a time.

 

iDoneThis

iDoneThis keeps me accountable and reminds me just how much I have accomplished. At the end of the day I get an email from iDoneThis asking me what I got done today. It connects to Google Calendar which keeps me accountable to the appointments I’ve made there. When I feel like I’m not getting anywhere and I’m just spinning my wheels, I can refer to iDoneThis and see all the things I’ve actually done. If you have an assistant or a team, they can report what they accomplished too.

 

SelfControl (Mac only) or Freedom

When you don’t have self-control, these apps force you to. Both of these apps will block out distractions (like Facebook, email, whatever you choose) for a set amount of time and they will not allow you to access them until that time is up. No more getting sucked into Facebook or watching cat videos and wondering where all the time went!

Trello

Trello is a great tool that allows you to see everything that you need to do, are working on and have done already at a glance. It’s incredibly flexible and works like a digital whiteboard. Creating a board for each wedding you’re working on could be a great way to stay on track

You’re Engaged! Now What? The 12 Things You Need to Do Right After You Get the Ring

by Lexi Petronis

Call Your Relatives (Even the Ones You Never Really Talk to)

Engagement DOs and DON’Ts start almost the second you say yes. Your first task? Sharing the exciting news with the world. And how easy would it be to do so in 140 characters or fewer or with a quick status update? No matter how tempting, it’s an engagement no-no to not pick up the phone and call your family members and friends. All of them. No one likes to be the last to know—and getting the news via mass e-mail, Twitter update or Facebook is especially rotten. So set aside a few hours and plow through your phone book (you can enlist your mom, sister, aunt or another family representative to help you out).

Get Your Ring Sized

Your stunning sparkler is perfect in every way, except for the wiggle room (or maybe it’s a little tight and turning your fingertip a not-so-Tiffany-blue). Get it resized ASAP—after all, you’ll be showing it to everyone and the last thing you want is to lose the thing an hour after you get it. The process can take just a few hours or, at most, a few days.

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Get Your Ring Insured

Nothing can replace the sentimental value of your ring, but if something happens to it, at least you can get your (or his) money back. If you have home owner’s or renter’s insurance, call to add the ring to your policy. You may need an official appraisal before you can officially add the ring, so call the insurance broker to see what paperwork is required. If you don’t already have renter’s insurance, it can be cheaper to buy it (you should have it anyway) and then add the ring. Your broker will be able to help you find the right option.

Set a Date—Even If It’s Not the Date

After “congratulations” and “let me see your ring,” here’s the first thing people will ask: “When’s the wedding?” It’ll save you lots of headaches if the two of you come up with a vague-yet-specific answer, like “We’re shooting for early 2011” or “We like the idea of next fall.” People appreciate feeling like they’re in the loop, and they’ll also put the event into their mental datebooks. Plus, it’ll give you and your guy a little direction as you start planning.

Create a Wedding Blog

Now that you’ve told everyone the good news (on the phone, missy—see step No. 1), set up a wedding site or blog to keep everyone apprised of your nuptial news. Post photos, write your “how we met” story, have a guestbook—make it as personal and interactive as you want. Get the bare bones up first; later on, you can get fancy with wedding details, hotel advice, maps, quizzes, daily thoughts and whatever other wedding whimsies you want to share. Send it around to those who ask, but be prepared for the fact that your mom and your BFF may be the only ones who want to read it.  

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Daydream (a Lot)

Get a bunch of wedding magazines, watch Father of the Bride for feel-good tears, look at maps for honeymoon ideas, blog-stalk engagement sites and Glamour Weddings. Give yourself permission to let your brain turn into its own wedding channel. If you haven’t been planning your wedding since you turned five, that’s OK; now’s a good time to collect ideas that inspire you and to learn what you want—and don’t want—in your wedding.

Plan a Night Out With Just Your Fiancé

Until the celebrations and parties and wedding are finally over, there’s not going to be much “just the two of you” moments. Get in some good face time with each other now—and make it a point not to talk wedding details. Yes, there’s a ton to do, but for now, it’s perfectly OK to hit the town and celebrate—just you and him.

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Get a Wedding Planner

No, not a wedding planner person—at least not yet. Get an iPhone app, a datebook, a calendar or some other kind of keep-organized device to help you create a timeline for major wedding-related tasks. While you’re at it, pick up a wedding-planning binder to keep all those inspirational ideas you found in step 6.

Think About Whether You Want a Wedding Coordinator or Want to Go It Alone

Review the elements of your wedding that’ll take a little planning—negotiating with bakers and caterers for the best prices, finding the ideal venue, organizing party favors—and figure out if those are tasks you want to tackle alone or if you’d rather hire a wedding planner (stress reduction and a little time-saving sounds nice, right?). Keep in mind that a wedding coordinator will cost extra money, so make sure the option fits into your budget before you give it serious consideration.

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Start a Wedding Savings Account

Remember that even a simple, small wedding costs money (and sometimes a lot more money than you would ever imagine). A wedding savings account is an easy way to keep cash accumulating for the big day, so you don’t have to rely on plastic to bear the brunt later on. Open a basic savings account at any bank—or look online for higher-interest accounts at sites like ally.com and etrade.com—then deposit a set amount every paycheck that’ll go toward wedding-related expenses only.

 

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Ask Your Parents (and His) for Their Ideal Guest Lists

Before you start putting a number on how many guests you want, it’s time to ask both your parents about whom they’d most want to invite. Be sure to tell them this is just a preliminary list and things might change—it’s on paper, not set in stone. After you have their “dream” lists, you can add and edit and trim. Helpful hint: Ask them to help prioritize their wish list by breaking it into tiers—it’ll help you make cuts later on.

Chill Out and Have Fun!

Take time to relax—get a massage, sleep in when you can. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event purely about you and your fiancé. You are allowed to enjoy it!