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BUDGET: When planning your budget, keep in mind that over 50% will go toward your food and beverage, therefore it is very important that you keep tight reins on the number of guests.

After you have completed your Guest List, make a list of everything you want at your wedding and reception, down to the tiniest detail. Put these in their categories (Gowns, Flowers, Music, Photography, Favors, Accessories, Cake, Tuxedos, Video, Ceremony Soloist, Organ, Reception Music, Limousine, etc.). Next put an "estimated cost" figure next to each category. Now make a list of retailers in each category to contact, either by phone or appointment, to determine "actual cost". This is where you go from Fantasy to Reality.

The total figure is usually astounding, but you can cut costs in many of these areas. Just use common sense, and ASK questions of the retailers. "How can I cut my costs in your category?" "What are my options ?" If they are truly "wedding specialists" and you are honest with them, they will usually help you trim your costs. However, don't expect them to cut their costs too deeply if you are having the reception at the most expensive place in town ! Be realistic...You can't have a "champagne" wedding and use "beer" retailers. You have to come to some compromises, yet still maintain the "atmosphere" you envisioned. Don't despair, it CAN be done.

One of the best ways to handle your budget is to divide it up between the Bride & Groom and both sets of parents. This would be voluntary, of course. The majority of couples are already working and making their own money. Why not volunteer to pay for the Limo or Video ? Also, don't leave out the parents of the Groom. Their son is getting married also. Ask if they would like to hire the band or photographer, or even split the budget. When it comes to asking the parents of the Groom to participate in the budget, it is best if the Groom does the initial inquiry. Let him present the options. They will take it better from their son, than from the Bride or her parents. Just remember to explain...There are TWO people getting married. If they refuse to participate, don't hold hard feelings, just adapt and go from there. Many traditions take longer to bend than others.

Traditionally, the parents of the Bride pay for the majority of the wedding, but there are TWO people getting married, and at least two families represented, so why not share in the expenses ? For a suggested budget list, click on this link Sample Wedding Budget and also look at Who Pays For What ?

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CAKE-CUTTING CEREMONY: When you do the Cake-cutting Ceremony depends on what style of reception you are having. If it is only cake and beverage, you would do the cake-cutting at the beginning of the reception. If you are serving a meal at your reception, use the cake as your dessert, and do it after the main dishes are cleared from the tables. Or, if you prefer, wait an hour after serving the main dessert, then cut the cake.

The most important thing to remember is to cut the BOTTOM tier of the cake. The bride should stand on the grooms left side, place the knife in her right hand. The groom should put his right hand over the bride's hand, and together they cut a small triangular slice of cake. Pose for a picture (looking down at the cake). Place the knife under the slice of cake, lift it and remove it to a plate on the table. Cut the slice of cake into several small pieces. The bride and groom should each pick up a small piece of the cake slice (bride's right hand, groom's left hand) and place it to the slightly opened lips of their spouse (do not shove the piece in their mouth or smear it on their face). Look into each other's eyes, pose for a picture, let them eat the small piece of cake, and then kiss each other for another picture.

The next most important objective to remember when cutting the cake is NO FOOD FIGHTS. There are several common sense reasons for this. First the icing will ruin the bride's make-up for the remainder of the reception, it will also remain in any facial hair the groom might have, and lastly and most importantly, it will begin your married life on a very bad tone. The cake-smearing antic has ended more marriages before they could begin, and caused eternal family fights. Don't humiliate and embarrass the person you just the food fights for later during the more relaxed wedding night activities. Just remember, you are BOTH in the main spotlight on your wedding day. Everyone sees everything you do. Try to treat each other lovingly and romantically as much as possible. This is a celebration of your love for each other, not America's Funniest Home Videos, even though some parts may qualify. Any hard feelings that begin at the wedding, may last throughout the marriage. Try to be thoughtful and considerate of each other, and overlook any faults that day. You are BOTH under a lot of stress.

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The Processional is the entrance of the Wedding Party, Officiant, Groom, and Bride and her Father/Escort. In a Christian, or Civil, Ceremony, the Bride's Attendants are on the left side of the Ceremony area, and the Groom's Attendants are on the right side. For a Jewish wedding, it is reversed. Also, the Processional order is different in a Jewish wedding. Please ask your Rabbi.

Everyone in the Processional should do a slow, natural walk, right foot first. Each attendant, or couple, does not start walking the aisle until the one in front of them has almost reached the altar area, to allow for pictures.
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
(Begin with the ones who will be the farthest from the Officiant, and build in to the center. In most cases the Groomsmen will enter with the Officiant, Groom and Best Man)
Maid/Matron of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
(Be sure to have the parents of the children seated on the aisle-side of the second or third row, opposite where their child will be standing.)
Bride and Father or Escort

(quicker natural walk, following about 6 feet behind couple in front of them)
Bride and Groom
(The Bride and Groom walk the aisle alone. No one starts walking until they have reached the end of the aisle.)
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
(Do not start them until after Bride and Groom have reached the other end of the aisle)
Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Parents of the Bride
Parents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Grandparents of the Groom
Other Guests

This is done before the wedding party enters, and is different for Christian, Jewish, and other ethnic backgrounds, but you can use it as a guideline. This usually begins about five minutes before the Processional.
Honor Seating: (Ladies escorted by Groomsmen or Ushers)
Grandparents of the Groom (2nd row right side)
Grandparents of the Bride (2nd row left side)
Parents of the Groom (1st row right side)
Mother of the Bride (1st row left side)

Please Note: if the parents of the Bride, or Groom, are divorced, the "Mother" of the Bride, or the "Mother" of the Groom, sits on the first row, with the Father on the second row.

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