Wedding Preparation That Help When It Comes To Wedding Planning

Your to-do list gets easier when you look at the big picture first.

2015 Minnesota Wedding Stats

• 32,794: Number of weddings

• 27-29 years: Median age of couple

• $8,853: Average cost of engagement ring

• $29,000: Average cost of a wedding

If you’re getting married in 2017, congratulations! You’ve probably already bought the engagement ring and booked the venue. You may have decided upon a guest list and registered for gifts. While a million different websites (and, no doubt, relatives) will tell you what else you need to plan, we’ve decided to go out on a limb and offer a few ideas for early wedding preparation that you may not get elsewhere. Not so much a to-do list as a to-consider list. With a little forethought, you can save money, time and energy. What’s more, you’ll likely ensure a wedding distinctly your own.

Workshop Your Waltz…

…and your fox trot, your tango, your west coast swing, your night club two-step and more at Carol Brecht-Wiles Wedding Dance Workshop, offered regularly through Osseo Community Education. “Make learning how to dance part of your wedding preparation,” says Brecht-Wiles, adding, “It’s often not the flowers or the linens guests recall from a wedding reception, but the bride and groom’s first dance.” Think you’re hopeless? Consider Brecht-Wiles’s business tagline: “I can make two left feet…right.” She also provides private lessons during which, among other dance objectives, she can choreograph a wedding reception entrance or exit to any tune provided. Finally, take heed of an expert dance instructor’s advice: “It’s more than dancing. It’s partnership and communication.”

Sparkling Smiles

About those photos: Now may be the time to get your teeth whitened. If you’ve put it off due to expense or worry about increased sensitivity, check this out: Ryan Francis, dentist at Grove Health Dental, offers free whitening for life for all new patients. You read that correctly. Tell them you’re a new patient who’d like to take advantage of the free whitening for life offer. Options include professional strength whitening strips, custom whitening trays, three different types of whitening solutions and the option of a desensitizing gel. “We’re the place to go for whitening,” Francis says.

User-friendly Photography

Photographer Tracy Walsh says, “There are a billion photographers to choose from. I recommend hiring someone whose work you love and that you could see hanging out with all day,” which you will. Walsh has seven years’ experience in wedding photography, which has led to a very practical wedding day philosophy: “Assume and embrace the idea that it will rain, then when it does, you’re all set; and if it doesn’t, just think how happy you will be! Marriage can be like that,” she muses. One of Walsh’s out-of-the box suggestions: Consider scheduling a bridal photo shoot after your wedding day. “Get all dolled up again and [you and your husband] have a fun photo shoot at a place you love, doing something fun together, stress free.” And another: Why stop at the wedding? Walsh loves the idea of maintaining a life-long relationship with the bride and groom and following up wedding photos with pregnancy photos and infant and family portraits throughout the years.

Gifts For Your Gals

What could possibly be a better gift for the women you’ve chosen to stand with you on your big day than tailored, handmade jewelry, personalized for each gal? Kristy Highness graduated from Wayzata High School in 2005 and got her start in jewelry-making at The Studio at Rush Creek, which she and her mother ran until it closed several years ago. “Now I live and create abroad,” Highness says, “but half my heart is in Minnesota.” Her bridesmaids heart rings have been a long-time favorite of brides. Another option is the Mrs. necklace “which also can be made with bridesmaids’ names, ‘love,’ or any word, because I hand saw the words,” says Highness. Make your job easier (and customized) with these great ideas.

A Perfect Place for Family

Sometimes easiest is best, especially in the hustle and bustle, never mind the jitters, of pre-wedding day family gatherings. Why not host your rehearsal dinner right here in Maple Grove, just minutes off I-94? El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant is clean, brightly decorated and managed with pride for the last eight years by Jose Rojas. A moderately private area for parties is located in one corner of the restaurant and it seats 45 to 50. “We have a lot of deals,” Rojas says. You can choose a buffet or offer guests the regular or a limited menu. Favorites are fajitas, burritos and chimichangas. Drink specials are also available.

Who Ya Gonna Call? If you find yourself getting queasy just thinking about flowers and cakes and rain, we’ve got two words for you, and one isn’t “elope.” It’s “wedding planner”. Beatrice Mulawarman of Bee the Buzz Event is a Maple Grove fixture who has already thought about and solved issues you didn’t even know were likely to arise, like:

- Who is going to make sure your venue is cleaned up, including delivering the gifts?
- How will the photographer know who Aunt Tillie is and what family photos you want (or don’t want) her in?
- Do you have time to make all the lovely little hand-made signs you’re imagining, from guest seating to buffet choices to who     pays for what at the bar?

Will you sacrifice your thousand-dollar cake to a butter knife, because no one has remembered to bring a cake knife and server?
“Don’t count on the baker to do it,” Mulawarman says, in a voice ringing with experience. Her lovely, informative website is every bride’s dream. “At Bee The Buzz Event, we will help you not only plan but also design your wedding every step of the way—so that all you’ll hear on your wedding day is ‘This is SO you!’”

Consider Consignment

We know, we know: It’s a wedding, for goodness’ sake! Why cut corners? Take a look at “Minnesota Wedding Statistics for 2015” and you may reconsider. At Bridal Aisle Wedding Consignment, just across Highway 169 in Osseo, Maple Grove resident Annette Hall’s inventory includes decorations (vases, candles, platters, linens), tot-sized suits and dresses for ring bearers and flower girls, and accessories for everyone (shoes, jewelry, headpieces and veils). She sells dresses for bridesmaids and mother-of-the bride, both consigned and made-to-order ($129 to $229). Hall can also assist with tuxedo rentals. And, she has more than 1,000 wedding gowns, most never worn, on site. They are “off the rack” and take-home ready. With prices 40 to 60 percent less than retail and the inherent eco-friendliness of consignment, we challenge you to stop by and take a look. You might even begin imagining a honeymoon upgrade with all the money you’ll save.

(Photo courtesy of Bee the Buzz Event/Adam Kennedy)