So Excited to Appear in Bridal Guide with my Budget Tips for Wedding Catering, Cakes and Drinks!

What a great start to this Monday! First, I received my first copies of my newest book, (which almost spent the night out in the rain after UPS left the box outside without ringing the bell! Whew!) And now, my article “Eat, Drink, Save” is featured in the January, February ’18 issue of Bridal Guide! Check it out, and find a whole pile of realistic, smart and budget-saving steps to get more from your wedding menu, cake and desserts and bar list!

my cover bg bridal-guide-jan-2018

FREE Chapter from my New Book “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies!”

bride's guide to freebies

It’s time for another FREE chapter of one of my wedding books! This time, it’s my newest, “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies,” which is all about getting freebies the RIGHT way, and working WITH your fabulous vendors to score budget-saving items and services for your big day. As I always say, you’v got to hire great wedding vendors. They know where fantastic freebies are and can help you get them!

Chapter 2: What’s Realistic to Ask For

You’ll have far more success in securing freebies if you stick to realistic requests. Wedding experts have to buy everything that’s needed for your wedding, and the time they spend pre-, during- and post-wedding to fulfill your wishes is valuable. So asking for $10,000 in free catering isn’t going to be received very well. Asking the videographer to edit your video for free will make him laugh. Video editing is very time-consuming, often taking dozens of hours more than the time he spent filming your wedding to get just right.

To keep from insulting your vendors, or from looking like you’re completely naïve about how much food, liquor, flowers, fabrics and other items cost, stick with these rules to help improve your odds of getting a Yes when you ask for a freebie:

  • Ask what a vendor already has. As you’ll read in upcoming chapters, some vendors have storerooms  full of glass vases, pedestal centerpiece bowls, candelabras, linens and other items that were left over from prior weddings or not used because prior weddings were canceled. If you ask to see their stock, you might be able to have those pretty bowls or linens used in your wedding décor for free.
  • Ask for low-time items.   The reason a wedding cake is so expensive is that it takes the cake baker many hours to pipe on frosting in lace designs or make 200 sugar paste daisies to decorate it with. If you ask for an element that comes without a ton of labor, your freebie odds increase. “I had a bride who asked for thirty short-cut ranunculus centerpieces, and since they take a few seconds to make, I threw in half for free,” says one grateful-for-the-easy-task floral designer.
  • Limit your freebie-ask to one thing, such as an extra cocktail party station or an extra dessert, not an entire class of free things like an entire dessert bar. Managers are far more likely to reward your modest request with that one station you asked for.
  • Be open to non-identical things. A vendor may have, or may be able to get, small collections of coordinating chargers or table runners, and can mix and match in your reception space to great effect.
  • Ask for local things. If a vendor can pop to a local store to buy all the settings you need, she may give you a freebie because you haven’t required her to drive two states away, or organize a difficult order from overseas with customs hassles.
  • Ask for what’s in-season and plentiful. If your caterer can get bushels of seasonal apples from a local farm for next to nothing, she may throw in extra desserts or a hot cider bar. Visit LocalHarvest.org to see what’s in-season in your area during the time of your wedding as pre-research.
  • Ask for a style upgrade. I spoke with Marni Gold, from CreativeCustomCardBoxes.com about her  decorative card boxes that guests pop those gift envelopes into, and she said that when a bride orders a two-layer box, she happily adds on an extra decorated layer to a great design of card box to make a great impression.

What’s not realistic to ask for:

  • Food, flowers and other large-volume supplies that are the foundation of the day and come to the vendor at a sizeable price. That would be too much to ask them to pay for.
  • Free labor by their assistants. It’s not their job to iron your 50 tablecloths for free, nor is it fair to ask them to work your wedding day without fair wages. That’s actually illegal.
  • Free labor by other workers, like bartenders and valet workers.
  • Free shipping or delivery.  Fuel is expensive, as is the pay for delivery workers and set-up crews, so don’t ask for this one to be thrown in. (If it’s offered to you, great!)
  • A greater-value item than  one you’re replacing. If the florist calls to say peonies aren’t  available, so you’ll have to choose another type of bloom, don’t expect free orchids and tropical plants as the replacement.
  • Anything that YOU wouldn’t want to do for free!

More time that the vendor can comfortably spend on your wedding. This is important. When you book a coordinator, he or she gauges the scope of your wedding, how much work will go into your plans, and then how many other weddings he or she can book for that same time. If you start expanding your plans and being the Headache Client, you’re not likely to get freebies.

Get it at Barnes and Noble in paperback or NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-brides-guide-to-freebies-sharon-naylor/1111267553?ean=9780762780013

Get it at Amazon in paperback or Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Brides-Guide-Freebies-Enhancing/dp/0762780010/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367504654&sr=8-1&keywords=bride%27s+guide+to+freebies

Wedding Guest Dress Pick: Ann Taylor Trendy Peplum Dresses

ann taylor peplum dress 1

Choosing the best wedding dress as a wedding guest can be a challenge with all of those wedding dress code terms, like ‘outdoor chic’ and ‘beach stylish,’ even ‘semi-formal afternoon’ or no dress code mentioned at all but simply the time of the wedding — leaving you wondering what to wear. I’ve found a super-stylish collection of perfect wedding guest dresses that fit into just about every wedding dress code except for the most ultra-formal. And since I love Ann Taylor so much, choosing Ann Taylor dresses for my own bridesmaids, it’s not a surprise to me that they’d have such fantastic dress choices for your wedding dress-ups. I’d get them in every color, and you’re set for every spring, summer, fall and winter wedding this year! Add in www.retailmenot.com discounts and Ann Taylor’s own fantastic sales and frequent shopper discounts, plus Ebates.com money back, and this trio of dresses becomes ultra-affordable!

Here’s what I found:

Ann Taylor Asymmetrical Peplum Dresses

Intricate pintucked detail and an asymmetrical hem takes this have-to-have from sophisticated to simply stunning. Jewel neck. Sleeveless. Asymmetric peplum at waist. Lined bodice; unlined sleeves. 20″ from natural waist.

In Bright Jadeite, seen above, and here is the back view:

ann taylor peplum asymmetrical dress back

Or in Black

ann taylor peplum black

And then there’s the Ann Taylor Peplum Sheath Dress without the whole asymmetrical cut, which evokes more of a ‘flowery’ image. Here it is in In Alpine Sky:

ann taylor peplum dress sheath 1

ann taylor peplum sheath dress back

Vibrant and confident, this curve-defining style flaunts a runway worthy peplum silhouette that pairs perfectly with sky-high heels for the look of the season. Jewel neck. Sleeveless. Scoop back. Hidden back zipper with hook and eye closure. Lined bodice; unlined skirt. 21 1/2″ from natural waist.