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" We turned our dance lessons into a dinner and dancing date! It became a welcomed weekly escape from our hectic wedding planning." Cindy Rich, Newlywed and Assistant Editor of Washingtonian Magazine "

December 2007 Newsletter


Dance Tip: Picking a Song

The music you choose will determine the type of dance that is appropriate. If you are undecided, there are many ways to go about selecting a song. One avenue is your instructor can demonstrate a variety of dance styles and provide a list and samples to listen to in class. Even if you haven't selected a specific song yet, just knowing the general mood and genre of music can enable your instructor to determine the appropriate dance style category while you are still deciding on your actual song. Perhaps you and your fiance share a meaningful memory of a special song. If not, consider whether you want a classic and timeless song, a trendy song or an obscure piece. Whatever you choose, it should be something that you will truly enjoy dancing to on your big day so that your joy shines through. Ideally it would also be a song that you would cherish and enjoy listening to for years to come.


Planning Tip: Save CRAZY $$ on the Reception Site

Last month we discussed how to research and avoid common reception site pitfalls. Another important factor relating to the reception site is the cost. The site will be one of the first few decisions you make in the initial planning stage. The site you choose will have a significant impact on your remaining budget. Here are some "bridal bargain" ideas that can still give you the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank to do it!


  1. Government run sites. There are many historic homes, park and recreation clubhouses around the country that are preserved and made available to the public by the city or the state. Since these venues are non profit and there has to be a viable incentive for the government to take over its care, they tend to be very affordable and often exquisitely lovely locales. This selection may include tables and chairs but you may have to provide everything else a la carte since it will be unlikely that the faciilty will be full service. However, this upside is this leaves a lot of room for creativity on your part and more opportunities to save on vendors since you get to pick them!
  2. Select your own "off site" caterer. You can really save a bundle and have complete control over the variety of food, the quality of the food, the decor of the place settings and the linens if you go this route. Although it is initially more work to research a good catererer because you may have to attend several tastings, it is well worth the effort. Alot of good caterers work by word of mouth so ask the site if they have a preferred list. Your other wedding vendors should know some great caterers to recommend too.
  3. Pick an "off peak" day of the week. Since, Saturday nights are the most popular and expensive times to use most sites, pick any day but Saturday. If you pick a weeknight, just be be sure to make extra allowances in the timeline for traffic. To ensure that you maximize your "off peak" savings, make sure you select vendors who normally works on that night so they don't charge you extra for working on their "day of rest." That way vendors can't negate your reception site savings.
  4. Pick an "off season" month of the year. November through February is the slow season for seasonal areas. It's possible that reception sites have lower prices during these months.
  5. Your house. Depending on the size of your guest list, this option can go from being a simple no brainer to being quite a production. Unless you and the family plan to cook or make all the food arrangements, you will still need a caterer. Also you may need additional rentals for seating, linens, silverware, etc... If you need more room, movers and temporary storage or your furniture and an outside tent rental may be another expense to consider.
  6. Someone else's house. You might be lucky enough to have a friend or relative who owns a large home. They might be able to accomodate your event. Just be clear on what their expectations are in terms of their level of involvement in the preparations.
  7. Your ceremony site. Many houses of worship have attached and very affordable reception halls. 25% of all receptions occur here.
  8. Restaurant banquet rooms. These can often accomodate large crowds and the food may be higher quality than a hotel or catering hall.
  9. Military bases. If you have a friend in the military they can provide you access to a wide range of extremely affordable options at the Officer's Club.
  10. Nearby small towns. People in rural areas get married too. There are often private or public historic homes that are often significantly more affordable than anything you can find in a city or suburb.
  11. Barter. If the bride and groom or any of their family members can negotiate a significant trade of any types of goods or services that the reception site might desire and you can receive a significant discount.
  12. Call it anything but a wedding. This is a little sneaky and risky and you really have to cross your t's and dot your i's to pull this off. If you refer to your event as a "family event", "anniversary," "birthday," "retirement party" or "family reunion" you may be able to save up to 20% on your site expenses. Do a little anonymous homework to find out if the site charges differently for "bridal packages" versus other events and why. The word "wedding" seems to raise prices and generally there should be little to no justification for this. Therefore, one strategy might be to omit the mention that your event is a wedding in writing or verbally until the week prior so that if the site tries to increase the fees they will have to justify and itemize the reasons. Not to mention, it's really too late at that point for them to squabble and you already have a signed contract entitling you to use of the facility for a certain period of time at a certain price.
  13. Business hotels. If you like the convenience of a hotel reception but not the pricetag, consider hotels that cater to business travelers during the week. Weekends are very slow for these hotels so they may be able to offer you a great deal. You may even get a special weekend hotel room rate for you and all your out of town guests.
  14. Consider a college. Many colleges and universities have reception facilities, alumni halls and faculty clubs which may often go unused. The college may rent directly to the public without requiring you to have a connection to one of their students, alumni or faculty. But if they do, just send out an email blast to everyone you know asking them if they have any connection to the school to get your foot inside.
  15. Think outside the box. Creative couples have been known to hold receptions in the most unusual places, aquariums, airports, zoos, museums, nature centers, farms, wineries, amusement parks, cruises, you name it. Check out cool and fun local destinations that are used to accomodating tons of visitors daily. Undoubtedly they can provide wedding accomodations.
  16. Write it off! If you select a non profit site you may be able to write off some or all of your rental fee.

One local full service ceremony AND reception site that is very affordable and will involve minimal planning on the part of the couple is The Grand Atrium in Tysons Corner, VA. It is for very modest and simple affairs. The bottom line is it offers a flexible rate between $45-$85 a person for the ENTIRE affair. It is a unique facility in the area in terms of being a stand alone general purpose reception site. Contact them at (703) 698 - 0228. Let them know The Wedding Dance Specialists referred you!


Dance Movie:  White Nights

A dance thriller, in which a passenger jet crashes in the Soviet Union with a famous dancer defector on board. Assigned to coerce him back to the dictatorship is an American expatriate who figured red was better than dead. The defector resists, the dancers dance, and the plot thickens. White Nights stars renowned tap dancer Gregory Hines and exquisite ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. The story mirrors Mr. Baryshnikov's daring 1974 defection from the Soviet Union in Toronto. After years of being restricted in his artistic choices and being followed by the Soviet KGB secret police, he fled in pursuit of freedom.






Date Night

Event: Furia Flamenca's "Expreciones de Danza: Flamenco"
Date: 12/13
Location: Millenium Stage - the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St, NW, Washington, DC
Phone: 202.467.4600
Details: Dance ensemble blends the traditional gypsy and modern flamenco styles of southern Spain
Cost: FREE

Event: Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance
Date: 12/26
Location: Millenium Stage - the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St, NW, Washington, DC
Phone: 202.467.4600
Details: Enjoy a Celtic Christmas as the dance troupe is accompanied by musicians on button accordion, flute, fiddle, guitar and bodhran.
Cost: FREE

Event: Dancing With the Stars
Date: 1/30/08
Location: Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW, Washington, DC
Phone: 202.397.7328
Details: Contestants from the ABC television show perform.


Vendor Special Offer

We pre-screen and negotiate with wedding vendors on your behalf to make your wedding planning easier!

Brian Block - RE/MAX Allegiance Realtor/Attorney, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES, ePRO (licensed in VA and DC)
Now that you are about to merge your life with your fiance, you may be looking to sell or purchase real estate. Click the banner below to leisurely view Northern Virginia Area homes from the comfort of your home. Brian Block is a Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney plus a newlywed, Co-Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and Assistant Instructor for Wedding Dance Practice Sessions. Click on the banner to go to www.BrianBlock.com or call - 703-626-0715
Present this coupon to receive:
1. A FREE Home buyer's Seminar with expert advice from a real estate professional, mortgage lender & settlement co. (value priceless).
2. a FREE HOME APPRAISAL (value $350)
3. 2 FREE private ballroom dance lessons when you use his services for purchasing your home. (value $170)


Dance Bloopers

The head positions of both people are awkward thereby making the dip looked strained, uncoordinated and unconnected. The man appears to be relying on his back muscles rather than his leg muscles to support the woman's weight. This is not safe.


Wedding Etiquette: Out-of-Town Guests

The opportunity to spend time with out of town guests is rare and precious. Therefore, if your budget allows, it is ideal and a popular practice to invite out-of-town guests who are not part of the wedding party to attend the rehearsal dinner. Although the bride and groom are not obligated to do so nor are they expected to plan constant entertainment for out of town guest it is a nice touch to be able to spend extra time with all of these special guests.

What if you can't afford to host anything additional for them?Once your engagement is announced, you will likely be approached by friends and relatives offering to help out in some way. Perhaps a group of them can share the costs of hosting an event or activity. If you are lucky enough to recieve such an offer you could suggest a coctktail party, barbecue, luncheon or postwedding brunch. Make sure to send a thank you gift or flowers to the party hosts, in addition to your words of appreciation.

If hosting assistance isn't an option you could ask them to help organize or research a fun local outing or planned activity and make reservations for everyone to eat together at a nearby restaurant. You should provide the organizers with the contact lists so they can send invitations.

You are still the guests of honor at all of these events and your attendance is expected. The organizers of these activities will feel most appreciated if they see that you are relaxed while attending all of these events and your guests who love you enough to traverse the miles to see you will feel valued.

 

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