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8 Ways to Minimize Wedding Planning Sticker Shock

January 27, 2015

A Stack of Credit Cards

If you are planning a wedding for the first time, you are guaranteed to experience a little sticker shock when booking wedding services. Here are eight steps you can take to help you minimize some of that shock.

1. Research. Before you can set a realistic wedding budget, you need to understand what the average costs are for each vendor type in your area. Do your research and get as much detail as possible (vendor portfolios, referrals, fees, etc.).

2. Set a Realistic Wedding Budget. Use your research to determine the budget of your expected wedding expenses. It is important to include the fees, taxes, service charges, the cost of alterations, vendor meals, gratuities, and an emergency fund. You can download our budget outline template to get you started.

3. Determine your “must haves” vs. your “nice to haves.” Before you open your wallet, know that you don’t have to purchase every “up-sell” a wedding vendor offers you. Of course, the “options” are nice to have, but they are typically far from necessary.

4. Consider last year’s designs. Consider purchasing a wedding gown from last year’s collection or purchase a wedding gown at a consignment shop. You will have a gorgeous gown, but you won’t pay nearly as much.

5. Try to negotiate a less expensive fee. Ask potential wedding vendors and venues if there is any way for them to meet your budget. Lowering their fee may not be a feasible option for some of your wedding vendors, but you never know!

6. Read your contracts closely BEFORE you sign them. Before you sign a contract for a wedding product/service, read the contract carefully, ask plenty of questions, and request to have an itemized price list included with the contract. You don’t want the fine print to “cost you” later.

7. Be flexible when choosing your wedding date. Are you planning to get married on a Thursday evening or a Sunday afternoon?  If so, inquire about discounted fees for weddings held on days other than Saturday.  Or, ask about the less desirable wedding dates on your wedding venue's list. You never know — a less desirable wedding date might not work for others, but it might be a perfect wedding date for you.

8. Be flexible with your payments. Some wedding vendors might provide you with a discount for booking your wedding date more than 12 months before your wedding or you may get a 5% discount for paying the entire bill in in full. Vendors may not mention these price discounts on their web site, but it may be something they are open to offering couples.

And, remember, it never hurts to ask!

Love & Soul Always, Kay


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Skillet Cornbread with Cheddar Cheese

January 25, 2015

Cornbread in a Skillet

Cornbread is one of those food items that I despised as a young girl. I didn’t learn to appreciate a good cornbread until I married Chris Wooten. That’s when I discovered that there was life beyond Jiffy (homemade cornbread wasn’t my mom’s thing).

This cornbread recipe is tasty, quick, and hard to mess up. It goes well with a hearty beef soup.  My mom would have loved it!

Ingredients --

  • 2 to 3 Teaspoons of Bacon Drippings
  • 1½ Cups of Yellow Stone-Ground Cornmeal
  • ¾ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1¾ Cups of Buttermilk (Well Shaken)
  • ½ Stick of Unsalted Butter (Softened)
  • 1 Cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)

Instructions --

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Coat bottom and the inside of a 9 to 10-inch cast iron skillet with the bacon drippings. Heat in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together the dry ingredients. Make sure that you crush any small bits of baking soda.
  4. Whisk the eggs in another bowl until blended, then whisk in the buttermilk. Whisk the hot butter into the buttermilk mixture.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients mixture into the buttermilk mixture just until it is moistened. Then mix in the cheese.
  6. Scrape the batter into the hot skillet and bake until golden for 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Carefully flip the skillet over a heat-resistant surface, and cool the bread for approximately 5 minutes
  8. Serve with butter.


Love & Soul Always, Kay

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Welcome New Team Member, Brittany!

January 23, 2015

Wedding Planner Brittany of Howerton+Wooten Events

The Howerton+Wooten Events team is now a team of four!  Yay!

Please say hi to Brittany!  She is the newest member of the Howerton+Wooten Events wedding team, and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her!

Brittany comes to us as a wedding planning veteran, and she has to be one of the warmest, sweetest people I have ever met!

Brittany's bio will be a part of our “Meet Our Team” page when the new Howerton+Wooten Events web site launches (coming soon!), but you can follow her now on Instagram.

Love & Soul Always, Kay


(Photo: Natarsha Wright Photography)

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Event Planner Secret, Share Decor Costs with Other Couples

January 20, 2015

Save Money by Sharing Expenses with Other Couples

Your wedding decor expenses can increase with every new idea!  So, one way to trim those expenses is to share costs with couples getting married in your venue during your wedding weekend.

It may require a little flexibility, but it may be just what your budget needs to accommodate those chargers or those specialty chairs!

Love & Soul Always, Kay

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