The “W” Word

As we all know there is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. From the florist, bakery, venue, caterer and so much more, it’s easy to get confused with the pricing that each business provides. One easy way that those vendors pull the wool over newly engaged couples is marking up the price of their services just for weddings. There are many reasons this is done, partly because of the added pressure and preparation that goes into servicing a wedding but also just because they can. They know couples will pay extra to have their favorite band play, or have their reception at their dream location. This is known in the Wedding Industry as the “Wedding Tax”.

This is a way to avoid being overcharged for your special day. When calling a venues, florists, or bakeries try avoiding the “w-word” (wedding), that way you will get straightforward quotes on the services you’ll need without the price hike. For instance, when calling a caterer, ask for a dinner catered for 100 guests. It could be for a family reunion or an anniversary party, but I guarantee it’ll be less expensive than if you asked for a catered wedding.

IMG_4869At some point you will need to come clean before signing the contract. If you can get a rough estimate for the services before revealing what it’s actually for, you might be able to negotiate prices when they suddenly hike up the price 25%-50%. This strategy allows you leverage to negotiate the price discussed previously or even a happy medium.

Don’t let the rug get pulled out from underneath you by vendors hiking up their prices!

How to Plan a Baller Wedding on a Budget

Got Strings Musicians have noticed that weddings seem to get more elaborate every year. Apparently we aren’t wrong, because according to Business Insider, the average wedding in America in 2018 costs over $30,000! If your eyes just glazed over at the thought of spending more than your car is worth on a single day, these 4 tips for couples on a budget are for you!

1- Keep it SMALL! There’s no reason to invite everyone you know to your wedding. I’m sure your mom’s third cousin will understand why they didn’t get an invite. This is easy math! The bigger your guest list, the bigger the venue has to be, the more food will be served by the caterer, and the lighter your wallet will feel after all is said and done!

2- Go Thrifting! One of the most costly parts of a wedding is the decor: flowers, centerpieces and theme. Thrifting your decorations from someone else is a great way to save a little dough. So many brides are stuck with their decorations after the wedding are looking to sell them  on sites such as Craigslist and Ebay to get back some of their money. You can also DIY your own decor! Get creative and take a trip to the craft store to load up on materials to make your own decorations such as center pieces, flowers and personalized touches!

3-Skip the Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts. If your wedding budget is tight, the friends in your wedding party will understand you passing over the gift. Instead try writing them each a meaningful letter to show your appreciation.

4- Have your guests help out with your honeymoon! Odds are, you’ve been living on your own and don’t need the pot set Aunt Patty plans on gifting you or the 3 toasters you’ll end up returning. In lieu of gifts set up a HoneyMoon Registry on websites such as Honeyfund or Zola so guests can pitch in for your honeymoon! Wouldn’t you rather swim with dolphins or have a couples massage than stand on line in a big box store with your 3 toasters?

Well, there you have it! There are savings everywhere, you just have to know where to look! Remember, a smaller wedding doesn’t have to mean less elegance or charm. There are just certain things we suggest you don’t splurge on if your hoping to save: like chair coverings or excessive centerpieces. Stick to these tips and you’ll actually have some left over savings for a honeymoon. Happy planning, Brides!


To Look Or Not To Look?


Photo by: Hannah Joy Photos

Being in the wedding industry, I see a lot of fads that come and go with the seasons. I’ve seen short dresses, lace ones, large bouquets, and small ones. Everything from the flavor of the cake to the timing of the bouquet toss changes every season, but one that is getting more and more popular by the year is something called the “First Look.” Originally, I thought this was just a fad, that it would go away like everything else. But now, it seems like every couple is opting to include it in their special day! So, what is it, exactly?

Well, traditionally at a Wedding Ceremony the Groom does not see his Bride until she is walking down the aisle to take his hand in marriage. In the last few years, though, couples have been doing a First Look: when an hour or so before their wedding, the Bride reveals herself to her beau without their friends and family eagerly looking on. The two of them typically have a very intimate moment prior to saying “I do” at this time, and it makes for great pictures. Based on my conversations with a few wedding photographers, the trend seems to have started so photographers snap some photos before the Wedding instead of taking as many during the Cocktail Hour. Which, I have to say, is completely reasonable.

A First Look is truly a beautiful moment between the Bride and Groom, but there’s just one thing missing… We lose the moment everyone loves when we see the Groom’s face as the church doors open and he first lays eyes on his bride! Call my old fashioned, but I kind of miss that exciting moment, although I definitely understand why someone would want to have the First Look beforehand.

So, what about you? To look or not to look?!

5 Bridesmaids gifts on Etsy for under $25

Bridesmaids are one of the most important parts of a bride’s special day. You know your best friends will be by your side through the ups and downs of wedding planning, but asking them to be a part of your BIG day is a BIG deal! To show your appreciation, here’s a list of bridesmaids’ gifts we found on Etsy for under $25 to make your besties happy and keep your wallet from crying!


1. “I Can’t Marry My Mister Without My Sister! Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” Mug

What cuter way to ask your girls to be in your wedding party than with something to hold their favorite caffeinated beverage? Throw some tea bags and a couple of cookies inside, and you’ve got yourself a gift they’ll use forever for under $25!

2. Personalized Initial “Tie the Knot” Bracelet

For $7.99, this bracelet is a total steal. Your BFFs will love the personalized touch and this thoughtful gift won’t break the bank!

3. “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” Candle

Candles are definitely a crowd favorite—helllloooo, that’s why the Got Strings Client Gifts contain them!—and these are just too cute! They’re even wrapped for you—so for just $20, you’re all set!

4. Mini Bubbly Champagne “Pop To Say Yes”

If your bridesmaids love to have fun, a bottle of champagne may be more up their alley. These labels can be placed on any bottle to make your gift just that more special!

5. “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” Wine Glass

Who wouldn’t love a wine glass with their name on it? Plus, the “will you be my bridesmaid” boxes are so elegant, your girls will feel so special when you pop the question!

Well, there you have it! These gifts are a simple way to show your girls how much you love them without running over your wedding budget. Let us know which is your favorite in the comments below!

Top 3 Mistakes I See Brides Make On Their Wedding Day (and how you can avoid them!)


As a professional musician and owner of Got Strings, you can imagine I have attended a lot of weddings over the years. I have seen everything from dogs in the Bridal Party to tripping Groomsmen, Brides that are 3+ hours late and more. I could definitely share plenty of cringe-worthy wedding mistakes, but not many are repeated from couple to couple. However, I did find a few common missteps that multiple Brides have taken over the last few years, and this list is designed to help you not make the same ones for your special day!

1. Holding the bouquet too high during their entrance.

A huge trend in the wedding industry over the last few years has been large, overflowing bouquets. Although they are absolutely gorgeous, I have seen so many Brides make the mistake of covering their entire dress with their flowers! In fact, it is one of my biggest pet peeves. Think about all of the time you spent dress shopping for the perfect fit and obsessing over the beading and details of the bodice. Now, can you imagine all of it being completely covered with flowers? It should be a crime! If you do want a large bouquet, a good trick to avoid this is to hold your bouquet at your waist, not your chest, during pictures and your walk down the aisle. It may feel awkward, but trust me you’ll be thanking yourself later!

2. Not walking to the beat of the music.

Being a musician, there is a whole list of details I go over with my couples to ensure everything about their musical entrances go as smoothly as possible. However, not all of our couples relay the information to the rest of the Bridal Party… especially when it comes to walking down the aisle. This is a simple detail that is often overlooked but I have seen Bridesmaids run up to the altar due to nerves, Groomsmen lazily walk up without a care in the world, and every other awkward entrance you can think of. As a general rule of thumb, tell your Bridal Party that they should walk to the beat of the music as they enter the Ceremony to ensure a smooth, unhurried processional!

3. Not delegating enough.

It’s 9AM on your wedding day and you have 6 hours until you say “I do.” You’re in the car to get your hair and makeup done while there are centerpieces to be placed, lights to be strung, chairs to be set up… And you have to do all of it! Sure, your friends and family asked months ago if there was anything they could do, but you felt too guilty to rope them into it. But now, as the clock keeps ticking and your hair is being curled behind schedule, you begin to think that delegating a few jobs to your teenage cousins wouldn’t have been a bad idea after all… Ladies, do not let this be you! Too many Brides make the mistake of thinking they can do it all the morning of, and that is simply not true. Save yourself from the stress and if it doesn’t require your personality, hand it off to someone else.

Well there you have it! My first tip was to avoid covering up your dress with huge bouquets by holding your flowers at your waist. Then, make sure your Bridal Party knows to walk to the beat of the music, whatever that may be, to avoid awkwardness in the processional. And finally, either get yourself a wedding planner or at least get really good at taking things off your plate, girl! I don’t want to see you make any of these mistakes on your wedding day so I hope this list helped you plan for your special day.


Give Live Music Life


In a world of Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora, music is accessible at our fingertips. We must not take advantage of how technologically advanced music listening has evolved since the early days of vinyl. However, there is something to be said about a live performance. No matter what genre, no matter what setting, live music evokes emotions that cannot be replicated through a recording. A musician will play a piece differently at every event for two reasons:

  1. It is humanly impossible to play the same piece the exact same way twice.
  2. A musician can be inspired by their audience.

This is the beauty of live music. Live music has the ability to make an event memorable because, even if the piece has been played many times before, it will be experienced differently at your event. At a wedding, a graduation party, or just a summer soirée, there’s a desire for live performance. There is a special interaction between musicians and an audience that creates an emotional atmosphere in that moment. Live music has the ability to bring people together. There is a connection formed, almost like an invisible rope, stringing our hearts, side by side. We cannot forget the importance of live music, as recorded music continues to evolve within our society. So, let’s keep live music alive. In the wise words of Dhani Jones, “There’s nothing better than live music. It’s raw energy, and raw energy feeds the soul.”