How to Conquer the Guest List: Deciding On Inviting Children

After the groom pops the question and the bride says yes, we all think the stress is over. Unfortunately, there comes the next big discussion of the guest list. Specifically dealing with extending the invitation to children. Luckily, there are some options that can help ease this controversial topic and limit the havoc it may cause among guests. These will allow for the bride to sit back and enjoy her wedding planning process!

First option is extending the invitation to ONLY children within the family. This can be nieces, nephews, and cousins. This way all family members children are invited and no one feels left out. The important thing to note here is that it is ONLY family members. This guideline highly suggest staying away from inviting a few close friends children. By sticking to just children in the family other guests can understand no one outside of the family was able to bring children. Make sure to stand strong and draw the line just at family!

The second option is to invite only children in the wedding party. Meaning any children that are either a junior bridesmaid, flower girl, or ring bearer. This limits the children attending the wedding. Family members and other guests will welcome the idea when they understand no children outside of the wedding party are allowed at the wedding. This is one of the best options if the bride wants a children-free ceremony and reception.

The third option is to invite all the guests children. It is hard to limit to just family and some close friends. It makes the guests question why their kids weren’t invited when they see a group of kids running around. To avoid conflict if you are inviting children outside of the family, the best option is to extend an invitation to the rest of the guests children.

Whatever option the couple chooses on their big day it is important to draw the line! It needs to be clearly defined of what children are allowed. Some guest may ask or include their children in the RSVP, so be prepared to stick to your decision. After all it is the bride’s big day, so it is her choice in the end!


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Vendor Spotlight: Event Essentials Rentals

Event Essentials is an event rental service located just northeast of Madison in Windsor, WI. Event Essentials will work with you and your budget to help create the wedding you’ve been dreaming of. They have been serving the Madison area since 1954, providing dependable and quality service. Choose from an array of beautiful linens and event chairs to personalize any venue or find everything you need to create a tented wedding. You can visit their showroom in Windsor to see some of their products on display, or check out their website at

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How to Avoid Breaking The Bank: Upcycling Decorations

There are a variety of common household items that are easy, as well as inexpensive, to find and make terrific wedding décor. Ask your bridesmaids or family to help you for a few hours and create elegant decorations without breaking the bank.

Wine bottles/corks: This is an easy find for wine drinkers out there. Use wine corks as seat markers or monogram décor! Wine bottles make great centerpieces or outdoor lighting fixtures.

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Paper garland: Cut up paper or an old song book and turn it into garland!Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 8.33.54 AM







Mason jars: These are so versatile and inexpensive! They can hold candles, flowers or even beverages! Leave them plain or add paint and ribbon for a sassier look.Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 8.35.09 AMScreen Shot 2014-08-27 at 8.35.29 AM

Cake stand: Create a cake stand from glass plates and candleholders. No one will realize you made it yourself!

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How to Avoid Breaking the Bank: Start With a Budget in Mind

It’s no secret that weddings get expensive. With a bit of planning beforehand and help from CBE, you can ensure an unforgettable wedding that won’t leave you broke. Here are a few tips on where to save money and how to best budget your funds!


  • Create your own invitations and save the dates! Buy supplies such as card stock, stamps or even invitation kits at any craft store.
  • For the less crafty brides, even choosing a simple black and white invitation in a conventional shape will save you a pretty penny.


  • Some community organizations provide members with special access to their venues, so be sure to check up on your memberships! Even give a call to your alma matter! This is usually a great way to save a few hundred dollars.
  • Lots of public places like local parks offer a beautiful back drop and charge low rental rates.
  • Some of the more nontraditional venues such as zoos, historical sites and aquariums charge lower fees. You’ll also save on decorations since the venue already provides an entertaining backdrop!
  • Holding your ceremony and reception at the same location also helps both you and your guests save money. Less transportation costs and you will only have one site fee to pay!

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  • This may be a hard one for the brides who have been dreaming of a summer wedding ever since they were a little girl; however, it’s more likely that you will get a better deal for the same venue in January or February (except Valentines Day) than you would in June.
  • Avoiding Saturday night receptions is another easy way to save money since Saturdays are the most popular day to get married. Having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday night can make a big difference! Who wouldn’t love a Sunday brunch reception?!


  • Find a talented group of students to play music during your reception, or opt for the DJ option instead of a professional band.
  • Instead of offering a full bar, serve beer, wine and maybe a few signature cocktails. Have fun creating your own drinks and saving money!
  • A daytime reception – you’ll save hundreds serving lunch or brunch instead of dinner.

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  • Get a few friends or family members to help complete some DIY projects. This will save money on buying centerpieces, floral arrangements and more!
  • Forego your out-of-season favorite flower (if possible) for the in-season blooms


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An Alternative Night On the Town: Capitol Pedaler (2 of 2):

Instead of doing the traditional pub crawl for your bachelor or bachelorette party, try the innovative, pedal powered, trolley on wheels! Captiol Pedaler is perfect and fun way to transport your party around downtown Madison. This unique trolly holds up to 14 people; you even get your own captain and bartender! As you pedal through the state street area and stop at the bars, you will be the talk of the town.


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An Alternative Night on the Town: Pontoon Porch (1 of 2):

Madison is a great place to hold bachelor and bachelorette parties; there are plenty of bars and many choices for fabulous entertainment. Want an alternative party idea that will make waves? Try Madison’s very own Pontoon Porch. Pontoon Porch is a floating party deck that can hold up to 30 people. This boat not only cruises around the lake, but it has a grill, comfy furniture, speakers, a bathroom, and even an opening in the deck where you can fish or dip your feet into the water! This party craft is perfect for having a novel and nautical fab time with your gals or guys; all you need are friends, food and drinks, and you will be set to sail for the night.

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Ways to Capture Memories: Picture Perfect Moments

We have all seen multiple versions of the traditional must-have wedding photos. Bring some more fun into your wedding album by adding some of these creative photo ops. They will no doubt snazz up your album!


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A beautiful way to feature three generations of women and their wedding rings.

Ring Showoff

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Pictures of the groom showing off his shiny new ring to his groomsmen are always funny.

Pre-Wedding Excitement

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Bride and groom on either side of the door still hidden from each other.

Bridesmaids: How did you meet the bride?

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Have each bridesmaid write on a chalkboard how she knows the bride. Such a great idea for your wedding album!

Thank you

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A great picture to include in your thank you notes to show your appreciation for all the great gifts you received.

Bridesmaids Reenactment

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A funny shot for all brides that are big fans of the movie Bridesmaids.

A Picture Worth Framing

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Have the flower girl and ring bearer hold a frame to capture a sentimental moment between you and your groom.


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