Tag Archives: wedding

6 Ways to Conquer Wedding Planning

Getting married is one of the most exciting times in most brides’ lives! It can also be the most stressful. Brittany and I are committed to making sure that YOUR experience as a “fiancé” is fun, calm, and enjoyable. Below are six tips that will help you conquer wedding planning and ensure that you stick to your budget and enjoy the process!Bride CakeTopper

 

First and foremost, let’s all get in the right mindset! Say goodbye to “wedding planning is miserable” and “all weddings are $30,000” and say hello to “it’s actually not that stressful” and “it was easier to stay in my budget than I thought”!

1. Ask Around: Everyone knows “somebody” so start asking! Don’t be afraid to ask you friends, acquaintances, someone you knew in high school and have only seen on Facebook over the last 10 years. Some of these people are trying to start a business, so doing something for someone they know with help their business and they’ll want to do a really good job for someone they know. It’s a win-win for both sides!

Bride Ask Around

2. Weigh the options: At first glance, some venues may look more expensive when comparing prices against one another, but what does each venue INCLUDE? This is really important because the more a venue includes, the less work and money you’ll have to put into it. Some venues are just downright expensive, but some may only seem expensive but actually include a whole lot more than a space.

Bride Weigh Options

3. Barter: This is a tip that Brittany gave me that has actually worked really well once I started using it! These people are in a business where they name their price. They obviously want customers, so if you have a price in mind, try and stick to it and barter a little before you sign the contract. Go into a barter with knowledge. For example, make sure you know the going rates at other local florists before you ask for a ridiculously low price and offend them. Blocking hotel rooms is also another area you can barter, especially if you fill up the block. Ask for the honeymoon suite to be free if you fill in the entire block or other deals like that.

Bride Barter

4. Do your research: This is very time consuming, but is so worth it in the end! Start researching every photographer, DJ, band, venue, etc. in your area. Look on multiple sources such as Google reviews and yelp to help you get a good idea of what other customers think of them. Also, look for new businesses. I truly believe that using new businesses is the key to saving money when you’re planning a wedding. Yes, I thought of “they’re not as experienced”, but I’ve reviewed their work, looked at their existing reviews, and “interviewed” them to make sure they were a good fit. REMEMBER: Just because someone is starting a new business doesn’t mean they’re new to the trade & just because one place is more expensive than another doesn’t necessarily mean they’re significantly better than the less expensive option.

Bride Research

5. Be Flexible: Everyone has an idea of what their dream wedding would look like, but sometimes you need to rearrange your ideas to fit your budget without compromising the most important parts of your wedding. Start by making a list of priorities and refer back to them when you seem to be getting distracted. My list of priorities saved me $4,000 on ONE item! I really thought that I wanted a band at my wedding and that was one area that I didn’t want to budge in. After researching and researching and weighing the options out in my head, I decided that I wanted a FUN wedding and that FUN wedding didn’t say anything about having a band more than a DJ. I had to be flexible in my ideas and use my list of priorities to figure out what was really important. The people at my wedding will make it fun, not the band.

Bride Priorities

6. Don’t settle!: If you’re having a hard time finding a wedding service that is within your budget, KEEP LOOKING! I promise you, they’re out there! I had several moments when I thought, “Maybe weddings just do cost $30,000”, but luckily I had Brittany to bring me back down to reality. I kept researching and talking to people and voila!, I found my photographer for HALF the price of the cheapest photographer I could find initially.

Bride Dont SettleWhat’s your advice on keeping wedding planning FUN and within your BUDGET?! Happy wedding planning!

Wedding Wednesday

Newly Engaged? Head on over to Chits and Giggles to find some great wedding posts from this week! Good Luck :)

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Sam

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 48

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents.

FRIDAY

Weekend 9.21 FridayAfter a long week at work, all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and binge watch Season 3 of New Girl on Netflix. I heated up some leftovers and enjoyed a night with James and 6 episodes of my favorite TV show. It would have been easy to order in some food or head to happy hour, but I wanted to save up my spending money for tomorrow.

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Leftovers for dinner + Netflix                        $0.00

Total Spent on Friday:   $0.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings:   $15.00 (happy hour or ordering in)

SATURDAY

Weekend 9.21 SaturdaySaturday started out early with a drive to Tampa to help my future bro-in-law move to a new apartment. I took a few hours in the afternoon to lay by his apartment pool before heading out to a local bar for some drinks. Nights out can add up quickly after a few drinks and a late night meal, so I decided to get one drink (since I was tired anyways) and split a meal with James.

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Lunch: bought a couple pizzas for the boys                             $0.00
  • Drinks at the bar                                                                         $10.00
  • Late night dinner after drinks                                                    $10.00

Total Spent on Saturday:      $20.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $30.00

SUNDAY

Weekend 9.21 SundaySunday was spent driving back home and catching up on boring weekend stuff around the house. I was determined to get some of our save-the-dates done, too!

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Boring Weekend Cleaning                            $0.00
  • Dunkin Donuts Run                                       $6.00
  • Leftovers for Dinner                                      $0.00

Total Spent on Sunday:      $6.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings:   $0.00

Total Estimated Weekend SPENDING:  $26.00

Total Estimated Weekend SAVINGS:  $45.00

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sam

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

pic 9-6-14

1. Supposedly this cactus rock art is a craft project for the children, but rules were made to be broken, right? (www.craftberrybush.com)

2. When chilly fall nights actually start arriving, Netflix’s new fall lineup will be here to save the day. (www.stylecaster.com)

3. Maybe I’m a little bit out of touch (I mean I do write a blog about being on a budget), but I can’t believe these numbers represent the least expensive places to get married in the United States. (www.blog.theknot.com)

4. A person’s name is likely correlated with his success across multiple areas of life. How does yours measure up? (www.businessinsider.com)

5. The best time to buy your airline ticket for the holidays is… (www.apartmenttherapy.com)

What links were at the top of your list this week? We’d love to hear about them :)

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 Brittany & Sam

photo credits: instagram, www.ymcaerie.org

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 43

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents.

Total Estimated Savings: $162.00

Total Amount Spent: $145.00

Friday

 

Not only did I save money by tanning instead of paddle boarding, I was able to capture such a beautiful moment on film ;)

Not only did I save money by tanning instead of paddle boarding, I was able to capture such a beautiful moment on film ;)

Saturday

 

If my feet only knew how hard they were about to be werrrrkd

If my feet only knew how hard they were about to be werrrrkd

jack and joe

Sunday

Too cute not to share--an amazing couple who created one of the best weddings I've ever been to!!

Too cute not to share ♥ Let’s be honest here–no “budget” could have stopped me from attending such a fun and adorable wedding!! So much love and happiness all around this weekend that cutting the cost paled in comparison to everything else :)

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 Brittany

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Wedding Planning on a Budget: Shifting Your Perspective

wedding perspective

Photo Credit: www.theknot.com

Prior to getting engaged, my then-boyfriend and I were completely on the same page when it came to what we valued about our future wedding. There of course, were a few minor exceptions–like my firm belief that a “pretty dress” was a high priority while he was lacking interest on that subject, but in short, we were both 100% dedicated to keeping our list of wedding wants/needs simple.  We knew we wanted something small. We were in definite agreement that we wanted our nuptials to be fun for us and all of our guests, and we were firm in our desire not to spend a small fortune.

Something strange happens when you get engaged…people start asking you questions TONS and TONS of questions. And in my case, people started asking me before I started asking myself…which sent me into a two week period of coo-coo-ka-choo during which I kept wondering…what have I gotten myself into? And if my fiancé would have started to think the same thing when the overwhelming questions took me to a place I had so recently promised I’d never go to, I wouldn’t have been able to blame him.

When you get engaged, well-intentioned people will start drilling you with questions almost as fast as you slip that ring on your finger.

In less than two weeks the expectations that society has for a “wedding” today took my recently engaged mantra from “Yipeee look at my ring! We are going to get murrrrrried!” to “Oh my beezus, I have to plan this wedding that includes a, b, c, d, x, y, and z and cost me what?!?!”  But it was a simple comment from my fiancé that helped me flip the switch back to sanity:

“You didn’t care about this stuff at all before. Why would you care about it now? I didn’t think that was what we wanted.

Zing! That statement made me remember that all of these things people were asking me about that were stressing me out, didn’t matter to me at all. I had completely lost myself in the concerns of others, and I think that is very disconcerting.  But this is what I see happen over and over in the wedding industry. I see it when I’m reading blogs or articles online, when I encounter other couples at pre-wedding events, and when I’m talking to my friends/family about wedding planning experiences of each other and others we know—past, present and future.

In addition to a loss of perspective on what’s truly important, one of the biggest downfalls of planning your wedding based on the values of others rather than what is valuable to you as a couple, is that you will spend more money…on a bunch of crap you don’t even care about.

Shifting your perspective from “We must do X because that is what is always done” to “We are going to skip X and focus on A,B, and C because that is what is important for us” will decrease your budget because you simply won’t spend money on things that are unimportant(ahem—no floral centerpieces at my wedding), and it will also increase the amount of fun you have while planning. My fiancé and I have been shocked by how much we’ve enjoyed the planning process so far, but part of that enjoyment comes from the fact that we simply don’t mess with things that don’t matter.

Shift the perspective

 

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize – If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, ask yourself if what you are worried about even matters to you. If it doesn’t carry much weight in the value of your wedding, just nix it from your to-do list and your budget.

Common Sense – Use it or lose it. If you tend to get sucked in to the crazy wedding hoopla, make sure you have a close friend or family member that can reality check you fast so you can start using your common sense again.

Listen to your Fiancé – Yes, I realize that if my wedding was 100% planned by my fiancé it would probably take place in a courthouse with a reception at a water park to follow; however, men tend to be more realistic than us ladies, and their rational is rarely affected by wedding magazines, pinterest, instagram, and countless chick flicks. I’m guessing if you are marrying him, he can be trusted to help you when you are losing perspective :)

Stay True to You – Create a wedding that is true to you and your relationship. If certain “fancies” aren’t your style, you don’t need to force it. As a matter of fact, you can simply cut it out of your wedding day and your budget.

Attitude is Everything – Just like any other event in your life, your attitude plays a huge role in your wedding experience. View that food tasting as an opportunity not a chore, and it will definitely be a more enjoyable experience.

Invest in What’s Important – Every wedding situation is unique. For example, if you are getting married and holding your reception at an outdoor venue you might not have to spend much on décor but may need to invest in space heaters to keep guests warm in the evening hours. If you don’t care much about wowing your guests with beautiful invitations—DON’T INVEST IN THEM! If it’s not important to you, you should not be spending your money on it.

Spend Time, but Don’t Waste It – Whenever you are planning an event, you will have to dedicate time to your cause. If you eliminate aspects/costs that you don’t place much value on from the get-go, you won’t have to waste time thinking about them or adding them to your list of wedding decisions and expenses.

Because we maintain a healthy perspective on wedding planning and what we value in our wedding day for both ourselves and our guests, we are just as happy and excited as the day we got engaged!

Because we maintain a healthy perspective on wedding planning and what we value in our wedding day for both ourselves and our guests, we are just as happy and excited as the day we got engaged!

You can also read our posts about Wedding Budgeting 101: A Guide for Beginners and Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue within your Budget. For information about gaining control over your finances check out our Getting Started section at the top of our page.

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 Brittany

 

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how to continue to do what you love on the weekend while using common cents.

Total Amount Spent: $19.00

Total Amount Saved: $296.00

The breakdown of how I did it can be found below:

5.11.14 Weekend Friday

A FREE concert with some awesome co-workers!

A FREE concert a couple weeks ago with some awesome co-workers!

5.11 Weekend Saturday

Cassie and I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday at a Beer Fest a few weekends ago.

Cassie and I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday at a Beer Fest a few weekends ago.

5.11 Weekend Sunday

James and I at our friend's rehearsal dinner last weekend.

James and I at our friend’s rehearsal dinner last weekend.

Hope you had a great Mother’s Day Weekend!

For more information on starting a personal budget, check out our Getting Started tab at the top of the page.

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Sam

Do’s and Don’ts to Finding your Perfect & Affordable Wedding Venue

Finding the perfect venue for your wedding is crucial to planning your big day. After initially becoming stressed out and feeling completely inadequate in my ability to get my fiance and I to the alter, I decided to compile a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts I wish I would have had before starting my search. If you keep these tips in mind and focus on what you care about (not what everyone else keeps asking you about) the venue hunt can be pretty fun! Congratulations and good luck on finding your perfect wedding venue :)

photo taken at whispering tree ranch - www.whisperingtreeranch.com

photo taken at whispering tree ranch – www.whisperingtreeranch.com

The Do Not’s

DON’T: Accept that predetermined wedding packages are the only route down the aisle. This is a good way to spend a lot of extra money on a lot of crap you don’t even care about.

DON’T: Start too big. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming—especially if you try to make specific decisions, like choosing your wedding venue, before you finalize bigger details—like what city or state in which your nuptials will occur. Many of us don’t live in the town (or state) we grew up in, so finalizing the decision on where your wedding is taking place before looking at venues will save you a lot of time and stress. The venue search should start AFTER you nail down your general wedding location.

photo taken at whispering tree ranch - www.whisperingtreeranch.com

photo taken at whispering tree ranch – www.whisperingtreeranch.com

Using the word "wedding" in your google search is a sure way to overload yourself with overpriced options.

Using the word “wedding” in your google search is a sure way to overload yourself with overpriced options.

DON’T: Use the word “wedding” in your Google search. I quickly learned that no matter how I altered my “wedding” search—cheap wedding, budget wedding, inexpensive wedding venue—I was still slammed venues that were definitely not on lesser side of expensive. Maybe there were a few options for the savvy bride out there, but I was wasting too much energy sifting through the options that were out of my price range.  I’m now convinced that “engaged-girl-planning-her-wedding” is far too often interpreted as “gullable-girl-who-is-in-an-emotional-space-that-makes-her-likely-to-overspend”. Don’t be that girl! :)

DON’T: Assume that in order to nail down a good venue, you will have to spend a large amount of money. Does money get you nice things sometimes? Yes, it does. Are there excellent and affordable options out there? Yes, there are. A bigger price tag does not make a venue more valuable.

photo taken at whispering tree ranch - www.whisperingtreeranch.com

photo taken at whispering tree ranch – www.whisperingtreeranch.com

photo taken at whispering tree ranch – www.whisperingtreeranch.com

The Do’s

DO: Set limits before you start your search. How much are you willing to spend? Is there a certain location you need to have? What can you sacrifice, and what are your non-negotiables?

DO: Get inspired and then use creative thinking to do it your way on your budget. There are so many beautiful wedding photos floating around the internet highlighting gorgeous venues, flowers, centerpieces, and other decor. Use these photos to get inspired, but use your own brain to create a wedding environment resembling your ideal (and probably uber expensive) wedding ceremony and reception for much less money. If you find that you can’t get a certain aspect out of your mind–chandeliers, flowers, mountains, or trees–search that term on the internet.

DO: Think outside the box. After countless failed attempts at finding a venue I liked and felt comfortable paying for through internet searches, a friend told me about a huge wedding reception she attended in an airport hangar. That was when the light bulb in my brain finally turned on—I could search for any kind of “venue” I wanted and then transform it to fit the needs of my own “wedding”–marking the day I quit using the word “wedding” in my searches.

photo taken at whispering tree ranch - www.whisperingtreeranch.com

photo taken at whispering tree ranch – www.whisperingtreeranch.com

DO: Talk to the people in your area who have firsthand experience with wedding planning. Remember how firsthand accounts were called “primary resources” when you first started learning about research in middle school? Think of the wedding pioneers in your area as your primary resources. They’ve been there, and they aren’t trying to sell you something. Use your primary resources to help you discover great options and eliminate those that aren’t so hot more quickly.  Wham-Bam!

DO: Search specific terms. I literally found our wedding venue by searching “barn rental” (the funniest part is our venue has a barn on it that isn’t a key component of the entire venue—but hey, whatever works!). The chart below has some search terms that pulled up more affordable results for me.

venue search terms

What tips do you have for finding an affordable wedding venue that you are proud to invite friends and family to on your wedding day?

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 Brittany