Heyyy guys, excited to share our very first real wedding post with you, stunning wedding between Ely and George that took place recently in Guadalajara, Mexico. We hope you love their photos as much as we do!!!
How He Asked – (as told by the Bride, Ely)
My husband and I met 7 years ago on Labor Day weekend at Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas Nevada. Kaskade was DJing and we happened to be standing next to each other at the front of the dj booth. From there we started taking and that’s how it (more…)
Floral arrangements definitely add to the beauty of any wedding, but they can also eat up a large portion of your wedding budget. What if you could get the same visual impact for a fraction of the cost, or even free? Well, here is a great way to do just that: DIY paper wedding flowers. With a little practice, and some patience, you can create everything from bridal bouquets to Boutonnières with paper.
Paper flowers mimic what is found in nature, but they are far more durable—they won’t wilt or droop. Another benefit of paper flowers is that they are always in season. Have a favorite flower? Chances are you can find an online tutorial for ways to make it with paper. You can create pretty much anything you can dream up, and you’re not limited by which flowers happen to be in season for your wedding. Because these are made of paper, you can create them in any color to match your wedding color scheme. You can even get effects that would be impossible with real flowers, such as using different paper textures, making the flowers larger-than-life for a really stunning visual, or incorporating printed patterns that match your wedding decor. Get creative and have fun with it!
These paper flowers will take some time and effort to create, but it’s not as hard as you may think. The process will go a lot faster with some help, so get your bridesmaids together for a flower making party. Each bridesmaid could make her own bouquet. Pages from books, maps, and even old newspaper can be turned into little works of art. Not only are paper flowers eco-friendly, but they will last forever as a wonderful keepsake from your wedding day!
Setting up your wedding registry is a fun activity for many couples. It’s almost like going on a shopping spree, but without having to open your own wallet. While it can be fun to pick out fun things for your home, it’s also easy to forget that a lot of money is going to be spent on you. Are you making the most of it? When I’m invited to a wedding, I usually just write a check in lieu of a gift. While some people prefer to give a physical wedding gift, I like to think that my gift is contributing toward a solid financial future for the couple.
Are there ways that money spent on wedding gifts could be put to better use?
For instance—when we got married, we registered for some beautiful Wedgwood china at $150/per place setting. (I really don’t know what were we thinking!) We just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and have used that china… umm… never! At the time we registered, we pictured ourselves throwing elegant dinner parties, or hosting holiday meals at our house. In reality, our parties are usually more casual affairs—like backyard barbecues where people eat from paper plates and drink beer from a cooler. In retrospect, the thousands of dollars that guests spent on our fine china could have been used as a down payment for our home, or to get a jump on our retirement savings. If I could go back in time, I would have asked for cash knowing what I do now about finances.
…we registered for some beautiful Wedgwood china at $150/per place setting. We just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and have used that china… umm… never!
Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for wedding registries!
A traditional wedding registry is a service provided by a website or retail store to assist engaged couples in the communication of gift preferences to wedding guests. Couples select items that they want from the store’s products and then wedding guests can then access those registries and select a gift to give the couple. This is great for young couples who are setting up their first home together, and is necessary to ensure that the couple gets useful items that they need instead of a bunch of random stuff. But what if you don’t need a bunch of stuff? Maybe you have already established your household and have most of what you need. Maybe you have no use for a full china set or a bunch of kitchen gadgets. Whatever the reason, some couples would rather have cash. Unfortunately, most books on wedding etiquette will tell you that asking for money is technically a rude thing to do. So how do you ask for money instead of wedding gifts politely?
So the real question is—how do you POLITELY ask for money instead of wedding gifts?
Asking for cash is tacky, and you definitely don’t want to risk offending your guests, so try one of these approaches instead.
Online Registries with Cash Work-Around
A service called Depositagift.com that has figured out a sneaky way around the money/wedding gift predicament. This service allows you to create a gift registry, and then share the link with your guests. You can set up a registry with items you need (or don’t need for that matter) and then guests can “purchase” items from your registry. But, instead of purchasing the actual gift, they are really just depositing the amount of the gift into your account. What you do with that money is up to you. You could go out and buy the gift, but you could also put the money in the bank, or buy something else. This way your guests feel like they have given you something more than money, but you get the money to spend how you please.
There are many online sites that allow you to set up a honeymoon registry (www.honeyfund.com is a popular one). A honeymoon registry makes it easy for your friends and family to contribute to whatever purchases you have in mind after your wedding—honeymoon or otherwise.
Have Friends and Family Spread the Word
It’s tacky to ask directly for money from your guests so use your family, wedding party, and friends to help spread the word. Guests will be talking to other friends and family before the wedding to ask what you as a couple really want. Have them tell your guests that you would really like cash. It might also help to be clear why you’re asking for cash. For instance, down payment toward your first home, or you’d like to establish some joint savings. The truth is, money will probably be the most useful, and appreciated gift that you receive.
Whatever the case, give your guests the option to purchase a physical gift if they prefer. You don’t want them to feel obligated to give you cash. And it goes without saying that ALL gifts should be accepted with great appreciation!
Unfortunately many couples start the wedding planning process with a list of their “wants” and then set their budget accordingly. A better idea is to set your budget first, then figure out how to get what you want without going over. You’ll be much better off in the long run. One of the things that makes planning a wedding difficult, is that there are a lot of moving parts, and unseen costs that even the best budgeters could miss. A vendor’s advertised prices don’t necessarily include all of the actual expenses you’ll incur. Be thorough when reviewing the contracts, and look out for line items that may not have been mentioned in your initial discussions.
Here’s our list of hidden wedding costs to watch out for:
Whether you have your cake made by a bakery or by your caterer, someone is going to have to cut and serve the cake for your guests. Usually this will be done by your waitstaff, which may be provided by the caterer or the venue. Often there is an additional fee for this service, which could cost you $1.50 per slice.
Supplying your own booze can save you a lot of money if it’s allowed at your venue. However, there may be a corkage fee for your waitstaff to open bottles and provide table service. Standard fees vary, but it could cost you anywhere from $5-$20 per bottle. Even at the higher price point, this still may prove to be more of a bargain than using the site’s wine selection, which is generally sold at a substantial markup.
Wedding favors can add up quickly. Something that does’t seem like an expensive favor can break your budget when multiplied by a large number of guests. Many common wedding favors fall in the $2-$4 range. With 150 guests, that could cost you anywhere between $300-$600 not including any shipping costs.
Some vendors include necessary service charges or gratuity in their contract price, but others may not. Gratuity and service fees are usually included in catering prices at 15-20% on top of the food cost. If you’re paying for the bar (hosted), make sure you take care of any tips for bartending staff ahead of time, so your guests don’t feel obligated. Be sure to ask before signing the contracts if any gratuity or service fees are included, or expected when the service is delivered. It’s also a good idea to have some extra cash on-hand at the wedding for any unexpected tips you want to give.
When budgeting for invitations, many people get so caught up in the designs that they forget about the cost of postage. This might not seem like a large expense, but when you’re planning a budget wedding, every penny counts. Let’s assume you’re mailing 100 save the date cards, 100 invitations with a pre-stamped reply card, and 100 thank you notes after the wedding. That’s 400 stamps you’ll have to buy. At $0.49 per stamp, that’s almost a $200 on postage alone. Also, many invitations require extra postage due to size. Be sure to ask your stationer about this.
Understanding the wedding timeline will help you plan more efficiently. Ask the venue to write the time frame in the contract—e.g. 5pm-11pm. Make sure you stick to this! Some venues charge an extra hourly fee for overstaying at the end of the night. If you need access to the space to decorate before the wedding, or need to clean up the next day, make sure you’re not going to incur additional costs.
There’s really no way to avoid taxes, so make sure you budget for them. When setting your budget factor in what the tax will be on each purchase. If you determine that you can spend $1000 on a wedding dress, then you’ll need to fins a dress that’s closer to $950 plus tax.
Getting married in a church? If you have to pay a ceremony fee, it might be tax deductible as a charitable donation. Be sure to ask.
You can also donate items used for the wedding to charitable donations, which will allow you to write off the expense up to the full purchase price. Things like linens, votives, and decorations can be donated if they are not needed after the wedding.
Meals for people working the wedding, and unexpected guests
Your photographer, the wedding planner, your officiant—they’re all working your wedding pretty much all day long. Feeding them is a nice thing to do, and sometimes it’s even part of the contract.
You may also have guests who show up unexpectedly, or guests who bring an uninvited plus-one. This happened to a friend of ours—he had several people show up to the wedding who had never RSVP’d. He had to step away from his own wedding to deal with the problem, and had to pay extra to cover additional meals. If this happens to you, the best thing to do is be a gracious host and feed them, so it’s usually a good idea to add a few extra meals to the total just to make sure you’re covered. That way you won’t have to worry about it on your big day.
Setting a realistic wedding budget is all about planning ahead. If you plan for these hidden wedding costs, you’ll avoid surprises and stay on-budget.