How to Make A Wedding Budget & Stick To It!

 

The scariest part about getting married for me is paying for it. Long gone are the days where the bride’s parents pay for the whole sha-bang! It’s just not realistic with today’s world and can put a huge strain on the wedding process. Many couples are opting to wait 2- 3 years before having the wedding of their dreams.

When the time came to have a conversation with my fiance regarding wedding money, I did not really know how to go about it. I’ve always been a bridesmaid so I never paid attention to the actual wedding costs. The two of us were completely clueless on how we were going to come up with a budget. After some research and a little bit of trial and error we had a game plan. Here are some ways that can help with figuring out how to make your budget and keep it going.

Making the Budget:

  • Talk to your family about possible contributions. Whether you believe they would be willing or able to help or not; ASK anyway. You never know what they are happy to contribute towards (ie: limo, flowers or even the wedding gown).
  • $ave! $ave! $ave! Sit down with your fiancé and discuss how much each of you are comfortable with putting aside every pay check. Add up the numbers all the way until the wedding day as well as any family contributions. There is your budget. Family Contributions + Bi-weekly or weekly Savings= Budget. This will also help you from feeling like you won’t ever be able to do activities or hang out with your friends again. You may need to cut back but overall you can still have a life!
  • Save your credit cards for last-minute expenses like the rehearsal dinner and wedding gifts that can be repaid after your wedding if needed.

How to Stick to your Budget:

  • Open a savings account separate from your personal savings. I use an online savings account that way I am not tempted to withdrawal money. When I do need to make payments to my vendors,  I can just link it with my personal checking and make deposits and withdrawals. The process will take about 3 days so schedule ahead.
  • Know your limits! Having a budget ahead of time before going vendor shopping is key. You will then know whether or not you can afford a particular vendor. It will also keep you on your toes and away from the add-on station like an Ice cream bar or up-lighting if you know it’s not in the budget. Going in blindsided will only cause you more stress trying to find ways to come up with the cash later on.
  • Organize your vendor due dates with a calendar or a wedding app. I write down every vendor deposit and balance owed with the date attached to ensure that I will not be late and/or  have saved enough money beforehand. If you know that your florist doesn’t need to be paid until the day of the wedding but your photographer needs to be paid in full 2 weeks before, make sure you are saving enough to cover the cost of your photographer before your florist.
  • Make sure all purchases are made with your wedding money. This will keep you from making impulse purchases on your credit cards.

These are the ways I found really helped my fiance and I. I hope that some of these tips will help guide you toward your wedding process no matter what budget you are working with.

Do any of you know any other tips or tricks to sticking with a wedding budget? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time…

xoxo

Photo credit: google

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OOTD Engagement Photo Shoot! 

I recently received a teaser of our engagement photos from our photography company and I thought it would be a fun idea to do an OOTD on what I wore. I actually didn’t know what to wear. I browsed a little bit on Pinterest. I ended up putting together outfits I already had in my closet which worked out great!!! We did both a dressy and casual look. We chose  Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey as our venue spot.

  
Outfit Details: Skirt//Top (similar)//Shoes

For our casual look we did a basketball theme. My fiance is a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls so we chose matching shirts that we had. I paired it with some old skinny jeans and cute comfy shoes.

Outfit Details: Bulls T shirt//Jeans (similar)//Shoes (similar)

We are so in love with all of our photos! In about 2 weeks the rest of the engagement photos will be available to download and share with everyone. So stay tuned.

What do you guys prefer when it comes to engagement photo shoots; dressy or casual?

XOXO

Non-Traditional Brunch Bridal Showers!

As some of you know, I’m currently involved in planning a bridal shower for my bestie Joanna. While we are planning a traditional shower, I wanted to share with you a more non-traditional shower idea: Brunch!

When I say brunch I don’t mean a brunch theme shower, I mean an actual brunch meal in a restaurant. When my friends have birthday parties, most of the time we gather together and go out to dinner. This is the same thing only scratch out the private room, shower games and heafty deposit and opt for a regular brunch meal with minimal decorations. Since brunch has become more popular over the years, this idea is perfect for your low key bride, older bride or even the bride with a small amount of friends and family.

If you are weary about it becoming too generic, there are ways to make your table more personal. You can put together 2 or 3 inexpensive vases with flowers depending on how long your table will be. Make sure it looks even. Even add some confetti to bring out the linens.

Make or buy a card box (this one is from Etsy: PineNSign, but you can definitely make your own) and grab some decorative plastic bags to put gifts in.

If you want to have at least one game to make your time more fun- grab a quick “How well do you know the bride” questionnaire. Have the guests fill it out and the bride can read off her answers during dessert time. This one is from Omaplapen on Etsy. Instant download $4.

For favors: Make little bags of candy, candles with tags or even cute chocolate covered pretzels. I blogged on how to make your own DIY chocolate covered pretzel favors- read it here: https://okskinnyjk.com/2013/10/16/diy-chocolate-covered-pretzel-favors/

I think this non-traditional idea is super cute! What do you all think? Yay! Or Nay!?

You can also follow me on Pinterest for more instant shower planning ideas. Just click the P symbol at the top right corner!

Xoxo

Photo credit: Pinterest, PineNSign, Omaplapen

Spring Wedding Inspirations via Pinterest!

Now that the weather on the east coast is emerging into spring “AMEN,” I cruised on over to Pinterest for some Spring Wedding Inspirations. I’ve gathered my favorite ones from simple table settings to a smart wedding favor for those chilly nights. As my favorite season of all time, especially wedding season, I am always blown away with how unique and original people are. When you’ve taken the time to really create something your guests will love, people will appreciate the meaning behind every detail. That’s what I’ve come to learn and love about weddings.

Table Settings & Centerpieces:
I’ve always been attracted to simple flowers or even something you can create yourself like a DIY centerpiece.



Bridesmaids dresses & wedding colors:
Every bride has their own vision of what their day will look like. You want to make sure your color scheme flows nicely! Short dresses are more in this time of year.



Wedding favors:
Thank your guests by giving them something they will make them remember your day. Stick with something useful that your guest won’t consider throwing out later on.


Bridesmaid gifts:
Always thank your bridal party by something that reflects thoughtfulness for having them share in your special day!


Cakes, Cupcakes & Desserts:
Most venues will provide this for you, but if you have the money to create something that reflects your wedding season-have fun with it.



Flowers:
Flowers are so beautiful! How about those sunflowers?! 🙂



Hope these spring inspirations brighten your day! Which photo is your favorite?
Xoxo

Photo credit: Pinterest

Real Wedding Feature: Amanda & Cal

It’s Monday and it’s time to get this week started. Hope you all had an awesome weekend. Today, we are featuring another “real” wedding. Thank you to all the positive feedback I received on our first real wedding feature. I really enjoy showcasing creativity, what better way than a wedding, right?

I recently reached out to Amanda when I visited her blog and read some great wedding planning tips she was sharing. She agreed to share her wedding day on the blog so without further ado, here is the real wedding of Amanda & Cal which took place on June 8, 2013 at the St. John’s Church at Bonanzaville, West Fargo ND.

We met in college in early 2005. My roommate’s boyfriend was on his floor and convinced us to meet based on things we had in common. Neither of us were “looking” at the time, so ignored him for awhile, then finally gave in … and the rest is history

We got engaged in March 2012. He proposed in our apartment shortly before a jewelry party I was hosting. He had initially planned to do it during the party and had this whole scheme, but earlier in the day he told my best friend his plans and she advised against that since I’m not much for a lot of attention or making a scene (she was right!). He later told me that made him panic, and he already had the ring and didn’t think he could wait any longer, so he did it on the spot when I got home from work that day. I was so happy when it happened, but then got anxious because I had guests coming over soon, so we both were crying and talking about it while we cut up veggies and cleaned up! Haha.

Favorite part of your wedding planning process: Making our special day unique and fun and reflective of our personalities.


Most stressful part of planning your wedding: So much, lol! I’m an overplanner and overanalyzer to begin with, so I had a lot of emotional breakdowns during the process, worrying and obsessing over every detail. I lost sight of the big picture frequently.

Wedding theme: Simple, classic and fun.


How did your wedding differ from other weddings you’ve been to?
For one, our music selection was very reflective of our personalities and styles rather than the “traditional” ceremony and reception music. I walked down the aisle to Beyoncé’s “Halo”, our recessional was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder, our grand entrance was to “Shot Through the Heart” by Bon Jovi, and our first dance was to the Disney version of “A Whole New World.” Oh, and we skipped down the aisle after the ceremony!

Best advice for future brides: Don’t worry, and don’t lose sight of the big picture. In the end, all that matters is that you marry the love of your life, so don’t get too caught up in the small details. Ask for lots of help and make sure to make time for you and your fiancée. Remember – invest in your marriage, not your wedding day.

Thank you Amanda and Cal for sharing your wedding day with us. You can visit Amanda on her blog at http://www.notesfromanewlywed.com where she shares amazing things about her life as a new wife.

Xoxo

Photo Credit: Lori Anne Photography

Real Wedding Feature: Roselyn & Sam!

Today, I’m very excited to add “REAL Wedding” features to the blog site! I thought it would be fun to showcase inspirations in helping future brides and grooms plan their weddings. I asked my best friend, Roselyn, to be our first feature. Helping Roselyn plan her wedding was awesome because she was such a creative bride and special for me as her MOH! 🙂

The look and feel of Roselyn and Sam’s late September wedding at the Bridgewater Manor in Bridgewater, New Jersey, was perfectly captured by her amazing photographer Timothy Glenn. Check out the wonderful photos below with our bride’s personal feelings about her special day!

We met at work, Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare, a call-center about 9 years ago. Honestly, it was supposed to be just a temporary job and actually, I remember applying for a job with Janeen! I ended up getting hired at $9/hr — which back then meant you were ballinnn compared to my $6.25/hr I was making at Mandee’s 🙂 Sam trained me from being a Order Entry rep to a Customer Service rep and we just started talking and hanging out. From there, the rest is history! 🙂


May 18, 2012 — He picked me up after a crazy, hectic Friday work day and I told him, “I need you to feed me, and I need a large beverage ASAP”. He let me choose the restaurant, so I chose the first thing that came to mind — Red Lobster. I mean who could pass up some shrimp and garlic-butter rolls?! After dinner we went back to our apartment and he suggested we watch a movie at home before picking up our daughter, who was at his mom’s. It was a mini “date night” to ourselves since we rarely get that nowadays! He puts on a movie and says to me, “See if you can guess what movie I chose for us to watch”. I’m thinking it’s “Rocky” or “The Garden State” or something… and as the credits start, it turns into a slideshow of pictures of us with the song “Have I Told You Lately” by Rod Stewart playing in the background. Towards the end of the slideshow, I hear a voice over that he did where he left a sweet loving message for me and then the slideshow ended. I looked at him and said that was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen! And he said he wanted to give that to me for Mother’s Day, but it wasn’t ready.

After a few awkard moments, he stands us up and asks me if I’m ready for that next step. My heart immediately fell out of my butt and I knew instantly what was going to happen. He dropped down to one knee, pulled out a ring, and asked if I would marry him. And of course, I said yes 🙂

I would say our wedding was a sophisticated chic themed wedding. It was a mix of vintage with modern touches. Soft pinks and peaches with cool navy blues and silvers and warm golds. My problem is that I like everything — so selecting a theme and a color scheme was extremely difficult for me. But I picked a few things from here and there that I liked the most, and I thought that everything flowed nicely together!


My favorite part of wedding planning is doing all the DIY projects that I had planned to do. There’s something about creating something, and making something your own that your family and friends will just be “wowed” with that would just get me excited. Pinterest and google played big factors in a lot of my projects!



The most stressful part of planning our wedding was the financial portion of everything. Luckily for us, my parents were willing to pay for the venue, while Sam and I paid for all our vendors, and everything else. Putting deposits down while still making our monthly bills was extremely stressful and sometimes it would eat at me at night. Worrying that we’d be okay financially was my biggest fear, which is why I was so adamant in doing a lot of DIY projects to save us some money.


Wedding Differences- I think the only difference between some of the weddings I’ve been to and mine would be having our wedding ceremony right before our reception. Usually people have their ceremonies in the morning at a church and then there’s that break of time in between before the wedding reception.

Sam and I decided to get married outside, at our wedding venue and we were blessed with AMAZING weather. The sun was out, and as our ceremony went on, the sun started to set. We really could not ask for a better picturesque view. In fact one of the deal breakers when selecting our wedding venue was the outdoor space for the ceremony.


Bridgewater Manor was the first place we visited, and after numerous appointments with different venues, we ended up going with Bridgewater Manor because we ultimately were comparing all the other places to them. We fell in love! We liked that there was also no break in time from the ceremony to cocktail hour to reception. It was a quick ceremony, an hour to get your drinking started at cocktail with LOADS of food and then right into a night of fun and dancing!


My best advice for future brides would be to know your budget and always keep it in mind. Know what you like, but keep it realistic. There are many alternatives to things that can give you the same outcome without dishing out loads of money. For example, I am in love with peonies and I wanted my flowers to have peonies incorporated in them. In September, peonies aren’t in season, but my florist suggested David Austen roses which have the same look, are available in season, and cheaper!

Another suggestion would be bridal registry — if you already live with your significant other, try something like http://www.honeymoonwishes.com. Do you really need another coffee maker? Or another toaster oven? Wouldn’t you rather have your friends and family contribute to an unforgettable honeymoon? Honeymoonwishes.com gives your guests the opportunity to do so! Their money would be much better spent with you having dinner on the beach, than sitting in your closet collecting dust! 🙂

And also, you don’t always have to go to a private bridal boutique for a bridal gown or bridesmaids dresses. David’s Bridal has had a number of affordable bridal gowns (especially from Vera Wang) and try places like NYC (if you are in the tri-state area) for bridal stores that sell a plethora of bridal gown/bridesmaid dress brands. Also — shop for dresses during a Holiday! Sounds crazy, but it’s true — my maids and I went to Macy’s Herald Square and they each got 20% off their bridesmaid dress because of a Mother’s Day sale that they were having. My Maid of Honor had a Macy’s card and I believe she was even able to get an additional discount on top of the 20% Mother’s Day sale! So there are lots of ways to cut costs on a lot of things, it just has to be the right things.


Thank you so much Roselyn and Sam for sharing your special day on the blog! Head over to Roselyn’s blog http://www.msrizzy.wordpress.com where she shares some of her DIY wedding projects! Below is a link to their wedding video! Don’t forget the tissues!! http://vimeo.com/87586776

Xoxo

CREDITS:
Venue: Bridgewater Manor
Photographer: Timothy Glenn http://www.timothyglennphoto.com
Videographer: Iris Cinematics http://vimeo.com/87586776
DJ/Candid Photographer: Blancinoir Event Group http://www.bneventgroup.com

New Vendor Feature: BaloolahBunting!

We have a new vendor friend today, meet BaloolahBunting! An etsy store specializing in delicate lace bunting and rustic hessian decorations for weddings and events! I met BaloolahBunting through twitter recently and was immediately taken away by how beautiful their designs were. I’ve asked, Claire, owner of BaloolahBunting to share with you all about her brand on a more personal level. Read more and see her beautiful designs below.

I run Baloolah Bunting from my home studio in Newcastle upon Tyne. My pretty laser cut bunting, reminiscent of 1940s English country fetes, is sold on Etsy and ‘Not on the High Street‘. It is a marriage of my love of textiles, auction hunting and graphic art. My range includes exquisite ring bearer cushions, table runners, table mats and cutlery wraps. My gorgeous vintage style range is inspired by shabby chic country weddings, with details including intricate lace effects, love bird silhouettes and fine, soft ribbon. Burlap (hessian) is used for a rustic ‘heritage’ finish and smooth hand-stitched satin touches add elegance and colour.

Baloolah’s products can be tailored to complement any wedding theme and play to the particular tastes of wedding couples, with everything made to order, designed and hand made by myself.



After a health crisis I realised that I had missed designing and making, as a teacher I had a satisfying job but I needed to scratch my creative itch. I started making personalised Christmas stockings for charity on Etsy, but after Christmas started thinking about what I could introduce next, I was addicted!

Redundancy meant that my small ‘play’ business is now my main stream of income. I feel lucky that I had this running already; many teachers in the same position as me are really frustrated and unable to move forward.

I get inspired by vintage textiles, trawling through Auctions and car boot sales, mid-century pottery, sunny days, walking on the beach, Mexican papel picado, and talking to my customers who always have the best ideas that I can develop and run with!


Last summer Freepeople used my bunting to decorate their campervan, it toured Cornwall and was seen by thousands of people, many more thousands online. It was fantastic to have a product that fitted in with their laid back cool aspirational lifestyle.

My bunting has been part of weddings and celebrations all over the world, It is a growing brand a desirable product. I believe that my product transforms a traditional product, injecting new life and excitement into the idea of bunting!


You can follow baloolahBunting on Twitter @baloolahBunting to get first view of new products as well as her Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BaloolahBunting?ref=shop_sugg

Thank you BaloolahBunting for participating with us, we absolutely love your work! 🙂
Xoxo