Memorable Wedding Gifts For Your Family

By | Family Wedding Gifts, Personalized by Kate, Personalized Wedding Gifts, Unique Wedding Gifts, Wedding Budget, Wedding Gift Ideas | No Comments
Family has started to mean more to me than ever, with many of my close loved ones getting older, and memories of them dearer to me as time passes.  I’ve realized that not only is it ideal to purchase meaningful gifts for your bridesmaids and groomsmen, but family gifts are so important, too.
Personalized by Kate is an easy-to-navigate, full-of-inspo website that offers gifts that family members will treasure forever. What really caught my eye were their picture frames, that can be uniquely personalized and filled with a photo from your big day.  They can be given at the wedding with a special photo from the past, and with your thank you note later, you can enclose a photo from the wedding to replace the current image; or afterwards, send the frame itself with a photo from your wedding day.
 Personalized wedding gift frame with bride and groom
I also love tumblers (obsessed!) and Personalized by Kate offers insulated wine tumblers, for your favorite aunt who tailgates every football season or your young-at-heart grandma who enjoys her picnics on the beach. These can also be handed out to your entire immediate family, personalized with the family name and monogram, for a really cool, family-only gift that will make your loved ones feel even more special.
 Monogrammed mug wedding gift for family
Assembling gift packages is another way to make your gift even more personal for your family; for your family members who are coffee fans (and any sleep deprived new parents in your family), create a gift basket or bag with a personalized coffee mug, high-end coffee, flavored syrup, and chocolate-coated stir spoon. For coffee nuts, you can never go wrong with a caffeine-themed gift.
When I think of family, I also think of big holiday meals and special recipes passed down for generations.  An engraved recipe box is an instant keepsake for that relative who cooks from scratch and always hosts Thanksgiving. Food is a huge part of how my family bonds – on both sides – and to me, this is the most meaningful and sentimental option; what can I say – food is love!
I find giving gifts out on the wedding day itself is tough; so much is going on, and a lot of friends and family members are getting ready independently of each other, so everyone is all spread out and impossible to find in one place until the wedding.  I would recommend to clients to give special family gifts at the rehearsal dinner, while all close family is nearby, and the mood is a little more relaxed.
But we mustn’t forget the bridal party; I just have to add that I’m in love with this flask and shot glass set.  Your maid of honor can treat the girls for one last shot the night of the wedding in a flask she fit in her purse.  Cheers!

wedding gift personalized bridesmaid flask set

For more information about what Personalized by Kate has to offer, check out their offerings here!
I love supporting companies I believe align with my readers’ interests. This is a sponsored post by Personalized By Kate.

5 Things Newlyweds Need to Know About Buying a Home Together

By | Home Buying Tips for Millenials, Real Estate | No Comments

Congratulations on your marriage! It’s a big commitment, and if you’re currently considering the next big step of buying a home together, we understand that it can be a little daunting. There are a lot of decisions to make and numbers to calculate — but this stress can be dramatically reduced with the right knowledge and attitude. That said, check out these helpful tips for if you’re about to go hunting for your very first house together.

First time home and buyer

Photo Credit: GlenDoorny via Morguefile

There’s more than just the mortgage to pay for

To remain competitive, real estate listing sites don’t actually give you the full price of buying a home — there are taxes, agent’s fees, insurance, and closing costs that come with the price of the house itself. And once you do purchase a home, there are still expenses you’ll have to consider, like moving-in costs and any repairs or renovations you’d like to undertake. The ‘Home Maintenance Checklist and Tips’ post by Marcus lists the many factors there are to consider as future homeowners, such as maintenance and expenses after moving in. Thus, make sure you’re well aware of all the hidden fees you’ll have to pay before purchasing your new home to avoid surprise costs and going over budget.

Get a realtor — you’re paying for one anyway

Although you can definitely buy a house on your own, you’re putting yourself at risk of spending more money and time than you have set aside. Real estate agents have the necessary connections and industry know-how to reduce costs for you and make the whole process faster and easier — it’s their job, after all. Not to mention, you’re paying for one anyway! While technically, the seller pays for the commission of buying and selling agents, it’s often baked into the price of the house, so it’s better to take advantage of this from the get-go.

Have some back up funds

We previously mentioned that there’s a myriad of other things you’ll have to pay for once you get your house — and not knowing this early on has led 63% of American millennials to have regrets about purchasing their homes. The best way to avoid this is to have a nest egg set aside for any emergencies or instances where you might end up going over budget, such as renovations or move-in costs. Try to save an extra 10-20% of your renovation budget, so you’ll have something to cover you if ever you go overboard.

A starter home is better than you think

It makes sense to want your dream home after having your dream wedding, but with this long-term commitment, having a starter home may be the best option. Of course, the idea of a starter home is subjective, but the general definition is that it’s somewhere you’re okay with living in and is less than what you can afford. Smaller, less costly houses mean everything else will cost less as well — less taxes, less insurance premiums, and less utility bills. Additionally, when you do decide to get your dream home in the future, you can turn this starter home into a real estate investment to get passive income! Our post on ‘Advice for the New or Prospective Real Estate Investor’ points out that your first property can give you tons of financial stability, as eventually, you can get a property manager to make things easier for you and let it pay for itself.

Apply for a pre-approved mortgage

The best way to find out what you can really afford and what price range you can definitely work with is by getting a pre-approved mortgage. Once you’re good to go, that’s when you can look around with confidence, as Business Insider reports that some realtors will not entertain you without one. Take note that it’s also best to have enough money saved for a down payment, as it shows lenders that you’re serious and prepared for the long-term responsibility of paying for a house.

Article solely for
Authored by Samantha Amiel

Tropical Theme Bridal Shower Invitations and More Stationary Inspo

By | Basic Invite, Best Wedding Websites, Bridal Showers, Tiki Bridal Shower, Tropical Bridal Shower, Tropical Themed Bridal Shower Invitations, Tropical Wedding, Wedding Decor, Wedding Invitations, Wedding Shower Invitations, Wedding Websites | No Comments

Earlier this year, my family and I went to Hawaii, and my mind was filled with all things tropical when I returned:  Palm leaves, leis, orchids, beachside breezes… I can smell the ocean now, just thinking about it! The tropical aesthetic comes across as fresh, natural, and modern when used for event design, and while it can potentially turn kitschy (potentially!) at a larger ‘do like a wedding, bridal showers are the perfect soiree to show off this theme.  And, it all starts with the first point of interaction with your guests: Tropical theme bridal shower invitations such as these can be cool, classy, chic, or tongue-in-cheek – it’s up to you how to play it.  Design the event itself with tiki torches and palm leaves for decor; hand out leis to guests; and serve Dole Whip for dessert, and you’ve got yourself a cool, breezy bridal shower that guests will still be talking about at the wedding.

Your wedding aesthetic, of course, doesn’t have to match the shower; your venue and personal tastes should drive the look and feel of your wedding.  Just like their cool tropical invites, a wide spectrum of wedding invitation ideas abound at Basic Invite; choosing script or calligraphy as your focus for invitations offers a clean, simple, but elegant preview to the big day; or you can go colorful with all the many shades they offer.  So often as a planner, I’d find just a handful of colors offered for each option provided by online invitation retailers; and just a few colors that would populate in a preview.  Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers nearly unlimited color options with previews online within seconds. As event design grows ever more inventive and complex, the slightest adjustment of shade can make or break your total design; Basic Invite has l over 180 different color options, and you can change the color of each element on the card!  Being able to control the smallest detail of each design is what really sets this company apart and has made big fans out of both planners like me, and wedding couples. And there’s no waiting for a sample – you can print out the design right from your computer before you order, to see how the invitation looks IRL.  This is a huge time saver, a great opportunity to reality check your options.

So! Many! Colors!

There is also a very specific etiquette to wedding invitations; you must hand write the recipient’s address, or have their addresses printed directly on the envelope.  A new innovation, called Seal and Send invitations, allows couples working with Basic Invite to actually skip the envelope (saving trees and waste in the process!) and have the address printed right on the back of the invitation; it’s absurdly easy.Couples share a link with their guests, collect their addresses, and upload them onto the design. Once you receive your order all you have to do is add postage, fold your invites, and secure them with a sticker.  Currently there are over 30 Seal and Send designs, from elegant to modern, all designed to create a seamless packet for your guests.

I love how Seal and Send Invitations are so beautiful and classic – and reduce waste at the same time. Practical AND stunning.

If you want to go more traditional, you can still use Basic Invite to secure guests’ addresses with their social-media enabled address-collection service.  With so much to do with planning, family, and oh, your actual work and life obligations, anything to make addressing all those invitations easier is a huge help!

While planning the invitation design, It’s vital to add your wedding website to the information included; it’s usually the first thing couples create after they find their venue, but there are so many options out there now, and some free wedding websites have their quirks. Basic Invite’s free wedding website service seamlessly allows couples to upload the design from their invitation and use any one of those over 180 colors they offer, for an elegant, yet practical guide for both in-town and traveling guests to have all the wedding details at their fingertips, including a convenient map with directions.

Your guests are your close friends, family, loved ones; you’ll always be in touch with them, long after the wedding. Each of Basic Invite’s 900 invitation designs come with full suite of not only wedding-related stationary, such as save the dates and enclosure cards, but thank you notes as well.  In other words, Basic Invite has you covered from the moment you say “yes” to the last thank you note!  To view more of their innovative designs and stationary solutions, check them out here, and click on the links below to follow their gorgeous inspo on their socials!

Facebook   |    Pinterest    |    Instagram   |    Twitter

I love supporting companies I believe align with my readers’ interests. This is a sponsored post by Basic Invite.

Simplicity Is Key: How to Stick to a Minimalist Wedding Design

By | Minimalist Wedding, Simple Wedding, Wedding Cost, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design | No Comments

If you’ve decided the minimalist wedding look is right for you, there is still a lot you need to keep in mind as you begin planning. Finding the most basic essence of how you want to express your aesthetic will help keep you on the right track and stop you from going overboard. Decide on colors and thematic elements before you even look at invitations and decor. Only once you really know what you love, should you start planning.

Simple Stationary

One of the very first things you should do is design your save the dates, invitations, menus, signs, and other printed materials. You want to do this early so they can serve as a blueprint and design inspiration for all your vendors. To ensure everything is clean and minimalist, keep your language simple and choose a clear font. Use negative space with a bold and striking message. Stay away from images and keep crucial information at the forefront.

Tempting Tablescapes

Click on Photo for Image Source

While you can choose pristine tablecloths and simple floral centerpieces, take your minimalist theme a bit further with rustic wood tables and green foliage as your centerpiece. Simple tableware and neutral colors will accentuate the beauty of the natural elements on the table. Taupe, grey, and blue can all offer you the elegance you want without boring your guests.

You can also extend the minimalism to your bar and dinner offerings. Keep the options simple and offer your guests two or three wines and beers. Many catering companies also offer modern presentations for your food, so you can work with them on an unembellished design as well.

Limited Decor

Spanish bride and groom chair signage

Much of the time, when people think of weddings, they dream up outlandish floral features for outdoor weddings and an abundance of decorations that can easily go above and beyond your budget. Instead of opting for all of this decor, choose specific pieces that will impact your guests. This goes for the backdrop to your “I do,” the seating, flowers, lighting and even fun features. Putting a cap on your decor doesn’t mean that your wedding will look boring; quite the opposite. Take your guest-friendly photo booth, for example. While some go for a decadent backdrop with an assortment of props, others choose a white backdrop with dried herbs or a simple monogram that ties in with the rest of their theme. People will be impressed how you seamlessly tie everything together. It requires a lot of mindfulness and is one area that wedding planners can be extremely helpful with.

A Sweet Ceremony

 While this may not be a visual element, stick with your minimalist theme and keep your vows short and simple. A wedding can be even more meaningful when you cut out all the extra frills that come with a lot of officiants. Maybe have a close friend officiate the ceremony and skip the processional and recessional.

Personal Favors & Gifts

Modern succulent wedding favors and escort cards in sand

Photo by Callaway Gable

When you choose minimalist favors and bridesmaids gifts, you can please your guests and save a little bit of money. For members of your wedding party, you can keep your bridesmaids gifts simple with monogrammed tumblers, pendant necklaces, or homemade body scrubs. Groomsmen are even easier, and a watch or some monogrammed cufflinks are a perfect choice! Whereas, for guests, many minimalists decide to go for miniature gifts with the couple’s initials etched on the side or featured on a tag.

Stick to Your Plan

As details pile up, it can be hard to keep track of everything and make sure you stay under budget. Don’t let anyone pressure you into choosing a more extravagant option and don’t feel bad about saying no to guests who want to bring uninvited plus ones. This wedding is about you and what makes you happy as a couple. Stick to your plan and compromise only when it makes sense, or if your mother-in-law is in tears because she wants to write out your invites by hand. Most important is that you have fun before, during, and after your wedding day!

Author Bio:  Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about weddings and events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, real estate, finance and more.

Fitness on the Move: Working out tips while Working Hard

By | Beachbody, Fitness Tips, Workout, Workout Tips for Entrepreneurs | No Comments

So, when I was a wedding planner, I weighed about 10lbs less than I do now. Even when I was working a more compact schedule as my business matured, there were the hours on my feet, running from one meeting to another, and so on and so forth. (Add a young child to the mix and yeah, I got pretty lean!). I wasn’t strong, though, and even developed bursitis in my hip and arthritis in my knees.   I tried to implement working out tips into my schedule but it didn’t go that great. I just didn’t have a consistent schedule.

When I ‘retired’ from wedding planning, and started working a regular 9-5, I was sitting more, and also being over 40, started losing muscle mass. And guys I mean it happened like OVERNIGHT.  I was worried about heart risk as my belly fat increased, and also losing strength in my joints, i.e. worse arthritis, so I knew I had to figure something out.  See below for how to weave fitness into a busy schedule.

  1.  Have a few backups in your workout schedule.

Everyone says “just calendar it so you won’t forget it.” But if you’re freelancing or work in the service industry, like us, that doesn’t always work.  I have a pretty consistent schedule now so I usually do a Beachbody on Demand workout every night, but then a networking event comes up, or a childcare situation, or whatever.  So, I have a maxiclimber in the corner of my living room that I can hop onto randomly whenever – an early morning, weekend afternoon, or Sunday night to gear myself up for the workweek.  The Maxiclimber is super cheap too – way cheaper than a gym membership.

Hiding in plain sight…the MaxiClimber.

2. Make it so easy, you can’t not do it!

Speaking of gym memberships, I finally got to the point where I cancelled my yoga membership and any other outside classes.  To change, drive, workout, and then drive back took too much time.  Thanks to the beauty of technology, you can buy a Beachbody subscription (or Barre3, or whatever suits you) for so much less than a gym costs – and the workouts are legit.  I’ve been working up to 30 minutes of Insanity every night, and lost 3 lbs and gained a decent amount of muscle within the first 2 months (I know that doesn’t sound like a lot – I’ll explain more in #3).  There is quite literally no excuse. I even watch tv while I work out!  So it becomes some precious me-time without taking me out of my house and thus away from my responsibilities (and yes, I’ve jogged over to the stove while my son’s mac n cheese is cooking, mid workout).


Insanity beachbody on Demand workout tips

Actual text during Insanity workout…

3.  It takes a minute.

So, I only have 10 pounds to lose, but I’ve been gaining muscle.  So I’ve had more defined arms and legs, but in 4 months I’ve only lost 3 lbs.  As my metabolism increases – thanks to that muscle mass – I’ll start seeing more fit and firm aspects to my body. It’s a long game. But exercise isn’t supposed to be a short term habit – it’s for life.  Keep that in mind, and make sure you choose a workout regimen you enjoy, and keep it easy – and before long you’ll start seeing improvement!

Give Yourself A Break: Slow Down your Schedule

By | Event Planner, Event Planning Education, Goal Setting, Mental Health Tips for Business Owners, Self Care, Time Management | No Comments

I used to be a full time business owner, and there was always something to do:  A timeline to build, a blog post to write, a mixer to attend.  Even when I had organized the business to guarantee a neatly contained workday nearly every day, I’d find myself at 9pm at night, say, going online and doing some marketing research, or updating my bookkeeping. I was very efficient with my main work at hand (event planning), so when I had leftover time, I felt like I should be doing something more.  And certainly, there was always something useful I could be doing, even if it wasn’t totally necessary.  But what I should have been doing was telling myself to slow down. Take some time for myself, my friends, my family.

I wound down my business 3 years ago to work in the hospitality industry, but even then, I was consulting on the side on a freelance basis, and working on a project (virtual Wedding Planner Support Groups – to come in late Summer 2019), and this, that and the other.  Then, a few weeks ago, something changed.

I’d leave my job, come home, tidy the house, make dinner, check in on some family, work out…and just have a nice evening of normal around-the-house activities.  I had finished up a couple consultation projects; the Wedding Planner Support Groups were steadily coming together; and I just decided to have one job for a few weeks. And it was awesome.  I realized, I didn’t have to take over the world every night after work – I didn’t have to do MORE to be a BETTER consultant or hospitality professional. I could slow down a little; I could have a nice normal life with ONE job and the occasional, well timed and somewhat automated side project.   The pressure to be all things, to have my fingers in every pie, fell away.  As my business consultant once told me when I went on a downward spiral about all I was trying to accomplish:  Give yourself a f*&king break.

And I’ve never been happier.

A few things that happened because of my return to normal-hood:

  1.  I’m sleeping better.  Fewer things are swimming in my head when my head hits the pillow every night.
  2. I’m highly focused.  Multitasking isn’t always the ideal – you can’t multi-task every single moment of the day. You risk doing a half-assed job on everything versus giving 110% to every task.
  3. I’m healthier.  I started working out almost every single night (Beachbody on Demand to the rescue!). I’ve regained muscle I haven’t seen in years, it’s also added to my sleep, and my stress levels have plummeted since I have increased my cardio activity.
  4. I’m closer to friends and family. I have more time to reach out, send that checking-in text, grab coffee on the weekends.  Socializing has legitimate long-term, crucial health benefits, along with the short-term bump you feel in overall mood.

Life is precious, and every second counts.  No one is going to give you a medal if you add one more thing to your to-do list to prove your productivity.  Give yourself a break; slow down the pace of the voices in your head demanding you do more, more, more; give yourself boundaries, and take time to refill your well of energy, every single day.

Choosing the Coolest Bridal Party Gifts and Wedding Favors

By | Best Wedding Favors, Everything Decorated, Wedding Favors | No Comments

I’m always on the lookout for unique bridal party gifts and favors, and Everything Decorated caught my eye with their uber-elegant, stylish favors and gifts.  From personalized lip balm for guests (honestly, my favorite wedding favor ever) to high quality canvas totes for your traveling guests’ gift bags, they’ve got your wedding favors covered.  I was sent some amazing items on a complementary basis by Everything Decorated and was so excited to receive them.  As a former small business owner and now consultant, I also seek out businesses operated here in the USA, by homegrown entrepreneurs.  The story behind Everything Decorated is one a lot of us small-biz owners relate to – you can read all about it here.  And if you’re ever in Coleyville, Texas, check out their brick-and-mortar store – you’ll fall in love with their offerings!

With their catalog of products as inspiration, here’s a guide to giving out the coolest gifts and favors to your wedding peeps.

Make Your Bridal Party Gifts Personal

Knowing what your bridesmaids are ‘into’ is key to choosing the right gift.  For example, I’m a coffee and tea freak and have several ‘favorite mugs’ that my family knows they MUST NOT touch; and even more important, are my traveler tumblers. They keep my coffee or tea hot, fit neatly in my car cup holder, and are aesthetically pleasing.  I have a ton of them.  And it’s not enough, frankly.  So when I received my tumbler from Everything Decorated, I squealed.  I am not a squealer, okay?  But when I saw my name emblazoned in glittery gold across a chic carrara-marble pattern, and felt the weight of the tumbler (per my husband: “It doesn’t seem like one of those cheap tumblers you can get online”), I just involuntarily let it out!  The tumbler is ideal for favors at small weddings (where you can afford more budget per person for these kinds of things) or for your coffee-loving bridesmaids.  Throw in bags of your pal’s favorite tea or high-end instant coffee, and you’ve got a perfect “caffeine kit” for your friend.


Wedding favors of tumbler with monogramAnd there’s plenty of styles to choose from, so no bridesmaid gets the same design. Want stainless steel? No problem.  Floral? Here they are! BLINGED OUT? Why yes, we have rhinestones festooned upon a drink tumbler!  Nice.

I also loved lounging in the beautiful silky robe, a cost-effective and feminine way to allow your girls to chill as they get their hair and makeup made.  For the ultimate in personalization, they are monogrammed with an initial on the front left, in a variety of colors, including rose gold and a chic matte white.  It’s now my go-to loungewear for when I’m relaxing after a long day in my jammies, or for my Sunday morning coffee on the patio.

best bridesmaid robeTop Notch Wedding Favors

It’s easy  to get caught up with what YOU like for favors and gifts – when choosing these items, think more broadly.  What would your guests enjoy specifically?  If it’s a destination wedding for the majority of guests, an item memorializing the state or city is a thoughtful touch. Along that note,  a passport holder or luggage tag are also excellent favors for guests.  You can even place their names in the luggage tags for fantastic escort cards.

When Should You Buy Bridal Party Gifts and Wedding Favors?

This is one of the more fun, and cost-effective, elements of planning your wedding, but it’s super important to do it early.  It’s one of those things that suddenly catches up to you, and next thing you know, you’re scrambling to grab items for your family and friends.  It’s important to remember, too, that if you personalize your gifts, it’ll take just a few days longer to prepare and send.  Make a list as soon as you choose your bridal party and what you think they would enjoy to receive.  (If I am ever in your wedding, please get me a tumbler STUFFED with bags of Earl Gray Tea!)

For wedding favors, you can plan to purchase them further in the planning process, shortly after your design has come together. A good milestone is after you’ve finalized your floral proposal.  The florals guide the color and design theme, so you’ll have solid direction on what color and type of favors to choose.

With that – happy shopping! And don’t forget to check out Everything Decorated for awesome inspiration!

* We work with vendors and advertisers that vibe with our philosophy and our audience.  This post has been sponsored by Everything Decorated.

7 Mistakes Couples Make That Can Ruin Their Wedding Budget

By | Biggest Wedding Planning Mistakes, Wedding Budget, Wedding Budget Tips, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Cost, Wedding Planner | No Comments

Engaged couple meeting with their wedding plannerPlanning well ahead of your wedding can help you avoid some of the most common budget mistakes couples make that can ruin their special day. Many couples hire a wedding and event manager to take on the hard tasks, but not everyone has the money to do that, so if you can’t, you’re not alone. As a couple, you should sit down and work out how much you have to spend, what you want to spend it on, and how you want your ceremony and reception to proceed. Do you want a band or a DJ? Banners and bunting? What about the catering, wedding cars, the bride and bridesmaids dresses, the groom and groomsmen, the photographer? What will it all cost?  Should you have an extra 10 per cent in case of cost averages?

Wedding planners advise couples to begin with an attitude of ‘how much can we spend?’ Rather than ‘how far can we stretch our budget?’ You can learn from the professionals, so do your research on wedding and event planner websites for tips, and read the following information on how to avoid budget pitfalls and remember, failing to plan means you plan on failing.

1. Don’t Skip Over the Fine Print

Carefully read all the contracts related to your wedding before you sign them because this is where your costs can blow out unless you read the fine print. You could be up for surcharges and extra fees if things don’t go according to plan. You could be charged for staying at the venue over the time agreed upon. The band or DJ might be kept back as well, or the flowers might not be available, so they have to be swapped at the last minute for more expensive bouquets. So take the time to fully understand the terms and conditions before you commit to a service or product.

2. Do Your Research

Couples need a clear understanding of the vendors they will need to hire and what they will charge. Do your research to find the right photographer who will capture all those special moments. What about the venue? Do you want a big church wedding with the reception at a different venue, a relaxed ceremony on the beautiful beach where you met, or something in between? Call the venues and churches etc. and find out what they charge, then create a rough budget out of the costs.

Engaged couple making key decisions about budget with their wedding planner3. Don’t Go Overboard

The biggest mistakes many couples make are borrowing from the wrong lender and overdoing it on the amount. These days, it’s a lot for a young couple to come up with the expenses of a wedding. Many couples are financing their wedding with a personal loan. The way to avoid borrowing too much is by having a repayment plan within your budget and shop around for lenders who are in tune with your financial situation. That doesn’t mean the bride has to skimp on areas such as hiring a professional makeup artist and hair stylist or wearing a less than gorgeous wedding dress. If you need to cut corners, try doing without some of the smaller things, so the major necessities are covered.

4. Keep Track of Your Spending

Keep an eye on what you spend, especially the small purchases which have a habit of creeping up on you. Every dollar adds up, and before you know it, you’re in the red trying to work out where all the money went. So keep tabs on every cent, not just the major expenses, so your budget stays on track. You could set up a spreadsheet or other tool to track every cent that you spend throughout your wedding planning process. Also, be sure to understand the total price, including additional fees and taxes, before you sign a contract.


Engaged Couple planning their wedding

5. Make Spending Decisions With Head Not Heart

Weddings are emotional experiences, there’s no doubting that. But in the planning stage, try to make spending decisions with your head rather than your heart, especially if you haven’t finalised the date, location, and the number of guests. You might change your mind and won’t need whatever you have bought, so it’s money wasted.

6. Don’t Spend Too Much Too Soon on DIY

If you’re planning to take charge of some of the wedding details yourself rather than hiring a vendor – such as asking Mum to make the wedding cake or Aunt Doris to take care of the flowers – do a road test on them before the big day. Also, test out whatever part of the day you want to design yourself, in case you decide to do something different or find that what you had in mind won’t work so you don’t buy supplies you won’t need.

7. Don’t Make Invitation Mistakes

Make sure you have a firm idea of who you are going to invite before you order the wedding invitations. It might seem like a small thing, but every cent counts, and you don’t want to be left with a box of expensive invitation cards that won’t be used. Another invitation mistake is getting the names and addresses wrong and having to resend them. Stamps and envelopes cost money, and it’s another area where it seems like a small thing, but it will matter.

To save all the hassle, the stress, and the mistakes, Dee Gaubert of No Worries Event Planning and Design can coach you through the all important tasks of developing a concise, realty-checked budget with her Budget Consulting services. Email today!


Alex Morrison SEO Expert

Author’s Bio

Alex Morrison has been a SEO Expert for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, business consultant and health care.

Summer is Here! | Financially Surviving Wedding Season as a Guest

By | Charlie Blog, Financial Tips for Wedding Planning, Money Saving Tips for Wedding Guests, Wedding Guest Tips, Wedding Guests, Wedding Planner, Wedding Toast Tips | No Comments

From Dee:  Financial foundations are so important, for both wedding-related business owners and engaged couples counting every penny as they build their budget.  But, what about wedding guests?  Having been one myself, it adds up!  Our friends at Charlie have some excellent tips for wedding guests struggling to get by this summer without breaking the bank.  And, be sure to check out their website for timely, easy-to-follow financial advice.  Enjoy!

According to the New York Times, the average wedding guest spends nearly $900 to partake in the festivities. That price tag can make your wallet want to say, “I don’t!” — especially if your wedding season dance card is full.

But don’t worry. Charlie knows a bunch of money-saving hacks so you can catch the bouquet without breaking the bank!

Set a Budget and Prioritize

Take a peek at your finances and determine exactly how much you can spend on the occasion without wreaking havoc on your budget. Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to create a spending plan.

You can stay near the venue in style, rival the bride for beauty, or be the best gift giver ever — but you may not be able to afford to do it all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make some trade-offs to stay within your set limits. For example, if you want to give a lavish gift, that could mean forgoing the expensive salon visit the morning of the ceremony.

Tip: Charlie can help you plan ahead by starting a new savings goal called “wedding.”

Photo by Brady Puryear

Pool Resources

Try going in on wedding attendance expenses with family and friends. You can split the cost of lodging, transportation, and even the gift. That way, everyone saves some cash and can still fully take part in the experience.

Beautify Yourself (or Find a Deal)

If you’ve got the skills, skip the pricey salon and do your own hair, makeup, and mani-pedi. DIY’ing your beauty regimen will save you some serious cash. (You may even already have the supplies on hand!) Afraid of looking like Elizabeth Holmes? Ask a friend to help paint your face and braid their hair in trade.

If you really want to be pampered, check Groupon to score a deal on the service. You can also reach out to local beauty schools. Often, their students will gussy you up for much less dough than a pro.

Re-wear or Rent Attire

There is zero shame in wearing a killer dress (or suit) twice. So save your wallet and rock that outfit again! You can also raid a friend’s closet to wear something that’s new to you. But — if you must wear something brand new, consider renting your ensemble for a fraction of the price of buying it off the rack.

Surviving weddings financially as a guest

Photo by Courtney Lindberg Photography

Make Your Gift

If you’ve got the talent, why not use it to make something heartfelt and budget friendly? Your newlyweds will appreciate the gesture and will likely cherish it over another set of wine glasses.

Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Sing a song at the reception
  • Make the centerpieces on the dinner tables
  • Offer to photograph the event
  • Create a scrapbook about their relationship
  • Knit a blanket for their couch or bed
  • Paint their new family portrait

Still feeling uninspired? Pinterest has got you covered!

Just Say No

Although it hurts to check “will not attend” on the RSVP card, remember: an invitation to a wedding is a request, not a requirement. Sometimes your wallet just can’t swing it and that’s OK. If that happens, confidently decline with your regrets and send a little (perhaps homemade) gift in your place.

Final Thoughts

Being a wedding guest can be crazy expensive — but it doesn’t have to be. Every element of the experience can be optimized to fit your budget. So go ahead and feel the love while enjoying your fatter bank account.



Advice for the New or Prospective Real Estate Investor

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Financial Planning, Passive Income, Real Estate Investment, Revenue Streams | No Comments
I know this site is all about weddings – business stips for wedding pros, and planning tips for engaged couples.  But a big part of my life is being a “mini” real estate investor – one of those many landlords of one or two small pieces of property as a side source of revenue or retirement investment.  It served to offset taxes (somewhat) while I built my business, and also allowed me to miss a few years of retirement savings while I built my business (since you’re not exactly making a killing the first 2-4 years).  So, having my condo really helped provide stability during my business, and I thought this post would assist small business owners and also, for engaged couples planning their long term finances. THus 0 this post! I hope you enjoy it and please ask me any questions –

How I bought my first property

First of all, I’m only just now onto my SECOND piece of property – a house that we are moving into shortly, as a family.  In 2005, I bought a condo, lived in it until 2009, and since then have rented it and officially became a real estate investor. The housing market was insane at that time; cash investors were swooping in and multiple (like 10..15…20) offers were coming in on houses hot and heavy, as people were taking advantage of the downswing of the economy. Given I was pregnant and wanting to have the option to work part time, start a business (natch :) ) or stay home with the baby for about a year, we figured best to rent.  And that was a good call. (It’s not always a good time to buy – don’t be hard on yourself if you rent.  Buying and owning is expensive in many markets, like ours here in L.A.)
So, now that you know the backstory, my first purchase in 2005 was way too easy.  It was during the housing boom. My FICO score was very good, and I got a ‘stated income’ loan where I literally didn’t have to provide any proof of income. And I only had to put down a 3% deposit.  The condo was $240k for a grand total of 842 square feet.  (By the way, the value soared in 6 months to a peak of $300kI! Yeah, those were crazy days.) I wanted very badly to have real estate investment, and even considered buying cheaper property out of state to add to our portfolio, as a long term piece of side revenue and side hustle.

A Real Estate Investor for The Long Term

In this specific market – the housing bubble of 2004-2008 – you had to carefully play the market to flip a house for 6 figures overnight.  If you were an everyday “Jane” like me, you had to be patient, and make it a long game.  It wasn’t until recently that I could raise the rent to pay for the mortgage – I basically put the amount of a proper down payment into the condo after the fact, in small bits, month by month.  In this case, the cost was wildly overinflated, and at odds with the current low rent I could charge.
But, I refinanced 2 more times to a nice low interest rate, looked at increasing rent once the market increased, finally found a property manager, and now the condo will pay for itself.  Also, interest is a write off, as you probably already know (though beware of the new tax reform that has limited how much can be written off for some homeowners). And while you’re onto the topic of taxes, this thorough article by the Tax Crisis Institute is a huge help come tax time.

Passive Rental Income During Retirement

When it’s paid off, right before my husband and I retire, we will likely earn $30k-45k a year, depending on rents, how often it’s vacant, and maintenance. (Basically, our ‘backup fund’ in case our investments go haywire, have high medical copays, etc.  Of course we are diligently saving as much as we can to retirement and long term investment accounts. it isn’t always easy, but we do our best.  CVS Coupons add up, haha!) We strive to charge middle-market rent – we want to be fair, find responsible tenants, and have enhancements throughout – granite countertops, hardwood floors, neutral paint, and consistently updated appliances.

Advice for Working With Tenants

Before I bought the condo, I met with a real estate attorney, and it was the best thing I could have done.  Laws vary from state to state, and the attorney was able prepare me for the best and worst case scenarios.  This advice helped manage my expectations and allow me to make excellent decisions during tough situations.
Overall, I’m so glad I invested in the condo, and I recommend it for those with a strong stomach for calculated risk and mild stress (i.e., wedding planners!).  And again – any questions, shoot me a note anytime at!