Thinking About Elopement

I loved our wedding. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, it was just our style and everything came together like we wanted. However, there were many times during the process I thought about elopement. If you are a bride who doesn’t want to deal with all the work and money that a wedding really requires, you can still have a beautiful elopement. I decided today, to share some tips to a gorgeous elopement.

First, spend your money on an AWESOME photographer. You will not regret it. Getting the best photographer you can will really help create wonderful memories for you. All the best pictures at elopement are these private moments between the two of you, that may not necessarily have been captured in a big wedding.

Second, location, location, location.

Some City Halls are very beautiful, but no one says you have to get married there. For a small wedding of you both and the officiant most likely you can stand anywhere for free and get married. Why not pick a beautiful place that means something to you?

Third, details.

Including details help your photographer tell a story of your day. Have a gorgeous bouquet, statement jewelry, or maybe a great pair of shoes.

And lastly, tell people about it!

Everyone is going to want to know you got married! Why not send out an adorable announcement?

Has anyone eloped? Or, if you had a big wedding, and you had to do it over, would you elope?

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Things I Learned ON Wedding Day

There are a lot of expectations that seem to come with a wedding day. It was funny because I wandered around for much of the day apologizing to everyone saying, ” I don’t know, I’ve never done this before!” It is a strange feeling of wanting to have everything under control, and realizing it’s impossible.

I started the day off early, going over to the venue to start setting everything up for the day. We had spent the previous two days putting up most of the decor, but since the ceremony was outside we could only set it up the day of.

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Being a “Type A” I liked spending most of the day at the venue to dictate how everything was set up. Since the photographer would be at the house soon, I left the set up to family and friends.

So the first thing a Flat Broke Bride needs is awesome family and friends in the absence of a wedding planner. They were awesome champs who really pulled it all together! I learned how I am surrounded by wonderful people who did everything they could to pull everything together to make our day special.

The next thing I learned was that I should have paid attention to the “What Not To Forget” lists on the blogs. Specifically: EAT. I didn’t realize I was starving until I was in my wedding dress. I seriously got it on and realized, “Crap. I forgot to eat.” My maid of honor saved the day by bringing me a cup of grapes. Grapes. The bride’s life-saver food. Unless you suck at eating grapes are a mess-less food.

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My mom was kind enough to capture me chowing down. 🙂

Now here is something I don’t think anyone tells you: Once you have that dress on you are basically rendered helpless/useless. This is the most frustrating part of the day. I stood in the house watching everyone run like madmen and I couldn’t help, I just had to stand there. I was never more frustrated than I was at that very moment. And that moment lasts until you walk down the aisle. The best advice I can give is to bite your tongue (literally) and concentrate on breathing. If you feel yourself losing your cool, bitch to your maid of honor about your feelings. If she’s awesome like mine she’ll talk you off the ledge.

Here’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve learned: All that frustration that you’ve been feeling, instantly disappears as soon as you see your husband. Like, instantly. I’m going to advocate for first looks for a minute here. Because we did a first look, I got to have a moment alone and away with him before the wedding began. Just seeing him made me completely let go of any anxiety I had. We had a few moments to laugh and enjoy each other before we had to be in front of everyone.

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It was such a wonderful day! We had so many wonderful people in our lives to make it all possible! All these pictures have been from family and friends. The professional photos are going to be so wonderful, I can’t wait to share them!

A Post From The Heart

I have really not been inspired lately. I have been more or less exhausted. Working six days a week is really taking its toll on me (and my mood). But on top of all that is that I really haven’t seen my husband-to-be in a very long time. No, he hasn’t gone missing, we just work entirely different work shifts and never get the same days off. When he leaves for work I am asleep, and when I get home from work he’s asleep.

This has been the hardest change for us. We went from seeing each other all the time, developing a pattern and bonding, to communicating through text (now, I love my phone, but it is a horrible cuddler). And I feel like this separation has put a strain on our relationship. That’s really hard to say in a public forum, but it’s true.

When you are in a relationship, it’s so important to see each other and talk with each other, and cuddle. There is something about being in each other’s presence that builds the relationship. The other day he was actually home when I was, and we got to cuddle on the couch for a bit. Those moments of just sitting and cuddling made a huge difference in my mood. Just that short time brought back that feeling of partnership we had at the beginning.

The six-day work week won’t last forever, and we are trying to get through this time the best we can, but it is hard. I miss my best friend and partner. I say all this not to bring doom and gloom to your Wedding Wednesday, but to maybe offer some comfort to other men and women that are dealing with problems like this.

It seems like so many people gloss over the fact that relationships go through trials and tests and I don’t want to be that person. I want you all to know, we are just like you. We are working hard on our relationship in the midst of difficult life obstacles on top of planning a wedding that is less than 4 months away.

In the face of these obstacles we are committed to each other, we are committed to what we know we have. We don’t need to stand up in front of family and friends to know that. And if you guys truly love your significant other, you’ll feel that too. It will get better, it’s just hard right now, and I understand.

pinky promise

Truth Time: People Apparently Judge Your Wedding

A mutual friend of ours was (rather rudely) inquiring about why we were spending so much money on one day and decided to offer that they thought it was ridiculous. First of all, thanks for your input and so glibly bashing what I’ve been working so hard on for months. Secondly, this is not about anyone else but us. We want to throw a big party and promise our love in front of our family and friends, that’s important to us and it’s worth spending the money on.

When I first started planning a wedding I had NO IDEA how much a wedding costs. I think my fiancĂ© had even less of an idea. We’ve had numerous discussions on the looming costs of this wedding and I’m pretty sure sometimes he was sure that some of the stuff I was getting was totally superfluous or an exaggerated cost.

I have to say, being a total penny pincher, I looked for every way possible to keep down the cost of this wedding. I found a relatively inexpensive venue, my mom is making gorgeous flowers, I am creating the decor mostly on my own and any vendors I hired I made sure to shop around to the best price. Even with all of that work, a wedding is still a very high cost and there really isn’t a way to get around it unless you have lots of favors you can call in.

Suffice it to say I worked my butt off to keep costs low and our wedding fun for our guests. And yet, people still judge the cost of our wedding. The fact is people who look at the money you are spending on a wedding have never had to plan one before.

I don’t want to discourage people from having the wedding of their dreams. I started this blog because I wanted to figure out how to keep costs low and share my journey with others, but at no point did I want to lie and tell you that “Oh you can definitely plan a wedding for $5000.” It is possible, but many times unrealistic for the masses. I want to be the voice of the middle-of-the-road, and what a realistic budget looks like.

At any rate, our wedding may not be the cheapest but it is not the most expensive either, it’s just right for our life and our budget. As long as you are spending what you are comfortable spending, don’t let anyone make you feel weird about it.

Ok I’m super sorry I don’t know how to end a rant…so now this:

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The results of Maine Maple Sunday! So okay has anyone else caught flack for the price of their wedding? What did you do about it?

The Best Kind Of Work AND Pinspiration!

When watching the tail end of the Oscars I got to watch live, I caught Ben Affleck’s Oscar speech. When I heard what he said to his wife I was so pleased. I felt like someone finally acknowledged what no one says out loud. While other people were thanking their “perfect wife” or their “exceptional husband” you always think, “Well that’s sweet.” But when Ben said thank you to his wife for, “working on our marriage for 10 Christmases…It is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with” I almost stood up and cheered because NO ONE ever says that! Why doesn’t anyone ever tell you how much work marriage is going to be? Why do we always get stuck with the fairy tale and not the truth?

Well if no one has told you, Ben and I will. It’s work. Like 80% of marriage is work, but it is the best kind of work. You are working to build something beautiful. You are working to age together, to get to a place where you know each other so well, it seems you know the other person’s thoughts. But people are complicated and can take a lifetime to learn. Marriage is the commitment saying you are willing to stick it out through the hardships, not just of life, but the hardships of living with each other. Some days you can love your husband more than words can express, then other days you would be happier if he moved to Siberia for a few months.

Ben got a lot of flack from what he said, because he made it seem like his marriage was “in trouble,” but really he was just telling a truth that our society has liked to keep buried. As I plan our wedding and go through life with my husband-to-be I find out more and more what it’s like to stick to your promises to each other, even in hard times. I want to hold fast to those promises because, like Ben said, “there is no one I’d rather work with.”

Sorry for the seriousness, I just wanted to share my thoughts on Ben’s speech on marriage, I was really touched by it.
Pinspiration
I thought we could go with a great quote for Pinspiration this week.


I found and re-pinned this from Sarah over at Burnett’s Boards. She ALWAYS has excellent Pinspiration over there!

What do you guys think? Do you agree with Ben’s Oscar speech?

I Am A Forgetful Bride

When I think about all that still has to be done, I cringe and/or have nightmares/panic attacks. I don’t even want to think about how it’s going to be a month, two weeks, a week before the wedding. There are so many details to plan and coordinate that I don’t know if I can remember it all! I decided to do some thinking and some research to make a list of things that brides typically forget.

1) Extra Money

Ok, I’ve budgeted for this one, but seriously, emergencies are going to arise that you are going to need extra cash for. I wish I could think of some circumstances right now, but I’m sure, once it happens to me, I will have plenty of examples! So budget for extra cash that day. It may be best just to have actual cash on hand, that way, if someone doesn’t take credit for some reason, you’re not totally out of luck. Also, it is customary to tip vendors, and cash is the best way to get that accomplished as well.

Trunk

2) Packing everything.

For me this means packing up all the decor and projects I’ve worked on in addition to that weeks’ clothing and toiletries. But packing for you could just mean an overnight bag for after the wedding, or packing for your honeymoon. In all the confusion don’t forget to pack what you need! I hate packing under pressure too, so don’t do it the night before, make like a pregnant lady and have a bag packed in advance!

3) Bringing your cell phone charger

I guess this goes along with packing, but that day you are going to need your cell phone and if it’s not charged because you forgot that all important item, your bridezilla moments may get worse! If you are a super forgetful person, you may want to have an extra charger on hand and packed in your bag. It’s always better to have more than less!

4) Remembering important documents

Ok so this is a HUGE one for me. Um, marriage license, bring it. This may seem like a “duh” to most of you, but I hate dealing with legalities and paperwork. I am super awesome with everything money, except the paperwork side of it. I throw out or lose my receipts, and I have important papers sort of strewn about the house. So going to the courthouse with all my “important papers” and filling out a marriage license is one of those big deals that I could very easily put off till the last-minute and forget to do.

Let’s also not forget, for those of you taking exotic vacations, Passports! This one can’t wait till the last-minute, it should be done A.S.A.P.! It takes a little while to process everything, so if you wait till the last-minute, you may not be able to go on your trip!

5) Emergency Kit

Courtesy o’ “The Knot” here is a great list of things to bring and fit into a small bridal emergency kit. Little snafus will happen on the big day, but putting together this little kit can really help. EXTRA bonus if you maid of honor gifts you with her own personal emergency kit made just for you!

  • Aspirin (or pain reliever of choice)
  • Band-Aids
  • Bottle of water
  • Chalk (to cover up any last minute smudges or smears on your wedding dress)
  • Clear nail polish (for stocking runs)
  • Corsage pins
  • Dental floss/toothpicks
  • Eye drops
  • Extra earring backs
  • Extra panty hose
  • Hair pins/ponytail holder
  • Hand towelettes
  • Hem tape
  • Matches
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Scotch tape
  • Sedatives (don’t ask!)
  • Small folding scissors
  • Smelling salts (while we don’t expect anyone to faint, it has been known to happen)
  • Spot remover
  • Static-cling spray
  • Straws (so the bride can stay hydrated without messing up her lipstick)
  • Tissues
  • Tweezers

6) Feeding your vendors

This actually factors into extra costs, so make sure to find out the vendors that will need food and count them as one of your guests when you give the final head count to the venue! Sometimes contracts stipulate that you have to feed their people, other times they say it doesn’t matter. I’d say, as a rule, feed your vendors, it’s just nice. 🙂

7) Feed your bridal party

This doesn’t pertain to the reception dinner (I would HOPE you’d feed them at the reception) but I mean throughout the day. Have some food brought to the place you are all getting ready so everyone can snack. The beautify-ing process can be tough and your ladies need rations! Don’t forget about the men either! Boys DEFINITELY need food! Go grocery shopping a day or two before for some food, that way you are full stocked.

8) Feed yourself!

This seems like common sense to me, but I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that brides went through their day without eating a thing! Bad things happen when you don’t eat and drink! Take care of that gorgeous body of yours!

9) Someone to take care of the little details

There are things that are going to happen on your wedding day that are out of your control. Me, being the control freak I am, will want to fix all of these problems. So, in order to not be putting out little fires on the day of my wedding, I will, instead, have someone there to help me get everything accomplished that I need done. Make sure that the person knows the “who, what, when, where, why” of your day’s itinerary and has a copy, that way, if the DJ is playing the wrong song, or there isn’t enough seating for Aunt Sally and Uncle Albert, you have someone who can take care of that!

10) Commit it all to memory

As much as I am telling you all this advice, I’m taking it all down in my own head, and this is a big one. I have heard that the day goes by SO fast, and it is so important for you to remember everything and really enjoy it! So in that spirit, try to commit it all to memory as it’s happening, even the problem parts, because you’ll want to look back one day and remember it all.

Well those are all the important things I can think of. If you have any I should add to the list, please feel free to comment! Since I haven’t gone through it all, I don’t know what to expect!

Learning About The “Self”

It’s ridiculous how much you learn about your partner when you are living with someone, planning a wedding with someone. Being an avid reader of the Huffington post (wedding section of course) there are tons of articles on human relationships that are so interesting. So I thought I would take a moment and maybe impart some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from some of the articles I’ve (and he’s) read.

#1 Don’t be overly critical of your significant other. This can be super difficult for people who are “Type A” personalities. That is, those of us (me included) that feel the need to keep in total control of our lives. If the other person in our lives is more laid back, we Type A people have a tendency to be over critical. I love the article from the Huff Post that talked about this problem. The woman in the story realized that if she fixed herself and her behavior, her husband was more willing to do for her, what she needed. Check the awesome article out here! It’s really worth the read!

#2 Comes from a great blog called “Single Dad Laughing.” He wrote 2 great blogs about ways he “blew” his marriage. I enjoyed reading his blog, AND so did my hubby-to-be! After we both read it, we hugged each other and made promises to be better. Of course I had to share some of his wisdom with you all. So #2 is Don’t be Stingy with Money. This one is where I am a huge offender. I want to take every spare penny and stick it in the bank to save for later.

Money is such a huge thing that drive couples apart. It’s one of those things you should just talk about as you get serious with someone. Complaining about money and the way money is spent in the household is never helpful. Before you get to a place where you are irritated with each other, have a “money talk.” It may be a sensitive subject, but it is so important to lay your financial self bare so that your spouse knows every little dirty detail. This is also about trust. Allowing your spouse to spend the money he or she wants is saying “I trust you.”

Photos By: One Eye Click

#3 Comes from the same article but an AWESOME point. Don’t stop having fun together! You have to remember why you fell in love. Weddings are super stressful. I’ve talked to brides who had many sleepless nights over the stress of wedding planning. This makes it more important than ever to have as much fun as possible! Passion ebbs and flows, but your friendship with your significant other needs to be solid forever. Don’t forget why you are best friends! Go out and be silly, laugh together and just generally have an awesome time. More of his great advice here and here!

Alright guys, I have onneeee more thing to say….I’M OFFICIALLY ENGAGED!!! The whole story coming to the blog soon! To find out why I had to wait check out this post! Layaway Ring

Wedding Planners & THE BEST FINANCIAL TIP EVER

Looking over all the details of this wedding gives me a headache. So I have thought over the idea of hiring a planner. After all, weddings like this don’t just happen:

So after placing MAAANNNNYYY calls to several wedding planners and getting quote after quote that was about half my wedding budget, I wondered how these brides do it!

So is it worth it? Yes and no…or, it can be. Though the original quotes were astronomical, you can scale back the amount of a planner’s help. He or she may offer day-of planning. It’s a great service because, although you have to plan everything up until the day, you don’t have to worry about anything the day of!

First I had to figure out what I really needed. It would be wonderful to have someone just take over (believe me there are days when I’ve thought about it), but at this moment the budget doesn’t allow for it, and I don’t really need it. I’ve gotten most of my vendors in order and my contracts situated, there are just little details to be work out. However, I don’t know that I could enjoy my wedding day, if I was also organizing my wedding day. Because my wedding is very “destination” I won’t have enough hands to really help out with much. That extra help would really make things easier.

Now here it is, my BEST FINANCIAL TIP EVER: Invest in start-up companies! If you do you research and find little businesses around the area that are start-ups, you can really get a great deal AND get pretty much their full attention because they will have a short client list. The downside may be lack of experience but that doesn’t mean they don’t have talent.

I ended up hiring a small start-up company to help with the day-of planning. The lady that runs the company is very passionate and excited to help. She loves weddings and loves to plan, I am happy to have her help and her skills so that I can just relax on the day of the wedding. You can read more about her business here.

Give your consideration to some start-ups. You would be helping local business grow, and saving your wallet a HUGE chunk of change! Not to mention how beautiful your wedding can be!

Sharing A Secret & Why My Mom Is The Best Vendor

The flowers for the wedding have achieved stems! It’s so exciting to get updates on how everything is coming along!

My mom has got to be the best vendor I have! One of the worst things about vendors is also something that is not their fault. As a time-management overlord, I have a million questions and I want them all answered. As a person who knows what it takes to run a business, I know I’m not the only bride in the world and certainly not the most important one right now. So with all that said, one of the worst things about vendors is the fact that they don’t get back to you quickly. I know I am not the only bride that feels that way, but at least I am rational and realistic about it. I am not the most important person ever, and they will eventually get back to you.

I am always so terrified of being a pest. And I know that vendors hate pushy clients. But I do have to say this: There really isn’t a full manual on how to plan the exact wedding you want on the budget you have. There are many guidebooks but they are not fully sufficient. While all girls wish we were born with the awesome wedding-planning gene…we weren’t.

THE SECRET: It’s something that I probably shouldn’t say as a wedding blogger…I’m totally in the dark with this thing. The initial “inspiration” part of wedding planning is easy, but when the time comes to execute all those ideas, I feel you all of a sudden need to become a professional juggler and manage to keep all these details in the air.

All that to say, any piece of mind a vendor can give is SO helpful, if only to keep a bride’s sanity. Some brides may take it overboard and want to control every little detail…and let’s be honest, that’s annoying, and you can’t control everything. But vendors, meet brides halfway, answer the most valuable questions in a timely manner, it makes a WORLD of difference.

BUT, when your momma is your vendor, she ALWAYS gets back to you, AND sends you her progress! She gets a gold star!

What the Wedding Industry Wants You to Do…and What You Can Do Instead! Part II

I always thought the most expensive part of the wedding would be the venue…and I wasn’t totally wrong, but a close second (and maybe a first depending on your venue) is the food. Food for a wedding is an overwhelming, jaw-dropping price tag that I don’t think anyone sees coming. I’m only feeding 50 people and I couldn’t believe it. It doesn’t matter if you are going sit-down dinner or buffet style, the price is still astronomical.

The situation I have now is the best option for us, but originally I thought I would cut costs by asking the caterer to serve “home cookin” southern-style type meals. Everyone loves chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed ‘taters! Even with serving food that isn’t considered “fine dining” it still costs an arm and a leg. So here are some ways you can cut costs on your food budget.

I know this is going to sound nuts but have your hors d’oeuvres passed out by the catering staff instead of a buffet or table.

I know, I know, all that food looks expensive…and it probably is, I just like to tease you. 🙂 If the catering staff passes out your hors d’oeuvres it controls food intake. You may be looking at a little more in cost for the staff, but your guests probably haven’t eaten in hours, and those hors d’oeuvres are the first thing they get to devour, so they go pretty fast. If your caterer has to re-stock hors d’oeuvres that’s more money out of your pocket.

Next I’m going to ask you to break a rule of the wedding industry.

Only one meat option. I know it is customary to have at least two choices of meat for dinner, but trust me, it’s not that big of a deal. Instead, offer once choice of meat, and lots of vegetarian options as sides (which tend to be cheaper). Your guests who don’t like their meat will still be able to have plenty of sides to fill them up.

And now onto dessert! This is where my advice isn’t entirely needed because most people are breaking out of this box by themselves…but what is the biggest dessert item that the industry says is a MUST have?

Yup. The cake. And not just any cake. If you want YOUR wedding to be THE talked about wedding you must get a SEVEN TIER wedding cake. Wait…what? I don’t think even the biggest of wedding parties could consume that much cake. That is a lot of dessert. I don’t think I could eat more than 50 slices…

Seriously though, you absolutely do not need a seven tier wedding cake. If you are like me and love dessert, there are some much more awesome, cheaper options, or, to be honest, if you love cake, you can still have it, just, please, not seven tiers tall…I hate to see good dessert go to waste.

All Photos From The Sweet And Saucy Shop

Cupcakes, Mini Pies, Macarons, Cake Pops, and Pudding in a Mason Jar…mmmmm it all looks delicious! Now of course don’t choose all of these options, that would defeat the purpose of cutting costs. But it is much cheaper to do small items in bulk than it is to do one big cake. Some of these, like the pudding in a jar are very DIY-ish too. Then, if you still want a cake on top of that, get a small two tier cake for just you, that way you still have something to cut into.

If you still aren’t convinced, and you love the WOW factor of a seven tier cake, it is possible on a tight budget, you just have to pull a fast one on your guests. The bottom layer of your cake will be all cake, and the rest of the layers will be styrofoam. You’ll cut the cake and none’s the wiser! If you have a large wedding, serve sheet cake as the alternative (SO MUCH cheaper), or if you have a small wedding, get 2 or 3 of the seven tiers in cake and the rest in styrofoam.

Those are just a few tips from the BIGGEST offenders of a budget. The cost of something is all in your hands! Be creative and think outside the box! You can absolutely pull this off! (At least that’s what I tell myself every day!)

If you have any other money-saving tips I want to hear them! I love your comments, so keep ’em coming!