More Wedding Saving Tips


Looking for more money saving tips for your wedding?  What about Breakfast for Dinner?  I know my kids alway loved that theme – who doesn’t?  And the best thing is, it’s less expensive that a dinner menu.  Continuing with the blog suggestions from, Breakfast for dinner is new wedding hit!  To quote one bride from the article:

“Coming up with the idea to do a brunch wedding– not only did using breakfast food cut our bill in half, it was a sentimental choice too. Our first date was breakfast at a diner because we both worked overnights at the time. Plus, who doesn’t love breakfast? People loved the originality of the idea and the delicious food!”

5862 has long been a favorite site of mine for handmade crafts, but especially for wedding items.  The article also suggests using this site as a money saver.  My daughter Kathleen’s wedding invitations were from Etsy.  KK and her husband, Tyler, were able to find a pattern that was sentimental for them (it featured a couple in a canoe – highlighting not only Tyler’s proposal, but their love of the outdoors, and especially fishing).


Another way the article suggests saving money is to use “help from friends” for the wedding.  I agree — to a point.  If people are willing to help with wedding prep, or after, take ’em up on it!  But NOT for the day of the wedding.  A professional is best for that.  (Do you really want the crew below in charge?  🙂  )


Not only do you need clear-headed “help” at your wedding, but you also want to insure that your family and friends have a good time.  Seriously consider a “Day Of Event” coordinator.  The value is large.  Some brides even take it a step further and hire their planner for the week before as well.  Not a bad idea…

Money Saving Wedding Tips!


Hannah Colt Photos

More Money Saving Tips !?!

I ran across an article on pinterest the other day. It was all about making your budget work for your wedding. As the mother of four daughters, I’m all for that! The author of the article made a few good points. I’ll address those here, and respond if they make practical sense in my experience as both a “mother of the bride” AND a wedding planner.

A lot of people ask me how they can save money so hopefully, this article will come in handy for a lot of you. One point that doesn’t come up in this post is the fact that a lot of people take out loans to be able to afford their dream wedding. One tip I can give all of you who are planning to do this is to make sure you have a low interest rate on the loan you take out. You don’t want to be paying for a wedding 4 years down the road! To get a low rate, you’ll need a good credit score. Some of you won’t have one so take a look for the best credit cards for someone with no credit. This way, you can build credit before taking out a loan for your big day.

  1. “…I ordered fresh flowers from a wholesale distributor and picked them up the week of the wedding.” FANTASTIC idea. A few things to plan ahead if you’re going this route: Make sure you have: A) A good Wholesale contact you can trust, B) someone reliable to pick up the flowers – it shouldn’t be you, C) somewhere to refrigerate the flowers, D) plenty of vessels to display the arrangements in and finally, and most importantly, E) someone to arrange them. This can’t be great Aunt Ethel. It needs to be a professional or at the very least, someone with some talent, (like my associate, Debbie), and who has no other role to play in your wedding. I also recommend a florist making your bouquets, boutonnières and corsages.
  2. “Be Your Own Wedding Planner” Another excellent idea…to a point. As the author of the article qualifies: you may “…find it worthwhile to hire someone to coordinate details the day of the wedding, so you don’t have 20 people tugging on your wedding dress wondering what to do next.” That is what I specialize in. Think about it. You’ve spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your “Once in a Lifetime” event. Don’t you want to insure that it will run without a hitch? YOU CAN NOT DO THAT, AND NEITHER CAN YOUR MOTHER, and ENJOY YOURSELF! 🙂


Hannah Colt Photos

3. DIY Wedding Video – Apparently, this is how this works — you rent guest video cameras from a company, (info to follow), have them download an app to upload their footage to, and then you edit to create a video you like – you have control. I love this idea. From the article: “Once we’d distributed the cameras and told our friends how to use the app, we told them to go nuts and they didn’t disappoint. They gave us a ton of great footage to work with to create a really unique and memorable video that we wouldn’t have been able to have otherwise.” And what is this magical company? WeddingMix You may not want a video. My own daughters did not. They wanted to remember their weddings as they remembered them — not necessarily as they were… Your call!


More next time!

37 Hidden Wedding Costs

I hope you enjoy this reprint written by Danielle Salazar from Kennedy Blue Special note to item #33 ! 🙂

Please check out my new website for my business venture “Mother of the Bride Wedding Planner” Just click on the link

37 Hidden Wedding Costs You Need to Budget For

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Danielle Salazar | 0 Comments

With everything that goes into planning your wedding, it’s easy to overlook some basic costs. Your hearts may already be set on the beautiful wedding dress or something like Northwood Rings, and I’m sure you’re quite aware to fees for your venue, food and drink, DJ or band, photographer, etc., but what about all of those little things you should financially plan for as well. To make sure that you perfectly prepare your wedding budget accordingly, here are 37 hidden wedding costs that you probably didn’t even think about!

37 Hidden Wedding Costs You Need to Budget For

Hidden Costs You NEED to Add to Your Wedding Budget

1. Bridal Party Proposals: It’s become way more than simply just asking your best friends and family to be a part of your big day. In fact, people are getting quite fancy with their groomsmen and bridesmaid proposals by buying gifts, putting together fun goody bags, and DIYing all sorts of fun crafts.

Advice: Keep it simple and DIY if that’s your forte! If you need some great ideas, head on over to our blog with 25 bridesmaid proposal ideas that are super fun!

2. Beauty Treatments: You most likely are planning to have your hair and makeup done for the big day, and I assume you’ve already worked that into your budget. However, don’t forget all of the other pre-wedding prep that you might have done such as teeth whitening, hair coloring, massages, extensions, etc. Also, you might need to have more than one hair and makeup trial so plan ahead for that!

Advice: Check sites such as Groupon for great deals on massages and salons. You’ll save a ton and have fun trying new places!

3. Bachelorette Party: It’s tradition for the maid-of-honor or group of bridesmaids to pitch in and pay the expenses of the bride, but if you’re going out of town, many brides will pay their own airfare. If you’re expecting a fun getaway, prepare to possibly pay that expense along with any fun travel outfits or luggage you may need to purchase. You might even go holiday for your party! A friend went to the best bars in Bratislava.

Advice: Stay close to home. While it’s always fun to travel, there are plenty of fun places to celebrating your bach that are within driving distance. Plus, more girls will be able to attend!

4. Pre-Wedding Attire: There are a lot of pre-wedding events that go one such as bridal showers, bachelorette parties, a reception dinner, and even possibly a groom’s dinner. If you’re like me, you’d probably by a new outfit for every one of those events, so plan that into your budget because 4+ outfits isn’t cheap!

Advice: Don’t be like me and wear outfits you already own! Otherwise, try a fun option like Rent the Runway, which has designer styles that you can wear for special events!

5. Alterations: When you’re picking out a bridal gown, it’s easy to forget about the alterations that are almost always required such as a hem, bustle, and sometimes even a seam adjustment. Expect to pay around $100-500 depending on what you need done. Oh, and don’t forget about steaming!

Advice: Shop around! There are definitely seamstresses that are significantly more affordable, but do just as great of work. As your friends/family who they might recommend.

6. Undergarments: You budget for your gown and bridal accessories, but did you plan for all those pesky undergarments that you’ll need to hold everything up, in, and all together!? Depending on the style of your dress and what you’ll need, those things can be spendy so just prepare yourself!

Advice: Buy your dress and have alterations done early so that you have enough time to shop around for good deals. Ideally, with the right alterations, you won’t need much more than a long-line bra or bra-cups!

7. Postage: Just think, there are usually multiple pieces of heavy card stock paper that you’re mailing so don’t expect one little stamp to do the trick. Postage can cost unto $2/invite depending on the weight. Also keep in mind that extra postage is always required for a square envelope, regardless of the weight.

Advice: Skip the fancy folded pocket envelopes and consider an online RSVP so you don’t have to include an RSVP card and pre-stamped envelope within your invitation suite.

Don't forget about postage for your save-the-dates, invites, RSVP's, and thank you's! | 37 Hidden Wedding Costs You Need to Budget ForCassie Rosch Photography

8. Overtime Costs: You book your vendors for a certain amount of time, so when you think about it, this totally makes sense! If events are running late or your reception goes later than planned, be expected to pay additional costs.

Advice: Get overtime costs in writing and factor in additional time when booking your vendors!

9. Clean-up Costs: If you’re paying a flat free to rent a venue space, expect to pay for clean-up costs such as garbage removal and post-reception cleaning. This usually will be charged by the hour so be sure to read your contract carefully, ask about potential fees, and know what to expect!

Advice: Grab a couple friends or aunts and uncles who are willing to help clean-up after the reception so the staff doesn’t have to do it and you can save some extra money.

10. Non-Approved Vendors: Now-a-days, tons of venues work with a “preferred vendors” list that offers an exclusive group of caterers, bakers, decor companies, and more. If you have your heart set on a venue that’s outside of this list, don’t be surprised if they expect you to pay 20% or more.

Advice: Stick to the list! Otherwise, if you have very specific vendors you’re hoping to work with, try to get a venue that allows you to bring in anyone that you’d like.

11. Cake Cutting & Corkage Fees: Plan to pay roughly about $2-5 per guest for cake cutting and up to $15 per bottle for corkage fees. I know it sounds spendy, but if you’re not using the venue’s caterers or bar service, they then become responsible for slicing, serving, and cleaning those dishes so it makes sense.

Advice: If the venue offers a catering and bar service, use it! Otherwise, opt for cupcakes over cake, so you don’t have to pay for a cutting fee!

12. Vendor Meals: Your photographer, videographers, coordinators, band, and DJ are pretty much spending their entire day with you. Please make sure that they get feed just like everyone else!

Advice: Many venues/caterers offer a cheaper option for vendor meals. Check your contract and make sure you know what they can expect to eat!

13. Lighting & Sound: Most DJ’s and bands should be well equipped, but if your venue space is larger than average, you may need extra speakers and extension cords. Also, if your venue is outdoors or in a location that isn’t prepped for a wedding, expect to purchase a sound system, lights, generators, extension cords, and the whole works.

Advice: Make sure your band/DJ are familiar with the layout of the venue and consider hiring from a larger company that are well equipped and won’t charge you for extra pieces.

14. Rentals & Upgrades: While many venues come with tables, chairs, linens, and place settings, don’t expect them to be anything too fancy! To get the look you really want, you may need to go through a rental company or expect to pay for some upgrades through the venue.

Advice: Try to find a venue that has the total look and feel that you want. You might be surprised that although their rental fee is way higher, the overall cost will be significantly cheaper considering it already comes with all the bells and whistles that you were hoping for.

15. Servers/Bartenders: While most venues offer a bar service or at least have a liquor license, that doens’t mean a bartender is automatically included. Same goes for serves.

Advice: Ask your venue about their serving policies and make sure that you’re completely aware as to whether finding servers/bartenders is going to be their job or yours.

Are servers and bartenders included in your contract? | 37 Hidden Costs You Need to Budget ForRay + Kelly Photography

16. Rental Transportation: You can’t stick 15 tables in the back of a van and 150 chairs most certainly won’t fit in a compact vehicle. Before renting any furniture, inquire about any transportation, shipping, or packaging fees as they usually aren’t included in the per-item costs.

Advice: Although the upfront cost might be more expensive, going with a larger rental company (who has their own trucks) could end up being significantly cheaper than having to pay all of the transportation fees.

17. Tasting Fees: It’s one of the best parts about wedding planning, but believe it or not, can add up in price! Many places charge unto $15 per extra person that is there with you, so be selective on who you bring.

Advice: Who needs to be there besides you and your spouse? No one. Keep it intimate and keep it cheap!

18. Coat Check: If you’re having a winter wedding, having a coat check is especially important. Well, believe it or not, many places will charge up to $300 just for a coat-hanging service! Make sure you read your contract carefully and ask questions ahead of time!

Advice: It’s absolutely not necessary unless all of your guests are bundled in their winter coats. But during spring or summer, heck no. Save the money.

19. Wedding Insurance: It’s not something that most people think about, but considering the thousands of dollars you’re spending, it’s definitely worth it!

Advice: Shop around and find a company that you find trust-worthy and reasonable. We personally recommend Northeast Insurance Advisors.

20. Transportation: How will get from the ceremony space to the reception? How will you get from the venue to the hotel? Calling and waiting for cabs could take a lot of time out of your day, so be prepared by renting a service ahead of time. If the venue is far from the hotel, it might also be great to offer a shuttle service for your guests!

Advice: Check with your hotel to see if they are willing/able to use their shuttle service for your big day. Otherwise, you could request an Uber to go back and forth between the destinations and just charge your card at the end of the night!

Don't forget transportation for you and your guests! | 37 Hidden Wedding Costs You Need to Add to Your BudgetBellagala Photography

21. Taxes & Gratuities: The amounts are going to vary by state, but as a good rule of thumb, tack on an extra 1/3 of your total costs for tips and taxes.

Advice: Don’t skimp on the tips. These people work hard to make sure your day is perfect, not to mention, they work a lot of night and weekends, so make their hard work worth it!

22. Marriage License: Depending on your state, this can range from $20-$40, but let’s be real — it’s pretty damn important.

Advice: Don’t skimp…unless you don’t want to be legally married.

23. Day-Of Stationary: Obviously you’ll need to pay for your save-the-dates and invites, but so many couples forget to include all of the day-of items such as programs, escort cards, table numbers, menus, and signs.

Advice: If you’re familiar with design, try making you own programs or menus and print them off on sites such as VistaPrint. They regularly have 30-40% off sales! As for escort cards, Pinterest is filled with great DIY options.

24. Shipping Costs: If you plan on ordering anything (your dress, decorations, linens, undergarments, etc.) be prepared to pay shipping fees. It might not be a significant amount, but the more you order, the more charges you’ll incur.

Advice: Find a website that offers multiple products try to order as much at one time as possible so that there will only be one shipping fee rather than multiple.

25. Out-of-Season Flowers: Don’t get your heart super set on any one type of flower unless you absolutely know they are in season. Peonies, for example, are super trendy, but if they’re not in season, they can be up to $20 a stem. I kid you not.

Advice: Opt for in-season alternatives. If you need some good examples, we have a list ofalternative flowers for the five trendiest wedding styles.

26. Bathrooms: Oh my, could you imagine planning an outdoor event and realizing that there are no bathrooms on site! If you’re going through a venue (a barn, ranch, vineyard, etc.) make sure to ask about porta potty availability. If it’s at a family members home, make sure to rent some!

Advice: If your guests list is over 100, rent at least 2. You can never be too safe when it comes to bathrooms!

27. A Backup Plan for Mother Nature: If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, it’s crucial that you plan for anything. If there’s any chance of rain that time of year, be prepared by ordering a tent. Other things you may want to consider are extra lights, (imagine if a string of bistro lights just decided to burn out!), flooring (in case it’s extra muddy, and umbrellas or ponchos!

Advice: Check the weather early and often. If there’s any rain in sight, buy a bulk set of ponchos or umbrellas for not only your bridal party, but for your guests to share as well.

28. Favors: This is totally optional, but are somewhat of a tradition. Favors usually run between $2-$5 per piece so depending on the number of guests, that could be a significant part of your budget!

Advice: If you’re doing something like a Photo Booth or candy bar, that’s a take-home favor in itself. If not, try an easy DIY or make a homemade treat for your guests to enjoy.

29. Unexpected Guests: Ugh, isn’t this just your worst nightmare? More than likely, your younger cousin Aaron is going to show up with his uninvited girlfriend, or those family-friends who RSVP’d “no” will surprisingly make an appearance. Make sure purchase a few extra plated dinners, just in case!

Advice: Talk with your venue/caterer about how many they recommend. Chances are, they’ve dealt with this a lot and have a good idea of what you should order.

30. Hotel Stays: It’s pretty common for the bride and her ‘maids to stay in a hotel room the night before the wedding. You also may want to get one for the night OF the wedding.

Advice: Check sites like Groupon, Living Social, Expedia, or Priceline for great hotel deals.

31. Wedding Party Presents: Most likely, you already factored in present for your bridal party, but don’t forget about your parents, flower girl, groomsmen, and ushers. Anyone who plays a significant role in your wedding deserves a special thank you. And your parents just deserve it because they birthed you.

Advice: Pinterest is full of great ideas for wedding party presents. Shop around or DIY something personal that you know they will love!

Presents for the wedding party and parents | 37 Hidden Wedding Costs You Need to Add to Your BudgetMaria Linz Photography

32. Welcome Bag Delivery: Yup, often times, there is a cost to have the front desk associate hand your guests a welcome bag or deliver it to their rooms. In fact, the fee can be up to $10/bag! Make sure to inquire about their hotel policies before being surprised with additional costs.

Advice: Hand out welcome bags the night of the reception dinner or if a friend or family member is staying in the same hotel, have guests stop by their room to pick up their goodies!

33. Day-Of Coordinator: You deserve to just enjoy your wedding day and not worry about taking vendor phone calls, setting up your reception hall, ensuring things are on time, etc. Hire a day-of coordinator to take off the stress and deal with it all themselves. That way you can relax and enjoy your day.

Advice: Have a type-A person in your family? Request that they be your go-to person for phone calls, questions, and keeping the itinerary on schedule. You’ll save tons.

34. Wedding Day Meals: Obviously I’m not talking about your cocktail hour or reception dinner, I’m talking about what you’re going to eat the 8-10 hours leading UP to the wedding. You and your ‘maids will be busy getting ready so making sure that there’s food to eat is super important for your health and sanity.

Advice: Designate a couple bridesmaids to be in charge of bringing food. Bagels and fruit are perfect for breakfast and sandwiches work well for lunch. If worst comes to worst, order room service.

35. Forgotten Items: It’s the last thing every bride or groom wants to worry about, but it’s SO important to plan for. Whether you get to the venue and realize you’ve forgotten your hosiery, the groom’s socks, or spaced on getting a ring bearer pillow, have some backup cash for your aunt Sally to make a quick run to the store, need-be,

Advice: Start packing at least a week in advance. It’s almost all stuff you can pack ahead, so find a list online and get yourself organized!

36. Post-Wedding Tasks: The wedding is over, but there are still fees to incur! Don’t forget that you’ll need to purchase thank you’s, MORE postage, and a gown preservation kit.

Advice: This goes against my wedding etiquette morals, but if you’re really strapped for cash, go with a site such as Postable, where you can send personalized invites through email.

37. Pre-Honeymoon Expenses: Besides the entire cost of the honeymoon itself (which hopefully you’ve budgeted for!), there are smaller fees that go into that as well. Passports, travel-guide, language classes, luggage, vacation clothes, and car rentals, are all things worth adding to your budget.

Advice: Start planning early. Summer clothes usually go on mega sale and clearance around fall so shop for your vacay then and for your luggage during the summer months when less trips are happening!

Wedding On a TIME Budget

You just got engaged!  What’s the date?  People ask. Do you have a wedding on a Time Budget?

Well, if you want a big, grand affair, you better allow at least a year of preparation; if you want a Saturday night, at the venue of your choice, you should allow at least 18 months!

Some do not want to wait that long.  That is one reason Maggie and Rob, KK and Tyler chose to be married on a Friday night.  There are more options on Friday.

But what if you don’t want to wait even a year?

Well, you don’t have to…you just have to be flexible, open to compromise, and keep what’s really important in perspective…joining for life with the love of your life.

I was talking to a friend of long acquaintance the other day.  She shared her wedding story, and what a story it was!  The wedding was put together with a limited timeframe.  An outdoor ceremony was presided over by a justice of the peace at a remodeled abbey.  A family brunch followed.  It was heart-felt and meaningful.  It was not a matter of concern…at that moment in time… that the bride’s condo had just burned down due to a neighbor’s faulty fan hookup…or that the bride had to wedge  her size “10’s” into size nine shoes…or even that the bride, (a district sales rep for the famous West Coast candy company, “See’s”), was robbed of her candy stock by her two dogs – who became sick, in a most undignified fashion, in front of visiting wedding guests… the important fact… the bride and groom’s dearer friends and family were present, the focus on what was truly important – their joyful union.

I hope you enjoyed the painting/photos.  A brief description is below.
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Image #1 – Painting by Marcia Hackelman Van Dyke, Olympia, WA – an old college acquaintance.

Image #2 – Maggie and Rob’s wedding with friends, photo creds, wedding guests

Image #3 – KK, my next “bride to be”

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