Monday, October 27, 2014

Wedding DIY Project: Vase Table Numbers

A lot of brides think that making your wedding DIY (Do It Yourself) can save you a lot of money.  This is not always the case.  Many projects, especially for those of us not necessarily crafty, take a lot of time and make frustration, things go wrong and you end up buying more, etc that actually make it end up costing more than buying it premade or having someone else do it.  BUT there are some projects that can save you a lot.

One thing I was surprised to see had such a high price tag were table numbers.  These are such simple things, but even ones that were just a number printed on paper were outrageously priced (plus boring).  I knew this was a project that could easily be tackled because it doesn't involve much, and you don't have to make hundreds of them.

For my centerpieces, I knew I wanted a small vase with some flowers in them.  In order to keep things even and centered (I'm OCD like that), I didn't want the vase and table number competing for the centrally located spot, so I decided to combine the two.  I thought, "Wouldn't it be cute if the table number was sticking up in the vase on top of the flowers?!"  So I went to work.

All you need for this project is:
  • wooden dowels
  • wooden numbers
  • hot glue
  • paint
  • you can add decorative stuff like glitter, ribbon, lace, etc if you want but I chose not to so as not to distract from my flowers

Step 1
Glue the numbers on top of the dowels

Step 2
Determine the height needed for your vase, and cut the dowel appropriately

Step 3
Paint the table number

Step 4
Add any decoration

That's it!  Easy right?!  And it only costs a couple dollars total to make all of them!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Using Credit Cards to Pay For Your Wedding and Honeymoon

For those of you that have read my post, Make Money With Credit Cards, you'll know I'm a big proponent of using credit cards.  As long as you use them wisely, you can actually make money off of them!  And paying for your wedding is no different.

We all know that a wedding is a big expense, so here are some tips to help you keep track of the amount you are spending and to make a little back!

Tip #1: Sign up for new cards with 0% APR
Although in my previous blog about using credit cards I state that you must always pay the credit card bill on time and in full, since a wedding is an unusually large expense that generally is not with in your normal living budget, I'm going to set that rule aside.  This can only be done if you open a new card that has one of its new perks as 0% APR for a certain period of time (usually 12 or 18 months, the longer the better).  This means that for that period of time, you will not have to pay interest on your purchases even if you don't pay your bill in full.  Meaning that you can take a year or a year and a half to pay off all your wedding expenses without paying anything extra.  You still need to pay the minimum amount on time to avoid late fees though.

Tip #2: Find credit cards that give you perks you can use
I always love signing up for new cards that have a cash bonus for spending a certain amount within a time frame which can give you anywhere from $50 to $200 for just using the card!  In general rewards, I usually go for cashback.  They are overall the most practical and give you the most bang for your buck, but since weddings and particularly honeymoons are such specific categories, it may be more in your interest to find a card that rewards you in those areas.  For example, finding a great travel rewards or airline card for your honeymoon expenses might get you free airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, etc.  This means you can spend more on extra treats!

Tip #3: Use the cards only for wedding or honeymoon expenses
Using these new credit cards only for your wedding or honeymoon expenses helps you to keep track of everything you are spending on it.  Even the most experienced planners are going to run into extra expenses that you didn't plan on, and things add up, it can be hard to keep track of everything.  As long as all your expenses are on one or two cards, it makes it easier to see.

Tip #4: Pay for as much as you can with credit cards
In order to make use of being able to pay off the purchases over the 12 or 18 months and to get the most rewards, always try and use the credit card for your expenses.  In today's world, it is much easier to pay with a credit card for almost every wedding expense where you normally would have to pay with a check.  Definitely make sure your venue accepts cards since that is your largest expense (there might be a little fee, but it's still worth it to use the card).  For smaller vendors like florists, caterers, musicians, DJ's, makeup artists, etc, ask them if they use PayPal or any other website or app that lets you pay with a card.  If they don't, suggest that they sign up for one.  There are many that are free to use and just charge a slight fee (a small percentage of their price) to use cards.  This can help gain more customers who are like us and prefer to pay with a card!

I hope these tips help you in paying for your wedding and honeymoon expenses.  I know it's a crazy huge amount so it's important to stay on top of it financially.  Keep reading this blog for more ways to save on your wedding and in your everyday life!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wedding Decorations Pt 2, The Dollar Store

For those of you who have read many of my posts, you'll see a lot of my recommendations are for the Dollar Store, and for weddings it's no different!  Believe it or not, there are many things that can be used for weddings that can be found at a dollar or less type store.  Although I love Michaels (and my first Wedding Decorations post was about them), there are things that are a little overpriced.

As with any of my posts regarding this store, shop wisely -- not all their products are the best quality.  But contrary to what most people believe, there are a lot that are good quality so don't let that warning deter you.  And there are some items where quality just really doesn't matter.

Here is my list of items from the Dollar Store that could be used for weddings:

    dollar store wedding
    dollar store wedding
  • individual bubble packs
  • favor boxes
  • candy
  • ribbon
  • confetti
  • fake flowers
  • fake petals
  • floral supplies (floral tape, foam pieces, wire, etc)
  • twine
  • vases
  • sand
  • pebbles
  • baskets
  • frames
  • candles (real and battery)
  • candle holders
  • lights
  • craft supplies for DIY projects:
    • dollar store wedding
    • popsicle sticks
    • glue
    • markers
    • paper
    • glitter
    • beads
  • flip flops (to offer to the ladies for dancing so they don't tire out their feet!)
  • thank you cards

Don't forget to go here for all your pre-wedding party needs (engagement, bridal, bachelorette, bachelor) for party decorations and plastic tableware!

Are there other items that you've found at the Dollar Store that can be used for a wedding?  Leave a comment!

Click to read the first post of this series: Wedding Decorations, Michaels Coupons

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wedding Decorations, Michaels Coupons

For wedding decorations, most people think of going to Michaels.  And why not?!  It's a wonderful store with a wide variety of decorations for weddings.  And while their prices aren't too bad, I want to give you a little hint that will help you immensely in price (but not in the amount of trips, sorry!).

Michaels has weekly coupons which if you don't get their ad in the mail, you can go online and print it out or have it on your phone.  Generally it's 40% off of one item, but occasionally they have bigger amounts or ones for your whole purchase.  Also, they are partnered with Joann's and will accept any of their coupons, so if they happen to have a better one that week, you can use that.

Now since you can only use one coupon per order, this means to best use the coupons, you have to make several trips.  But as long as you start early, and plan out everything you need, you can just make a weekly trip, or bi-weekly, along with your other everyday errands and slowly check things off the list.  I know it seems tedious, but if you think that even if you only buy $100 worth of items (which would be difficult to spend less!) you'll be saving at least $40!  That's well worth it in my mind!

So check it out! 

Click for part two of this post: Wedding Decorations, The Dollar Store 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Save on Wedding Flowers

Flowers are another very large part of a wedding budget.  Flowers were very important to me because they are some of my favorite things, but when I saw the general price tags, I thought it might not be possible.  Most people feel that in order to save money on flowers, you have to go to silk.  THIS IS NOT TRUE!  Although they do have some pretty real looking silk flowers now, it still seems tacky to me and nothing can beat a real flower.  Besides, those really nice silk flowers aren't the cheapest either.
In order to keep my dream of flowers while not breaking the bank, I discovered these tricks:

Find a Venue with Natural Beauty
The biggest way to save on flowers is to find a place that has a lot of natural beauty growing!  Now this doesn't have to be a flowery garden, but finding a place with nice green grass, large trees, and many bushes and plants of various shapes, sizes, and colors will already look very pleasing to the eye.  Then you don't have to fill it with flowers, in fact, doing so may be over doing it!

Use a Chain Florist or One with Packages
You don't have to go to a specialty florist for wedding flowers.  There are large chains like Sam's Club or Costco that have pre-made packages specifically for weddings that include all your needs: bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, petals, etc.  They have several different options of flower types and colors that can fit almost any style wedding.

Sam's Club Wedding Collection Pink
It doesn't have to be a big chain though. I wanted a specific orchid and found a local florist that offered similar packages that had the orchid I wanted already in a package. If you can find a local florist that does this, it can be even better because you can customize it more. If you live in the SF Bay Area, check out Valley Florist in San Jose which is who I used.
Use Preserved
Although I wanted fresh flowers for my bouquets, for centerpieces and decorations, preserved flowers are a great option.  Now don't skip this because you think they will be faded and dry like dried flowers.  Preserved flowers look exactly like the flower did while still on the stem, they are just made to last longer.  They are a little more fragile, but flowers are no matter what.  What makes these great is that since they last so long (up to six months), you can order them in bulk and create your own arrangements without having to do it in the last few days before the wedding like you would with order fresh flower in bulk.  Here is a fantastic site that offers a lot of preserved flowers as well as many other wedding decorations at cheaper prices:

Preserved Orchids

Order in Bulk
I put this last because while it sounds like a great idea, I chose not to do this because in order to have fresh flowers fresh, you have to work days before the wedding.  Plus you have to have a cool place to store all of them.  But, if you really want all fresh flowers, this can be a way to save a lot of money.  If you have time, the day before it might be fun to have a bouquet making party with your bridesmaids to make their own bouquets.  Here is a good site for ordering flowers in bulk: 

I hope this helps in lessening your flower budget.  Flowers are gorgeous and every bride should be able to have them at their wedding, no matter their budget!

Learn about other ways to save money on your wedding here

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Setting a Wedding Budget

The first, and probably most important, thing to do when starting to plan a wedding is to figure out your budget.  This can be difficult to do, but you have to make an estimate so you know what you can work with.  Things always end up costing more, and there are things you generally don't think about, but having an idea is important.

I always say to start by researching what your dream wedding (well dream wedding in a realistic way) would be.  See what that ends up costing, and what each individual thing costs, and you can decide if you need to cut back, what the most important things are, and you can work around that.

For those people that are budget conscious, these are the areas that I found affect price the most:

Guest Count
This is by far the biggest expense factor.  There are so many things that cost per head, not just the food and drink which is pricey, but many other things.

Time of Year
Everyone gets married between the months of May and August.  That means the prices are high.  Even if you're not into the winter wedding idea, spring and fall can be beautiful, and maybe even nicer weather.  You'll save thousands.

Day of the Week
Saturday is the highest price for a wedding.  Friday and Sunday are slightly cheaper.  And weekdays are even cheaper.  You'll save at least $1,000 just by changing to a Friday or Sunday and double or triple that during the week.

While general areas are more expensive, don't let that deter you from one area.  There are smaller or lesser-known places that are cheaper.  This just requires a lot of research.  Just know that places that you know about before you start wedding research are probably going to be insanely expensive.  Find places that are hidden gems, believe me, they do exist.

Food and Drink
Wedding CateringFood usually starts at $30 per person and can go as high as $100 per person.  Buffet option is usually cheaper than seated courses.  But if you don't mind forgoing the normal catering for a wedding, there can be other fun options to save money like having an afternoon picnic wedding or renting food trucks.

Drink prices can vary greatly depending on what amount of alcohol you want to pay for.  Obviously having your guests pay for their own drinks is the cheapest option, but it is a bit tacky.  There are usually three payment options for drinks: bring your own, per person, and per bottle/drink.  Bringing your own can save money by ordering in bulk directly from a distributor but be aware of corkage fees at your venue.  I found that the per person option was the easiest to determine your drink budget because it can be nearly impossible to figure out how many drinks will be ordered.  By paying per person, you can guarantee that your guests will have all they can drink for a set amount.  This doesn't have to be all alcohol.  You can pay for just beer and wine and have your guests pay for hard liquor, etc.

These are the areas that I found most influential in the budget.  As I said before, it is important to figure out what is most important to you.  If you really want good food, it's okay to spend a little more on that and cut back in other areas that aren't as important to you.  Although I'm all about saving money, it is your one chance (hopefully) to have the day you've always dreamed of.  There will have to be some compromises but make sure that there many things that you are very excited about so you don't mind compromising in other things.

Learn about saving money on wedding flowers here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back From a Hiatus . . . . And Now I'm Married!

So I took an unexpected break from blogging, because I got engaged and was planning a wedding!  It took a lot more of my time than I had thought and things became very crazy, so I kind of put this on the back-burner.  I got married on August 24, 2014 and it was the most wonderful day of my life!  We went on a honeymoon to Ireland for 8 days, got back and started moving into our new apartment the very next day!  We are still getting stuff and settling into our home together, but I thought I would try and start this back up.

Because I've spent so much of my time lately planning a wedding (needless to say on a somewhat smaller budget) I'm going to dedicate the next few of my posts about how to save money while planning a wedding.  If it's popular enough, or I realize I have so many posts about that, I may just have to separate it out into it's own new blog.  But we'll see where the future takes us!  Glad to be back!