Category Archives: the money

Bye-Bye, Budget. Hello, DIY.

I recently decided that I need to reel my budget in a little.  For the past few months of planning, it’s been like a wild little pony that doesn’t listen to directions.  I needed the Budget Whisperer, and it came in the form of my fiance.  🙂

I had kinda just been saying, “Oh well,” when it came to things that we were planning on for our wedding.  Then I received my flower/decor proposal from my wedding planner, and I was a little stunned.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my planner.  Cynthia is fantastic.  She is very patient, creative, organized, and has given me some fantastic deals.  

The problem was that at our last meeting, she had mentioned that her company has a gazebo that they are building to look exactly like the pavilion at the end of the Twilight movie:  


It is perfect!  It is exactly what I had hoped for!  I thought I was getting it for free.

Insert tire screetches.

It’s not free.  And now, upon reflection, I feel incredibly naive to think that I would have just been given this pavilion.  On the flower budget, it is listed to rent for $1150 which includes delivery, set up, and tear down.  This just isn’t in the budget, and A about had a cow when he found out how much it would cost.  He basically put his foot down, and he doesn’t do that very often.  

I tried to look at the rest of the flower/decor budget to see if there were things that I could cut that would justify the gazebo, but I would basically have to get ride of most if not all of our other decor.  

There is some glimmer of hope.  A and his father (and I) are pretty crafty/handy and have a pretty good build it on your own ability.  This weekend, we are going to Lowes to scout out parts and price this thing out.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I could build it for $500 or less and then sell it or use it when we are done.  It would be lovely to have the gazebo in our back yard after the wedding…  

I was kind of disappointed, but the fact that we are saving big time money and having a challenge of building it ourselves is kind of invigorating.  I will do follow up posts on this major DIY project as it unfolds.  

Here is another DIY project that I found on This Young House that I am considering at this point.  I’m not sure if we’ll need them or not, but if we do, we know how to do it for super cheap!  

These pretty globes are none other than the $1-3 replacement globes that you can find at your local hardware store.  

glass-lantern-detail-after-picture - this young house

Here they are lit up at nighttime:  

front-porch-makeover-at-night-diy-bhg-home-depot1 - this young house

I think they cast a lovely glow around them!  You could put a tea light, battery operated tea light, or (something I’m dying to try) a throwie!  Have you heard of these magical things?  

throwies instructables dot com

They cost about 10-20 cents each in materials to make, and they last for ten times longer than batterie operated tea-lights.  Check out how to make these here on the Instructables website.  

We are also looking at other options to save money.  We have cut our guest list from 160 to 120 and are hoping for an even 100 for dinner.  I wouldn’t mind inviting more people to stop by for dancing and cocktails later in the evening.  This has saved major money as dinner is about $40 a head.  

I am really trying to figure out now what we want and how we can accomplish these things in the most cost effective way.  What was/is/will be your best way to save money in your budget?  Have you had any amazing experiences or ideas for DIY projects?  Please share!

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Filed under the creations, the money, the planning

check and check. and check. and check…

check i.ehow.comOkay, so I don’t really write checks anymore.  I make almost all my payments online.  In fact, I don’t even have physical checks anymore.  I ran out about 4 months ago and figured that I didn’t want to order a new set until I have my new name after getting married.  Then…THEN my friends, I will have checks again. 

Anyhoo, this post is about getting things checked (off my to-do list) and getting things checked (paid for).  

This is what I got done this morning:

I signed the contract for our band, The Funktastic 5, and mailed it out.  We are very excited about this band.  Everyone loves them, they’ve got variety and energy, and I think it’s really going to help everyone get up and dancing at our wedding.  CHECK.  

I sent in the room block reservation form for our out-of-town guests.  CHECK.  

I signed the contract for our photobooth (Joe’s Photobooth).  Yay!!!!  I still need to write a physical check for this, so I’m going to wait until I get paid on the 1st to send this in.  That way I can up what I pay my FI, and he can write the check.  (ps:  I just ran that by my FI who is sitting 10 feet away from me who laughed when I asked him to write a check.  He thinks it’s HILARIOUS that I’m in check hiatus.)  CHECK.  

I also am being a good girl and making copies of everything and keeping all contracts and what not safe in my wedding expandable folder.  CHECK.  

I scheduled my first dress fitting appointment for June 12th.  At this appointment, I’ll be trying on the muslin mock up.  This will be a VERY interesting appointment as it will be the first time that I’ve actually seen Brandie Thomas‘s handywork.  I’ll take lots of pictures and post about that after the fitting.  CHECK.  

The last check (to-do) that I got done today was that I sent our invitation designer, Lindsey Ryan, all of our wedding info.  This was something that I had put off for some reason.  Gathering information was just something that I did not have time to do this last month until my grad classes were done for the semester.  I finally got all my ducks in a row, and she’s got all the information she needs to start designing our stationery suite.  I also asked her if she’d like to meet in person when I drive to Chicago on the 12th for my dress fitting.  CHECK!  

I’m le tired.

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Filed under the dress, the money, the planning, the stationery

Debt Demolition?

debtOkay, before we go much further in my wedding ramblings, I feel the need to confess to you all my nitty gritty budget details.  Brace yourselves, I’m gonna lay it on you…

Current credit card debt:  $5384.80…Before you poop your pants, you should know that last year it was up to $12,000 plus, and I’ve been working aggressively to pay it off at the rate of about $1000 per month.  My goal is to have it all paid off by October 1st of this year.  At that point my only debt will be my student loans (which are on hold because I am in grad school right now…FREE GRAD SCHOOL I might add before you poop your pants again). 

Savings:  Nada…I’ve never really had stable savings.  After my credit card is paid off, I plan on putting that $1000 that was going to my credit card each month in a savings account slash slush fund for the wedding. 

Wedding budget:  Hovering around $18,000

Parent contribution:  $7000

Our contribution:  $11,000

My goal is to have the wedding that we want and get out with little to no debt on a credit card due to the wedding expenses….Do you think we’ll make it?  

Let’s break down the budget.  The following is where I currently stand for different expense categories:

Ceremony:  $900 for site rental and chairs at the golf course.  I don’t really like the $500 site rental, but they aren’t charging us a site rental for the reception, so meh.

Food and Drink:  $9000 for delicious appetizers, plated dinner, and open bar.  Yes, this fee is half our budget, but we feel that food is important.  We may go to a partial open bar to save some money on this in the future, but for now, it stands.

Decorations:  $1800 for all flowers, centerpieces, lighting, linens, etc. 

Music:  $2250 for a Celtic band to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour and a traditional 5 piece band to play during dancing, plus tips for all musicians.

Attire:  $500 for my gown (being hand made at a STEAL), jewelry, veil, and other accessories.  Lingerie and spa treatments I am hoping to get gift cards for this Christmas.

Gifts for attendants and parents:  $500 (This is an arbitrary number as we don’t know what we are going to be doing for our wedding party yet…)

Photography:  $2900 for 8 hours of photography and albums and digital copyright.  Our photographer is FANTASTIC!

Photobooth:  $800 for 3 hours of photobooth time during the dancing hour.  This is our favor to our guests.

For those of you savy calculator readers, you can probably total that up and realize that it’s a little over $18k, but we are getting an unspecified sum from my FI’s parents, so that will bring our total contribution down some. 

So that’s where we stand.  I have been pretty vigilant for this budget from day one, and my FI is kind of in the dark about what we are spending.  This works for us because as far as our contribution, I am paying for the majority of it.  I think this is fair being that he spent $4200 for my engagement ring and will also be paying for the honeymoon.  In the end, I may ask him for a couple grand, but for the most part, I am happy with where our budget is headed. 

So whatdya think?  Are you in debt?  Are you going to be in bigger debt when your wedding is said and done?

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