Posts in the 'The Groom' Category

BAB Throwback: Heather & Chris’ Elegant, Misty Mountaintop Wedding Affair

BAB Throwback is a series that highlights some of our favorite posts from the days of yore, and some feature the Real Weddings you’ve read about in our book, “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide.” Because we’re firm believers that photos help tell the story, we want to help you match the blog post to the Sample Budgets from Real Brides found in the book (p. 194-223).

Heather and Chris’ wedding was originally posted 1/17/13 and appears on page 212 of the book.

Ladies and gents, today we’re SO pleased to feature the wedding of our fabulous contributor Heather (our resident “Can’t Afford It/Get Over It” maven), and her adorable new hubs, Chris. You can tell from these pics (and her regular blog posts) that Heather has excellent taste and fab personal style — and she absolutely brought both to her wedding day. Heather and Chris opted for a time and cost-saving wedding package from a gorgeous golf course in Burlingame, CA, which is half an hour outside of San Francisco. Metro area weddings can be twice the price of this beautiful celebration, but Heather and Chris have graciously provided us with an extensive wedding budget breakdown that shows how they pulled off a wedding with 120 guests for around $20K. So without further ado …

Your names: Heather Murtagh, Chris Vega

Occupations: Reporter at the San Mateo Daily Journal, Vice President for a San Francisco-based R&D startup, respectively

Wedding location: Burlingame, CA

Wedding date: Aug. 31, 2012

Wedding budget: $20,000 (But we went a bit over)

Approximate guest count: 120

How would you describe your wedding? Short reception, big party

What was your favorite part of your wedding?

Heather: The moment we first saw each other. We decided to see each other before the wedding so we could get some of our wedding party photos done before getting things started. The photographers set up a moment where Chris had his back to me and turned around to see me. He was so happy I actually thought he was drunk. He wasn’t. It was very sweet.

Chris: The time we spent together, the alone time.

What did you splurge on? Alcohol. We wanted to have an open bar for longer. And we really wanted to have a big party. We succeeded.

What did you save on? We went with a venue that offered a package deal. That was really helpful in keeping costs in check as well as for planning. Also, my dress was much cheaper than we originally budgeted thanks to a going-out-of-business sale at Priscilla of Boston.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We would have gotten a videographer.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Gathering contact information was difficult at first. Other than that it wasn’t too difficult. We went with a location that offered package deals. That made things much easier.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone wants to help, they just need to know how.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

Heather’s list:

The first time we saw each other

Spending 30 minutes after the ceremony alone taking pictures. It was really nice to have that time to

ourselves. Turns out we giggle a lot when left alone.

Having so many friends and family together in one place.

My brother marrying us! It was so personal. He took it very seriously but also got in some jokes, which is what we wanted. There was a moment when he got really emotional; thinking about it gets me emotional. But my favorite part was when he said to Chris, “You may now kiss my sister.”

The after party! We went to our favorite local bar after with a smaller group of people. It was so much fun. The owner knows us and was very sweet by letting us stay late and providing free drinks for the bride.

Chris’ list:

Heather – she showed up.

My groomsmen were awesome.

Great supportive family and friends.

Photographers were great.

Venue and DJ were great.

Top 5 least favorite? (We failed and only came up two each… I guess that’s a good thing.)

Heather’s list:

Some people had attitudes on the big day. It was hard to not let that get to me. But ultimately no good would have come from focusing on it.

Our venue had a new person on hand to coordinate on the day. We made it work, but it was an inconvenience. Everything did work out though and we’d still recommend them highly.

Chris’ list:

The hangover.

Delta canceling our honeymoon flight multiple times the morning after.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? …

The best? It’s your day. Enjoy it.

Any other bits of wisdom?

Heather: We both were a bit bummed when everything – wedding and honeymoon – was done. It was like there was nothing big to look forward to after having a year of so much activity. It was weird to get back into the swing of non-wedding planning life.

Chris: Remember to savor the moment. It goes by so fast. Also, if you can, get away on a honeymoon right after. It will give you time to enjoy the high of your new marriage.

Heather & Chris’ wedding budget breakdown:

Venue: Crystal Springs Golf Course - $14,028.23

Food/Drink: Included in our Venue fee — We opted for a lower per person package cost then added on additional hours of a open bar. In total we covered the cost of three hours of bar and had a cash bar for two hours.

Attire/Accessories: Dress – $700 from Priscilla of Boston during their going-out-of business sale. Spent $150 on alterations. Bought Badgley Mischka shoes through Rue La La’s Sunday sale for $50 with tax and shipping. Rented Chris’ tux for $120 from Men’s Wearhouse.

Flowers: Flowers for the reception were included in the package. Paid $936.36 for the bouquets from Rosedale Floral Design – one for the bride and six for the bridesmaids; 10 boutonnieres and two corsages for our moms.

Décor: We really didn’t do much in terms of decor except add votive candles and little hershey kisses on the table. We had enough children for a kid’s table. So I went to the local dollar store and grabbed $15 worth of stuff. It was actually a total hit and hilarious to watch the kids decide who got what.

DJ/band/entertainment: Our DJ was included in our venue package.

Photography: Paid $2,706.25 for the Kermit and Miss Piggy package from Chasing Glimpses Photography, which included: 6 hours of photography at your wedding and nearby locations, Two photographers, 2500+Photos Taken, 6 hours on Site; 20 hours Post production, 75 photos in a modern flush mount photo album, Private 60 days Online Gallery for viewing, sharing, and purchasing DVD of approximately 500 of the best images of your wedding day. All images are enhanced, retouched, if necessary, for beautiful reproduction. We ended up with a DVD of 850 photos. Also, the girls were willing to stay an extra hour with no notice when I realized we hadn’t really gotten some shots during the reception.

Videography: Didn’t do it, but we regret that.

Cake: A delicious cake from Burlingame Cakery was included in our venue package. It was delicious and super easy to get put together. I emailed a photo of the cake design I liked and tried all the combinations. I think Chris liked this part of the planning the best.

Favors: $130 — I made our favors. I’m a huge supporter/volunteer of Make-A-Wish. Using scrapbooking paper, I put together little paper favors that asked people to “Make-A-Wish for the Bride and Groom.” Each had a $1 coin attached. We asked people to either put the coin in a vase near the door or make a larger donation. Anything collected we donated. In the end, we donated $310 to the Greater Bay Area Chapter.

Invitations/printing/postage: My friend designed the invitations and RSVPs. I work at a newspaper. After I asked the publisher about a printing contact,  he offered to cover the cost as a gift. We spent $91.75 on postage. Our Save the Date was a video made by a friend who is starting a side business. Check it out here!

Hair and make-up: $120 for a friend who is also starting a business. She did a test and also bought new makeup on the wedding day which I kept for touch ups.

Wedding bands: $600, we got simple bands and ordered them through a family connection who works in the jewelry industry.

Bridal party: Necklaces for the girls, personalized on etsy. $85

Coordinator/planner: Didn’t use one.

Officiant: My brother got ordained online for free.

License: $40

Other: $500 for rehearsal dinner. We hosted it at Chris’ grandfather’s house, which was less than a mile from the ceremony site. We hired a local taco vendor to come and make food. Then we took advantage of a local winery’s case sale for the booze. We ended up with lots of leftovers.

Also, we spent $310 on hotels over two nights. We did stay local but wanted to be separate on the day of the wedding. We let our siblings, who couldn’t really afford the hotel, crash at our apartment and stayed at the hotel on our wedding night.

Total: $21,792.44

Thanks so much to Heather and Chris, for sharing their big day with BAB, and special thanks to Chasing Glimpses Photography, for providing the gorgeous wedding photos! 

Real Bride Tiffany: And We Have A Honeymoon!

Yes, the most exciting thing to happen to us re: wedding planning lately was booking our honeymoon! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!

Like all of our wedding related ventures thus far, we wanted to be conservative in our honeymoon spending.  My parents kindly offered a (free!) week in their timeshare, which we took them up on. HOWEVER. That thing about timeshares is that they are not a guarantee. We had to exchange one of their San Diego weeks for a Hawaii week and have been waiting for something to happen since January. JANUARY YOU GUYS. It is truly a miracle that I made it to July without my brain exploding due to lack of honeymoon planning.

So we chose a date (July 5th) and if we didn’t hear from the timeshare by then we would book on our own. SO WE DID. We are going to Kauai, y’all!

By Adam Keller via Wikimedia Commons
I will be covered in mosquito bites, but I will kayak to these falls. I will.

Beforehand, I spent many solid hours browsing VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) because there are amazing deals but also it is basically like walking in a stranger’s house which is oddly fun for me. Once I internally decided that we did not want to risk getting a 1970s kitschy condo for our romantic honeymoon, we both started browsing hotels.

Originally, I wanted to stay on Kauai’s north shore — the romantic hideaway side of the island. Very quickly I discovered this was not in our budget. Because I am not one to do what every one else does, there was no way we would stay on the south shore. So we chose the east shore and found a lovely hotel that has all of the things that matter to us — proximity to beach, comfy bed, good Yelp/Trip Advisor reviews, and a killer happy hour. Maybe that last bit is important to just me …

We did book everything through one travel site (Expedia), but made sure to browse for better deals just in case! Here are some tips to help you honeymoon without breaking the bank:

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Because when I say things like, “oh $600 more isn’t that bad!” it actually really is that bad.
  • Get a fantastic guide book and explore your options early. The Hawaii Revealed series has always been a fave and we Amazon Primed that baby so we could decide which part of the island to stay on.
    • We are also using this to strategically and financially plan all of our excursions. Because if I don’t plan it now, I won’t be able to relax then. I sense another spreadsheet coming on …
  • Use rewards or earn rewards! I am a firm supporter of Ebates because even if I only earn $1 IT IS STILL $1. In addition to Ebates we used a credit card that will earn us rewards (sometime in the next century probably).
  • Find free excursions! My Pinterest and other Internet research has already begun. Mama wants to spend our $$ on mai tais not overpriced excursions!

“Free” is my middle name.

Justin has never been to Hawaii and I’ve never been to Kauai. This is going to be an excellent adventure!

Have you been to Kauai? What would you recommend?

Get Your Dudes Their Duds and Stress Less with Menguin

*This post is brought to you by our friends at Menguin.

BABs, lets be real: Wrangling guys and outfits can often be kind of a pain. Sure, some dudes dig dressing up, but certainly not all do. Add in measurements, try-ons, tailoring … it’s easy to see why the task of finding a wedding suit would be one that continually gets put off. I mean, there’s gotta be a simpler way, right?

Duh. Of course there is. And, as per usual, The Broke-Ass Bride has the inside scoop.


Menguin takes a huge ol’ chunk of that hassle of renting a tux and just chucks it on out the window. They help cut out time by doing pretty much all the dirty work online: You can style, fit and pay all from the comfort of your couch, and the tux will come right to the door … and can even be returned the same way thanks to the rockin’ prepaid Tuxbox. I mean, simple, right? Even the most Jeff Spicoli-ish of groomsmen would have a hard time mucking this up.

And of course, dear Type-A brides, you get to remain in control by not only styling the dudes, but also by being able to track where they are in the ordering process, so if good ol’ Spicoli happens to be in the party, you can dutifully light a fire under him when he needs a little jumpstart.


No time to get the guys down to the shop for fittings? Menguin’s e-Tailor can do the work, as long as he has a webcam at his disposal. Or, you know, he can go the old-fashioned route and go to a regular tailor for measurements and input his specifications right in their system.

At $160, you’re getting all the pieces — jacket, pants, shirt, tie/bowtie, cummerbund/vest and shoes — and since it’s delivered right to the front door, you’re saving on gas. Which is always pretty rad. Color-matching helps ensure everyone is nicely coordinated, and if any piece of the tux doesn’t fit right, just holler at Menguin and they’ll overnight a replacement. I mean, that’s service, people.

And now for the really good shit:

From now through Aug. 8, the groom’s tux is $1 if he has 5 or more homies ordering from Menguin. YOU GUYS. $1. Just give ‘em a shout at 1-844-MENGUIN and mention you saw it on The Broke-Ass Bride.

Extra special double-plus bonus: A portion of all proceeds at Menguin go toward aiding penguins who’ve been affected by oil spills. I mean, comeon.



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It doesn’t really get much easier than that, does it, BABs? Get thee on over to Menguin to get the ball rolling!




Real Bride Elizabeth: The Drama Has Arrived

Oh, how naive I was to think I could cruise through these 8 months of wedding planning without any drama. And, much to my surprise, all this drama came from the groom’s side! You don’t hear that very often, do you?

Elizabeth drama.jpg


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Back in December when we got engaged, Bryce’s best friend from childhood, Ron, was back in their hometown of Greensboro. Ron has lived in Amsterdam as an artist for the past few years. Bryce asked Ron to be his best man almost immediately after they got engaged, and Ron accepted with no hesitation. He seemed genuinely excited to be a part of my day, and I was happy.

A couple months after our initial engagement, Bryce and I set out to get the tuxes sorted. Bryce got in touch with all the groomsmen and told them what they needed to do. We told Ron to just send us his measurements as I am pretty sure there aren’t any Men’s Wearhouses in Amsterdam. No response. Several other Facebook, Whatsapp and emails ensued. No response. Finally, in the midst of bachelor party planning, Ron’s brother Dan (who is also in the wedding and was planning the entire bachelor party) mentioned to Bryce that no one in the family had heard anything from Ron as well.

This baffled me. Ron was very active on Facebook and Instagram, and nothing indicated that he was in trouble or that anything was wrong. Bryce and Dan were trying to get in touch with him, asking if he was still planning on coming over for the wedding. Eventually, I messaged him on Instagram, saying that it would really mean a lot to Bryce if he would let us know either way so we could make further arrangements. No response.

Finally, less than two months before the wedding, Ron finally messaged Bryce and told him he couldn’t afford to fly out for the wedding in August.

Now, if anyone can understand about not being able to afford being in a wedding, it’s me. It has never been easy or convenient for me to be in weddings, and if I can’t do it, I tell that person ASAP. If he would have told me way back in December, “Hey, I don’t know if it’s feasible for me to fly over for the wedding,” I would have totally understood, and tried to come up with a way to get him here. He’s my fiance’s best friends, and if I had to contribute money towards his ticket, I would have had no problem saving some extra money for that. However, less than two months before the wedding … I just can’t make it work.

While I have since cooled down over this incident, I was pretty enraged at first. Like, who does that? I live in the Midwest, I get that kind of passive aggressive bullshit every day. It drives me crazy! Not to mention I was angry for my fiance. I was angry that he didn’t seem that bothered. Apparently, this is “Typical Ron” and “not unexpected.” How is that an acceptable excuse? How is this a good friend? F that.

However, my sister pointed out that if Bryce really, truly was not that bothered by it (which, as far as I could tell, he wasn’t), why should I waste negativity on it? I just had to take a deep breath, let it go, and focus on the positive parts of the wedding. I’m getting married in a month, that’s more than enough to make me smile!

 Have any of you BABs had a bridal party member disappear from the radar? How’d you deal with it?

Real Bride Jess: The Invite Dilemma

Hi all!

First of all, let me apologize to my friend, Rachel. Rachel got married a few years ago and I was hurt that she didn’t invite me or any of her other friends from junior high through high school. Now, as a Broke-Ass Bride, I totally understand and apologize for being mad.

OK, let’s talk about one of the most difficult aspects of your wedding: the guests. Who do you invite? Who do you leave off? Do you listen to your parents?

Guest List.jpg


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I think I mentioned before that I split our list and told Michael that his family was his responsibility (a decision that I still stand by). The difficulty of this is in people asking, “why didn’t cousin X get invited?” I dutifully respond, “Michael was in charge of his side of the family, take it up with him.” I love being able to this because I HATE confrontation and I like deferring the blame.

What I ended up doing, since I have a large family who live locally, is inviting my whole family and a few close friends. We each had 75 invites and 56 of those (on my side) are people I am directly related to.

What Michael did, since most of his relatives live in other states/countries, is invite his grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but no cousins. He said that most of his cousins he has never met or met once when he was little and he wanted to save his invites for the people closest to him. While I totally respect and understand this choice, it did rub some people the wrong way. Luckily while I tend to be more of a people pleaser and would have bent if people complained, Michael stood strong – which I really admire.

The other rough subject of invites is plus-ones. We have had a few people that were shocked that everyone did not get a plus one. Even if I could afford for everyone to bring a guest, I wouldn’t want them to! My wedding is about celebrating with the people I love –I don’t want random people there. I don’t want my sister to invite a guy she met that morning at Starbucks to the most important day of my life (this won’t happen because my sister is 13). The question then becomes: How do we keep  our guests from inviting unwelcome guests (and how do we categorize “unwelcome”)? What we decided was that we would allow people to invite their boyfriends/girlfriends as long as they had been dating for at least a year. To minimize our risk further we didn’t send our invites to “Johnny Smith + 1” but rather, “Johnny Smith and Andrea Biltmore.” Then, the thought is, even if Johnny and Andrea break up, he can’t bring a stranger.

How did you deal with the guest list? Did you get any major pushback?

Real Bride Tiffany: A Look Back at My Wedding Planning Process So Far

We’ve been engaged for nearly 13 months now. That is considerably longer than it takes a human to develop and be birthed. Our wedding baby is STILL cooking and it seems to be taking forever. We still have 3.5 months to go. Our wedding baby is basically a whale (because they have really long gestation periods? Get it?) …

open bar

My mom sent me this… #awesomeMOB

Moving on! When I look back 13 months, I don’t see a completely different wedding. There have been some minor changes. The first being when I realized how much these things cost and to have a reasonably sized wedding in San Diego we were going to have to spend more than the $15,000 I had decided on. Okay, I guess that is a pretty major change. And although my wonderful parents are generously footing this bill, it is still painful to see the costs involved. It will all be worth it though, right? RIGHT!

Oh, so those “minor” changes to our wedding vision. My first change came when I was trying on dresses. I had, once again, everything decided in my head. Lace, cap sleeves, keyhole back, you’ve seen — it you know exactly what I’m talking about. And I put on that style of dress and was horrified! That was not ME! And while I was still convinced that I wanted something  non-traditional, I ended up with a very simple and elegant traditional-ish gown. Deep inside of my cynical exterior surface is a princess bride waiting to flourish. Enough of *me* will shine through, but I couldn’t be a bride without being a bride, you know what I mean?


I share these moments with you because they were part of my wedding journey, and also I have no shame. Featuring: Mom’s dress from 1979 and my younger sister’s bedroom.

Our combined wedding vision changed was when we realized, due to family arrival times, that we couldn’t have the super cool rehearsal brunch that I so desperately wanted. I didn’t want a stuffy ol’ dinner! I wanted mimosas. And pancakes. And the obligatory post brunch nap because: hello! NAPS! And Justin wanted the evening to do manly things! That was really the first time we both realized — WHOA — things can change and they can change quickly. And we can either change with it, or we can stomp our feet and shake our fists at the sky. So we changed with it and we are having a stuffy ol’ rehearsal dinner at our favorite neighborhood pub. I’m sure I will have mimosas and a nap at some point that day anyways. {Eds. note: YOU BETTER.}

And part of our wedding vision that is still in progress and probably being modified is the amount of DIY involved. Thirteen months ago, I wanted to do everything all myself. Now, I’d much rather save myself the effort and support a small business on Etsy at the same time by purchasing. Everyone wins! Besides I have much more important things to worry about, like my fiance passing kidney stones …

Thirteen whole months ago we envisioned a laid back, super cool, hip, intimate wedding adventure. And minus one snafu and one bridal epiphany, we are still on track to make that happen. I’d like to thank my lovely groom, my excellent parents and our kick-ass bridal party for not rocking the boat … yet.

snacks gif

This is completely unrelated but incredible.

Winning Wednesday: Say Cheers with Personalized Glassware from Judi Painted It

As a lover of wedding things, I’ve found that it’s not often I get googly-eyed over kitschy bridal stuff — bedazzled hoodies, hot pink sashes, underwear with words printed on the booty. I know that some homies love this stuff, but it’s never really been my deal.

However, there was one “bride” focused item I always found super drawn to — stemware.

Man, a Champagne flute with the word “bride” etched in a super swirly and artistic font? Gimme. I’m a sucker for glassware as is (proof), but glassware for drinking fancy things that bubble, would serve as a reminder of a day that I put a helluva lot of of work into … and was designated just for me? DONE. In fact, I bought a Champagne coupe with just such a design for one of my oldest and dearest friends whose wedding I can’t attend this summer. I hope it becomes a wedding keepsake she treasures … or at least makes her feel a little bit more bride-y on the day of her wedding.

But what about custom, hand-painted glassware? Don’t even get me started. And unfortunately, personalized awesomeness like this is usually one of those little wedding extras that fall right out of BAB’s budget … because we just can’t justify it.

judi painted it giveaway.jpg

Judi Painted It, purveyor of pretty, picturesque vessels, ups the fancy wedding drinkware game in a big way. With her personalized, customized, hand-painted, dishwasher-safe, made in the US of A awesomeness, it’s pretty easy to say that you’ll be at awesome status while sipping out of one of these bad boys.

In colors to match your wedding scheme, and with pretty designs raging from bride and groom stick figures to wedding day outfits to gorgeous flowers, you can pretty much have a field day with your stemware look.

One lucky Broke-Ass Bride can get her manicured mitts on a $50 gift card to Judi Painted It so that she can drink in the glory that is personalized wedding stemware!

Just because you might not be the winner of the giveaway, doesn’t mean you’re not a winner in our hearts: Judi Painted It is still offering up a hefty 15% discount for BABs when they use the code BAB15 at checkout! Head on over to her website or Etsy shop and get to lookin!

As usual, each method earns you an entry. The more you do, the higher your chance of winning. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Real Bride Kate: Warning! Parental Advisory

As we all know, when it comes to weddings, parents are typically the biggest supporters and have some of the biggest opinions. This is extremely true in my and Daniel’s case. Our parents have been incredibly supportive of our relationship (at least, ever since I convinced my parents he isn’t a cyber-serial-killer). Seriously, though, their overwhelming love and support has been phenomenal. Of course, sometimes, that overwhelming love and support can manifest in negative forms and be, well, overwhelming. Our parents are making rather large financial and emotional contributions to our wedding. Therefore, as any parents would, they are invested in the wedding and feel entitled to a certain degree of decision-making clout. I would be lying if I said this hadn’t caused some rather heated discussions and quite a few tears. In the end, Daniel and I decided that it wasn’t worth the drama anymore – after all, the wedding is only one day – and we made several concessions to satisfy our parents. Now, pay close attention. Not only will the following warnings explain my and Daniel’s experiences and decisions…they will also be crucial considerations for anyone preparing to tie the knot. parental advisory.jpg

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1. Parents are People with Their Own Perspectives It’s easy to think of your wedding day as belonging solely to you and your partner. Well, sorry, it doesn’t. If your parents (or other family and friends) are involved in your life, likely, they will strongly desire to be involved in your wedding. Keeping in mind their perspectives as your parents can be the difference between seeing a ferocious monster-in-law and a caring mother-in-law. Daniel’s Parents’ Perspective: Daniel is the eldest son and the first to be married. Therefore, his wedding is our first as parents and very special to us. Plus, he is leaving home permanently to live in the United States. This is one of the last big events we will share with him, and we are travelling halfway around the world to be there, so it is a very important occasion to us and needs to accommodate our special needs as out-of-continent guests. My Parents’ Perspective: Kate is our only daughter, and hopefully, this will be the only wedding she’ll ever have. Her whole relationship has been challenging for us, given that she is marrying someone from overseas. Therefore, we want her day to be incredibly special for her, and for us, since this is the only time we’ll be the wedding parents. When Daniel and I really thought about things from our parents’ perspectives, it was easier to see why they felt entitled to make big decisions about our day… and it made us more compassionate to the sacrifices they are making for our relationship, too.

Via Wedding Bee 2. If Parents Pay, They Have Power Many parents choose to contribute financially to their children’s weddings. This is very generous and typically comes with a promise of “no strings attached.” That is a lie. I’m sorry – your parents could be the richest, nicest, most generous people in the world – but if they are putting money down on your wedding, it’s no longer just a party: it’s an investment. An investment in family time, their (and your) reputations and precious memories. One on hand, this viewpoint is so “anti-wedding.” Thinking of a wedding as a product is downright unromantic. However, on the other hand, it makes a lot of sense. A wedding is a day for the whole family, and if people are making contributions, like with any other shared asset, they want it to look how they want it (see point #1). While this wedding-as-product philosophy does make my head spin … it has helped me a lot. Thinking of my wedding as a product helps me think of our family as a business team … each making his or her own contribution to a final product that will reflect everyone who contributes, not just Daniel and me. 2B. Use Parental Payments Wisely Even if your parents are footing the bill, keep the “Broke-Ass” mentality. Be respectful. Be resourceful. And help them get the most out of their investment. Basically … don’t be a jerk. ‘Nuff said. 3. Don’t Make Any Concessions You’ll Regret Later It sounds simple, right? It does … but boy, I screwed this one up from the get-go. Long story short, Daniel’s parents have vacation from work for two weeks, so they had to have the wedding on the weekend in the middle of their vacation. We immediately agreed – no sense in missing work for world travelling when they could use the time they already have off. It’s the least we could do to repay them for their willingness to travel. Coincidentally, the Saturday the wedding has to be on is a day that has deeply upsetting personal meanings for me. Yes, the date was arbitrarily chosen. Yes, the date will be redeemed when the memory of my wedding paints over the bad memories. But … it’s been a tough pill to swallow. A very tough pill. I repeat: don’t make any concessions that you know you’ll regret later.   At least we're not on Game of Thrones...

At least we’re not on “Game of Thrones” …

4. The Catch-22 This may be just our experience, but I thought it was worth warning you all. We have a terrible Catch-22 with our wedding planning. On one hand, our parents want us to have our dream wedding, and they encourage us to make decisions freely. On the other hand, if they do not agree with our decisions, we are guilted or chided. On one hand, they do not want to know every step in the planning process. On the other hand, if we do not tell them the “important” details (which are subjective), they get upset and a repeat of the first Catch-22 happens. The point is: Sometimes, it feels like you can’t win. Instead of stepping on eggshells, plan your wedding how you want it, and if an issue emerges, sit down and address it immediately. Passive-aggressiveness will only waste time and emotional energy. 5. Choose Your Battles Wisely It’s amazing what weddings bring out in people. For instance, I like to go dancing from time to time, but I never knew how insanely important dancing was to me until it was taken out of my reception (don’t worry, I got it back!). You never know what different people will consider to be among the most important aspects of your wedding. Hell, they probably won’t even know what they value until they realize an item’s presence or absence. Therefore, when your parents (or your partner) decide to really push for something wedding-related, ask yourself: Is it worth the fight? Was demanding to change the date based on my own selfish desires worth the logistical nightmare it would cause? No. Was going to the courthouse prior to the wedding (to get the immigration paperwork filed early) worth devastating Daniel’s parents? No. Was adding an extra 10 people to the guest list worth making my mother an emotional wreck? No. To some questions like these, the answers will be a resounding yes. But before you answer, think about what you and your partner value most and weigh that against the fallout of getting what you want. Sometimes, even if something is the best option – emotionally, financially, and logistically – for you and your partner, it just simply isn’t worth the fight or the upset it will cause. Remember: I’m not saying give up complete control. I’m just saying … choose your battles wisely.

Ah, to be newly engaged. Look at how happy we were! So naive! Ah, to be newly engaged. Look at how happy we were! So naive!

Now, after all this serious talk, let me end on a happy note. Daniel and I love our parents. They have made financial and emotional contributions to our long-distance relationship and to our wedding that are beyond the scope of anything a parent should have to give. While making wedding concessions are not always our happiest decisions, we know that this day is very important to our parents, and we are happy to give something back to them after all they have given to us. Our wedding is just one day, a day that we are sharing with our loved ones, and we want it to be meaningful and joyful for everyone. Besides … once we hit the beach at Sandals, I’m pretty sure the ocean will wash the wedding stress away …

Five for Friday: Cool Cufflinks for the Awesome Dudes in Your Life

With Father’s Day this weekend – and for those nearlyweds, nuptials on the horizon – it’s about time we turn our attention to the male set for  a hot second, because they need love too. I’ve always enjoyed how cool and different cufflinks are — like awesome statement jewelry for dudes. And just as representative of individual personalities as that schamazing cocktail ring or pendant necklace. So for this week’s Five for Friday, I’m rounding up five of my favorite, unique and fun cufflinks from our friends over at, all coming in at $50 or less and each as unique as your favorite guy:

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For the shutterbug in your life, whether it be your dad who totes his DSLR everywhere or your Instagram-lovin’ fiance, these camera cufflinks add a great shot of personality to their style. Camera cufflinks, $50

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For the jokester, the iconic rubber chicken will be forever symbolic of slapstick humor. Tickle his funnybone in a subtle way! Mise en Place Chicken Cufflinks, $50 

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My dad loves motorcycles — Harleys, Triumphs, Kawasakis … the list goes on. If your dad or dud has his finger on the throttle, these vintage motorcycle cufflinks might rev him up. Vintage Motorcycle Cufflinks, $50 

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Is the guy in your life always trying to be “hip” to the “status quo,” but is seemingly stuck in the ’90s? Help him feel a little more awesome with these rad accessories. Dope Cufflinks, $30

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Whether it’s building houses or constructing bookshelves, your dad or dude has a knack for working with his hands and making things that are useful. And since these really work, he can keep on the level all while looking sharp. Green Level Cufflinks, $50 

**PSSSTTT!!! If you haven’t ordered your Father’s Day present yet, has $10 next-day shipping, so you can get it by Sunday! Just use code ND10AFF at checkout!!**

Did you see a pair of cufflinks here that are perfect for the dad in your life? Which ones let his personality shine? Tell us in the comments!