Archive Page 2


Affiliate Disclaimer NewEtsy KaufmanArt Pros-Cons Organizer Notepad

Pros-Cons Organizer Notepad available from Etsy seller KaufmanArt

When we left off, I was already projecting that we would go over-budget.

Womp, womp.

But we were about to make some decisions that could potentially alter how much I had to sacrifice. We agreed that we’d have about 100 people come to the big day. That would keep it “small” but “big” and would help keep the budget in check.

The first decision we made was about alcohol.

Would we have it? Yes, yes we would. I am engaged to a German and his German family is coming from Germany. There shall be beer! But also liquor because I don’t drink beer, or wine. I estimated $500 for beer and liquor. That said, I have no idea how much a keg costs, but I do know that the company that makes Timo’s favorite local beer sells it in kegs from Total Wine and we’ll be obtaining one of those. I am OK with well-liquor. Check.

The next decision we made was about food.

I half-jokingly suggested our favorite BBQ place for our reception meal since I knew they catered and Timo said it was a good idea. He told me that he’d been to plenty of weddings where the food was obviously expensive, but it wasn’t even that good. We agreed that it wasn’t being cheap if the food was spectacular. When I checked online, for 100 people it was around $1000. $10 per person is infinitely better than $30+ per person. Check.

I narrowed our venue options down to three.

Price and availability were the sticking points for venues. In Charleston, you can spend an obscene amount for a venue that includes only the roof over your head. One of the most popular places to get married in Charleston that isn’t downtown is Magnolia Plantation. It’s so popular they have their pricing form and availability calendar on their website. They were a quick elimination when I saw that for the cheapest location (of three options) it cost $3000 in the off-season (January/February) and you can only use their preferred vendors for your catering.

I did a lot of easy eliminating via price for the venue. Since most venues in Charleston are so expensive, having limited options made making a decision easier. Our options were Destination Goldbug ($1000), Medicine Wind Farm ($1200), and Alhambra Hall ($1500). After price, the inclusion of tables/chairs was another elimination factor. Our three options offered tables and chairs, which meant that we wouldn’t have to rent them. Another requirement was that we be able to serve alcohol and use an outside caterer.

I did pretty minimal research on a wedding coordinator/day-of coordinator.

I checked out a few websites and talked to a few people over the phone, but we ended up with two recommendations for the same coordinator from a neighbor and a friend and that’s who we knew we would go with if the price was right. Originally she quoted me $1200-$1800 and I knew that was out of our budget. When she met with us and realized we’d already done most of the legwork, she came down to $600. She has a vast network of resources for cakes, hair/makeup, DJs, and rentals and anything she already owns is available for us. Done.

I’m not above winning free stuff.

I’ve entered free contests for an engagement session (which I didn’t win even though I had a 50/50 chance) and a free DJ. Also, I’m happy to trade for services. As I have mentioned, I’m kind of a nerd (with high expectations). I’m a member of two Charleston recycled bride sites because I also love a good deal and we’re on a budget.

During R&D week, I was clicking on all the vendors I saw linked on the bride Facebook pages. One DJ I clicked on had really good reviews on her Facebook page, but her actual website was lacking. There was actually a page that was in Latin as a default page that had never been changed. When I contacted her on Facebook to ask for her availability/prices (much to my disgruntlement), I mentioned that her website didn’t have any of this information on it. She was willing to give me a $50 discount just for pointing out her site was bad. When I explained that I have some technical knowledge and it wasn’t difficult to create a new website for her (depending on her needs), she asked if I would create a site for her and in exchange she’d be our DJ for our wedding. I was happy to agree to these conditions. Timo agreed that this was a good arrangement and we said yes. Check.

The final big decision was photography and it was all on my shoulders.

Timo told me that since photography was my “thing” that he trusted my decision. With all the other decisions up to that point having been relatively easy, I knew that this decision would be as complicated as I let it be.

Was it easy to make decisions for your vendors?  Did you and your spouse-to-be make decisions together or did one person make decisions and the other person went along with those decisions?  What was your “thing”?

  • 3/6

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewEtsy HumboldtStreet I come From Nowhere Print

    Photography print available from Etsy seller HumboldtStreet

    One big question about wedding planning that loomed over us for months was, where were we going to have it?

    Evan and I are both originally from the prairie region of Canada, and most of our families live out there. Currently, we both live and work in Ontario. Most people expected that we would have our wedding in our hometown — it’s where we grew up, we’ve got the beauty of the Rockies in our backyard, and nearly all of our family and childhood friends live there.

    However, we were struggling to find a venue that fit our needs. A wedding at a resort in the mountains was way out of our price range, and the venues that suited our guest count located in and around the city just didn’t seem to fit our style. In addition, we only go home to visit two to three times a year for a few days, which limited our ability to go check out venues and meet with planners. As our options dwindled, I held fast to the idea of the hometown wedding because of the guilt associated with requesting that our loved ones have to spend time and money to schlep to the other side of the country to attend our wedding.

    I’ve heard from one friend who had a destination wedding that you can plan a wedding remotely, but you generally need to hire a wedding planner to coordinate on your behalf, eliminating some of the personal touches that we wanted. I started to put out tiny little feelers for venues in our area of the country, just to “keep our options open.”

    We ended up stumbling an adorable little venue an hour away from us, in wine country, that perfectly suited our tastes and budget. The owners of the venue recommended excellent vendors, and I was able to meet them at my convenience, rather than try to cram meetings into limited-time visits home (when I’d much rather be hanging out with my family and friends!). I wanted this venue so bad, but I was afraid to tell my guests — would they be upset?

    As per usual, my inner voice was entirely too fatalistic. Everyone understood, and they were happy to make the trip to see us tie the knot. Likely, they’ll end up seeing a wedding with a less stressed-out bride and groom, which is nice too. Yes, there’s lots that can be done to ease the financial burden of guests, but to some extent, there’s a point at which you’ve gotta do you. This was mine.

    How did you compromise to help your guests but save your sanity?

  • 3/3


    Place card holders are a great way to dress up a place setting, but if your guest list is more than, uh, 20, it can quickly add. But creating your own diamond place card holders out of cement makes for a unique aesthetic. This simple DIY combines a couple of my favorite trends -- the industrial-chic look and modern, geometric shapes. Bonus: They're a functional gift once they've…

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    Avina Valenta Style 9616

    Reader Rachel is searching for a dress for her fairy tale wedding: "Avina Valenta Style 9616.   Any dress you can recommend similar to this dress, which is over $2500 and I can't spend over $400 on a dress, but I want something sexy yet fairytale for my wedding! :) Love your blog, Thank you, Rachel" Thanks for the love, Rachel!  I hear you, this dress…

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    Wedding Paper Divas Gold Foil Agate Invitations

    We love us some good wedding stationery. And we love us a good sale. It's like pure wedding planning bliss, though, when the two collide. Enter: Wedding Paper Divas' sublime Anniversary Sale. Let's back up a bit. See, our friends at Wedding Paper Divas don't mess around when it comes to stationery. They have perfected the fine art of making wedding paper goods approachable, affordable and…

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  • 3/1

    Real Bride Ciji Floral Event

    ... I am still on the hunt for a florist, how about you? The original plan was to keep the flower plan simple: bouquets and boutonnieres only. Well that plan is not realistic! Who was I kidding? I love fresh flowers and buy them weekly to decorate my house. A minimal flower presence at my wedding was a silly idea. What was I thinking?  I…

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    Hey everyone! My name is Alissa, and I couldn't be more excited to try my hand at blogging my wedding experience! This is my first time blogging, so bear with me as I figure this out as I go (which could be said about my approach to wedding planning as well). Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a New England girl who…

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    Hair trial I have reached a weird point in my wedding planning. It's March, and all of the boxes are basically checked. Venue, check. Dress, yep. Hair trial, been there. Vendors, nailed it. It's basically empty nest syndrome for wedding planning. I keep glancing over my shoulder and looking around expecting some giant forgotten thing to come knock me on my ass. All you ever…

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  • 2/24

    Harwick J Crew Bag

    Harwick Duffel Bag, $98 from J. Crew Let's talk about baggage (no, not THAT kind of baggage). Planning a honeymoon in Hawaii? A getaway wedding in New Hampshire? No matter what the occasion is, when it comes to prepping for a trip, quality luggage should always be the first thing you consider. Shoddy luggage will wear quickly with all the throwing around and your stuff…

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