Broke-Ass Tag: Wedding Advice


photo by Cakes and Kisses
Yeah … don’t even think about it.  Photo by Cakes and Kisses

As you get closer to the end of the aisle, one question starts to overwhelm all the others: “How the heck are we going to get all this stuff over there?? The favors, your escort cards, your wedding dress. Maybe you scored and you can bring in your own alcohol. Maybe you wanted to score, so you’re creating your own centerpieces — which means flowers and vases. Or all the different DIY projects you put your heart and attention to over the past few months. They’re big, or numerous, or unwieldy, or need to be packed correctly in order to survive the journey from Point A to Point B. You may be tempted by the siren call of the saved dollar, but sometimes you need to just save your peace of mind, instead. Here’s a few rules:

What Can Not Be Damaged Must Be Delivered

“Can Not Be Damaged”? Hmm. The first thing that comes to mind is the cake. If its’s any taller than a  tier, then odds are it’s smushable. And frosting — even fondant frosting — is near impossible to fix. A bakery truck has things that your Mom’s SUV does not, like special spots and slots to keep the yummy pretty stuff from sliding around. And the driver  knows exactly how to pack and load the cake and unload and unpack the cake and set it perfectly on the table. And it’s all their responsibility, not yours.

The second thing is your flowers. Depending on what kinds you’re using, crowding them together, with the water and the containers, might not work. You can get it all over there yourself, but be realistic about how much room you’ll have, and what you’ll be able to carry. And if you’re not creating your flower arrangements yourself — in other words, if you’re using a florist or designer —  then don’t pick them up and deliver them yourself. It’s not worth it — better to pay and not worry than to not pay and then … pay for it, you know?

The third thing is catering. I’m talking meals, not necessarily small things like appetizers or cupcakes. But, if you can’t keep it warm, or keep it cold, or keep it in one piece as it should be, then get it delivered by someone who can.

You’re probably thinking that the fourth thing is your dress, but we’ll talk about your dress in a minute.

Never Touch Anything More Than Once

It’s work efficiency thing — when you’re starting a task, don’t put it down until you finish it. In pick up/delivery terms, if it’s something you have to make two trips for because because it won’t fit in your car (come on, will it?) then recruit a second driver, or have it delivered. Your time, and the time of everyone who is helping you out, is at a premium on your wedding day — don’t let the miles eat it up. And if it takes multiple stops to get it there, wherever there is? Get it delivered.

So, What Can I Pick-Up Myself?

For the most part, your dress, the bridesmaid dresses, the tuxes, will be okay. Your guest book, signs, favors. Anything that won’t be susceptible to heat or crowding. But, whoever you’re getting it from, ask them what the best way is to transport it. And then, do that. Buy the fancy big dress bag/box that will be just tight enough and loose enough to avoid massive wrinkling. Buy the steamer just in case and keep the receipt, or just keep the steamer — you’ll probably want to use it again someday. If you like red wine or dark liquor, grab a Tide pen. Put a plastic sheet down to catch the water, put the cupcakes down in the passenger seat well. Refrigerate immediately once you get there. Whatever it is, just do it, and get it done right.

What are you trying to decide if you should pick up or deliver yourself? Let me know in the comments below, and we’ll figure it out.

And if you would like to find out a little more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to Silver Charm Events.

See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 9/12

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    Credit: Katie Maier Photography

    Dear Liz, 

    My Fiancé and I want to have our wedding and reception at his fathers house outside along the river. I’m getting into pricing with rental companies and I’m thinking it may be cheaper for us to rent a barn venue. What do you think?


    Open the Barn Door?

    Dear Door,

    You know, I love this question, and it’s come up a lot with my couples this year. Is it cheaper to have a “bare” wedding venue, where you have to bring everything in, or a “ballroom” venue, where everything is already there? Obviously the barn isn’t a ballroom, but you know what I mean. Once you start pricing chairs and tables and silverware and linens and a bar and stocking the bar and servers and oh, yeah, bartenders, you’re looking at some good money. Which one is less expensive?  As it turns out, the only way to find out  is to finish crunching the numbers. It looks like it will cheaper to go ballroom, but what about after you add in tax and service?  What are your bar options and how much do those cost? Is a cake included?

    When it comes to rentals, catering, and service at his Dad’s place, you will have a little more control over the content and the costs. Be realistic about what you’re going to need (hints: 250 plates for 100 people is actually the correct number. And, yes, you are going to need extra trash cans). Count taxes, service charges, and delivery (!), too. Compare apples to apples, and decide.

    Dear Liz, 

    I just got engaged. Where do I start? I assume with venues, but there are so many. Also, how do you ask family/parents if they’re able to contribute to the wedding?


    Starting Gate Jitters

    Dear Jitters,

    Wow, these are like QUESTIONS OF THE WEDDING UNIVERSE, here. I feel like I should yell, “Forty-Two!” and run away. Bonus points if you got that reference.

    So, first things first. Yes, you would start with finding a venue. Actually, you would start with a budget, and then with a venue, since your venue and catering…are going to take up half your budget. Determining that budget? Cost of Wedding will show you what the average wedding budget is in your area. Before you die of sticker shock, remember 1. It’s an average, which means it’s possible to spend less, just as it’s possible to spend more, and 2. The #1 rule of sticking to a budget is “stick to your budget.” Anything is possible, some things take a little more work. Bottom line: Pick an amount that you’re comfortable with.

    I wrote a bit here about finding a wedding venue, but basically, think about what you want your wedding to look like – outdoors, ballroom (real or metaphorical), ocean view, what have you. is a really good resource for finding what’s available near you, as is, or Or google, even.

    The best way to ask your family if they are contributing is just to take a deep breath and do it. Bring specifics, such as what your overall budget is, or exactly what you would like them to help with and for how much. Venue fee? Flowers? Whatever they can spare? They will ask, so have an answer.

    Did you go “Bare” or “Ballroom”? How did you ask your family for financial help? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out a little more about me and my part of the Wedding Universe, go to

    See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 7/5

    Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what's up! Photos by Lou Stein Dear Liz:     We live in Los Angeles, and got officially engaged last month. We finally decided to get married out here, although we met in New York, he's from Philadelphia, and my family is in Sacramento. We want to settle on a date before…

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    Natalie and Rich Laguna Beach elopement 13

    Photos: Seth Heringer Dear Liz, My fiancé and I want to get married soon due to some recent transitions in our lives (moving, new job,etc.). Because of our (very tight) budget, We're hoping to have a courthouse wedding and maybe a dinner with some family and close friends , about 20 people. What are some things we can do to make it special? I imagine…

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    Frances Thank You Card from Fab

    Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what's up! Frances Thank You Cards, $16 for 8 at Fab Hey Liz, We got married in August and have not had a chance to send out our thank you cards. We traveled until the end of September, my father in law died in October, then amongst the holidays, we started the…

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  • 12/14

    Do you have a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let me know what's up! Credit: Alison Yin Dear Liz, I am planning an outdoor wedding in April. What do I need to have lined up for a plan B in case of rain? Signed, Rain-bowed Dear Bowed, I've had to deal with this more than a couple of times, and tents usually…

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    Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and tell us what's up! Dear Liz, My fiance and I are planning a wedding 2 years out so we have time to save and I can finish with my graduate degree.  However, when we got engaged, I never dreamed of how expensive everything would be.  I have had little to no emotional or financial…

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  • 11/7

    It can take a lot of time and effort to find the right vendor for any part of a wedding. And while lots of websites have list upon list of key questions that you should ask each and every vendor, here are the things that send up little flags for me personally as to whether I'll consider doing business with a vendor. 1. Timely responses…

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