Broke-Ass Tag: Wedding planning


After spending six years in the military, I’m known to apply my military training in daily life, even after getting out. For wedding planning, I liberally applied the strategic planning cycle theory. Mostly unintentionally, but once I realized what was happening, I went with it.


The down side is that I begin to use military terminology around people that have no idea what I’m talking about. I considered the beginning of the wedding planning process like research and development (R&D). In the military it means that you should brainstorm all the best ideas! But just go ahead and be aware that we won’t select any of those. We’ll select the cheapest option, probably.

R&D is the best and worst part of any project for me, for multiple reasons:

– Ideas are endless. (But, I need somewhere to start. Someone please point me in the right direction, otherwise, I’m going to drown in all these ideas.)
– I could do all these things!  (But all of these things have to be within my budget.)

See how bittersweet R&D is?

Wedding R&D was simultaneously overwhelming and exciting. After getting a date range from our potential German guests, I got the ball rolling. At any given point in time, my computer had no less than 10 tabs open at once, with a majority of those tabs being potential wedding vendors. At first it was way more than that, but eventually, I started narrowing down realistic options.

Timo told me that he wanted to be involved in the process which was great for me. It meant that he vetted all decisions or helped me choose between several options before I sent out notification to the vendors we had selected. What this really meant for him was that for one week, we had appointments every day after work. We met with a photographer, a coordinator and scoped out two different venues. We rarely plan things on “school nights” because we’re actually old people that live inside 30-something bodies and we thrive on routine and consistency. It was truly an exhausting week, but well worth the exhaustion.

While Timo went to those appointments with me, there was a constant stream of activity that he wasn’t seeing. Activity that was leading to frustration and heartache and disappointment.

I’m a nerd at heart and I often struggle with the belief that my way is the right way and if you’d have done it my way the first time, we wouldn’t be here rehashing the thing. This wouldn’t have mattered except that I was using the Internet as my primary resource of all things Wedding R&D. The problem I was running into was crappy websites. Another struggle I have is my high expectations. I feel that businesses have expectations to meet with their website. If people go to a website, they are often looking for specific information.

In the case of wedding vendors, people who visit the website are often looking for availability, prices and how to contact said business. So many websites I was looking at were missing pertinent information. Other websites were disappointing in other ways. They may have had all their pricing info, but to find the contact info was a hurdle. They may have had a contact page, but the page would be practically illegible because of contrast/font issues. Even worse were the vendors that didn’t actually have a website, only a Facebook page.

As I mentioned, I may have some high expectations. But as a bride-to-be and someone that is about to drop some cash into the wedding industry, I feel like my expectations were mostly reasonable. You should have an actual website (a Facebook page does not count in my book). I should be able to read your website. I should not have to contact you to find out pertinent information about your services. While I understand that initiating contact means that I’m possibly more likely to use your services, I’m just as likely to waste our time when I find out your services are way over my budget.

I spent a week and a half in R&D before moving on to the decision-making part of the cycle when I started presenting Timo with options.

Our budget is $10,000.
The initial breakdown looked like this:
Music: $500
Food/Cake: $1500
Alcohol: $500
Venue: $1200
Photography: $4000
Dress, etc.: $1000
Suit, etc: $300
Rings: $1000
Paper: $300
Wedding Planner/DOC: $1000
Tips/Paperwork: $500
Decorations: $500
Total: $12,500 (oops).

Already something had to give and I knew, much to my dismay, where it had to come from: photography.
I am well aware that a good budget that is flexible, so I was prepared to sacrifice.

With options in mind and numbers to beat, we started making decisions.

Did you have to make sacrifices in your budget?  Where did you cut from?  What did you add money towards?  Did you over or under estimate?  Did you include your honeymoon in your wedding budget?

  • 2/17

    Finding the love of your life and taking that next big step towards forever is a blissful time of your life, but what happens when someone you love has life experiences that are giving them a broken heart?

    caring for friends

    Whether it’s the ending of a relationship, loss of a loved one, money, job or health troubles, certain struggles can zap the celebration spirit right out of a person, even if they love you dearly and share your joy. It’s ok to feel disappointment and to go on with your excitement, but taking the time to specially care for your loved one in their time of need can make the situation better for everyone involved.

    Remember their pain is not your fault.

    You didn’t cause the pain your friend is feeling, and even though it can feel unfair to go one with your happiness while someone you love is hurting, it’s really not. They almost certainly don’t feel it is, either. Being sensitive to their needs can help dissolve any potential bitterness and may even give you a needed break from all of the weddingland craziness.

    Let them set the pace.

    Everyone reacts to tragedy differently, so don’t be shy about asking how involved they want to be and make sure they know they can change their minds. Assuming someone doesn’t want to be involved in fun trips like outfit shopping (or, in my case, anything followed by the word “tasting“) can hurt more than it helps. Extend the invitation, but be gracious if the answer is no.

    Set aside time just for them.

    This is just a good practice in general, but loved ones going through a rough patch or all-out heartbreak really deserve the extra attention. Help out by taking care of a need — whether a daunting chore or a fun night out — and focus your energy on them, rather than wedding plans.

    Show up for the big things.

    The mean curveballs life can throw often come with life-altering events that are an excellent opportunity to show your support: medical treatments, funerals, an unexpected move … stopping your day to be there may sound like a given, but it goes a long way to someone in need of that support.

    Honor their requests for discretion.

    When you’re going through a time of personal trouble, one of the hardest things can be to keep positive while well-meaning outsiders ask questions. If your brother is going through a divorce or your best friend lost her job, they may not want to share the details with the people they meet through parties and get-togethers that sometimes accompany an engagement. Unless they ask you to pass on their regrets to others, keep the bad news within their circle and allow them to put on a happy face if that’s what works best for them.

    Be mindful of money troubles and help where you can.

    This is especially true for people in the wedding party. It’s no secret that being a part of the wedding can rack up some serious dollar signs, so whether their expendable cash is simply lacking or their money troubles are rooted in outside trouble, look for ways to keep costs down. Besides, choosing budget friendly options for wedding attire and party destinations never hurts!

    Be prepared to let them off the hook.

    It’s never easy to back out of a commitment, so if it gets to that point, understand they’re likely as disappointed as you are. Give them time to heal and look for other fun ways to bond and celebrate the special relationship you have. Being flexible lets them know how important they are to you and spending time together is a good reminder for you that even though times might be difficult for them, they still care about you and your happiness.

    Have you run into a sticky situation while planning your wedding? Need some advice on how to handle it? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 2/13


    Greeting lads and ladies, its that time of year again -- Valentine’s Day. As a newly engaged couple, this is probably one of your least stressful romance holidays. You’ve already got the ring, so there is no sitting on the edge of your seat and quietly hoping. One huge hurdle down, but here’s the clincher: you’re planning a wedding and broke as church mice. Wedding…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!



    If the new year brought you a new big step in your relationship, congratulations! We're so happy to have you! As you jump into the world of wedding planning, know that it's totally normal and very much ok to be feeling a little ... overwhelmed about where to start, to say the least. If your head is feeling like a giant cloud full of tulle…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    diy real wedding

    Credit: Juniper Photography I’m sure many people have ideas about how they want their weddings to be even before they start planning them. Maybe they know for sure they want to get married on the beach, or they’ve always known they would wear a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. I had ideas like that too -- my matrimonial must-haves, if you will.…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 12/12


    So the wedding registry process is NO JOKE!  So many options and so much advice, not to mention I need to select things that I think I will like -- rather love -- for a long time ... seriously?! Thank goodness I have a fiance who has an appreciation for the finer things in life and was down to join me at a couple of…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Cyber Monday Deals for Your Wedding

    Happy Monday, darlings! I hope you all had a great, restful Turkey weekend. As per usual, the holiday shopping has been kicked into high gear, and since finding a killer bargain is essential to any Broke-Ass wedding, I'd be remiss if I neglected to share these awesome Cyber Monday deals with you. Since Black Friday was a mashup of all the things, Cyber Monday's deals are concentrated…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!



    Brides planning their own wedding often get inspiration from wedding-related shows and movies. You can check out a number of different wedding shows in order to learn some helpful tips, gain some insight into the industry, and even help decide your own theme, dress style, color scheme, and other wedding choices. There are 5 main wedding shows to watch that will inspire your dream day.…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 11/2

    BlissPaperBoutique Printable Envelope Template

    Howdy my fellow Broke-Asses! Envelope template available from Etsy seller BlissPaperBoutique It's official, we are officially getting married. I just dropped off the Save the Dates at the post office. With a huge wink and promise of future cookies to the post master, he lovingly hand-cancelled each of my postcards. I feel like a mother bird watching all my fledglings leaving the nest. Who knew…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!