Broke-Ass Category: Megan

Archive Page 2


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The biggest expense at any wedding are the guests. They are the consumers, so the more guests you have, the more expensive your reception will be (in theory, I’m sure someone can prove me wrong about that). We are opting to have a buffet dinner at our reception and we figured to keep costs down, we need less mouths to feed. Seems easy enough.


When we started creating the guest list, we listed our immediate families and all close friends. The people who we absolutely had to have at the wedding because without them, the day wouldn’t be complete. Then we listed out more distant relatives that we wanted to invite/felt we should invite. At some point, we were asked how many guests would be at our wedding (probably by a vendor) and we pulled a number from our imaginations and said, “100.” I looked at a lot of guest list calculators and estimators and figured that we could add more people since our original list was pretty meager. We started added friends and neighbors and coworkers. We combed through our contacts for people who we hadn’t been in touch with in a while, but it would be cool if they came. We realized that maybe we knew a lot more people than we originally thought.

Then our families started in with the whole, “You’re going to invite your cousin Roger’s fourth wife’s brother, right?” Uhhh, who? No, no we’re not inviting them. We don’t even know them! Timo also started adding people to our guest list, “because they invited me to their wedding.” Uhhh, nope. That’s not how this is going to work. Wedding invitations are not tit for tat. An invitation to my wedding means that I want you there to celebrate with me/us because you are important to me in some way. I felt like a real hard-ass about it, but I am well aware that keeping the guest list in check means keeping costs in check. Fortunately, Fiance understands that now too (after some gentle explaining) and he’s better about trimming the fat saying no.

When I realized we were spiraling into guest list madness, I set about creating some order to our guest list (is it any wonder I’m marrying a German?). I started breaking up our guest list into A, B, and C lists. A list guests were those people we added in the beginning. Anyone from Germany (because if you’re willing to pay for the plane ticket from Germany to the U.S. and your hotel while you’re here, I’m willing to feed you and give you open bar access for one night) and close family and friends. The B list contained friends and distant relatives we’d like to come if possible. The C list became a catch all for “we’d really like you to be there if Great Aunt Dorthy can’t make it” guests. That sounds horrible and kinda cutthroat, but when your theme is “we’re on a budget,” you make it work.

To track all these guests, I was using my handy dandy wedding planning spreadsheet. It was easy enough for us to come up with a list A names, but then we realized we needed contact information, actual addresses to mail things (invitations) to. Someone else probably knows your Great Aunt Dorthy’s address, and they probably have better hearing, so it is easier to just ask them instead of Great Aunt Dorthy.

Wedding Planning Lesson: Make your life as simple as possible because you have other fish to fry.

At this point, we turned to others for assistance. Papa G (my future father-in-law) offered to gather all the information for the German guests. I gave him access to the spreadsheet and he set about putting in addresses for our German invitees that he knew. This saved Timo from having to contact his entire family and ask for their contact information or us having Skype dates with various relatives in Germany to find out the information ourselves. Convenient for me, my sister got married first and I was able to get her guest list so I just copy/pasted our family’s addresses into our spreadsheet instead of hunting them down.

Of course, this system filled in most of the addresses we needed but not all. The rest we had to track down. Timo was able to use social media to contact most of his people who we needed addresses for. I was a bit more sneaky. I went about searching public records. For instance, I knew we wanted to invite some of our neighbors who we have gotten close with. I knew their street name and city and state, of course, but instead of walking down the street and writing down their house number (or ya know, just simply asking them), I went online looked at the county property records. I’ve embraced my creepiness but I am glad that sometimes it comes in handy.

Obviously, I could have just asked my neighbors, but for some relatives, I didn’t have any way to contact them because they aren’t on social media and I don’t have their phone number. In this situation, property records were super convenient. It saved me the runaround from asking someone who might not know, who would have to ask someone else. Let’s have a moment of real talk: Sometimes you don’t want to talk to people, nor is it quicker to speak to some people. There is no shame in stalking people to get their information if it is publicly available.

The most awkward part of planning the guest list is people assuming they are invited or, even worse, asking if they are invited … especially when you know they didn’t even make the C list. I’m still figuring out how to handle these situations. Most of the time, I don’t even acknowledge it at all. Avoidance solves problems, right?

My final thought about the guest list is that it’s organic.

You might not still be friends with people on your original guest list by the time you send out invites. There is no shame in striking them from the guest list completely or moving them to a different list. Someone on your C list might need to be moved to your B list because you’re closer when invites go out than when you created the list. Be flexible. Also, if you get close to someone as the wedding gets closer and you know you have available space, they don’t need an invitation to be invited (but make sure they RSVP so you can keep an accurate headcount!).

While there are many manuals on “how to wedding” every single one of them is filled with suggestions and guidance. It’s YOUR wedding. You do you!

Need help with your guest list? Download our free worksheet!


  • 4/4

    I am a nerd at heart. It started when I was young and my dad bought this super old Tandy computer (with a joystick, not a mouse) and I would play around on it. No one else in the family really knew how to use it, so I just tinkered around until something worked. Eventually, both my parents entered the age of technology and purchased desktop computers. This was back before desks = laps. I may have just aged myself … I digress.

    Since I lived with my Dad at the time, again, I was the one to figure out the computer. I played with all the settings. We had desktop backgrounds that changed regularly and our screensaver was NOT that default crap, no no — we had the brick wall maze with crazy colors. We had a super awesome Compaq and the monitor took up no less than half the desk’s surface. This one did at least have a mouse, so upgrades!  Then we got the Internet. Back when Napster was legal and Limewire wasn’t shady. I don’t even know how I happened upon it, but I was one of the cool kids with a super awesome Geocities site. In case you haven’t gathered already, I was totally cool.

    A few years have passed since then and I knew that the fastest way to get information out to our guests would be a wedding website. You can easily set one up for free at various places around the Internet and so that’s what I did. I started with a Knot website and I just wasn’t in love with it. Then I set up a wedding registry with Sandals because that’s our honeymoon goal and they offered a website for free, so I tried theirs. Still, I was not impressed. As a blogger, I know some basic code, but not enough to really do much other than bold, italics and center.

    I started doing some research and originally had planned to use Drupal to set up a website for the wedding and host it with Google — $12 a year for a Google domain and done. I felt like that was effective cost-management. But then I started to teach myself Drupal and after 30 minutes of YouTube videos that made me want to gouge out my eyeballs, I was disheartened. I turned again to Mr. Google and asked for information on website creation. I needed something that was drag-and-drop without all the background tech to overwhelm me.

    Enter and Both offered free website set up. There are other sites out there that do the same thing, but these are the big two I found. I did a little research and opted to use Wix. I figured I’d create the site and then just get the Google domain, still $12 and be done.

    I went through all the templates and finally decided on one that I thought was fun, cute, and serious enough to represent “us” on a website. AKA, I liked it, it was fun, and it looked easy to change out the defaults to enter our info. I showed Timo before I started working on it and he agreed that it was a cool template. So I set to work. After 4-5 days of intermittently working on the website, I had a crushing realization. To get rid of the Wix logos on the page, I had to subscribe to the Wix plan. Just buying the domain would get us the web address we wanted, but it would get rid of those unsightly “this page was built for free” ads.

    I was super disappointed and considered starting another site, something like WordPress or Blogger where there were no glaring ads and the domain would only be $12. Then I remembered how many hours of my life I had already dedicated to the Wix site and how we both liked the template and how overwhelming the idea of starting (again) from scratch would be. I checked out the Wix price plans. The plan that would get rid of the ads was $10 per month. Truthfully, we don’t really need the website for longer than year, so that put me at $100. Siiiiiiiigh.


    Story of my life.

    I just decided to swallow the pill. I was over halfway done with the site and I liked it. Yes, I could have done it for cheaper, but would I have been as satisfied?  Probably not. ANDDDD this was the website that every guest would be using to RSVP, so I had to put our best foot forward.

    I took my time designing the website. We were over nine months away from the wedding when I started creating the site, so I knew I had time. This worked out perfectly. In early February, Wix sent out an email with a “Valentine’s Special”. Two of their subscriptions were 50% off. The $10 subscription that just removed the ads was NOT a part of that, of course. But, the one tier higher subscription was $7 instead of $14 and while it offered extras that I knew we wouldn’t use, it was cheaper than the subscription to remove the ads. So I bit the bullet. $84 later, I was able to get our domain name and remove the ads from the website. Can you still say money saved if it’s more than you originally budgeted?

    The Website

    There were many factors that went into play when I was designing the website. I knew when we started this process that our RSVP process would be electronic. Yes, I’m aware that the elders may struggle with this, but I can’t take every individual situation into account when I’m dealing with 100 people. I know that the majority of our guests are computer competent (or at least I assume and I could be able to learn a difficult lesson). I figure people will let us know one way or another (probably via a phone call) if they are coming or they could ask someone else to RSVP for them.

    I admitted in the beginning that I had asked the Google “how to plan a wedding.”

    One of the sites that came back was Offbeat Bride. My Type-A, OCD, planner self squealed when I saw their list of spreadsheets they had available for download. So many glorious tabs waiting for all our information!  Guests lists, vendor comparisons, and seating chart, oh my! (Eds note: BAB has a few too!)

    Next, it was time to start figuring out how to set up an RSVP site.

    Back to the Google!  Coincidentally, Google offers Forms. Even better, said forms can feed directly to a spreadsheet in Google Drive. How fortutitious that my wedding spreadsheets were saved in my Google Drive. With some instructional videos and lots of trial-and-error, I created a form that would feed directly to a new tab in the wedding spreadsheets. I’d be able to easily see guests who were coming, their email address, where they were staying, if they had any food restrictions, etc. I also put in some fun fill-in-the-blank questions as well. Before I had officially decided on a from-scratch website, I had originally planned to put the RSVP link on the invitation info so people could just go to it. The problem was it looked something like this: #aintnobodygottimefordat

    The biggest function of the website, other than to provide accommodation information, was for RSVP access. I knew that no one would ever be able to type in the link to the form, so I needed something simple. Another perk of Google Forms is that they can be embedded into a website. It’s really like magic. I set up the website, so that if you are on a computer, you are able to fill out the form without even leaving our website!  On the mobile version, there is a link that takes you to the form since it is easier to fill out on from the Google site than through our website due to the embedding. No having to deal with that obnoxious web address at all!

    Our final design looks like this on the computer, the mobile version is slightly different because of screen constraints (edited for privacy because 2017):



    How do you feel about a wedding website?  Are you going to have one?  Will you make it from scratch or will you just use a template?



  • 3/21

    Coffee Mug available from Etsy seller MeganPadovanoDesigns We made all the big decisions within the first month of planning and everyone had advice for us. I say this with love from the bottom of my heart: I didn't care what anyone said. From the "enjoy planning" to the "you need to do this first," I ignored everyone. I didn't want their advice. Guidance about how…

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    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…

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    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…

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    Now that we're introduced, let me tell you about some details of our wedding! There were two reasons that I hesitated when it came to starting the wedding planning adventure: 1) When I Googled "how to plan a wedding" (yes, I seriously did that), the one big thing that every site said we "must" do was figure out a budget. Money is gross. Budgeting is…

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    Hello Broke-Asses!  I'm super pumped that you'll be following along with my journey to gettin' hitched! Let me introduce myself.  I'm Megan. I live in Charleston, S.C., with Timo, my fiance, and two rescue dogs (Phil the greyhound and Meri the podenco). I'm here because Timo asked me to marry him in December when we were at Disney World. As he expected (because I'd told…

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