Broke-Ass Tag: Event Plan-It


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Cash Wallet by BlackArrowStudio

Cash Wallet, $56 by Etsy seller BlackArrowStudio

I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with some truly epic wedding advice for you, BABs. This being my last advice post for The Broke-Ass Bride for the moment, I’m feeling some (self-imposed) pressure to get it right! ? I hope you enjoy it, and remember that you can always reply in the comments or email BAB directly with your questions.

It’s been my honor and pleasure to write for The Broke-Ass Bride and to answer your wedding planning questions and concerns, and I hope to bump into some of you out there in Weddingland! ? For now, I leave you with good vibes, best wishes for a happy wedding and marriage, and the following final tips:

Talk About Money

We talk a lot about gowns (yay!) and reception food (NOM) and pretty little details (:swoon:) during wedding planning. We talk about all the feels. And we talk about savvy ways to save on wedding expenses. But today my advice is to talk about the much bigger money picture with your partner. The wedding can be a yuuuuuuuge expense, to be sure, but how you navigate expenses going forward into your marriage is also kind of a big deal. We’ve all heard that money is one of the things married couples fight about most often, so raising the topic sooner than later will set you up for success. Do you have debts? What are your spending habits like? How do you budget for expenses? Will any of that change when you’re married? Will you share accounts, or keep them separate? How will you divide expenses? Do you expect to discuss all major expenses together, or will you make those decisions independently? Who will manage the bills? All of these questions — and more — are important to talk about with your partner, and if you’re paying in full or part for your wedding you may want to start talking about it now. Once you can come up for air in the wedding planning department, schedule a budget planning party with your partner, and hash out what your post-wedding budget will look like.

Save For Your Future

Leading up to the marriage there’s a lot of spending: buying things for the wedding, buying things for your home together, and maybe even buying things for a baby (or furbaby!) on the way. #ProTip: Don’t forget to also save. As soon as the two of you have figured out how you’ll tackle expenses and shared (or not) accounts (see above), it’s time to come up with a plan to save for your future — for medical bills, vacations, retirement, school tuition for yourselves or kids, a new house, etc. Have fun dreaming up a future together, then create special accounts where you’ll sock away money toward those dreams. You’ll be surprised how quickly the spare change adds up!

Invest In The Marriage

Once upon a time, marriages were transactions about money or power. We’re lucky to live in a time (and place) when love and choice reign, and partners are chosen for compatibility and companionship, when we get to marry our best friend and the person who just gets us. My parting wish for you is that you invest not necessarily money, but your time, care, and attention in your marriage, and in nurturing your partner, and your partnership. Because BABs, your marriage is worth way more than the wedding. ❤️

Custom Wallet Insert Card by MetalandIdea

Custom Wallet Insert Card, $15+ by Etsy seller MetalandIdea

– Party on!


Planning a wedding in Northeast Ohio? Here’s where you can find me for wedding planning assistance.

  • 9/16

    Buffet line

    Credit: Lucky Photographer from Kate & Daniel’s Real Wedding

    One of the decisions that can significantly impact your wedding budget is about how you’ll serve your guests. This applies whether you’re serving dinner, appetizers, cake and punch, breakfast-for-dinner or any other type of meal. So let’s break down some of the options, shall we?



    • This is typically a more cost effective option if you want to offer more variety to your guests (and yourselves!).
    • Often guests can go back for seconds since buffet-style calculations tend to overestimate to prevent running out of food.
    • Guests can pick and choose exactly what they want on their plates.


    • A buffet line can really slow down the flow of your reception. (Pro Tip: Try for two buffet lines to keep things moving, and assign someone to call each table.) 
    • The buffet display itself takes up a good chunk of space in the room — and it might take away from your dance floor or make things crowded.
    • Although most caterers are awesome about calculating for buffets, humans are unpredictable and it’s a good possibility that you may run out of one or more popular food choices … or on the other hand, that you’ll have a lot of wasted leftovers. (Some venues / caterers will allow you to take leftovers home, but many will not.)
    • If guests self-serve at the buffet, the chances increase that you’ll run out before the last table gets up. (Pro Tip: Hire catering staff to serve appropriate portions at the buffet.)
    • Buffets force guests to make decisions on the fly, which is part of what takes so much time at the buffet line. (Pro Tip: Display menus either at each guest place setting or on a board at the front of the buffet line, so that guests can plan ahead and make quicker decisions in the buffet line.) 

    Sit Down / Plated


    • Plated meals can be served more quickly than buffet service by an experienced catering staff. (Pro Tip: If you want dinner to move faster, have bread and salads or appetizers preset on the tables before guests enter the room, and keep the dinner service simple — two courses, max.)
    • It’s easier to greet guests table-to-table while they’re waiting for plated service. (Pro Tip: Or just have a receiving line. Either way, make time to eat your own dinner!) 
    • With plated service it’s easier to close down the bar and serve wine at the tables — which can save you an hour or more of bar time (and $$$).
    • Takes no extra space in the room, since meals are served directly at the tables. More space for dancing!
    • With plated service there’s almost no leftover wasted food since each portion is calculated in advance.


    • Plated meals are usually more costly, and require additional staff. (Pro Tip: Check to see if your catering package includes the cost of service, or if that will be added to the total meal cost.) 
    • You and your guests will have fewer meal options on the wedding day.
    • Guests are a bit “stuck” at their tables until after dinner, whereas getting up for the buffet line lets them stretch their legs and mingle with guests at other tables.


    Credit: A Sight of Love Photography from Elissa & Nick’s Real Weddingtaco-signage-elissa-nick-southern-california-real-weddingCredit: A Sight of Love Photography from Elissa & Nick’s Real Wedding

    Family Style:

    A cross between buffet and plated, where each table gets its own larger servings and then guests serve themselves at the table


    • Like with a buffet, guests can pick and choose exactly what they want on their plates.
    • Again, as with buffets, guests might have the option to self-serve seconds. (Pro Tip: It’s still a good idea to have catering staff bring the platters to each table and maybe even serve the first round of each item, but after that, guests can usually manage their own service.) 
    • Often family style offers a couple of options to each table, so more variety is possible here than with plated meals.
    • Family style encourages guest interaction in a way that the other meal service options don’t.


    • Family style platters can be heavier, and messes are almost inevitable. (Pro Tip: If serving family style, make sure there’s at least one adult at each table where children are seated.) 
    • Larger platters crowd the tables. (Pro Tip: If you’re serving family style, cut back on the glassware, favors at the table and centerpieces. There won’t be room for them as well as food unless you increase your table size.)



    • Stations are pretty similar to buffets in many ways, but because they’re spread out into different areas, they move guests around the room and can go more quickly.
    • Stations allow for a bit of extra creativity, since you can serve mini-buffets at each. Think mashed potato stations, s’mores stations, carving stations, sushi stations, etc.
    • Guests seem to love the novelty of station food service, and it allows them to mingle with other tables more than other methods.
    • Some stations can be left up while the dancing begins.


    • Like the buffet, stations usually take longer than plated meals.
    • Stations can take up a lot of space in a room, depending on how many you have.
    • Stations can create traffic jams unless the traffic flow is carefully mapped out.
    • Guests can be indecisive at stations, especially if they’re set up as mini-buffets / bars. (Pro Tip: As with buffets, providing menus at the table or at each station will help to speed up guest decision time.)

    And as always …

    Be sure to find out definitively if any of your invited guests (or their guests, if you’re offering a +1) have food allergies or dietary restrictions — don’t guess!
    It’s a good idea to offer at least one vegetarian option, even if you don’t think any of your guests are vegetarian. First, it’s often the top choice for kids (if invited), but it’s also usually a safer choice for those with dietary restrictions and guests looking for lighter options.

    Note, too, that if you have any guests with gluten sensitivities or other food allergies, you’ll need to check on (or assign someone else to check on) those specific meals with the catering staff on the wedding day.

    Finally, make sure you take time to eat at your own reception (don’t forget appetizers, cake and plenty of snacks beforehand! And hydrate!), and if you’re not serving appetizers to guests (especially after a cocktail hour), consider placing non-perishable pre-dinner snacks on the tables, like popcorn, pretzels or chips and salsa.

  • 8/19

    Personalized Hand Fans - Set of 24, $36 by Etsy seller ModParty If you're anywhere in the U.S. right now, chances are it's crazy hot. I'm talking sweating-while-you-dry-your-freshly-showered-hair kind of hot, coconut-oil-is-a-clear-liquid kind of hot, AC-on-full-blast-is-still-too-hot kind of hot. PSA, guys: HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE! But that brings me to today's Broke-Ass Advice topic: How to keep cool at an outdoor wedding. Whether you're a guest, a bridesmaid or a bride,…

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    Ring Security Polo Shirt, $22+ by Etsy seller TheKnottedPalm Will your ring bearer be the only security at your wedding? Hey guys, keep your advice questions coming! Dear Lisa, My MIL says I need to hire security for our wedding reception, but I don't really want to pay extra for security and it's a squeeze for our budget, plus I think it would offend our guests. Do…

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    Hey BABs! Got your heart set on a lacy, long-sleeved gown? Reader Steph does: Do you have any suggestions for a "can't afford it, get over it" on the Ginger gown from Hayley Paige? I love it but shouldn't spend more than $1,200 on my dress. The sweetheart lace bodice with sheet sleeves and lacy appliques is stunning! Let's see what we can find! Hayley…

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    Destination Wedding Survival Kit Bag, $2.45 by Etsy seller PaperArtScissors Think destination weddings are anti-BAB? Think again! Our editor Christen's first wedding was a destination shindig in Hawaii. BAB founder Dana originally considered heading south of the border. And can we all just take a minute to ogle this gorgeous Cabo wedding? Many a Broke-Ass has opted to jet away from their stomping grounds for their…

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    Waterproof Picnic Blanket, $125+ by Etsy seller ModernCabin We talk a lot about wedding planning on the BAB blog, but life doesn't stop just because you're planning a wedding, and nor should you stop having date nights with your sweetie just because you're engaged -- and broke. Today's Broke-Ass Advice is to make time for budget-friendly, non-wedding-related dates with your partner! So what's a broke-ass…

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    Just Married Wedding Announcement, $6.50 by Etsy seller BlissPaperBoutique Hey BABs! Wedding etiquette can sometimes feel overly formal and antiquated, but we're here to help you navigate the ins and outs. This week's advice request is about sending wedding announcements: My fiance and I are planning a wedding in April of 2017. All of his family is in town and most likely all will attend, but…

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    I've never met a Rue de Seine gown I didn't love. Case in point, the Fox Gown. It rides the line between free-spirited bohemian and romantic formal, with a corseted bustier bodice and floral patchwork lace that outlines all the curves your mama gave ya. All that hotness comes at a price, though, so reader Amy asked if we could find her some lookalikes for about a…

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