Broke-Ass Tag: liz coopersmith



Credit: Persimmon Images (Who is not a newbie vendor, but the seamstress and hanger-maker were.)

Limited wedding budgets can feel sooo limited, sometimes. Often, even. So, if an opportunity to save money on a cool wedding thing shows up, no one can blame you for wanting to grab it. Or for wondering if it’s going to be worth it, especially if it’s coming from an inexperienced wedding vendor. Yesterday Julie talked about finding a newbie videographer, who’s starting his business this summer. The price was right, but will the quality of his work quality be as good? Without a portfolio, how do you know for certain?

Short Answer: You don’t.  You never know for certain. Every vendor you hire is a chance you’re taking that they are going to meet your expectations. Emphasis on “your.” Focus on what will make you feel the best about taking a chance on a newbie vendor? Or not? Again, emphasis on “you.” What do you need to make an educated guess? For Julie, she’s used to reading vendors’ reviews before making a  decision, but this videographer doesn’t have those, yet, at least not from paid clients. Should she ask him to make a test video for her? Can she tell him that she’ll decide once he gets a few reviews from his current clients? But, then again, the price is so low, should she just go for it?

Don’t Waste Too Much Time and Energy On a Potential Hire.

Your time or theirs. Asking someone to work for free — well, you wouldn’t do it if someone asked you. And for something like videography, that involves hours of shooting, whether it’s with you or without you. Followed by  hours/weeks of editing and waiting for the end result.  All for a “maybe.” Find another way. Truthfully,  newbie vendors should already have a portfolio that they’ve done on their own, some example of what they can do, even if it was for unpaid work. They shot/created something that made you feel like they could do this for a living. They should show it. That might be slightly judgy of me, but I’ll live with that. Five million years ago when I was a newbie, I’d been an event planner since college, I’d coordinated a friend’s wedding, I’d planned my own wedding six months before and I had plenty of pictures to prove it all. So there’s that.

You’re Allowed to be Uncomfortable With This.

And you should pay attention if you are uncomfortable, because it’s not going to go away, even in the face of a sharp discount! But if the sharp discount overrules any other considerations, that’s okay, too, just acknowledge it’s the reason,  and you’re ready to face the consequences. Get comfortable with their inexperience, or do everyone a favor and walk away. The first vendor you meet is not the last choice you have. Neither is the next one.

Ask the Right Questions.

In Julie’s situation, the videographer had reviews from friends, so she should ask to see samples of what he did for them. Plus, she has a few months before her own wedding, she could also wait to see the work for and reviews from his upcoming clients. If you want to wait and see, too, it’s okay to ask if they can still give you their current price, just don’t ask them to hold your date. You’re  trying to plan your wedding, but be respectful that they are trying to run a business — don’t Bride Block them over a “maybe.”

So, do you have any newbie vendors? What made you decide to go with them? Are you still a little worried? Let me know in the comments below.

And, if you would like to find out more about me and my corner of Wedding World, go to

See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 5/1

    Credit: Laurie Scavo

    I was in San Diego visiting my best friend this past weekend, and we were watching a TV show I’d never heard of before, “Love it or List It.” Every show features a couple  that is pretty much done with their house for any variety of reasons —  the family has outgrown it and it’s too small now, or it’s now a rundown fixer-upper that they can’t afford to fix up. The couple get to work with an interior designer to renovate their home for free, and  with a realtor who shows them other houses that give them exactly what they’re looking for. At the end of each show they decide if they love their “new” old house,  or if they want to put it up for sale and buy one another one. Love it or list it? Use it or lose it?

    I thought about that show on Monday, when I got an email from a bride who had picked a wedding venue she really liked. But, she realized that once she added it to everything else she was going to need (rentals photography, DJ, dress, flowers, etc.) she was going to be $5,000 over her budget. Should she look for another, cheaper venue and if so, where? And how? Use it or lose it? Good question. And it’s one that I run into more than you think.

    It’s Personal

    Sure, it’s easy for me to say, “You can’t afford it, so you can’t do it.” Right? But I understand that you spent a lot of time finding this place, or this vendor. And I also know how it feels when you find THE ONE. That isn’t easy to let go, especially when it looks like any alternative is going to feel like you’re getting less than what you want, or even worse, that you are SETTLING. If you don’t want to even go there, I get it. But if your budget is on the line, and the budget isn’t flexible, then you have to  make the decision.

    Use it?

    There are a million ways to save money on a wedding, even one that’s heading over the cliff  with $5,000.  You can stick with what you have, and figure out how to cut costs and still feel that you’re getting most of what you want. It will take time — which you have — and it will take patience, which no one really wants to have! But you can make choices that will get you closer to your budget. You just have to be willing to do it.

    Lose it?

    Start from scratch. It won’t be as hard as you think. You’ve got a good idea of how much you can’t spend, and where, so keep looking until you find what works. You have access to everything you need, and more than you think. And you have time, way more than you think. Don’t go into it assuming that whatever you find is going to be worse than what you already have. You don’t know that, yet. And there’s only one way to find out.

    Use it or Lose It?  Compare Before You Decide.

    Don’t pull the plug on your first choice until after you’ve looked at ways to make it less expensive, and are pretty certain that pulling the plug is the best choice. Don’t pull the plug on your first choice until you’ve searched for cheaper venues and vendors, and have a good idea of what the alternatives look like. If you have to make a decision, make sure it’s an informed one.

    Next week, we’ll talk more about how and where to look for budget tweaks and cuts, before and even after you’ve signed a contract (‘Cause I know that’s what you’re thinking about).

    In the meantime, where are you suffering budget wise, and what you’ve decided to do? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll try to help.

    And, if you would like to find out a little bit more about me and my part of Wedding World, come visit at

    See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 3/20

    Photo: Lauren Lindley Photography You know it -- your wedding money is being thrown around fast and furious. Hundreds, thousands of dollars. Tens of thousands of dollars. Not all at once, mostly. But the word “eventually” looms closer every day. So, what I’m trying to say is this post isn’t so much about budgeting as it is about stress relief. And a lot that means getting…

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    Credit:  Lucky Photographer The first step to having a grown-up wedding is acknowledging that you're a grown-up. And that your guests and family are grown-ups. Marriage is the second most grown-up thing you can do. So, you might as well start now with the day that’s going to start it all off. In the immortal words of Monica Geller, “It sucks, you're going to love it.”…

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    Credit: Life's Highlights Last week, I got an email from a bride who didn’t have a problem yet, but was anticipating a huge one. She and her fiance want a small wedding, surrounded by their good friends and close family. She was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen once her mother got ahold of the list. What if her Mom insisted on inviting the 120…

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    Obviously, technology plays a huge part in our lives, but there’s a lot of corners you can find yourself banging into when it comes to tech in Wedding World. Look, first it started with personal wedding websites and online gift registries. Then e-vites and e-RSVPs and cute apps that keep your guests and your wedding party constantly updated on your plans for the Big Day.…

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    Photo: Chasing Glimpses Weddings are complicated creatures. There are a  there a lot of things about your wedding  that you can extrapolate from real life, and a lot of that you can find out by asking obvious questions. But there are also the unknown unknowns, the stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know.  And you don’t -- or wouldn’t -- know, because you haven’t…

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    It works better if you love it. -Danielle La Porte So, you’re at least a couple of months (or so) into planning your wedding, with a few months (or so) to go. It’s been a bit much, and not quite what you expected. And with so many moving pieces and so many unknown unknowns hiding in the back corners of any choice, it’s easy to…

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    Yes. Have the Wedding You Want. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $28,000, whereas grabbing your Sig-O (does anyone use that term anymore?) and driving to the courthouse, or if you’d rather, hiring an officiant to marry you on the hilltop of your choice? Even if you tack a fancy dinner onto that, it’s still only a few hundred bucks. So,…

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