Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Because we are still hurting a little from the economy and possibly still paying for the wedding, a grand honeymoon may be out of your budget.  Never fear.  There are so many great options to explore.  The whole point of your honeymoon is to spend some time with your hunny and it shouldn’t matter where you go as long as you’re together.

Stay-cations come to mind for mini honeymoons.  It’s affordable and local.  For the most part, you may not need your passport and pay all those overseas taxes.

Of course, my vote is for taking many mini vacations and when you have enough saved up, take a luxurious and grand honeymoon on your anniversary.  (I use the word “honeymoon” when it pertains to taking a vacation with your spouse.  I think you should be able to use the term “honeymoon” all the time, not just after your wedding.  This sets the mood of your romantic vacation.)  Here are some tips of great honeymoon ideas starting from the farthest you can go, for deals, to the most local and hidden gems.

  • Visiting our neighboring countries.  You don’t have to go to cross the Atlantic Ocean to enjoy a different culture.  Depending on where you live (East Coast or West Coast, North or South), you are still able to use your passport.  Say you live in New Jersey, you can always cross the border to Canada and visit a specific province.  Another example, if you live in California, as I do, I know there are great deals to visit Mexico by plane or boat.  I guess in the East Coast, the tropical deals would be for Jamaica or even Puerto Rico.
  • Fly Domestic or drive to a different state.  Ever think about visiting New York for the first time, visiting New Orleans, or even Seattle?  Maybe you have been always wanting to visit a city or a town for a specific reason or maybe you want to be spontaneous without having to rely on a big budget.  Whether wanting to see the Grand Canyon in Arizona, or the wineries in Napa Valley, CA, you can always think of plenty to do.  Engage yourself in the local activities or tourist attraction.  Maybe look for museums, gardens, a national monument. A great thing to do is to look online first for the local surrounding and restaurants to make an itinerary.  Also look into the city’s tourism website.
  • Driving locally.  I say this means only traveling for a few hours or less and maybe staying in your own state.  Since I live in Los Angeles, CA, a stay-cation honeymoon for me would be to drive to Santa Barbara,CA or San Diego, CA.  It’s not too far, but not too close.  If you’re worried that you might feel like you never left for vacation, then I can definitely tell you that even a few hours distance, you already could sense a different environment.
  • Within your own town.  Get away by staying in a 5 star hotel or bed & breakfast.  Make it as special and romantic for you.  And just think, if you every need a quick getaway when you’ve already had your family, you can always sneak out for the weekend at that special place where you had your honeymoon.
  • This may sound funny, but pull out a map of the united states and with your eyes closed, pin point to somewhere you’ve never been or thought of.  I think that would be for a more adventurous couple.
  • For the practical couple, watch the Travel Channel or other travel show.  They always feature a location for its local treasures, like Walt Disney World or Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  Your honeymoon can be educational too.
  • For the food or wine lovers in you, plan a honeymoon based on reviews you’ve heard or maybe follow the seafood trail.  For example, driving up the California Coast to Monterey and Half Moon Bay to try out all the clam chowder and wine.

The lesser known cities may have deals for you, they have plenty of promotions so you can visit them.  Also, the big cities may have other deals to help people spend more money in this economy.  You have a lot of great options and great websites you can use.  My favorite sites are:

In all, you shouldn’t limit yourself because you’re short on your budget.  You’re slight dilemma only brings out your creativity and also fun.  You might realize sites you’ve never thought of visiting or trying new activities also.


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For the past few years the popularity of having a candy bar has been on the rise.  There are benefits to having a candy bar at your reception.

  • We love sugar.  Whether it’s hard candy, sour candy, chocolate, and jelly beans, it’s all good.  You will have no complaints about that.  On the contrary, your guests will remember the candy bar as one of the highlights of the reception.
  • A candy bar can be elegant and beautiful as a compliment to your wedding and reception. You can get candy to match your color scheme or candy to match your nostalga theme.  You can also get your favorite candies to to share your personality.  Most importantly, you can get personalized candy to commemorate you big day!
  • Little to no work at all.  Yes, we love that.  No hours of packaging and tying up little ribbons.
  • Well, this is a fact.  Your guests will be at your ceremony and will also be a little drained from waiting, so the sugar rush will be exactly what they need.

DIY instructions:

  1. No matter the size of your table, make sure you use a table cloth. It’s the most basic instruction to the “wow factor” for your table.
  2. Get containers (glass, ceramic, terra cotta, silver, wood, baskets).  I think getting the same type material is more attractive, ie. all glass.
  3. Arrange your containers from tall is the back to shorter ones in the front.
  4. Buy candies and over flow your containers.  Don’t forget to have your little scoopers.
  5. Make your baggies, take out containers, or paper bags readily available on the side.

Here are some of my favorite candies for the candy bar.

  • Rock Candy
  • M & M’s
  • Dum Dum’s
  • Button Candy
  • Jordan Almonds
  • Jelly Beans
  • Hershey Kisses

Here are some sites to buy candy in bulk:

Here are some ideas for different kind of “bars”.  Mix & match.  For the backed goods, don’t forget the milk.

  • Cookie
  • Doughnut
  • Candy Apples
  • Popcorn Balls
  • Brownies
  • Cupcakes
  • Potato Chips
  • Pretzels

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1. Get ideas from wedding magazines, cut them out, and create a collection.  A folder, a shoe box…anything to hold your ideas together.  You can later narrow out your favorite pieces and also choose which flowers you like most.

2. You should think about your theme and colors.  This is important information to give your florist.  They can suggest flowers to you regarding colors and also theme.  For example, if you were having a wedding in a winery, you would like to have darker, rich colors, and maybe throw in some ivy green and grapes.

3. You should think about the season of your wedding.  Different seasons, different flowers.  Also, keep this in mind, when you choose the flowers of the season, it’s easier on the budget.  But if you must, most all flowers, including roses, are available all year round.

4. Your cost factor shouldn’t hold you back from having a luscious wedding.  If you have to use more common, less exotic flowers, your wedding still can be beautiful.  Here’s some trick you can use:

  • Use flowers of the same color. Choose to be monochromatic.  It’s very elegant and you can get away with less expensive flowers.
  • Same concept as the prior, but this time use one type of flower and add mostly greenery.  I think that you can achieve a whimsical, woodsy feel for the flowers.
  • Consider using all baby’s breath.  Good for decorations, bouquet, bouteniere, centerpieces, everything.  It looks elegant, beautiful, timeless, and like clouds.  A bonus for this choice is that it’s cheaper.  Request for “Million Stars” baby’s breath.

5. If you are doing your own flowers, choose easy and elegant.  You can choose this option to save costs on labor by florists.  You can always buy flowers at Costco or your flower mart. You can order flowers on many websites that mail the flowers to you such as Costco or http://www.Fiftyflowers.com.

6. Choose your style:  It’s always one or the other on each of the given lines.

  • Simple vs. Elaborate Designs
  • Classic vs. Modern Designs

These are some ideas to think about.  You may originally think of one floral design, but due to budget and seasonal constraints, you might have to change your designs.

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Because of the challenging ecomony and budget crisis, we brides have to be frugal in different ways.  We have to cut corners on things that are important, but make sure they won’t be compromised.  We now live in the digital age, where everyone checks their email at least a few times a week.  So, the most logical thing we can do is try out online invitations.  By the way, this would be a great alternative to wedding/bridal showers, save the date, and thank you cards. You have a couple of options:

The first is strictly online, no hard copy, and usually RSVP is online too.
The second option is to order your invites online and they will mail it out to your guests.

Here are some great sites you can check out:






The benefits to sending invitations through this site is the cost (little to nothing at all- free!).  There are beautiful designs and you can personalize all the wordings also.

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These are some questions for the bride or couple to think about before looking for a photographer:

1. How much is your budget? What is your low and high end….think about a range.

2. Think about what you need in your package.

  • For a budget conscious bride, maybe you can ask or see of they offer an all-digital package.  You can have all your pictures still and have them developed on your own and have your own album made at a later date (when you have funds).
  • If you’re looking for that all around package, consider how many prints, the sizes of them and the album.
  • For all your packages, think about how much hours you need them. (2 hrs: ceremony& first part of reception or 10 hours: which is a whole day event)  The average is 8 hours.

3. Chemistry? Do you click with your future photog? This is important because they are going to take pictures of the most intimate moment of your life.  Plus, you want them to take flattering pictures of you.

4. Know what style you want?  Traditional, journalistic, documentary, or candid?  Do you want them to take posed shots or take shots, blended in the background.  I believe the style now is a combination of journalistic and candid. Photographer are now becoming for artistic with scenery and lighting.

5. Think about if you want all digital photography. Most photographers are now all digital because it’s cheaper and faster to produce images.  However, there are still some old-school photographers that uses 35 mm and film negatives.  These have to be developed, which could be a more costly process.  The benefits to using film is the photographs come out richer and creamier…..but can only be seen with an artistic eye.  When I asked a photographer about the difference, he said it was very minimal and you can achieve the same effects when you use digital enhancement.

6. Decide whether you want only one or if you need two photographers.  Of course, having 2 photographers will cost a little more.  Average is $300-$400 extra.  Also for each photographer you have, you have to provide their meals during the reception.

7. If you are having your wedding on a weekday (Monday-Friday), and Sunday, ask for a price break.  You have better chances of getting better pricing because it’s not busy during that time.  Also another reason for you to get better pricing would be for weddings end of October-April because those are the wedding low season.  Peak season is May until early October.

8. Make a list of every photo combination you want taken, so you would be able to give this to your photographer. (ie. the married couple and parents of both sides, etc)

You should consider having a checklist when you interview your wedding photographer.

  • Your checklist is based on your own preference and discretion. Just make on up.
  • Ask them what is their photo style?
  • What little extras can they do for you?  Throw in a documentary dvd (pictures to music)? Free engagement shoot ($250 & up value)? Additional printed pictures? What promotions do they have?  If you met them at a bridal show, then what specials do they have?
  • Does your photographer use Photoshop?  Sometimes you want your pictures digitally enhanced.  Sometimes they also work with the color hue and other effects.
  • If you would like videography, does your photographer have one he works with? Or can they refer one to you?

Even if your photographer has done weddings before, you still have to check if they know what they’re doing.

  • In my own experience, I have seen photographers that have taken beautiful photos, but their direction was all off, so they weren’t organized in getting important pictures, (ie. bride & father; bride & siblings, etc).  I have also heard of seasoned photographers who know what pictures they need to get and have a precise plan they go by.  **My opinion, for larger weddings, maybe you can ask your coordinator or a friend to keep track of the photographer so they don’t miss out on anything.
  • Make sure of your details.  For example, if you have your wedding at a different site from the reception, make sure your photographer know the landscape of both places.  Also make sure they know the directions.  It would be real bad if the photographers were to learn the landscape on the day of your wedding as this would also disrupt your time-line.
  • Your wedding photographer should help you figure out your time-line.  A knowledgable photographer should know how to work with time and put the sunrise/sunset into consideration.  They should also converse and work with the videographer.

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The popular trend with current photography packages is to get all your photographs on a CD.  It could range from hundreds to thousands of images. Your photographer may or may not color correct your images, with photoshop, but again it depends with your contract.  Of course, it would be best to ask your photographer if they could sign a release on all the photographs so you can reproduce the pictures on your own.  With this being said, and I know that a lot of couples are trying to cut corners with expenses, like myself, their packages may not include a photo album.

This is the situation that I’m facing, although I would very much like to have an album.  My photographer says that it’s going to cost me about $800-$900, of which I don’t have at the moment.  I opted just to get the CD of images and get an album done on my own.  During my research I came across two types of albums that peaked my interest: the photobook and the flush mount album.  To understand the differences, the photobook is more like a coffeebook, which has thinner pages, a hard cover, and costs very inexpensive. I’m planning to get a few for my family as gifts.  The flush mount albums are more elegant and more for keepsakes.  They are beautuful, more handicrafted, and costly as well.  This I will keep for my own.

Here are a few website that do photobooks and some to flush mount as well:

Here are a few websites that do flush mount albums.  Since most other companies only deal with photograhers directly, I found these companies that also deal with brides:

I don’t work with any of these companies.  I was just doing research for my own album and came across these companies.  I have yet to try them out and when I do try one or a few, I will update with future comments.

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