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10 Time And Money Saving Tips For Weddings That I Wish I Knew Earlier

10 Time And Money Saving Tips For Weddings That I Wish I Knew Earlier

So you’re getting married. Congratulations! Are you planning your wedding and looking for some time and money savings tips? You’ve come to the right place. Consider this truth-telling time so that you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls. Planning your special day can and should be such a fun experience that you’d repeat if you could. Since you don’t want to say, “If I had it to do over again I’d…,” consider the following:

1. People Will Remember Two Things about Your Wedding: The Food and the Feeling

Years from now (or sooner), no one but you and your spouse are going to remember what your invitations, flowers, wedding favors, or cake looked like. So why blow a lot of money on them? In all of the weddings that I have talked with people about, not once has someone said, “Girl, I will never forget their invitation.” People WILL remember and talk about the food and how they felt attending your event. They may not remember exactly what they ate, but they’ll remember whether or not they enjoyed it. They may not remember specific details about the day, but they will remember if they had a great time and if everyone seemed happy. If you keep these two things in the forefront and make them a priority when planning your day, the decisions you make can enable you to save time and money.

2.  Beautiful Invitations Eventually End Up in the Garbage Too
Wedding Invitations

    So don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over them or paying a lot of money. If you saw the movie “Bridesmaids,” you probably remember the scene when the main character Annie Walker received an invitation to her best friend’s Paris themed bridal shower. It was a fancy pink striped box that held a candle, statue representing the bride and groom, the printed invitation, and best of all a small box that when opened had a butterfly that flew out and “kissed” her. That invitation package clearly cost some bucks. Of course most invitations aren’t that elaborate, but the point is people are spending a lot of money on something that will eventually end up in the garbage. At least in Annie’s case there was a pretty box to save, and a candle to burn.

    Today’s invitations not only set the tone for the wedding, but allow couples to show off their unique style. It should be a fun process, but not one that breaks the bank because no matter how lovely, most of your guests will eventually dispose of it. That’s good money in the trash.

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    Luckily, there are so many options available that can literally save you hundreds of dollars. From kits that can be purchased at arts and crafts stores, to online retailers like Ann’s Bridal Bargains, there’s something lovely for every budget. Designed your own? Keep costs down by using a discount printing service like Vista Print. Want to design your own, but don’t know where to go? Use a site like Fiverr to get your dream design for less. Want to save even more money? Do away with the paper entirely and send electronic invitations. Sites like Evites provide a number of free and paid options. Better yet, use a site that offers multiple services because…

    3.  A Good Wedding Website Can Help You Save Time and Money
    Wedding Mapper

      They can be super easy to set up and personalized to reflect your individual style. More importantly they can keep you organized by storing everything in one place – which will be a real time saver. Even better? There are a lot of FREE options! A good site will allow you to accept and track wedding RSVPs, display a map to your ceremony site, reception venue, and/or lodging, store vendor information, create a seating chart, maintain a ledger of costs and payments, track gifts and thank you notes, and provide a central location for contact. Sites like Wedding Mapper provide this for free. For couples who want additional amenities, paid upgrades are available. Having it all in one place can save money on aspirin too because there will be fewer headaches. You’ll both know where everything is and you can review it at a glance. To make sure it remains a timesaver, don’t go overboard with the personalization. You know, the telling of your story with pictures, videos, stories and anecdotes. It’s cute, but what people really want from your wedding website is practical information such as directions, and where your registry is located.

      4. There are So Many Ways to Get the Dress for Less
      Beautiful Wedding Dress

        Did you know that the average cost of a wedding dress is $1300? That’s a lot of money for something you’ll be wearing once. I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s true! Whether you plan to go the traditional route or not, there’s no reason to pay that much, as you can have your perfect dress for so much less. For instance, you can rent a dress for as little as $75 from sites like Rent the Runway. One challenge with rentals is that you can’t alter them, so consider other awesome options like buying a pre-owned dress. Brick and mortar consignment stores that specialize in wedding gowns, as well as online shops like Preownedweddingdresses.com offer a great selection and an even greater savings. Retail stores like Black House White Market and J. Crew have gotten into the wedding dress game, offering great styles at fantastic prices. Many brides have their dream dress made overseas for as low as $200! Intrigued? The book, “Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget,” by Denise Fields describes how to do just that, along with tons of other money saving wedding tips. If you can bear to part with your dress after the wedding you can recoup some of the cost by selling or consigning it for another bride to wear and love. I purchased my dress (pictured above) from a consignment store for $250 and I LOVED it.

        5. Avoid Bridal Magazines & Television Shows
        Bridal Magazine

          The first time I actually looked at a bridal magazine was after I purchased my dress, shoes and accessories. I was thrilled with my choices as they were “me.” I hadn’t decided on the hair 100% and thought I might find inspiration in a few magazines. All I can say is that I was over the moon happy that I had already purchased everything because the magazines did what they were designed to do – make me ooh, ahh, salivate and desire, regardless of the ridiculous prices. There was even a moment, a tiny one but still, where I doubted my dress and wished for one in the magazine. Don’t go down that rabbit hole. Magazines and shows about dream weddings will clue you into things that you would otherwise never, EVER, have thought about “needing” or wanting – promoting a false idea of what a wedding is supposed to be or should have. More choice is not necessarily better in this case. Pearl encrusted bridal bouquet holder. Beautiful?  Oh, yes. Ridiculous and completely unnecessary? Absolutely!

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          6. Beautiful, Money Saving Wedding Flowers are Possible and Make a Lot of “Cents”
          Money Saving Wedding Flowes

            Wedding flowers cost an average of $1200. Say what?! Someone please explain why so much money is spent on wedding flowers. To keep costs down while still having beautiful flowers, consider the following. Buy flowers that are currently in bloom, otherwise you’ll pay a premium for your dream flower that’s out of season. If you’re using a florist, don’t tell them that you’re purchasing for a wedding, at least until your final price is locked in. It’s like roses on Valentine’s Day. The price will go up.

            If you’re willing to design the arrangement yourself, consider using an online flower wholesaler like Fifty Flowers. Wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco are also great choices for pretty flowers for less. Or you can do what we did and showcase the flowers as accents as opposed to the primary décor or centerpiece. My husband and I scouted three locations, two supermarkets and a farmer’s market, that had beautiful and inexpensive flowers.  We chose three so there were options if one had a bad day. The day before the wedding we bought what we liked and spent $100, including the $5 DIY bridal bouquet. It’s amazing what a few bottles, vases, and ribbon will do! Pictured above is one of the flower accents used during the outdoor cocktail hour.  Not only did we save a ton of money, we saved time as well because we limited our choices to what was available and on hand.

            7.  Wedding Décor Can be Totally Sharp, Classy, AND Inexpensive
            Money Saving Wedding Decor

              Many couples use flower arrangements as their table centerpieces which can add a lot to your budget’s bottom line. You can slash your budget significantly by being creative and using an almost infinite number of options for your centerpieces and décor. How? Three words: Coupons, Ebay, and borrowing. Craigslist counts too. For the DYIer, arts and crafts stores like Michael’s provides inspiration, as well as 50% off coupons. White string lights which are practically a holiday time staple and are probably sitting in your basement, or can be borrowed from family and friends, can create a magical dreamscape. Tea light candles, even flameless ones, in decorative holders add romantic drama and can be had by the dozens for twenty to fifty dollars on eBay. Still want flowers? Use them as accents as shown in the photo above. Not only will you save money, but your guests will be able to see each other over this lovely centerpiece.

              8. You are Not Limited to a Specific Caterer
              Money Saving Wedding Buffet

                Since the food (and drink) is one of the things that will stand out in your guests’ memory, you want to get this one right. It’s not about your budget, per se because done well, hamburgers and hot dogs can be great wedding food. All things being equal however, if your goal is to provide a fancy-ish catered meal and it comes down to choosing between “lesser quality” food options so you can, let’s say buy the fancier decorations, spend the money on the food.  It will feel worth it when people ask when they can expect to be invited back for your next event.  As far as I know, no one has ever asked for a repeat invite because of pretty decorations. With that said, these money saving wedding tips can help you have the menu that you want and eat it too.

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                Yes, you can definitely save money on food by holding your reception during less popular times (think Friday night or Sunday brunch). It is also true that buffets are generally less expensive than sit-down meals. However, the biggest food money saver occurs when you hold your reception at a venue that allows you to cater with whomever you wish.  Doing this one thing will allow you to control everything from your price point to all of your food choices. Finding a venue that will allow you to do this may take a little work, but the savings can be immense. When working with a caterer, do not tell them that you are planning a wedding menu until your menu and price has been locked in. As with the flowers example above, wedding packages may very well be priced higher than other options.

                My husband and I saved a ton of money by using a company that specialized in college dining services. Many college food service operations are contracted out to specialized companies that may also have catering arms. Your memories of college dining hall food may not be fond, but you may be surprised at how well they do fancy. Set up a tasting to see. It could very well be the biggest cost saver of your wedding.  Other tips include renting table cloths, china, tables and chairs from party companies because it may be less expensive than through the caterer. Also, sometimes buying the table cloths is even cheaper than renting and you can sell them and recoup some of the cost!

                9. Your Wedding Cake Doesn’t Have to be Large Enough to Serve Everyone
                Money Saving Wedding Cake

                  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a cake! The wedding industry certainly knows how to get us to buy into whatever they are selling. The cake is no exception. To hear them tell it we need a specially engraved cake knife and server, as well as a floral bouquet for the knife. That’s right. Flowers. For the knife. That cuts your cake. Seriously? Novelty options such as cupcakes, small pies, ice cream sundaes, Viennese tables and more can be marvelous options which on the face of it sound like they would be less expensive than a fancy cake. Just make sure that they are. If you need to have a wedding cake, consider a small one, appropriate for the two of you to enjoy and have your yummy, yet less expensive sheet cake in the back ready to be sliced and served. Believe me, no one is going to wonder or care how all of those square slices came from a small round cake. Tip: Order a cake for half the number of guests attending and serve half slices. If you’ve ever been to a wedding you’re sure to have seen all of leftovers from partially eaten slices that were then just thrown away. By now people are up and mingling.

                  10. You Could Spend Forever Selecting the Perfect Wedding Favor
                  MOney Saving Wedding Godiva Favors

                    For once, the issue here isn’t as much about money as it is about time. There are so many cute wedding favor ideas (that your guests will actually enjoy) that you could devote hours, no days poring over all of the options. The best way to insure that your party favor doesn’t set you back a lot of money is to be open to the possibilities. People who are locked into an idea, and inflexible regarding what they will accept,  incur the greatest cost. Sites like TheWeddingShop.theKnot.com have everything from personalized chocolate covered pretzels, to olive oil, chap stick, mints in decorative tins and more for prices that will make you smile. If you can live without personalization you could save even more. For instance, we bought milk chocolate heart-shaped lollipops (pictured above) that were on sale on the Godiva website for $2 each with free shipping. Some folks “oohed” because it was Godiva, but for us it was more like, “Yummy. Awesome price. Order it. Done!” Make a pact for how much time you will spend making your favor decision and stick to it. That’ll be one less thing on your to do list.

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                    11. There’s Such a Thing as an Ipod DJ!
                    Money Saving Wedding Ipod DJ

                      Live Band or DJ? Neither, since the average price of a live band is $3,000 and a reception DJ is $1000, thank-you-very-much. Thanks to rentable Ipod DJ equipment you can have great wedding music for $500 or less. Locate a rental company that carries this type of equipment. The rental cost could be as low as $65 a day. Rent some speakers appropriate for the size of the venue. You could even bypass the Ipod DJ equipment totally by renting speakers that allow you to connect your Ipod directly to them. Either way, plug in your iPod and you’re good to go! Okay, so it’s not quite that simple. You have some choices to make. Will you develop your own playlist or pay a DJ to record a dance set for you? With some time you can pretty easily develop your own pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail and dinner hour playlists. The dance playlist can be a little trickier as you want to include songs that will appeal to everyone as well as have the right mix of fast and slow songs. If you’re confident in your abilities then what you spend in time you will definitely save in money. As far as the duties that a DJ usually handles such as introducing the bridal party and the speeches, etc., and pushing the play button on your electronic DJ, ask and assign someone in your wedding party to handle those responsibilities.

                      These are just some of the many money saving wedding tips to be had. With a little time and research you’ll find substantial savings on other aspects of your wedding such as your photographer (no, don’t use uncle Bill), transportation (are limos necessary?), ceremony programs, printed menus, embossed place settings (remember, these get thrown away like invitations), keeping the guest list small, and more. How do you plan to save? Mazel Tov!

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                      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                      30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

                      30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

                      Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

                      Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

                      Video Summary

                      1. Visit a strawberry festival

                      Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

                      2. Have a picnic

                      Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

                      3. Camp in your back yard

                        The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

                        4. Take long walks

                        Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

                        5. Break a world record

                        Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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                        6. Go on a bike ride

                        The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

                        7. Join a gym class

                          The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

                          8. Find a new hobby

                          The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

                          9. Join a sports team

                          Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

                          10. Make a slip ‘n slide

                            Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

                            11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

                            Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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                            12. Visit a free festival

                            Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

                            13. Visit the zoo

                              Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

                              14. Take a road trip

                              Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

                              15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

                                Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

                                16. Make your own ice cream

                                Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

                                17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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                                  When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

                                  18. Get a summer job

                                  For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

                                  19. Attend a charity event

                                  Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

                                  20. Visit a national park

                                  National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

                                  21. Visit your local comedy club

                                    Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                                    22. Make your own hammock

                                      Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                                      23. Read in your new hammock

                                      Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                                      24. Watch a movie outside

                                      Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                                      25. Take a hike

                                        Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                                        26. Learn how to fly a kite

                                        As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                                        27. Work out at the park

                                        American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                                        28. Take your dog to the beach

                                          One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                                          29. Make a summer smoothie

                                          Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                                          30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                                          No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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