Monday, June 28, 2010

Budget Wedding Flower Fix- June

This month's budget wedding flower fix incorporates big sunflowers and fresh fruit to create a bright summery centerpiece that comes in under $25.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Finding A Discount Wedding Ring

There are a lot of hidden costs that pop up when calculating your wedding budget. One of these is the rehearsal dinner- one that people are usually careful to factor in if the in laws aren't covering it. Another is the bridesmaid luncheon- this is seldom planned for and can end up costing over $100 that wasn't originally accounted for. The one that will really cost you, if you don't plan for it, is the wedding ring(s).

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If you and your husband are covering the entire cost of the wedding yourselves, you've surely thought about this... But people whose parents are helping out often forget that this is not something the parents pay for. This is on you and your future hubby. Wedding rings are not cheap, either. They are certainly less expensive than the engagement ring, but the combined cost of both your wedding bands could be well over $1,000.

Here are some ideas for keeping the cost of the wedding bands down...

Online jewelers- Of course, do your research. If you're not trying on the ring and looking at it on your finger, you'll need to go to a jeweler nearby and see what you're looking for, get your exact size and make sure the style suits you. Then, you'll need to research the company. There are several great online jewelers out there, well worth the savings, but you don't want to get scammed either. Read reviews, make sure there is a contact person if you aren't satisfied, and make sure they have a good variety and selection.

Alternatives- If you have your heart set on platinum, but it's just not in the budget, there are alternatives out there that are still good quality. Look into palladium for guys (in the platinum group, doesn't tarnish easily). You could go with white gold (looks similar, but tarnishes a bit more). Nix the diamonds; you already have one in your engagement ring anyway. You could also go with a mixture of different golds welded together for something beautiful but different.

Keep it in the family- Talk to your family members to find out if there are any rings that are being stored away from grandparents/ ancestors who have passed on. They don't even have to be wedding or engagement rings- just see what is there. Vintage rings are hard to come by and very beautiful. What better than a free ring with sentimental value?

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Gown of Your Dreams

Any girl (woman, I should say) who has been recently engaged has surely spent a lot of hours thinking about her dress.  It probably started long before she got that ring on her finger, and may have been the first thing she considered when the planning began.  The perfect wedding dress seems to be something that girls dream about their whole lives, envisioning the room beaming and time standing still as they enter the room.  So where does the dream intersect with reality?

There are a few things that make picking the perfect wedding dress tricky.  First, your style and second, your budget.  It seems that a lot of woman see themselves in a very puffy, very intricate, very busy dress just because they want to match the big day.  There is so much hype to live up to; the dress has to make the grade.  But it's not always "you."  Then, there are brides who really do see themselves in a more simple (and still beautiful) dress, but feel guilty for not getting something more flashy.  They feel like they'll be disappointing everyone and themselves if their dress doesn't scream "I'm getting married!!!"

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Now consider your budget.  If you have decided that the dress is THE most important aspect of your entire wedding (which is completely fine), you will probably have to cut back in several other areas.  Now, there are more simple designs that are still pricey because of the brand name and fabric... but the rule of thumb is generally "the more layers, the more beading, the more intricacies, the higher the price."  So, if you're torn between a dress that is more you or a dress that is more for the show, think about the money that you could spend on other things and feel more comfortable on your special day.

This goes for accessories, too.  I see so many people take a beautiful dress and make it so much less than what it is by over-accessorizing.  If your dress has a lot of detail, you don't need a tiara and a bracelet and drop earrings and a big necklace.  In fact, it will downplay that beautiful dress you spent so much time picking out.  Vice versa, if you get a more simple dress, keep in mind that you can always dress is up with some beautiful jewelry.

Just make sure you're not overspending and over-doing it just because you feel obligated to do so.  Be happy with your decision and be true to yourself.  The goal is to be the prettiest, best version of you-- not someone else.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Guest Blog on Savvy Cinderella

I was fortunate enough to be asked for an interview by the bloggers of a website called Savvy Cinderella, a which allows newlyweds and soon to be brides to exchange wedding goods/items and advice for staying on a budget.  Here is the article...

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Ask the Expert: Kerry McCullough, DIY Centerpiece Extraordinaire

Kerry McCullough is an expert on creating DIY centerpieces on a budget.  She has created a YouTube channel where she creates a new and unique centerpiece every month.  Her tips and suggestions will help that bride who is thinking about making her own centerpieces but doesn’t want it to cost a fortune! Kerry offers some great advice and helpful hints for our savvy readers.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in creating ‘do-it-yourself’, savvy centerpieces?
I got married in September of 2008 and didn’t have a clue about wedding planning, never mind planning on a budget.  I decided not to go with a wedding planner to save money (which is a debatable subject in itself).  So, I started doing extensive researching on what things generally cost and how to lower those costs.  It can be really difficult planning a budget wedding when you don’t even know what is considered reasonable versus expensive.  After the wedding, I had learned so much and was able to help several friends save money with their weddings.  Then, I decided to start a website for planning an affordable wedding in Maryland (where I’m from), as well as a general budget wedding planning blog.

What is a good price range for a DIY centerpiece and what are some tips to stay within that budget?
It really depends on your budget, but I’d say that the least expensive DIY centerpiece you could make that would still look really good would be between $20-30.

What types of flowers look gorgeous in centerpieces but won’t go over budget?
The trick is to find really great fillers.  I think that you should be able to use your favorite flowers in your wedding centerpieces- just not a ton of them.  If you love hydrangeas, use one or two and use your creativity to find other ways to fill up the rest of the centerpiece.  Things like limes, lemons, water, sea glass, sand, flower petals and bear grass are great accents to compliment your central flower.  If you don’t have a particular flower in mind, the best way to go is by checking out what is in season at your local farmer’s market.

What are some staple items for a DIY centerpiece and where can you find them for the best price?
The number one staple item you need for a DIY centerpiece is the vase.  You can buy bulk vases online and save a lot of money.  Check out several sites and make sure you’re getting the best deal.  Google phrases like “discount glassware” or “discount vases” to find these websites.  Other staple items would be votive candles with holders, flower petals to spread around the tablecloth, some kind of filler accent for the vase (like the ones mentioned above).  You might also pick up some round mirrors to place your centerpiece on top of for an extra bit of flash.

Every month you create a DIY centerpiece on a budget.  Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration honestly comes from walking around the grocery store or farmer’s market.  I don’t go into it with any preconceived ideas.  I just walk around and see what is reasonably priced and then I try to envision the entire centerpiece as I start collecting things.

If a bride wants to create a unique, creative centerpiece, what ideas or suggestions would you give to her?
I would say to search Google Images and YouTube videos on wedding centerpieces, add your own personality and taste, and combine all of your favorite aspects to really make it your own.

What are the pros and cons to creating your own centerpieces rather than having them professionally done by a florist?
The only cons I see are a) finding the time to do it all and b) preserving the flowers for a couple of days (since you can’t do it all the morning of your wedding).  Everything else about creating your own wedding flowers is so much fun, in my opinion.  I had all of my bridesmaids and family over two days before the wedding and we put together the centerpieces and bouquets.  We had so much fun, and the bridesmaids really took pride in what they made.

Any other tips or suggestions for our followers?
Do a test run! I can’t stress how important it is to put a sample centerpiece together weeks ahead of time, and leave it out to see how many days it takes before it starts looking limp and dingy.  You might see something that looks great in a picture, but it might not hold up so well when you try it yourself.  Just be prepared to modify and have a back up plan if something doesn’t work the way you thought it would.

How can our followers contact you?
Email is best:

Additional Information about Maryland Budget Wise Weddings:
This website was designed to help Maryland brides who are getting married on a budget.  It features local affordable vendors, a budget calculator, a timeline for people who are working while they plan, tricks and tips for saving money, local bridal shows, articles, and a community advice board.  For those who aren’t in Maryland, you will find all of the pages helpful except for the vendors and bridal shows.  The goal of Maryland Budget Wise Weddings is to take away the stress of planning a wedding on a budget and make it a fun experience.