November 11th, 2018
How to Set a Budget
One of the most important things you can do when you are first engaged is to set your budget. This is important because weddings cost A LOT! Anytime you put the word “wedding” in front of anything you can expect the price to double, triple, or quadruple. For example, I did an online search for a photographer. On the website, a full day family session with 2-3 different locations will run about $450. I would assume that a shoot like this would be about 3 hours, making it about $150/hr. The same photographer has a “basic” 6-hour wedding package that starts at $2,000. This is more than double the family rate. This is not uncommon. Hence why planning your budget early on is so important! It is very easy for you to tell yourself or have others to tell you that “you only get married once.” This will lead you down the path of a very expensive wedding.
The first step of setting a wedding budget is finding out how much money you have to spend on the wedding. If you haven’t already asked your parents, ask them if they plan on helping you out in any way. Also, you may ask the groom’s parents. Sometimes one set of parents offers to pay for part of the wedding or for part of the honeymoon. This is important to know when it comes to setting the budget because you need to know what you have to work with and what you are going to have to cover yourselves.
The second step of setting a budget is to decide how much of your budget you want to spend on the big-ticket items. Some of those items would be the following:
All of these can vary greatly in price. You can spend $500 on a nearby 3-night spa honeymoon or you can spend several thousand to pay for a suite on a 10-day cruise. This same situation is true for almost every item on that small list. This is why your budget is important, especially for these items.
The last thing you have to remember is that the small items will add up quickly as well. You can forget all the other things you will need to pay for such as invitations and stamps, alterations on your dress, flowers, thank-you cards, etc. My advice is to download the wedding checklist on our website/blog and print it out. Then, off to the side of each item that will need to be purchased, give an amount that you would be willing to spend out of your budget. This will help you keep on track. Remember, you really do only get married once. But trust me, going into a marriage broke or in debt would not be fun. Don’t drain your savings. Getting married is great, but financial strain could add more stress to you new marriage than you need.
Good luck planning your wedding!
Comment below any other budgeting tips you might have!
Choosing when and where to get married should probably be right up there at the top of your to do list after getting engaged. These are a couple of the more important things to plan right away because other people depend on this information. Your guests, venue owner, and temple need to know this, so they can plan for your big day.
Your Date: Most of the time you start here, with the day. It comes first because your venue and temple will need to know when to plan on you. However, if you are already set on your venue or temple, then you may want to call them first and find out what availabilities they have. Some may be booked many months out, that’s why these are important things to plan early on in your engagement. As far as looking for a date to accommodate your guests, many people choose to marry on a Saturday, the main reason being that most people have Saturdays off of work and are available to attend. If you do choose to have it on a day other than Saturday or Sunday, make you let your family and friends know early so that they can ask for time off and arrange to be there.
One other suggestion is that you try to not get married too close to a major holiday. If you get married too close to Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Years, your anniversary may get swallowed up and forgotten by all the holiday spirit in years to come. However, if you are getting married between fall and spring semesters of school, this may be unavoidable. Just do your best to make sure each year that you save time out of the holidays for you to celebrate your anniversary.
The Venue: As I mentioned above, venues can fill up fast and early! Get this done ASAP. Some things to think about when booking your venue are when you plan on arriving and how long you plan on being there. Some people need a venue all day for the ceremony, photos, luncheon, and reception. Others may just be using it for a few hours in the evening for a reception. Either way, know how long you will be needing it. If you only need it for the reception, make sure you account for the time you will spend taking pictures after your ceremony and travelling to get to your venue location so you don’t pay for time you don’t need. Also, don’t be afraid to leave early if you are tired, or choose to have an early reception. The wedding day is long enough as is, don’t delay your honeymoon any more than needed by staying out and dancing till midnight.
Cultural Halls: Take it from someone who had their reception in a cultural hall, there is no good way to hide that you are standing in a basketball court. Pictures and décor are both hard. My suggestion if you’re on a budget is ask someone to let you borrow their backyard. If you do decide on the cultural hall, take time to plan how you will dress it up and perhaps add lighting so not all of your pictures will be yellow!
The Temple: Some temples are more popular than others… like the Salt Lake City temple. It is often booked months ahead of time. Most others are pretty easy. Just make sure that when you call to book it that you schedule a time that will allow you enough time to get ready in the morning. Most temples expect you to be there about an hour early. If you are doing a session before hand then they will expect you about three hours early. So, if you are planning on hair and makeup in the morning, plan a little later wedding time and you might actually be able to get some sleep. That is if you’re not too excited to sleep…
Good luck planning your wedding!
Comment below any other ideas that you have!
Don’t Spend It All in One Place
Weddings are expensive and there is no getting around it. If you are on a budget, you will soon begin to realize how much this is really going to cost you, if you haven’t already. One of the biggest and most important purchases is going to be your wedding dress. This blog is going to be the do’s and don’ts of wedding dress shopping.
This is a pretty basic list of do’s and don’ts, but they are important. I hope that you can find the wedding dress of your dreams without spending your whole budget.
What Dressing the Wedding Party Taught Me.
My wife and I had an interesting experience choosing colors and dressing the wedding party. Mostly it was the ties for myself and the groomsmen. As a guy, I always imagined the tie I would wear on my wedding day. When I was a kid, I would finger paint myself in a suit and the tie, the tie was incredible… Okay, that never happened. But it was the only piece of clothing that I really got to decide for myself. I can remember wanting a tie that had an extra color in it that did not go with the colors of our wedding. It was sad to let that one go but I started looking around and finally settled on one that was the perfect color of blue. I bought 5 of them off of Amazon for about 4 dollars each. I was nervous because of the price but buying the same one for myself and all of my groomsmen meant we would all match. Also, it was an easy groomsmen gift.
When the time came, the quality and color were both spot on. I was excited to give them out to my groomsmen. On the wedding day, I gave one to each of my groomsmen. Then, a little too late, I realized that my dad, my father-in-law, and 3 brothers-in-law were all wearing different mismatched ties! At least they had all found ties that worked with our wedding colors, but I kicked myself all day because I had not thought to buy extra ties for them as well. Lesson learned! Buy ties for all the people who you are going to be taking pictures with and want to match!
My wife had a similar experience. She knew she wanted all of her bridesmaids to match but getting bridesmaids dresses can be very expensive. She didn’t want to burden her friends with a fancy and expensive dress that they would never wear again. She also didn’t want to foot the bill for 4 expensive bridesmaids dresses. She went on Amazon.com and found a dress that was fancy enough to be a bridesmaid dress and yet could still be worn to something less formal. What was better is that it only cost 26 dollars! She made sure to check the reviews for quality. When everything checked out she sent the link to her friends and had them buy the dress.
She had thought about giving them a swatch of fabric and having them find a dress that matched, but she really wanted them all to look uniform. Her solution turned out great and it didn’t break our budget!
The only thing we would have done different would be to get everyone a swatch of fabric ahead of time so that anyone in our immediate families not wearing a dress or a tie could have bought something similar. The color navy blue has a lot of variance and we could’ve solved that problem with a very simple solution.
Cleaning your wedding dress
Wedding dresses are generally white, ivory, or champagne. These light colors show even the smallest amount of dirt. This can be a really big problem because the majority of people go outside to get their wedding pictures done. Most of the time these pictures are taken before the big day. Your dress gets dragged through the dirt, grass, and everything else that is on the ground where you take your pictures. More than likely you got home and realized it could use some TLC before your wedding day. There are many methods on the internet that explain how to clean your wedding dress at home. I will quickly outline a few of those for you here in this post:
The spot clean
If your dress didn't get extremely dirty, then you may not have to go through the whole hassle of soaking it. You may be able to get away with a tide to go stick or something similar. Just try spot cleaning it first. If that does not work, then you can go all in and try one of the following methods. Be careful on satin that you do not use water, as it can leave a ring where you tried to touch it up.
In the tub:
The video link attached above is one of a woman whose dress got filthy during her wedding. When she called around to dry cleaners, she was put off by the price and the use of chemicals. Her process is as follows.
1. Fill up tub and add detergent
2. Soak dress. Let it soak for several hours. This will let the water soak in and help dissolve the dirt that is really deep. It is important not to rush this stage. Let it soak and go do something else in the meantime.
3. Drain and Repeat. I would do this as many times as necessary.
4. Hang dry. This is important. While it is still super wet, hang it somewhere (not in direct sunlight) and let it dry out. Doing so while it is still soaked will help it to dry straighter with less wrinkles.
This method is very time consuming but can be very effective.
The washing machine:
This method is by far the easiest. The directions are as follows:
1. Check the label of your dress. If it is 100% polyester or polysatin then this method will be okay. If your dress is made of finer materials, such as silk, you will want to choose an alternative.
2. Put your washing machine on the "delicate" cycle with an extra rinse. This works best in front load, tumble washers. The top load washers with an agitator seem to not work as well.
3. Use Woolite detergent, it seems to do a better job for the delicate work.
4. Turn your dress inside out, put it in, and start the cycle.
5. As soon as it is finished, take it out and hang dry it (not in direct sunlight.)
If it were me and I had just spent between $600-$3,000 on a wedding dress, I wouldn't do anything to risk hurting it. You likely received some money from your reception. Use it to go have a professional clean your dress.
If you plan on keeping your dress for a long time, then get it professionally preserved. It costs a little more than the cleaning alone, but packages it in a way that it can be presented beautifully. We offer this in store at Affordable Bridal Boutique in Provo for $225.
The best part is that the price includes the cleaning.
Comment below any suggestions you might have!
The anti-reception experiment.
I woke up the morning of my wedding a little early. I was way too excited to sleep and could not even wait for the day to be over, so I could finally be married to the girl of my dreams. Everything was planned. There was no more planning to do, just seeing it all work out. The plan for the day was as follows: get married, take pictures, go to the luncheon/open house, then leave for the honeymoon. No reception. I know this sounds crazy to some people, but my wife and I had heard horror stories of people who had to get up early to get married, had pictures after that, then a luncheon, then a short break, then stood in a line at a reception for hours on end, and didn’t leave for their honeymoon until late that night. This idea of a wedding day made us exhausted just thinking about it. We wanted our wedding day to be a day we looked back on and could remember enjoying. Not one that we remembered as being torturously long. We didn’t want to think about how tired we were standing in a line at the reception or how tired we were when we finally got to the hotel that night. So, we opted out of the day-of reception and it was the best wedding decision we made!
When we told our parents that we were going to make the luncheon double as an open house they thought that it was a bad idea. Everybody has a reception the night of their wedding. But, we stuck with our decision and told them this is what we wanted. I am from St. George, my wife is from northern California, and we were getting married in American Fork. Many of our family members who live in northern Utah wouldn’t have been able to make it to a reception in either of our home cities. So, we decided to make it as easy on everyone as we could. We had a luncheon after the wedding that was open to anyone and everyone that lived close by. We did have a reception in both of our home towns, but we did them the week and the month after.
This was one of our best decisions because we avoided a huge wedding day stressor! We were able to be on the road to our honeymoon by 4pm. Most people still have hours ahead of them at that point on their wedding day. We were truly able to enjoy our wedding day and now we look back on it with fond memories. The one downside to not having your big reception the day of the wedding is possibly a smaller turnout. People want to see you while it’s still magical and they may be less likely to come after you’ve been married a week or a month. But, the important people will still make it work. It was a very relaxed day that we got to spend mostly with close friends and family. If you are thinking about doing a reception on a day other than your wedding day, then you have my support 100%. Your wedding day should be a day that you enjoy, not one that is so long you suffer through it.
Good luck planning your wedding
Comment below about your wedding day experiences!
You have just gotten engaged and you are looking forward to spending the rest of your life with your future husband. Naturally, as with any wedding, there is a lot to plan. There are people to call, decorations to buy, and invitations to order, stuff, and send out. Long story short there is a lot to be done. Why not start with a divide and conquer attitude?
When my wife and I got married I felt like a deer in the headlights when it came to planning the wedding. I know… Typical groom. I knew that she needed to get a dress and that I needed a suit. Sure, I knew that there were other things that were going to be done, I just had no clue how much. I do not feel as though I was unique. Women spend their whole lives dreaming and planning their weddings. Men spend their whole lives dreaming and planning how they are going to win over the girl of their dreams. We know that you have a dream wedding and sometimes that can make us feel like we aren’t really needed in the planning department. So, this brings me to the title of this blog post: Making your first Honey-do list for the groom.
There are a two main reasons grooms are resistant to help. First, they think that since you have been planning this wedding since you were 5 years old you have it all figured out. Second, they are afraid to help because they don’t want to mess anything up.
If the groom thinks you have it all planned out and you need help, just ask him for help. There are some things that the typical groom isn’t going to care about. Most of these things are going to be things that need a decision. For instance, if you ask him what colors he want, more than likely he hasn’t really thought about it. He probably doesn’t have a whole lot of preference about what kind of flowers you will have or what shape and flavor the cake is. It might be better to go to him with a list of things that he can do that maybe you don’t have a strong opinion about. Some of the things that would be easy to pass off to the groom might be:
The last piece of advice I have is to ask him if he has a preference about things that you think he may not. I have a friend who was scared to death to tell his fiancé that he didn’t like the tie she had picked out for him. Make sure he feels comfortable talking to you about these things.
Good luck planning your wedding!
Let me know in the comments any other ways to include the groom in planning!
Utah Wedding Photographer List
When planning your wedding, you may find it difficult to find a photographer who fits your style, needs and budget. Google sometimes gives an overload of information, not all of which is relevant to what you are searching for. To make it easier on everyone, I have put together the following list of photographers who are Utah locals! Please note that they are in no particular order, and the best way to approach this list would be to visit several of the photographers’ websites to find the one that best matches your taste and needs. Click the name to take you to the website (it should open in another window) or visit/contact the photographers on Instagram!
Bri Marie Photography Insta: @brimariephotography_
Spencer Ryan Insta: @spencerryanphoto
Bailey D Photography Insta: @bailey_d_photography
Brianna Vail Insta: @hellobrivail
Zion’s Studio Photography Insta: @zionsstudio
Alejandro Araos Insta: @alejandro.weddingphotography
Kate Olson Burbidge Insta: @kateolsonphoto
Michaella Julien Insta: @michaellajulienphotography
Angela Marie Photography Insta: @_angelamariephotography
Wyld Wedding Co Insta: @martinwyallphoto
Dollface Photo Insta: @brandyatdollfacephoto
Tai Lee Grant Insta: @tailee123
Brooke Bakken Insta: @brookebakken
Alexis Brooke Clark Insta: @so.picture.this
Jenni Preece Insta: @fatali.photo
Julia Mather Photography Insta: @juliamatherphoto
Natalia Cucuk Insta: @nataliachantaephoto
Ashlee Fackrell Insta: @fackrellphoto
Hint of Tulips Insta: @hint.of.tulips
Christina Wilson Insta: @cgracewilson
Carly Jane Thunell Insta: @carlyjanephoto
Heather Larsen Photography Insta: @heatherlarsenphoto
Ashley Dehart Photography Insta: @ashleydehartphotography
**This list is in no way sponsored by any of these photographers. It is meant to promote local businesses. If you are a photographer and would like your website added to this list, or you know of a photographer you would like to see added, please email their info to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to keep this list up to date. Photographers are listed in a random order, and I will shuffle the list from time to time to keep it fair to all photographers. If you notice any of the links are not working, please let me know.
The Love Letters Photobook
I’ve always thought love letters were so romantic. There is something magical about putting your whole heart into words on a page and sending it to your love, hoping for the same sentiments to be reciprocated. The whole idea seems Nicholas Sparks-esque to me.
This idea came to me shortly after my husband and I were married. You see, my phone was about to step into its grave, and I was sad that I would lose all the sweet texts that my husband and I had exchanged. Maybe it seems silly, but those messages were like love letters for me. Hardly anyone has cause to write letters and send them in the mail anymore, not when there is email, Facebook, texting, Skype—a million other much more convenient ways to communicate.
Rather than lose them all with my phone’s demise, I decided to preserve these messages that showed the progression of our relationship, from initial meeting to falling in love and getting married. I was inspired by my grandmother, who once showed me a binder where she kept all the love letters from her husband before they were married.
It took a while, but I scrolled through all of my texts with my husband back to the very beginning and took screenshots of all the texts I thought were cute, sweet, funny, memorable or key to understanding our relationship. It was surprisingly fun to look back at our early days, before the thought of an ‘us’ had crept into the picture, and then see how our relationship bloomed and turned from friendship to love.
I then took these screenshots (careful to keep them in order, thank goodness phones automatically name files in numerical order!) and made a photobook. I also included all the pictures I could find from throughout our relationship, placing them nearest to the texts that correlated to them or were around the same time frame.
All in all it was quite a bit of work, but the end product I created is priceless to me. I hope you agree, and feel inspired to create something of your own to remember your love story!
Registries can be confusing, and you might not even know where to start. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you create your perfect wedding registry!
Many popular registry locations offer incentives for registering with them or for certain items or brands. As you register, search their registry site and do Google searches to see what they are currently offering. Also keep in mind registries that offer completion mark downs, such as receiving 10% off all remaining items on your registry after your wedding. My husband and I had a reception in my home town and many of our guests elected to give us gift cards instead of purchasing items, as that would make it easier for us to travel back home with. Then, after the wedding, I used those gift cards and completion offers to buy the rest of the items on our registries.
Check out these examples of registry benefits you can find:
Create two registries: one online, one in person
Online registries are overall easier, both to read product reviews and ratings while setting it up and also for guests to purchase gifts online and have them sent directly to your doorstep. However, not everyone is so tech-savvy, e.g. those older family friends from your parents’ lists! There are definitely people on any guest list that would appreciate a physical store registry.
Also, some items are better to register for in person–for example, I registered for a full set of beige bathroom towels on my Amazon registry, and although they had good reviews, they turned out to be rather yellow-tinted. If I had found the towels I liked in person, I would have been able to make sure I registered for the color that I really wanted.
Be careful not to double register for items
Although having two registries is definitely best, make sure that you do not end up registering for the same items on both registries (I’m sure you can imagine why). Create your registries early and take your time to read through reviews and ratings to make sure that you register for the best item available at each of your registry sites.
Register for items keeping a wide price range in mind
Having several items at lower price levels will allow those who cannot afford to buy something extravagant to still feel like they are contributing to your future home. I suggest having a few smaller items under $30, but then also having a few more expensive items for guests that have larger budgets or for a few guests to go in on together.
Check out my Wedding Registry Checklist for specific ideas on what to include on your registry! Happy shopping!
Zak and Janelle are newlyweds living in the Provo, Utah area. They decided to do something to make a difference, helping engaged couples spend less on their big day.