Wedding Planning on a Budget Part II

In my first part of this “series” I went over our basic wedding decisions. I discussed venue, some decorations, stationary and stamps. You can find all the good stuff HERE. I’m going to share a few more things that have come up and expenses that creep in.

DJ:

I love music. Ethan loves music. I sing. I dance. I wiggle. He hums. And kinda has rhythm. And plays a few instruments. I would have a dance party in the corner if I needed too. But a DJ does more than just play music at a wedding, at least, a good one does more than that. We started our search for a DJ, and it’s not easy. You start out with recommendations from others. “The DJ at my cousin’s nephew’s wedding was great! They rave about him. Let me get you their number!” You smile, grin, take the number and stuff it in the back of your wedding planner. You look online. And you find people that are $2,000+, they seem fun, but well…you can tell they just won’t really “work.” And then, your mom goes “hey, we know a guy DUH!” Not only do we know him, but after having done work for the school I attended, I know he’s good. I knew he was REALLY good when I got on his website and he had a questionnaire with really, really, good questions. Everything from who is in our wedding party, special dances and what songs we’d like, what kind of music we want played, what we absolutely do NOT want played, the list goes on. He is a DJ but also an MC. WINNING! And on top of that, he is AFFORDABLE! It’s in the name Affordable Music DJs.

Photography:

This may be one of the most important elements of your wedding. Seriously, you are going to be stuck looking at these pictures for all eternity. Nothing is worse than paying a boat load of money for bad pictures, poorly edited pictures, or a photographer who doesn’t get any of the shots you wanted them too. Photography is not cheap. Your friend might have a camera and say they are a “photographer,” but, call me a snob (maybe it’s because I’m a teacher), I put stock in an education, and I am THRILLED that our photographer not only has a degree in digital media/photography or that she is budget conscious/friendly, but that she is also a friend and did our engagement pictures. You can take a look at some of those HERE. I have no fear that she will do an amazing job because she already knocked it out of the park for those, and she knows what we want.

*Side note idea* Create a private Pinterest board just for you and your photographer if they’re into that kind of thing. I went through and found pictures and poses that I would like to do for our wedding. Giving them a visual and idea to go off of other than “um…you’ve done this before, I trust you,” will help give them a legitimate direction and make sure that you have an idea of what you are looking for as well.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.08.14 AM.pngFood:

I feel like this is one of the more stressful ordeals to go through when planning a wedding. I’ve been to a number of weddings, and there always seem to be fads over the years as well. I tend to have a bit of a selfish mind frame. This is our wedding. You are our guests, and we’re glad that you can come, but at the end of the day, it’s ours. Not yours. I’m not going to kill myself to have 18 different options because you may not be in the “mood” for chicken, allergic to everything under the sun, or have a billion food allergies (unless it’s serious like you start flopping on the floor if you get near a peanut).

We are having an early ceremony and lunch reception for a number of reasons. Everything from we have people traveling from out of town and I don’t want them to have to NEED to stay the night, to I want to not be dead and enjoy my wedding night. There are 3. food positives to this scenario.

1. It’s lunch so there’s not as much pressure to have a fancy sit-down dinner or something.

2. No alcohol. I have nothing against it, I’m not a staunch alcohol is the worst thing ever, but really. If you can’t have fun at a wedding without it, you shouldn’t be there; and if you REALLY want to drink at 1 in the afternoon before driving home there are bigger issues. It’s just something that due to the time of day, we are easily able to skip….and save hundreds of dollars in the process by doing.

3. Lunch food in general tends to be a bit lighter and more fun. So we are doing pizza. Yes. You read that right. Pizza. We are having a pizza lunch reception. We are offering 3 varieties- Pepperoni, Hawaiian, and Margarita (fancy cheese pizza).  When people RSVP they will be able to chose their flavor so that we have an idea of how many of each we’ll need. We are also having salad and some sides. My parents are not 100% on the pizza band wagon so they will have some small/extra “options” for their own sanity. But it will be less than $500 to have pizza for about 150 people.

Drinks will be water, soda, and a hot chocolate/coffee table. We will make the giant pot things of coffee, and put the hot chocolate in crock pots. Marshmallows, chocolate dipped spoons, mini candy canes, whipped cream, sauces, 3 basic cream flavors, mini chocolate chips, and coconut will be provided to add to the hot drinks. We found awesome disposable mugs from Sam’s Club for a very reasonable price.0009838260822_A.jpgAgain, something super fun that will cost under $200 to do for our guests.

The Restaurant Store is AMAZING! I’m sorry if you don’t have one near you, or you’ve never heard of it. Because it’s the bomb.com. The items we can’t get from SAMs club, we are getting from here, like nice, disposable plates that we can buy by the case for under $100. Buying in bulk is a great, quick, easy way to save money and have plenty of what you need!

 

Favors:

Originally my mother and I thought of this brilliant idea to do jars of jam. But we don’t buy jam, we make it ourselves. And then we started thinking about the fact that we’d have to get about 150 little jam jars. If you haven’t ever made jam yourself let me tell you….it takes a LOT of fruit to make it happen. I mean, a TON! Even with having a strawberry patch in our backyard, there’s no way in the world we’d grow enough. Oh yeah, and it takes a TON of sugar. The logistics and reality of that cute favor hit us pretty quickly. We decided to make it the bridal shower favor instead and start from scratch for the wedding.

We found heart and snowflake shaped cookie cutters from Oriental trade. I love to bake. Everyone knows it. I have a particular affinity for sugar cookies. The cutters come on a card, have a sugar cookie recipe on the inside, and a personalization spot on the front. They’re about $9 a dozen.

They’re cute, but they’re a bit plain. My plan is to use blue water color on the left and right edges to make them a bit more personal and pretty. They come out to cost just a bit more than $1 each.

Hand-Me-Downs:

Weddings are beautiful. Weddings hopefully, only happen once for you. You have one day to make this happen. ONE DAY. Which is why spending an astronomical amount just makes my skin crawl. The average wedding is about $20k. That’s a down payment on a house. That’s a car. That’s a really really really nice vacation to Europe for like a month. It makes my head spin. And at the end of the day, it is only ONE day. The most important part of that day is marrying your best friend and love of your life. Who cares if you use hand me down goodies from other friends or even strangers who used them before you?

My future sister-in-law got married last September. They bought good quality white table cloths and cloth napkins. We have to pick up a few extra but that is a large chunk of money we are saving by borrowing them. The center pieces will pop on the white. We’re using blue ribbon and jingle bells to tie the napkins, that will later be used for our jingle bell send-off.

I was in a wedding in Nebraska last weekend. Her mother spent good money and got a very nice quality isle runner. She sold it to me for $30. There are a few faint step marks that I’ll wipe off with a damp cloth. I’m getting paint markers and am going to write/calligraphy on a Bible verse Ethan and I picked out.

My mother and I have been collecting blue glass for years. We pick them up at Goodwill, yard sales, or even get them as gifts when friends and family see them at yard sales and Goodwill. We’ve spent anywhere for $5 to $0.50 on vases and glasses (with the exception of the blue wine bottles because we had to drink the wine first). Each center piece with the flowers, pine cones, jingle bells, and blue glass will easily cost less than $5 a table.

In Conclusion:

As an English teacher, that ending makes my skin crawl, but it works here. You’ll notice throughout the post that most of the products I’m using, I’m getting through people I know. This does not mean that I am getting discounts. I’m paying the same amount other people would pay for the same services and goods. But it does two things. I can rest assured knowing that the people I am relying on to make our day special will make it happen. I trust them. I would also much rather give my business and money to local people who I know and trust. I spent a lot of time shopping around and looking for decent quality, good prices, and coupons. I’m buying “plain” items and making them personal and our own. Personalization is key. Adding a monogram, adding a picture, adding an aspect that is obviously hand crafted/done, instantly makes things seem more expensive and nicer than something just bought off of a shelf and given.

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This Very Crafty Mama Stickers

By a twist of fate I follow Jessica, owner of Etsy shop ThisVeryCraftyMama on Instagram. I saw that she was running an AWESOME giveaway and decided “Why not? It’s worth a shot!” AND I WON! HOLY COW! 😀 This afternoon I practically RAN to the mailbox in hopes of having a package in the mail- and there it was, in all of its hot pink glory!

IMG_5167When I opened my pretty envelope, one of the nicest happy mails I have ever received slid out! There is something to be said for a person who takes such ginger, love and pride in her work!

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IMG_5170And on to the best part- THE STICKERS!

IMG_5171I know there are some girls out there that are OBSESSED with mermaids. I’ll give it to ya, I love The Little Mermaid. I do grow my hair out for years at a time in order to donate and sometimes kinda feel mermaid-ish. Not only are these mermaids so cute, but so are their sea friends! I can’t wait to use them this summer and plan beach and aquarium trips JUST so I can use them!

IMG_5172I am an Army brat, and come from a long line of service men. We celebrate all of the holidays associated with them. I also have a friend who is dating a man in the service now. I will be sharing these Army stickers.

IMG_5173These baking stickers are spot on for planning. They are the perfect size and don’t take up too much space in the squares. The colors are fun, but soft. They are a perfect addition to my collection. 

IMG_5174Everybody loves a good page flag.Pictured are both the solid and patterned ones! The stickers are matte, and colorful without being too bright or so patterned that you can’t write on them. She knocked it out of the park on these guys.

IMG_5175Ok, so when I first saw these I laughed way too hard for way too long. These “Monthly Cycle Tracker” stickers couldn’t be better. Not much makes any aspect of this more tolerable, other than chocolate, but these might help a bit.

IMG_5176I know Valentines Day has passed, but hearts are really all year round. How could I pass up those heart-sleeved coffee cups, or those owls, or instagram stickers!? Nothing is wrong with back stock either…

IMG_5177A roll of washi tape, some more stickers, star sticky notes, mini clothes pins, and small envelopes rounded out my killer giveaway package!

Follow Jessica on instagram at ThisVeryCraftyMama for new shop additions and a baby picture now and again! Visit her Etsy shop for ALL of her stickers! She carries stickers for Erin Condren, Plum Paper, FiloFax and Kikki K so regardless of what planner you love, she can help you out!

Don’t forget to follow Brunetteswithbrains on Instagram for blog posts and other random fun, Pinterest and right here on WordPress!

Where can you find a planner to use all of these adorable additions!? Here is a referral link for $10 off of a purchase of an Erin Condren planner for yourself! After you create an account you will receive an email with the code. HAPPY PLANNING!

Station Stickers Planner Decor

Now that I am not working at a location with a Starbucks right next door, I do believe I have replaced my Starbucks spending with planner goodies spending. These stickers and washi are from Christy Dee, owner of Etsy shop, Station Stickers. She is also on Instagram @stationstickers, where she posts shop news, new additions and even what she buys from other shops!

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These tea-cup stickers are adorable! I am going to use some of them to denote special wedding planning time with my best friend Faith. Others I am going to use to schedule in tea time with friends at school. I might be a college student, and yes I love coffee, but just about anything can be helped with a good cuppa.

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TV stickers are so fun. I love the colors. I have so many shows to keep track of, or minimally, I need to schedule time to catch up on my shows on DVR and OnDemand! I have a tendency to turn a show on and do my school work with it going in the back ground. Yeah, I’m one of those people. I can’t wait to use these guys!

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I am slowly but surly building my washi collection. Though my full rolls are great, I don’t necessarily need full rolls. This set of washi is fun, fresh, and classic. Who doesn’t like some good old classic gingham!? I will probably use most of these later in the spring to the early summer, but I couldn’t wait to get them. There are two sheets of each pattern, 7 pre-cut pieces on each, giving me a total of 70 pre-cut washis!

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The pill stickers are for my mother and me. I take fish oil, iron, and cranberry pills in the mornings. My mother suffers from migraines and takes preventative medication as well as medicine when she actually has one. She is going to use hers to denote when she actually has a migraine and takes her super meds!

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Being the AWESOME lady that she is, Christy also threw in two little goodies for me! The coffee cups are my favorite color and so stinking cute! I can’t wait to use them. I am in LOVE with the heart check-list and will need to get MORE!

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On top of this wonderful package, Christy has come up with a discount code for all of my readers/followers to use at her shop! WOO HOO! Use the code BWB15off for 15% off of your purchase at her store on Etsy. She has a TON of new stickers!!! The link is in the beginning. Make sure to follow Christy on Instagram @stationstickers for more of her stickers and planner goodies! Follow me @brunetteswithbrains for more shop reviews, upcoming discount codes, book reviews, recipes, gardening and planner things!

Where can you find a planner to use all of these adorable additions!? Here is a referral link for $10 off of a purchase of an Erin Condren planner for yourself! After you create an account you will receive an email with the code. HAPPY PLANNING!

Planning Made Easy Stickers

Now that I have both my life planner and my teacher planner, I am seriously getting into the world of planning. It doesn’t help that my mother’s planner is on the way and my friends are aiding my hobby. I am super excited to have my goodies from Ashley Odenweller, owner of Etsy shop, Planning Made Easy! I am never bored following her Instagram account @planning_made_easy. She posts new additions to the shop, discount codes and general awesome planner things!

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I am an English Ed major, taking all online classes including a World Literature class. These book stickers are going to be PERFECT to help motivate me to do my reading! They will also be used to help keep track of when I do book reviews right here on the blog!

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I am in LOVE with these Bible verse stickers! As a student at a Christian university, dating a licensed pastor, being able to post a verse for myself every week is so cool! I love the backgrounds, the verses are applicable and just awesome! She also has inspirational quotes, success quotes and fitness quotes available!

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MIXER STICKERS! I have a total love affair with our Kitchen Aid mixer. It has faithfully helped me make chocolate chip cookies, brownie, whipped cream, shredded chicken and so much more! Like the books, I will use these guys to help me denote when I post a recipe on my blog, or to show when I need to bake something…which happens at least once a week!

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My one planner buddy collects elephants! As soon as I saw these elephant stickers, I knew that I HAD to get them for her! They are the perfect size and have just the right burst of color to add a bit of pizzaz to her week!

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HAPPY MAIL Stickers! Envelopes and mailboxes, these guys will be great to use as a reminder to send my stuff out to my planner buddies as well as when I have shipments expected to come in…ya know….cuz I keep buy people planners!

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These little heart guys are super cute! I will be using them for anniversaries! With so many colors, it will be easy to match the tag to the month!

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Hop Hop Hop! This Easter washi sticker set is going to be so fun to use and to share! The pastel colors match the April colors in the ECLP perfectly!

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Camera stickers, planner flags, and cheveron stickers are perfect little additions to my collection!

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It took about 2 weeks from the time I ordered to the time I received my package- this included New Years. It helps that she’s in New York and I am just down in Pennsylvania, it makes mailing time a wee bit faster I think.

Make sure to follow Ashley on Instagram @planning_made_easy  or her FB page for more of her stickers and planner ideas. Follow me @brunetteswithbrains for more shop reviews, upcoming discount codes, book reviews, recipes, gardening and how I use my stickers in my own planner!