Saving Money on Destination Weddings

Getting married is one of the biggest expenses in the life of a couple. It is this reason that leads many couples to choosing to forego tradition and choose a destination wedding. That said, even a destination wedding can cost a pretty penny, but there are ways to save money no matter where you decide to say “I do.”

Don’t invite everyone. The beauty of a destination wedding is that most people will not be able to attend. The guest list is generally less than 30 people and flight and hotel accommodations for guests are not the responsibility of the couple.

Book early and save. If you book far enough in advance your hotel may be willing to sell at a lower rate just to get the room sold. Plus, you will avoid the risk that the cheaper rooms are sold out.

Honeymoon where you wed. Save the additional air fare by sticking with one fun location for both the wedding and honeymoon.

Ask about package deals and you might just score a free wedding. Did you know that there are resorts that will include your ceremony, a wedding meal and a cake for free with your room reservation as long as you stay a minimum number of days? It’s true! If you are already staying at the resort, why not take advantage of a free wedding? Some resorts will even throw in extra perks like rose petals on the bed and champagne in your room on your wedding night.

Just have a commitment ceremony. Getting married outside of the U.S. can be really expensive and there is often a lot of paperwork. Sometimes there are even blood tests, doctor exams and other rules that make it harder to marry abroad. If you want to avoid those extra fees and a lot of hassle, just have a commitment ceremony where you say all of your vows, but make it legal at home.

Do you have some tips to share on saving money on a wedding? Tweet me at @AshleyisFamous, and tell me about them!

Is a Destination Wedding right for you?

Wedding planning takes a lot of effort and before you know it you could start feeling like it’s become your second full time job. One thing many couples are doing to forgo all of the planning and skip right to the fun while saving a lot of money is to have a destination wedding instead of a traditional one. But is a destination wedding right for you? Here are some things to consider before you decide:

Can you get away with having 30 guests or less? Although some destination weddings are simple held in another state, most of them are in a completely different country. Because of this the guest lists are astronomically shorter than those of a traditional wedding. Odds are your great Aunt Suzie and your third cousin Tim won’t be in attendance. For some couples this makes a destination wedding all the more appealing, but for others they want everyone to be there to witness the day.

Is money an issue? At the time of this writing, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $25,200. Most destination weddings can be an all-inclusive price of $5,000 to $10,000 or less depending on where and when you choose to get married. The savings alone is what draws so many couples to leave tradition at the door and have a destination wedding.

Would you be willing to settle for an after party? If you can’t bare the thought of your family and friends not being involved in your nuptials you could always have a really large party in lieu of an expensive wedding. It will be cheaper than a reception and can be as formal or as informal as you would like.

Are you planning somewhere exotic for your honeymoon? One of the reasons it makes economical sense to have a destination wedding is you can honeymoon in the same place where you say “I do!”

Do you mind if it’s just a ceremony and not a legal wedding? Destination weddings are often just a commitment ceremony and not technically legal in the eyes of the United States because of all the paperwork required for a legal wedding in another country. Many couples who opt for a destination wedding will marry at the courthouse in their hometown and then have a ceremony to seal the deal.

If this post has convinced you a destination wedding is right for you, call your travel agent today so they can get started planning your wedding. If instead it pushed you towards the traditional route, that’s okay too because they can still help you plan the perfect honeymoon.

Getting Married on a Cruise Ship

Did you know that you can get married on a cruise ship? In fact, one phone call and the cruise ship can start working on everything for your wedding on your behalf -food, photography, the cake; sometimes even tuxedo rentals, etc… All you have to do is send the invitations and voila! Your wedding can take place on board the ship prior to your romantic honeymoon.

Cruise ship weddings are usually held in a lounge, the ship’s chapel, a boardroom or the library. You can even have the ship’s captain marry you! Even better- there are a few cruise lines that will live stream your wedding online so that family and friends who can not attend can still watch you say, “I do!”

There are other benefits to getting married on your cruise ship as well including the fact that the ship will often throw in fun freebies such as champagne in your cabin on your wedding night, photos with the captain, exclusive tours of the ship, discounts on cruise ship vacation packages and discounts for any of your guests to cruise with you.

What’s the catch? Although there are several perks to getting married on a cruise ship here are some things to consider when deciding if a cruise ship wedding is right for you:

The cruise you choose may not allow weddings on board (ask your travel agent if your cruise line does weddings).

There may be additional licenses and fees for getting married on board.

If you have a large guest list you might not be able to invite everyone that you want to invite. In fact some wedding packages only accommodate eight guests.

Remember how above I mentioned that the cruise ship may offer discounts to your guests to cruise with you? If you don’t want any family or friends on your honeymoon cruise with you and your new spouse this could make your decision for you.

Now, I want to hear from you! Have you ever gotten married on a cruise ship or been to a wedding on one? What was it like? Tweet me at @AshleyisFamous, and tell me about it!

Inexpensive Wedding Favors

More and more brides realize that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a fabulous wedding. Here are a few great wedding favor ideas for money-conscious brides!

When you’re planning a low-budget wedding, it’s tempting to skip favors altogether. After all, when you’re planning it all out in your head, favors seem so much less important than the cake or the dress.

But favors can be a lovely way to say “thank you” to your guests for making an effort to be there for your day. And inexpensive favors can be just as nice as overpriced ones.

Here are some ideas for easy-on-your-bank-account favors:

Homemade Food

Food favors are incredibly popular, mostly because they’re useful (nobody’s going to throw away a free brownie, right?), and they can be taken home and eaten by guests later. They can also be made in bulk fairly easily, which makes them great for weddings with lots of guests.

For a fall wedding, jams or jellies can make great favors. Collect and save canning jars from yard sales or flea markets a couple of months beforehand, then make batches of a few different flavors of jam or jelly and decorate the jars with ribbons.

Baked goods make great favors, too. Homemade brownies, cookies, or candies are yummy and can be customized to fit your wedding theme or style.

Useful Favors

Favors are especially fun when they can actually be used at the wedding! Bubble wands are popular favors these days since guests can use bubble-blowing as an eco-friendly alternative to throwing rice or confetti at the newly married couple. Just drop by a dollar store or pharmacy and pick up some cheap plastic bubble wands (usually sold in the children’s toy section). Then you can either purchase a large jug of commercially made bubble soap, or you can make your own using an online recipe. Pour the soap into small ball jars or recycled glass bottles, and attach a plastic bubble wand to each jar using a nice ribbon or, for a more rustic look, some hemp twine.

Disposable cameras are also great favors, as they allow your guests to play photographer at the wedding. Lots of bridal stores sell cheap bridal-themed cameras; keep your eyes open for special seasonal sales and deals, especially since many bridal websites and stores will give you better prices if you buy in bulk. Your guests will have a great time taking pictures at the reception, and you can swipe their negatives and make your own copies of their photos. It’s a cheap and easy way to turn every guest into your own professional photographer!

Get Creative!

Why not use your own personal hobbies or talents to make wedding favors? For example, if you end up spending a lot of time choosing the music for the wedding, make mix CDs that include your favorite songs. If you have a small or intimate wedding where most of the guests are friends with one another or are related, you could make DVDs from home movies of times you all spent together. Just buy large numbers of CDs or DVDs at any mass-market retailer (like Wal-Mart or Target) and then use a CD or DVD burner (borrow one if you don’t own one) to make your CDs or movies. If you’re good at making crafty things, you could make bookmarks, jewelry, or small bags for everyone.

Favors aren’t the most important part of the wedding, but they do serve a nice purpose, and they don’t have to break the bank. Just be creative, flexible, and resourceful in your planning, and you’ll have guests telling you, “I wish I’d thought of that myself!”

Honeymoon Packing Tips

Follow these honeymoon packing tips to ensure a stress-free start to a romantic vacation.

Thinking about a honeymoon usually brings to mind beautiful beaches, mango daiquiris, candlelit dinners, and scandalous bathing suits. Stress does not factor nicely into that equation. Preparing for a honeymoon by conscientiously packing one’s luggage can reduce the amount of stress a couple can feel during their vacation.

1. Check the airline’s regulations for baggage. Note how many checked bags and carry-on bags are allowed per person as well as size restrictions for carry-on bags.
2. Decide if new luggage needs to be purchased. When purchasing new luggage for a vacation consider how the luggage will be used in the future. Will it be used for long or short trips? Consider size, weight when empty, material, and extra features such as wheels, pockets, dividers, and zippers.
3. Each person should have at least one bag of their own to pack clothes and personal toiletries.
4. Purchase luggage tags if needed. Make sure that they clearly state name, home address, vacation address, and phone number in case a bag gets lost.
5. Begin a packing list a couple weeks before the honeymoon. Add to the list as things come to mind. Check things off as they’re packed and double check the list a couple days before the vacation.
6. Do laundry a week (or at least a few days) before the trip, so there will be time to plan outfits and pack during the week. If anything needs to be cleaned at the dry cleaners, get this done as soon as possible and leave the garments in the plastic bags. This will keep the clothes as wrinkle-free as possible.
7. Roll the garments. Don’t fold them. This will increase space in the luggage and help avoid wrinkles.
8. Pack underwear and socks inside of shoes and handbags. This helps to keep the shape of shoes and purses and uses space wisely.
9. Carry on at least one bag that contains a full change of clothes, bathing suit (if traveling to a hot destination), prescription medications, sunglasses and anything else that would completely ruin the trip if it got lost. Think about the must haves and pack them in the carry-on luggage.
10. Double bag all liquid products. Opening a bag to find everything ruined by one’s sparkling vanilla body lotion might ruin the romantic mood.
11. Pack the heavier items at the bottom and the lighter items on the top. If there are heavy items such as books, shoes, or sporting equipment, ship them ahead of time to the hotel.
12. Photocopy all credit cards that are being taken on the trip and bring them on the honeymoon in case the cards get stolen. Leave a copy with a trusted relative or friend as well as a copy of the itinerary and hotel phone numbers.

7 Tips To Planning A Successful Honeymoon

As if the months of planning a wedding wasn’t enough stress on a couple, they also need to plan for their romantic honeymoon. The best way to start that is to begin the conversation with your soon to be spouse before you plan on any destination. You may have thoughts of a Caribbean ocean and white sands as a romantic destination. Your spouse however maybe thinking of hiking the mountains of Alaska instead. Now is the time to talk it over before tears and disappointment ruin your romantic travel.

  1. Be True to Yourself

Take the opportunity to talk with friends and relatives about their honeymoons. You will be surprised by how excited they will be to share their romantic experiences. You may end up with suggestions you hadn’t thought of previously. Take all the advice in and then take a hard look at yourself and make a decision. Base it on your wants and needs as well as your wallet. This is your honeymoon.

  1. Talk it Over With Your Partner

A wedding is really all about the bride and in many cases, the bride is doing most of the planning for the big day. However, a honeymoon should be a shared decision and not done by just one spouse. Even though the planning of a wedding will be crazy, sit down with your spouse and talk about what kind of honeymoon you expect. A honeymoon is the last place you want to have one spouse happy and the other miserable.

  1. Get a Professional

Why have all the stress of planning a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time. When you and your future spouse have decided where you want to go and what you want to do, let a travel agent put it together for you. They can help you find the best resorts, hotels and other activities that suit both of you. When hiring a travel agent, be sure to check their references and verify you are getting everything you want before booking the itinerary with them.

  1. Be Money Wise

Honeymoons are a once in a lifetime experience. However, you don’t want to end up in a financial hole to start your marriage. Have as big a honeymoon as you can afford. Budget it like you would a nice vacation. Start saving for it long before your ready to go and remember to splurge on the nice hotels and restaurants. The last thing you want is to be disappointed in your honeymoon.

  1. Let Others Help Out

Let’s face it, how many toasters do you really need as wedding gifts? Many travel agents will help you set up a honeymoon registry. This is where family and friends can contribute to your honeymoon. Let Uncle Frank buy you a night at your hotel or a fancy dinner at a resort.

  1. No Friends or Family

There is a reason this is called a honeymoon and not a vacation. This is not the time to bring family and friends along. If either of you have children, make arrangements for them to stay home. A honeymoon is a time for a couple to celebrate their new relationship. If anyone is interested, you can show them the photos you took on the honeymoon.

  1. Be Open to Anything

This is a time for just you and your partner. This honeymoon needs to be something that the two of you have created for yourselves. It’s that important. So be open to anything the two of you want, and forget what the brochures say. While friends who have been there may have sound advice, beware of travel agents and package deals that push you to do things for a higher price that doesn’t appeal to your exact needs and wants!

Three Ways To Save Money When Planning A Wedding

The wedding industry is growing larger and larger each year, making it more and more difficult to plan a wedding on a tight budget. Creative money-saving tips can help.

Smart Money magazine reports that the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $21,000 to $24,000. While the average cost varies greatly between geographic regions, weddings are still one of the most expensive events in a couples’ life. By getting creative and using the following ideas as guidelines, couples can still host a beautiful, detailed wedding for a fraction of the average price.

  1. Choosing The Date and Time of the Wedding

Careful consideration of the date and the time of the wedding can save brides and grooms thousands of dollars. Most wedding professionals consider May through October to be peak wedding season. Opting for a wedding in the quieter months of November through April translates into saving hundreds of dollars of the cost of a reception venue. Vendors who are busy during the peak season are all fighting for the same business during off-peak times. This leaves more room for negotiation between the bride and groom and the vendors.

Additionally, the busiest day of the week to have a wedding is Saturday. Holding the wedding on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon can provide additional savings to the bride and groom. In many cases, opting for a Friday or Sunday wedding can cut the cost of a reception venue by 50% or more.

  1. Cut the Cake

Wedding cakes are beautiful, but the price tag accompanying them is not. If a wedding cake is a must-have, there are many options available to save money. For instance, the couple could opt for a smaller, two-tired wedding cake for display, and purchase a sheet cake, which remains in the kitchen, for serving the guests. The flavors and icing will look the same, but the cost will be drastically reduced and the guests will never know the difference.

Another option is to ask the bakery to make the largest tier at the bottom out of styrofoam, but decorate it the same way. That way, the bride and groom are only paying for the top tiers of cake. Considering wedding cake alternatives can also save the couple money, as can some relatively new options, such as renting the wedding cake.

  1. Saving Money With Flowers

Flowers are an expensive part of every wedding. Choosing flowers that are in season and native to the area in which the wedding will take place can significantly reduce the overall cost. Exotic flowers and flower arrangements that have more blooms than green can also run up the price. Avoid having a wedding near a holiday when flowers are a popular gift, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Flowers are more in demand during those times, which also raise the price. There are so many options available to you including growing your own flowers for all of the bouquets, or choosing to use silk flowers may also prove to more affordable.

Alternately, choosing to forego flowers for something a little more unusual, like a bouquet of feathers or carrying a candle, can also provide major savings.

No matter how large or small a wedding may be, saving money and planning a wedding on a budget can be easy. Keeping an open mind and considering all of the options, even if less tradtional, can save thousands of dollars, leaving the wedding couple free to enjoy their new life together with less debt.

Save Money On Your Wedding Dress

Many brides bemoan the cost of a wedding dress. And it’s true; many wedding dress can be pricey. But the good news is that the savvy bride can save money when buying a wedding dress. The key is to be patient and keep an eye out for a good deal. Here are some tips for saving money when you shop for a wedding dress:

Shop early for your wedding dress

Don’t leave the wedding dress for the last minute. Start shopping for the wedding dress as soon as you can. Some women even buy a dress — or at least start shopping for one — before they are engaged. This can cause problems if your weight fluctuates or styles change dramatically. But for most women, if they start looking as soon as they become engaged, they have the time to look for the right dress at the right price.

An especially good time to shop for wedding dresses is from January to March. This is when most bridal shops are clearing out the last season’s inventory and you can find great discounts. Also ask for discontinued dresses.

Attend trunk shows

Trunk shows are great ways to find a good deal on a wedding dress. You can look at the various designs created by a wide variety of the top wedding dress designers as well as see up and coming fashions. Bridal fairs are also good places to meet vendors and seamstresses. Buying a wedding dress off the rack at a bridal fair can also net you a good deal. But watch out! Some vendors and designers will try to increase their prices at a bridal fair. Make sure that trunk shows and bridal fairs are part of your shopping around.

Does it have to be a “wedding” dress?

Just as brand names add to the price of regular clothing, the word “wedding” adds to the cost of a dress. Instead of getting a “wedding” dress, consider buying some other type of dress. Formals and prom dresses can actually make good wedding dresses, and they are often priced much less expensively. It is more than possible to find beautiful white prom dresses at a fraction of the cost of a wedding dress. And besides, you don’t have to wear a white wedding dress. Consider wearing a dress with color, instead of the traditional white.

Get it used

A used wedding dress costs much less than a new one. Borrow from a friend. Or you can wear an heirloom wedding dress. Consider how happy your mother or grandmother would be to see you wearing her wedding dress on your big day. You can buy a used wedding dress online, find one in the Classifieds or buy from a consignment shop. Just be careful to inspect the quality. Most wedding dresses have only been once so they are good shape, but you never know when you find that odd dress that has been through a lot.

Look online

The Internet is a great place to look for an inexpensive wedding dress. Craig’s List and eBay are just a couple of places where you can find new and used wedding dresses for a small fraction of retail prices.

Make your own

If you can sew, make your own wedding dress. I can’t sew, but my mom made my wedding dress. I had a great time choosing a pattern, and then going with my mom to select the fabric. It only cost about $95 (and my mom’s time) to make my dress. Even if you pay someone else to make a wedding dress, you can usually have it done much cheaper than buying one. And it comes already better tailored to fit you!

Save Money On Your Dream Wedding

You’ve dreamed of this day all of your life, and you probably have nearly every detail planned out in your mind. Putting all of the pieces together can be a frustrating and time consuming process.

The average couple spends $25,200 on their wedding day. Since the average household income in the U.S in 2019 was $64,000, that’s more than ½ a year’s worth of working for one day! While that figure may not deter some couples, it should at least give you pause.

Five Simple Ways to Save:

 1.) Wedding Dress: To save money on your wedding dress you can either a.) Buy a used dress online or in your area, or b.) Browse wedding gown samples. They have huge sales in NYC in the winter (February) where you can get designer gowns for a fraction of the cost.
 2.) Make your own floral arrangements: While you will still need to purchase flowers, you can save a considerable amount of money by arranging them yourselves. You can use vases, or jars to make the centerpieces and the church décor.
 3.) Hire a new photographer: Just because a photographer is new, does not mean they are not capable of capturing the perfect moments on your big day. Ask to see their portfolio and do a few interviews before choosing the right one. Sometimes you can get a really good deal on a photographer who has an established business, but is just now getting into weddings.
 4.) Choose the right day and date: According to the best months to get married are January, March, April and November. These months are the least popular for weddings and major holidays, and can save you a bundle because of that. Most couples also choose to get married on a Saturday. But by choosing a week day or a Sunday can also drastically change the budget. If you choose a weekday you are probably going to be saving hundreds on your airfare as well because airlines typically have the best deals midweek.
 5.) Skip the open bar: This can be a hot topic debate for many couples, but having an open bar can cost you thousands of dollars and simply isn't worth it on your big day. If you want to have alcohol, have only wine or champagne.

Your big day should be perfect, just the way the two of you have always dreamed. Make it simple on yourselves, and try to stick to a well-defined budget. Doing this can allow you to maybe even plan your dream honeymoon at no cost to you! If you are given a budget by your parents and are able to stay under it, ask them if the rest can be used towards your honeymoon.

Raising Money For Your Wedding

Let’s face it, a wedding can cost a lot of money. If you don’t already have a “wedding fund” set aside, there are ways to raise money and keep your big event within a budget that is manageable.

Sponsored Weddings

Sponsored weddings aren’t for the faint of heart. This is a wedding that someone else pays for – sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s a business. The key to being successful in finding a sponsor is to keep asking. Be persistent. For every 20 rejections you might get someone who will at least contribute. If you can get several contributors you might be able to have a great wedding. Consider approaching businesses with the offer to allow them to advertise their services or product at the wedding as part of the deal.

There are a lot of mixed feelings about sponsored weddings. Some people think it is tacky and low class, but it is entirely possible to have a sponsored wedding that is very classy and elegant. If you have corporate sponsors and their advertising is included as part of the decorations this can be done in a very subtle and elegant fashion. For example, including a business tag inside the reception favors is a way to include advertising. Another thing to remember is that not so long ago, young couples didn’t have the money for big weddings and their entire community would come together to create a wedding celebration for the happy couple.

Have a Fund Raiser

Another fun idea is to have a fund raiser. Have a few car washes over the spring and summer. If you get a bunch of friends together who are willing to help you, this can be a good way to raise money. Have a big spaghetti dinner for your neighborhood. This kind of dinner doesn’t cost a lot of money to make and if you charge a reasonable price while letting your neighbors know what the fund raiser is for, you might find you can raise a good amount this way.

Be Willing to Take a Second Job

There are lots of things you can do to raise money without taking a formal second job. Maybe you offer babysitting services to your neighbors. You could walk dogs. You could offer to be a personal chef or do someone’s books and bill paying for a while. If you have a skill or time to do extra jobs, use that and earn some extra money for your big day.

Scale Down

Maybe instead of having a huge wedding with 500 guests, you can cut your invitation list down to 100 guests. Reducing the size of your wedding can substantially decrease your budget expenses. It can give you additional options for less expensive ceremony and reception sites. It will also reduce the costs of your catering costs and decorating budget.

Planning a wedding can be very stressful and challenging. With some creative thinking you can find ways to raise money for a wonderful and enjoyable wedding.

How To Have A Better Wedding With Less Money

The sound of wedding bells is certainly sweet music, especially if you are in the wedding planning business. The cost attached to the average “dream wedding” can vary from anywhere near the thousands to the tens of thousands to even the millions, which is nothing unusual for the common celebrity. But is all of this necessary?

What about the love, what about the commitment, and what about the blessing you want to be given to you by your community? None of these things sport a price tag, but they are each more important than even the wedding cake, custom-designed invitations, or little fresh pink rose petals that will be thrown by the flower girl. Not to mention the professionally edited video of the event, the fee for the D.J., or the color-coordinated table decorations.

But we lose track of the more important things, which are not so simple to control, in order to feel as if we are in control of the less important things. This is exactly the reason why the costs of weddings are so out of hand, and it explains as well why the costs of divorce are even more out of hand than the weddings themselves. When couples are obsessed with unimportant things, they cannot stay together in the end, no matter how in control they feel. So, give up trying to buy every little doodad that will make your special day succeed.

This will cut down your wedding costs significantly.

But this is only a start. If you are really serious about having a warm and truly memorable wedding experience, you will probably want to consider the following 3 tips:

Pay For Everything in Cash

This might seem extreme, especially with the standard cost of a common wedding, as I mentioned. But you’re not interested in just having a common wedding, but exactly the opposite, an uncommon and truly extraordinary wedding.

The best thing about using cash is that it brings your planning down to earth, unless you are one of the rare folks among us who is already a multi-millionaire. Most of us are more focused when we’re financing an event with cash than we are with credit cards and other delayed methods of payment.

It is essential that you restrict your planning to a budget, or the next thing you know you’ll be soliciting a freelance sculptor to craft a mini-likeness of yourselves to be placed on top of your wedding cake. We get worried about so many unnecessary things when we don’t plan ahead.

The biggest way that you can benefit from planning ahead is in where you decide to have your event.

Consider Alternative Venues

A wedding can happen anywhere. We have been trained to dream expensive dreams about how a wedding should look the sort of place it should be carried out in. The reality is that dreams are nice, but love is nicer. Love doesn’t need most of the things we think it does.

Love can be blessed in a park, in a house, or even in the sky if you happen to be parachuters.

The point is, evaluate your dreams, and see if other more simpler dreams are not even more meaningful to you.

Permit Others to Play a Part

Finally, and most importantly, permit others to become involved in helping your wedding be special. This tiny tip can be your saving grace, because it is what a wedding is really all about. This is the beginning of your lives together, not the end. This is the reason that you want to introduce and share your dreams with those who will be making up your new extended family. And what better way to share these dreams than to let others play a part in making them happen? For example, there is always someone who wants to pitch in items like tablecloths or candles or even tables and chairs.

Take my words of advice: Let them.

A wedding should not be an exclusive affair, but should include as many as who want to support the bride and groom on their special day. You will be surprised at how many people will be honored to honor your love if you are not afraid to give up a little control over the most important elements of your wedding: Love, Commitment, and Blessing.

Do yourself a favor. Give yourself a chance to have a better wedding for less money.