Honeymoon Brainstorming: Wyoming

Oh snap, we’re getting married! Which means we’re also planning a killer honeymoon! The problem? We want to go everywhere. In an attempt to narrow down the search, I’m introducing a new monthly feature on the blog: Honeymoon Brainstorming. Each month I’ll post one location we are thinking of for our honeymoon, as well as a list of things we could do there and the pros/cons. Check back soon for the next post!

Honeymoon in Wyoming, honeymoon Wyoming

This month we are thinking about having our honeymoon in Wyoming!

Where we could go: Road trip through Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole

What we could do: We are big into hiking so we’d want to do as much as possible! Maybe we’d stay at a romantic lodge. I’ve never kayaked but Jacob loves it so we’d try that if the weather was nice. Also, bird watching (don’t hate, you get to relax in nature and watch the birds!).

Pros: Gorgeous scenery, lots of outdoor fun, fall colors. While researching I also was able to find plenty of hotels that ran from super budget-friendly to splurge-worthy, so we could spend a few nights in a fancy place and then spend the rest in more affordable places.

Cons: We would have to rent a car. Technically I guess we could take one of our own, but we’d get more honeymoon time if we flew in to Wyoming because driving would take 28 hours. Per Google Maps it would be about a 7 hour plane trip from Buffalo. The other possible con is the weather. We’ll be honeymooning in late October and I have no idea when the snow starts to fall in Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, snow is my favorite thing. But I don’t want to be trapped in the middle of a big national park on a hiking trail when a freak snowstorm hits.

Help us out! Have you been to Wyoming and would you recommend it for a honeymoon? What are your own pros and cons?

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Wedding To-Do List (570 Days to Go)

Wedding To-Do List

Yeah, you read that right! 570 days left until our big day! It seems like a lot until I remember it was past 800 when we first set our date. Of course I’ve been panicking a bit thinking about how the wedding is next year and we still have a lot to get done. You see, I’m a worrier. Even though I wanted I long engagement to really enjoy the planning process, once in a while I still find myself worrying about things I really don’t have to worry about yet.

So to combat my panic, I decided to make a list of some of the things we still have to do for the wedding.

Buy the dress

The dress. It’s been on my mind a lot actually because I’m hoping to get my appointment scheduled at the bridal shop soon! I know some people thing buying a dress with a year and a half to go is too soon. But I don’t change my mind once I decide on things, so I know I’ll continue to love whatever dress I do get.

Book the DJ

My twin sis had THE BEST DJ at her wedding last year. Unfortunately, her wedding was out of town so I can’t use the same person. I do want someone who will have everyone on the dance floor all night just like hers, though. I read a bunch of reviews and got some recommendations, and I have 2 I want to contact. I constantly worry though that they will book up before I reach out to them. (Note to self – instead of stressing, just send them each an email!)

Refreshments for after the ceremony

The fiancĂ© and I are still debating whether or not to serve some light refreshments and booze at the ceremony space. You see, we booked the most amazing venue for it – an old warehouse – and paid extra for the entire first floor of vintage pinball machines and to have the venue all day. We’ll only be having the ceremony there (probably around 3PM), and then the reception is at another place at 6PM. We want guests to feel like they can stay and enjoy the pinball machines and each others’ company until the reception. So I found a caterer in the area who can provide bartenders (we would provide the booze) and basically whatever foods/snacks we wanted. I have to see what their prices are though. If licenses for booze weren’t an issue we would honestly just provide it and have the guests serve themselves, but we need to have a licensed catering company on site if we have food and alcohol.

Blocking hotel rooms

I actually know that I want to get this taken care of over the summer. My mom already offered to visit some hotels near our reception venue with me, and since the wedding is downtown right at the start of hockey season (and right near the arena) we want to block rooms well in advance. We know we’ll have a good amount of out-of-towners, plus a lot of local family and friends have already told us that they will stay at a hotel too so they don’t have to worry about driving afterwards.

So that’s my list. It’s not inclusive, if it was the list would be never-ending! Are you planning a wedding? What’s currently at the top of your to-do list?

 

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How to Save for the Wedding Dress Deposit

Your wedding budget (like mine) is tight. One of the benefits of a long engagement is having the ability to save up and maybe even make some extra money to put towards it. I decided recently that instead of using the money we already have saved, I’d rather pay my dress deposit with money saved specifically for that purpose.

The salon I plan on going to (and hope to find my dress at since they have all the designers I love) requires a 60% deposit. While I don’t want to spend a shit ton on my dress, I do know that lace dresses can be more pricey. So to be safe, I’m putting away $1800.00 for the deposit, which will be sufficient for a dress $3000.00 or less (I’m definitely shooting for less) (also-I think that math is correct. It wasn’t my strong suit in school).

If you have similar goals and enough time to save before you make your dress purchase (they can take months to come in!), here are some ideas to help you fill that piggy bank:

  • Start doing something on the side that you’re good at. For me, that is house cleaning. I worked for a cleaning company in college and still use the techniques I learned there. I’m just going through word of mouth since I don’t want to become the next victim of an ax murderer, but if you are braver than me and have the services to offer, I say go for it and market like crazy (obviously if you don’t have to go into other peoples’ homes, the ax murderer thing isn’t an issue). Whatever you decide to do, make sure it will actually bring in some money. For house cleaning, the average rate in my area is $25 an hour. If I can do $100-$200 a week (like 2 full houses), that would be a nice chunk of cash.
  • Control those booze purchases. Jacob and I LOVE beer. We normally get a 6-pack or 2 for the week. But those can be anywhere from $10-15 per pack, which adds up over the course of a few months. If you have a similar love for beer (or any type of alcohol really), consider cutting back completely. If completely is a bit much even for a few months, then stick to a budget (say, 1 6-pack a week, 1 bottle of wine a week, etc). We are so guilty of running to the store to try a new beer we saw on Instagram or Untappd, and all those random purchases add up.
  • Save dollar bills and loose change. We’ve been doing this for about 6 months now and you’d be amazed by how much you end up saving. Every time I go grocery shopping or have cash on me, I make a point to empty $1 bills and coins into the jar. Another similar thing that works well for us – say you take out so much cash every week. Instead of planning to just donate your $1 bills and coins, immediately after withdrawing your money take $20.00 and put that into the jar.
  • Eliminate impulse purchases. This goes hand in hand with not buying all the booze. Don’t buy that coffee and muffin. Don’t buy that chocolate bar at the check out counter. Even better, keep note of what you almost bought, and when you get home, donate that amount into your jar.

I’ve been implementing most of these tips with my fiance for a while now, and I’m starting house cleaning this week. I’m hoping to get enough money saved up for my dress deposit soon. My wedding isn’t until October 2018, but I want to go dress shopping!

So tell me: what do you do to save money? Does having a particular goal in mind help? Will you be trying any of my tips?

 

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On Setting the Wedding Date

on-setting-thewedding-date

Your wedding day may well be the most important date you ever choose. I don’t know about you, but deciding on our wedding date was anything but easy! I know some couples get engaged and have a date set (or at least a date range) within a few days!!

Here’s what helped us decided:

  • Paying for the wedding – Before we could even begin thinking about dates, we needed to talk about money. Neither of our parents are contributing, which means it’s all on us. We also had bought our house less than a year before getting engaged and it’s a fixer-upper. Most of our saved money was going into that. So we picked a date 3 YEARS out. Click here to read more about why we chose to have a long engagement.
  • The time of year/season – Ideally, I would have loved a winter wedding in all of it’s frozen snowy goodness. Winter has always been my favorite season. It is romantic and pretty and you can bundle up. But then we got to thinking. We live in Buffalo, NY. First, much of J’s family lives in Arizona, so they might not even have the proper clothing to come up in the dead of winter. Second, there’s always a chance we’ll have a milder, less snowy winter. But there’s an even better chance that we’ll have a super snowy, cold, lake-effect storm filled winter. We didn’t want my wish for a snowy wedding to come true only for the roads to be impassible, the power knocked out, flights to be cancelled, and our guests to be either stranded or unable to get in. Fall is my second favorite season and J’s favorite, and October may well be our favorite fall month. So we chose October.
  • The day of the week – J and I are pretty traditional when it comes to wanting a weekend wedding. We knew 100% it had to be a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. But which to choose? Friday and Sunday are typically quite a bit cheaper than a Saturday night. Sunday meant our guests might stress about work the next day. Friday meant guests would have to take the day off or leave work early. Guests coming from out of town would have to take Thursday as well to get in before the wedding. As much as it would have been nice to save by not booking a Saturday, we decided to pay the extra amount to accommodate guests and the bridal party.
  • As for the specific date we chose, it’s simple! 13 is my favorite number, it just happened to fall on a Saturday, and it was available at our reception venue (which was the first place we booked because at the time we had no idea where to hold the ceremony!).

What things did you have to think about before choosing your wedding date?? Let me know in the comments!

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Preparing For a Wedding Venue Visit

Preparing for a Wedding Venue Visit

On Sunday J and I are getting  a tour of a possible ceremony location. My fingers are crossed and I feel like I’ll be holding me breath in anticipation all week because I think this could be the one!

In preparation for the visit, I’ve compiled a list of things to prepare for a visit to possible wedding venues.

  • Your wedding planner, if you have one. My twin sister is coming with us because she just got married and knows a thing or two about venue visits. Also, she’s helping us plan the wedding, so while I’ll be flailing around all excited to see the place, she’ll keep the vision in mind and see if it works at this location.
  • A clear vision. I’m not saying you have to have all of the decor or your colors picked out, but if you’re thinking you want an urban feel, maybe looking at barn venues isn’t the right way to go. And that’s a big reason why my sister/planner is coming with us.
  • A list of questions to ask the venue. These will differ based on whether you’re booking the ceremony, reception, or both. Also just depending on what you want or need. My wedding planning binder (which my twin sister got me for Christmas) has a list of questions to ask at venue visits. I’m going to write down the ones that apply to us and bring them along.
  • Your phone or camera to take pictures. So that you remember what the place looked like, and just in case you’re stuck between a couple venues. Looking at photos and seeing which one best fits your vision will be super helpful when you have to make your decision.
  • An open mind. Not so open that you end up booking something you really didn’t want. But you never know. If you booked a tour “just because” and have your heart set on something else, don’t 100% rule it out. Enjoy seeing the venue. I thought since getting engaged last September that I wanted my ceremony at a specific place near my office. But then I saw photos of the place we’re seeing on Sunday and I was curious. I had been ready to book the other location but now I’m feeling that this new place is a better fit. Good thing I didn’t book because I’d be out of the deposit money.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is what I’ll be focusing on later in the week when viewing the possible ceremony location.

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On My Long Engagement (& Why I Love It)

On My Long Engagement

When J and I got engaged last September, the questions from friends and family (his side mostly, since mine were in the throws of planning my sister’s wedding and didn’t need another one) started pretty much immediately – when’s the wedding? Did you set a date? Will it be in your town or his hometown?

Oh my gosh people, give us a second to enjoy being engaged!

Honestly, it was overwhelming. And a bit rude. I know the questions weren’t meant in a rude way, but when we call you 30 minutes after that ring was put on my finger, we probably don’t have any answers to give you!

We decided on a date in October of 2018. Over 2 years away. Crazy, I know.

But let me explain why.

First: we’ve been together at this point for 9 and a half years. There’s no rush when we already live together and have a great relationship.

Second: we don’t want kids. Not that it would matter at all if we were married or not. People have kids without an official marriage all the time. But I know personally a lot of people who want to tie the knot so that they can then start making a family. We already have our fur babies, a cat and a dog, so babies are no reason for us to rush the wedding.

Third: we’re paying for the entire thing ourselves. And I want to have a nice wedding. I’m not talking anything extravagant. But I don’t want to settle on a dress I don’t love because of my budget. I don’t want to settle on a less than ideal venue because we can’t afford what we do want. This way we have plenty of time to put more money aside specifically for the wedding.

And fourth: I just want to enjoy being engaged and enjoy planning! We have our reception venue booked, and hopefully our ceremony location soon. Then we can just sit back and relax for a while! I was never that little girl who daydreamed about her wedding. So I’m starting from scratch. I don’t know exactly what a want, and not jumping immediately into the whirlwind of wedding planning is just what I needed. I get to relax with wine and read wedding mags, and not get stressed out about decisions.

I know plenty of couples who got engaged and then married within a year, and that’s great for them. But I am so happy to get to really enjoy wedding planning and take it slower. To each bride her own, I guess!

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