No Regrets...OK, Maybe a Couple

Monday, September 5, 2011 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 25 comments

I wrote before on the topic of having no regrets, absolutely loving your day regardless of what trouble/mini disasters came your way.
Well, I still believe in that positive affirmation, and regardless of what happened, whatever detail wasn't immortalized in our wedding album, our wedding was truly a very special day for the both us.
But...I would be lying if there are a couple things that I would reconsider if some magic time machine took me back to the moment we sat down and said, "Let's plan this thing."

1) Daytime versus Nighttime
We had a lunch wedding. It saved us a ton of money. Our wedding venue was a fantastic place. But...I still wonder, what if we had a nighttime wedding? Would more people have danced on the dance floor? Thanks to our fun-loving, energetic college buddies and my adorable flower girls, the dance floor wasn't empty. But my usually-dance-happy Filipino family just wasn't feeling it at 4 p.m. I don't really think of this as a regret, but it is something I do think about. We did search far and wide for a dinner option that fit our budget (that included everything else in our wishlist), but we decided that we could forego dinner for all the other things we deemed more important. The money we saved was a great asset to us--without it, we would have struggled big time financially. I wouldn't give up the things we did have in lieu of a dinner wedding, but sometimes I do wonder if there was a possible dinner venue out there for us.

2) The Guest List
Yes, I know, I've discussed the trials and tribulations of deciding who the "lucky" folks to be present at our wedding would be. I never would want to go through that torture again. I never really felt comfortable with putting a value on people I did care about -- who we like more, who would be rather see at our wedding. Growing up, my family always threw parties and it was always the more the merrier. I wish I had more of my family sharing in our special day. I wish I could have invited more of our friends. We couldn't invite children, and although our was a sophisticated affair, having children at the wedding probably would have made it more light-hearted and fun. But throwing a budget wedding, you have to be conscious of the number of people you invite. I still wouldn't have caved in to the pressure of the obligatory invites, but I think we would have tried to add more people. Of course, something else would have had to give...don't know what, but no use in worrying about it now!

So, yes, now you have it--sure there may be some things you would change if you had the chance, maybe researched a little more, and maybe some things you regret. But in the end, worrying about it, or dwelling on it, doesn't really do you any good. I say, when you plan your wedding really think about what's important to you. Realize that you may have to give up some things, but be at peace with it. 

I say, thinking about the would-have, could-have, should-haves every now and then is normal. We're human and our weddings were a big one-time deal. But I think about all the positives that made that day the unique, memorable, unforgettable moment it was for the both of us, and those tinges of regrets fade away.

Head to your nearest Borders...Now!

Thursday, August 25, 2011 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 4 comments

The wedding aisle at my nearest Borders -- some helpful planning tips at deep discounts!

When I heard Borders was closing and clearing out all of their books at discounted prices, of course this bookworm and book hoarder had to get her goods.
My finds? Well, they might bore you...
A  book on digital photography (for the aspiring, ahem, wanabe, photographer here), travel novels by late great travel writer Freya Stark, Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron, recipe books on baking and tea...
I'm a nerd.
But while combing through each aisle (had to make sure I didn't miss a gem), I found the wedding aisle, still with some useful resources - The Crafty DIY Bride, and other wedding planning books. I know when planning our wedding, a few books were pretty helpful.
Now each store might have different stock, and who knows how cleaned out your nearest Borders can be, but it's worth the looksey!

In case you didn't see it...the paper crane chandelier

Monday, August 22, 2011 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , | 3 comments

Yes, our cranes made it safely north to Canada. Yes, they joined thousands of other cranes from around world in a gorgeous paper crane chandelier.

For each crane 50 cents was donated to cancer research.


*All photos from the Wedding Co.

Hello Again

Saturday, August 20, 2011 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 5 comments

No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

I am writing a post after, oh, nine months of letting this wedding blog languish untouched.

Obviously, I knew posting would be light after the big day...but I didn't expect complete abandonment.

So what's bringing on this renewed motivation for wedding blogging?

Well, the hubby and and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary.

It was a quiet, low-key affair. We went back to the restaurant/banquet hall where had our reception for a romantic dinner. We ordered our favorite dish on our reception menu.  Still as delicious as we remembered it.

But we were a little sad to see our wedding cake wasn't on the menu anymore.

Things change, that we know. But the memory stays the same, always there to come back to when we want to.

We sat there, held hands and reminisced. Even with all the crazy drama, guest list issues, things we probably would have done differently, we truly had a wonderful, memorable wedding.

And as time passes, new memories are created, new adventures, new lessons are learned...together.

I still love weddings, and as life goes on from our own special day, I start to realize yes, there are weddings going on every day. The day that you spent months planning becomes special only to you and your husband (or wife). You'll see a fabulous idea at someone else's wedding and wonder, "Darn, why didn't we think of that?"

But even then, I still enjoy being at weddings. I enjoy browsing over wedding porn (of course, not as much as I did during the planning stages). And I enjoy talking to brides-to-be and listening to the ideas and providing advice when I can, and when they want it (Beware, newly wedded wives! Do not be come a Wedding-Know-it-All once you tie the not! Engaged couples do not want to hear, "Well in our wedding..." )

A friend of mine snapped a photo of me walking down the aisle on the big day. It was of the beautiful veil my aunt made for me for free, basically with $20 of tulle and lace. She posted it on Facebook a year later to wish us a happy anniversary.

A reminder to thank my aunt again!

Real Wedding in MN

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 8 comments

 What a pleasant surprise it was to see Kayla's photos of her lovely MN wedding waiting for me in my inbox after returning from the Thanksgiving weekend. The lovely ceremony, the adorable details (those cookies with the couples' names are steal-worthy), the bright purple color scheme -- and  everything was $11K! But the best thing about these photos? The look of pure joy on Kayla's lovely face! So how did Kayla pull off such a gorgeous wedding on a modest budget? Take it away, Kayla!

My husband Elliott and I were engaged December 21st, 2009 (more on that at my blog - with a video that will make you cry!) and one of the first things we did was sit down and make a VERY comprehensive and detailed budget, and then we STUCK TO IT!  Our budget included wedding bands, thank-you notes, all postage, deposit on our new apartment together, and our honeymoon - some things that other couples budget for separately. 

BIGGEST MONEY SAVER: involve friends and family every step of the way. Our pastor was also one of our closest friends, and his wife is a phenomenal wedding photographer (  Elliott's dad made our cake stand, my hairstylist was a good friend (and professional!) Elliott's sister made the flower girl dress, family and friends rallied together to decorate the reception hall (with many homemade decorations), we borrowed, borrowed, and borrowed some more.

The Dress - we started shopping for the dress early, because if we couldn't find something wonderful (and I was limiting myself to only $600 - INCLUDING alterations!!!) my mother and I wanted lots of time to start creating one ourselves.  Mom did make my veil, but at the very last bridal store we went to (which also carried stylish consignment dresses) we found THE ONE!!!  Our best decision: be very upfront with the salespeople and tell them your absolute budget.  Our saleswoman (HIGHLY recommend treated us with the utmost respect and was able to give us extra discounts, bringing the total to $400!  A friend altered the dress as a wedding gift to us - we were thrilled!  Elliott bought his suit for $100 and his vintage tie for $3!  Our bridesmaids dresses were on sale for less than $50 at Ann Taylor Loft, shoes were $20 from Rocketdog.
Flowers - our photographer recommended a fresh, innovative young florist. Met with her and FELL IN LOVE!  Gave her pictures, we talked colors, and then gave her our very small budget $300 - she said yes!!!  The boutonniere were made out of quirky, cute supplies that were on clearance at JoAnns.  Our centerpieces were also clearance flowers, pieces we borrowed, and wine glasses/mason jars we had been saving all year.

Stationery - my sister, a scrapbooking-fiend, helped us create invitations and programs that we created from supplies we only bought with coupons from Archivers.

Food - we wanted a "down-home" feel, so decided on fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Called around for prices and the local grocery store's deli quoted us a price that was less than $4.00 a person!  We had tons of food left over, and it was absolutely delicious.  My sisters and I spent a lot of time over the summer baking food for the dessert table.  We included lots of family recipes, and asked grandmas to bring something to share. 

Cake - a friend's mother makes wedding cakes as a side business.  For $100, we had a beautiful chocolate with peanut butter filling cake that we COULD NOT stop eating!

DJ - We created the playlist ourselves on iTunes and asked a friend to DJ for us - he also brought lights and a sound system that he was able to borrow for free!

Honeymoon - we drove to Door County (drove because we wanted to take our bikes with us) and stayed in an absolutely adorable and SUPER afordable suite (complete with kitchen, so we saved money by making some of our own meals) Total cost: about $1100 (including spending money!).

Our Purple Table Linens -  I spent time all summer buying purple fabric when I saw it on clearance - we turned these in to table runners, over "linenlike" tablecloths, which were great because they looked MUCH better than plastic AND kids could color on them (we put crayons on every table!).

It was such a fabulous day, and we're so excited to share it with others! 

Sponsored Post: CSN Stores

Saturday, November 20, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

I think I must have done most of my wedding shopping online. With so many venues and vendors to visit, the Web really helped cut down on travel time. Everything is at your fingertips. One online store was a great go-to site for wedding party gifts: CSN Stores. And now, I'm checking out their stuff to fill the nest!

When an opportunity to review one of their products came several months ago, I jumped at the chance. We were looking for a cool gift for one of our ceremony readers...let's call him Jake. Jake has expensive taste, and well, we didn't have the budget for expensive.

But looking over the products at CSN Stores, many of them were surprisingly affordable. Products range from furniture, home decor, to fun stuff, like games and poker sets...almost anything you can think of that would make a great gift for you or someone you know. The gift we picked out for our traveling, high-end ceremony reader? Knowing that Jake is also a practical kind of guy, we went with leather toiletry traveling case. The selling price was $25, but we were very pleased with the quality (the fiance was tempted to keep it for himself!)

Let's just have the photos speak for themselves, shall we?

Yup, it had the genuine leather smell.

Thank you CSN Stores! Now what do we decorate our bedroom with?

Keeping up a wedding

Thursday, November 18, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 4 comments's been very obvious that it's been very quiet here lately...well, obviously my wedding came and went and what I have are very special memories from that day.
But now that I'm not planning a wedding anymore, I'm wondering where that leaves my wedding blog. Planning my own wedding and gazing at tons of wedding porn was really fun, but most of all, reading about other brides' personal journeys is what kept me sane and grounded during that year of planning. I was happy to be part of the wedding blogosphere, coming from the lower end of the wedding budgets and being mighty proud of it!
So where does that leave this blog? Many blogger brides have bid adieu once the their wedding is over, and I thought about going that route as well. But I was surprised to still see mail from new readers, even after my wedding. The truth is that there will always brides out there planning weddings. And there will always be budget-savvy brides looking to stretch their dollar and make their day amazing.
So, no, this won't be completely goodbye. This site is going to get a fresh makeover. There are more giveaways, inspiration, Real Weddings and DIY tutorials on the horizon, so stay tuned!

BTW, you are a newlywed? Was your wedding a budget-savvy affair? Wanna show off your amazing wedding pics? I'm looking for Real Budget Weddings from all parts of the country (a budget wedding in New York or Los Angeles will probably be quite different in terms of actual budget than say a budget wedding in small town Tennessee). Send your photos to
 and tell me all about your wedding!