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Since Julie asked me to write a post for when she’s on her honeymoon, I thought it was only fitting that we talk about weddings! I’m a financial planner and I’ve helped a number of people plan to pay for their weddings and their honeymoons, but I have to say, the people who get the worst deal when it comes to bang for their buck on a day like a wedding day are the bridesmaids. Let’s break it down.
A recent report by Mint.com put the average amount spent for a bridesmaid at just under $1700. That, my friends, is more than most of my clients make in a month. Here’s where it all comes from: engagement gift, shower gift, wedding gift, travel to bridal shower, travel to bachelorette party, contribution to bachelorette party, travel to wedding, dress, shoes, alterations, jewelry, hair, make-up, lingerie. And then if you are staying for more than the day of the wedding, hotel, food, travel around city. It all adds up.
So where can you cut it down or expect the bride to pick up the tab?
If your bride is from a traditional family, you can expect most of your day-of accoutrement to be covered like the dress, the hair and make-up, travel around the day of, maybe a hotel room. But you are expected to give a gift in this case. And coming from the South, I can tell you it had better be comparable to what is being spent on you.
If your bride is more modern, she may pick up the tab for your dress, but you will be expected to pay for it all. In this case, no major gift is required (according to me and Miss Manners). I still think a card and a gift card for breakfast the next day is nice, but you being there is the gift and they will be happy to share their day with you.
You can save on flights and hotels through discount travel sites like Hipmunk, Travelzoo, and Google flights. And see if you and a fellow bridesmaid can split a hotel room or if you can bunk with one of the couple’s local friends who has a spare bedroom.
Your accessories also don’t have to be the most expensive thing out there. You can find decent costume jewelry and shoes at thrift stores and department stores’ accessories departments. There is no need that even though the bride wants you in a diamond pendant necklace that it has to be real diamond. A nice cubic zirconium from Claire’s will probably do the trick.
If you are the bride, please be budget conscious. I’m sure most brides now are trying to do weddings on gum and shoelaces, so keep in mind that your bridesmaids’ dresses are not the place to splurge. A good alternative is to have everyone wear a dress they already own in your wedding colors or buy all the dresses at the same time to save on shipping and alterations. I know many brides who have elected to let their bridesmaids wear their favorite Little Black Dress to save the headache of finding a style that works for everyone. It helps that it’s also a cheap alternative. And be sure to talk to your Maid of Honor about the shower and the bachelorette party. A blowout weekend in Vegas is only fun if everyone can partake. I had a girlfriend who was more than happy with the bachelorette brunch we planned the day of her wedding. Everyone was grateful for the time with the bride before she was waist deep in cake-cutting and kissing Aunts from far-away lands…and her dad ended up picking up the tab anyway.
Finally, be up front from the get-go about how much you can spend. If she’s really that good of a friend, reminding her that you’re on a budget will not ruin her special day. I promise.
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So not an option for us, although it was a very tempting idea during some of the more stressful moments of the planing process. I just couldn’t do that to the moms, they are both so very very excited. I don’t think people really understand that eloping doesn’t carry the same implications today that it did in our parent’s generation. While i’m absolutely sure there are still impromptu trips to Vegas and drunken trips to the courthouse, a lot of couple now elope to avoid the hassle of the traditional wedding and to be able to have the most important day of their relationship be extremely intimate. Ultimately, marriage is about you and your significant other, everything else is secondary. The photos below were taken at Jodi & Jeth’s elopement, and I have to say, if Andy and I had gone through with it I hope our day would have been at least half as cool as theirs.
Images from here.
I have to admit, I am a bit of a chicken when it comes down to making decisions that will upset the people I care about. For years I only got tattoos in places that could be easily covered, removed some of my piercings before going to certain events, and even kept my clothing choices a bit more sedate than I would probably like. I’m not blaming my loved ones, nobody can make these decisions but me, but sometimes I wish I had more guts.
When Andy and I got engaged my first instinct was to elope or have a very very small wedding. After a few long talks and much consideration, we both realized that our discomfort at being the center of attention for a day would be a small price to pay for the chance to celebrate and make memories with so many of the people we love, and to have them all in one place at the same time.
What does all this have to do with the striped wedding dress below? Well, more than you’d think actually.
Choosing a wedding dress was probably the most stressful decision I had to make throughout the entire wedding process. I had to factor in potential weather conditions, the fact that we were having an outdoor ceremony, body issues, and all sorts of other things that had to be balanced ultimately with what I wanted. Seeing this striped wedding dress made me think about how much things have changed over the years and how amazing it is that brides today have the option of not only unconventional colors but patterns as well. It makes finding the dress all the more special.
I feel like a princess in my wedding dress, to me it is the perfect combination of traditional and modern, even though the dress I picked up after my last fitting was back to the more sedate ivory (A long story with deception and intrigue I will tell you all about as soon as I can post the dress pictures).
Images from here.
I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts as of late. We’ve been experiencing perfect storm of amazing and awfulness this week. The abridged version: my work computer died, Andy turned 34, my friend Billy turned 25, dozens of wedding details and mini projects to hammer out, and Andy and I are both sick.
Hopefully everything will settle down a bit, probably not, but there is always the chance that things will change for the better. The wedding is now five weeks away and I am quickly realizing that my chances for some peace and quiet are quickly disappearing. Which is why I am posting this from bed, under about three blankets with two kitties snuggled in next to me. My determination to sleep the day away was thwarted by my practical streak wanting to get things done. I’ve been stubbornly refusing to get up, but she did talk me into checking my email and writing this post. I’ve offered her Starbucks later if she’ll shut up for a couple of hours, but this offer was countered by the reminder that our Target has a Starbucks and I could knock a few things off our grocery list if we procured our cup of Salted Caramel Mocha deliciousness there…
Since this seems to be a losing battle I am off to enjoy the slight drop in temperature and knock things off my “To Do” list.
Image from here.
Okay ladies and gentleman, the moment….well, about five of you have been waiting for…new wedding shoes!!!
I finally got my act together and took pictures of my new lovelies.
While not quite as whimsical as my original choice you can’t beat the shiny, and I loves me some shiny. Hopefully the slight difference in height (and inch taller) won’t cause any hemline issues. I was having a little trouble with the last pair, to me they seemed a bit to short, but the alterations woman kept saying, “OH, HEM ES PERFECT!!!” and “NO HOLD NO HOLD!” when I tried to pick up the front of my dress so I would step on one of the under layers. Which meant I had to do a bit of a kick before I could start walking. Hmmm, maybe this is just one of those fancy dress rules or something.