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Wedding Ideas

My Trio Rings Blog provides useful information about how to experience the timeless traditions of marriage on an affordable budget

Viewing entries tagged planning a wedding on a budget

7 Tips for Selling Used Wedding Items Online

by Melia Dicker Tuesday, 23 April 2013 Wedding Ideas

selling used wedding itemsIf you're like most people, your wedding is the only time you'll buy an expensive article of clothing that you'll wear just once. Fortunately, you can recoup much of that expense and help brides-to-be save money by selling your wedding items online. In a previous post, "Where to Buy and Sell Used Wedding Items," we covered the trend that is saving money and environmental resources. In this follow-up post, we'll share a few tips for minimizing hassles when selling used wedding items online.

How to Sell Used Wedding Items Online

1. Select the items you'll be selling.

Decide which items you'd like to sell, which you'd like to keep, and which need to be thrown away. Selling lower-priced items like barrettes or certain decorations may be more hassle than it's worth. However, higher-dollar items like your dress and wedding jewelry are likely to be worth your while. Clean items as necessary; see the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists site to find a green wedding dress cleaning service near you. 

2. Choose the right sites.

Find the sites that best suit what you're selling. Tradesy Weddings (formerly Recycled Bride), Bravo Bride, and Encore Bridal are a few popular sites with a variety of items for sale. Most have an FAQ section to help you list your items. You can also list your items in the classified sections of sites like The Knot and Wedding Bee

3. Price competitively.

Research how similar used wedding items are priced and choose a price for each of your items that's close to the going rate. 

4. Take high-quality photos.

Photograph each item with a good camera in a well-lit room. Using natural light and no flash makes items look more appealing. Resist the temptation to simply post a photo of you wearing the dress on your wedding day -- no bride wants to see someone else wearing her dress! Instead, photograph your wedding dress on a dressform mannequin if you have access to one, or crop the photo of you at the neck and shoulders.

5. Describe your items.

Write a brief, accurate description of each item. Potential buyers will probably be scanning many descriptions, so grab their attention by adding enthusiasm and a personal touch. For example, if you received any compliments on your dress, share them!

6. Choose your secure payment service.

Read any recommendations on receiving secure payment via the sites where you'll be listing your items (see this example from Preownedweddingdresses.com) and choose your payment service.

7. Be responsive to buyer inquiries.  

Watch your email for questions from potential buyers. If they don't hear back from you quickly, they may dismiss you as flaky and move on to another seller. Once someone purchases an item from you, ship it as promised. Keep in mind that the buyer's wedding may be approaching soon, so be prompt.

If you've sold used wedding items online, what other tips can you share? Leave a comment!

For more tips on planning a wedding on a budget, read the My Trio Rings blog.

Image credit: vintage19_something

Planning a Low-Stress Wedding

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 07 November 2012 Wedding Ideas

It is all too easy to get pulled into a spiral of wedding stress in the midst of planning a wedding on a budget. Worries about who doesn’t get along with whom on the guest list, the high cost of caterers, and what the weather might be like on the day of your outdoor wedding can stack up and take a great deal of time and energy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Work together to plan a low-stress wedding, which is truly something to celebrate.

Low-Stress Wedding Tips

1. Keep it Simple

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, you are probably leaning toward simplicity anyway. Brainstorm together about how to focus on a ceremony that celebrates your love without all of the expensive and stressful trappings. Think about choosing a simple ring, simple food, and a simple ceremony.

2. Focus on Love

Don’t let wedding stress take away from your love for each other. Split up the wedding tasks equitably. Plan regular couple time leading up to the wedding, and after the wedding, make time just to have fun or be romantic or reconnect without discussing centerpieces or any other wedding details.

3. Take Time for You

Even if you are consciously planning a low-stress wedding together, there are times when it can still be stressful. Make sure that in addition to minimizing stress and maximizing couple time, you also spend time with yourself. If wedding stress is getting to you, make time for meditating, deep breathing, praying, yoga, or any other calming practices that are helpful to you. Be sure to eat right, get plenty of exercise, seek out fresh air and sunshine, and get enough sleep. Take bubble baths. Spend time journaling. Maintain your hobbies and your friendships rather than getting too wrapped up in planning a wedding on a budget.

Get started with an affordable ring today!

Photo credit: dustpuppy

A Different Kind of Budget Wedding Registry

by Kelly Smith Monday, 22 October 2012 Wedding Registry

Some couples spend a lot of time registering for the perfect china pattern, the right towels for the guest bedroom, and the most powerful blender in the midst of planning a wedding on a budget. And it can be exciting and fun to plan a budget wedding registry with items to fill your new home together.

But this process isn’t something that all couples participate in before they get married. Some brides and grooms are a little older and each have already-full households that that will suddenly have two toasters when they share a home together, so they may be looking to host a yard sale rather than plan a budget wedding registry. Other couples have lived together before marriage and already have everything they need. Still other couples have families who have saved lots of things to give them upon their marriage to fill their new homes. And some just want to feel like their love makes a difference in the world. If you and your spouse-to-be fall into one of these categories, consider creating a different kind of budget wedding registry as you start your lives together.

1. A Honeymoon Registry

Sites like Honeyfund can give your wedding guests the opportunity to contribute to the trip of your dreams. Instead of gathering a house or apartment full of stuff, you want to collect memories to last a lifetime together. Create a registry to help fund a leisurely week in the south of France, a cruise in Asia, an adventure tour in Jamaica, or a cabin in the woods a few hours’ drive away.

2. A Charitable Registry

Some couples would like to know that the celebration of their love for each other also helps other people. If you are one of these couples that already has it all and wants to pay it forward while you are planning a wedding on a budget, consider asking your wedding guests to contribute to a charity such as Heifer International or Kiva, organizations that help people help themselves out of poverty around the world in lieu of more traditional wedding gifts.

3. A Local Registry

If you are just disenchanted with the idea of a big box budget wedding registry with gifts that aren’t as original or full or character as you’d like, think about creating a registry of locally sourced wedding gifts. Request gift cards to your favorite local businesses, or create a wish list in person at a favorite local boutique or craftsman’s guild for more unique and personal wedding gifts.

How did you customize your wedding registry?

Photo credit: salvationmedia

Is a Conflict-Free Diamond Ring Right For You?

by Kelly Smith Monday, 23 July 2012 Wedding Rings

So often it seems like it costs more money to make the better choice. The printer paper made from recycled paper costs more. The organic milk costs more. And we all know that the Hawaiian honeymoon costs a wee bit more than a trip to the state park. Fortunately, even if you are planning a wedding on a budget, there are many excellent choices you can make without sacrificing beauty, quality, or integrity. One of those choices is quite simple: choose a conflict-free diamond ring.

1. Do you want a beautiful ring?

Choose a ring made from gorgeous conflict-free diamonds. You can choose a conflict-free diamond ring in just about any style and price range that you have in mind. With My Trio Rings, you have the assurance of a jeweler that has privileges with Kimberley Process certified De Beers mines, so you can be sure that your ring is not only gorgeous, it is actually conflict-free and affordable.

2. Do you want a ring that will last a lifetime?

Just because you are planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice quality. Don’t choose anything less than a ring with real diamonds that are certified conflict-free. Fake diamonds and lesser metals might save a few dollars in the short run but a real conflict-free diamond ring with real gold will save a lot of heartache in the long run.

3. Do you want to celebrate your love of a lifetime with a piece of jewelry that honors human life?

Celebrate your love with a conflict free diamond ring that promotes sound human rights practices and strengthens economies of equality. With My Trio Rings, you can find the integrity, quality, and beauty you desire at a price you can afford.

Start shopping for yours today!

Photo credit: Seth Lemmons

4 Creative Proposal Ideas from Celebrities

by Melia Dicker Thursday, 12 July 2012 Proposal

creative-proposal-ideas-from-celebritiesJust because you're planning a budget wedding doesn't mean that you can't have a proposal story as romantic as a celebrity's. Take inspiration from these 4 romantic celebrity proposals and put your own personal spin on them. 

1. Sweet surprise at home

While his girlfriend Christine Taylor was away, Ben Stiller visited her house and adorned it with candles and rose petals. Christine came home to find Ben down on one knee. He'd forgotten only one thing during his careful planning….the ring! As he went to give it to her, he remembered that it was still in his bag in another room. But she didn't seem to mind. She accepted his proposal!  

When you know your lady will be out of the house, decorate it with her favorite candy and flowers. You could write love notes and stuff them inside of balloons before filling them with helium, or write on the balloons themselves once they're inflated. Just show her how much thought you've put into coming up with unforgettably creative proposal ideas. 

2. Dramatic public proposal

Singer Pink proposed to motocross racer Carey Hart at the Pro 250 class finals in Mammoth, California. As Hart was making his third lap, Pink held up a pit board in front of the grandstands that said, "Will You Marry Me?" When he made the next lap, she added the words, "I'm serious!" to the board. At that point, Hart pulled his car off to the side of the track and picked up Pink, allowing the other racers to pass him.

If you know that your love would enjoy celebrating with a crowd -- and you're absolutely sure that she'll say yes! -- plan a grand, sweeping gesture in a public place. You could arrange for "Will you marry me?" to appear on the scoreboard at a sports event, or on a banner pulled by an airplane flying overhead. If you're planning a budget wedding, you can plan a proposal that doesn't cost anything, like a serenade in the town square before you get down on one knee and present her with a ring.

3. Holiday celebration

During the holidays, we're feeling merry and tend to be surrounded by family, so it's no wonder that many couples get engaged between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Michael Douglas hosted a party at his Aspen home on the New Year's Eve before the millennium. After celebrating the new year, Douglas gave Catherine Zeta-Jones (who was two months pregnant with the couple's son) a 10-carat antique diamond ring.

Before this holiday season comes, brainstorm some creative proposal ideas, like wrapping the ring box inside a series of bigger boxes, which your bride-to-be will open like nesting dolls. Other ideas are to place the box at the bottom of her Christmas stocking, under several smaller gifts. If she's close to her family, you might think about popping the question during a toast at the big holiday meal.

4. Walk down memory lane

Katherine Heigl met musician Josh Kelley when she starred in the video for "Only You" as his love interest. The video was filmed in a bungalow in Venice, California, and after several years of dating, Kelley tracked down the house and got permission from its residents to take Katherine to dinner there. He arranged for a car to pick her up, and he set up a table with a white tablecloth, roses, and chocolate cake. During dessert, he proposed, and the happy couple took a walk afterward on the beach that was also a setting for the video shoot. Hear Josh Kelley tell his sweet proposal story.

To come up with creative proposal ideas, think back on some of the best experiences you've had together. You may have dined at a certain restaurant on your first date, which you can romantically recreate. If you took a day trip to the beach, pack a picnic, take a walk, and suddenly drop to one knee before proposing. She will be moved by the thought you put into returning to a place that means a lot to both of you.

Even if you'll be planning a wedding on a budget, you'll find the trio ring set for you at My Trio Rings.

Photo credit

Planning a Wedding on a Budget – With Food Allergies

by Kelly Smith Monday, 14 May 2012 Ceremony

One of the easiest ways to derail a grocery budget – or a wedding budget! – is cooking for people with food allergies. Products that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and the like can be significantly more expensive. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, then you will want to think carefully about how to handle your food choices in such a way that will fit your needs and wants while also staying within your budget.

Budget Wedding Food Scenarios

Scenario 1: You have severe food allergies or specific dietary needs, but your guests don’t.

If you have a strict diet for religious reasons, moral choices, or food allergies, then you already know how to cater to your own diet. But will you ask your guests to eat the same way? There are two basic choices in this scenario. One option is to serve your guests a meal that adheres to your vegan diet, your kosher diet, your gluten-free diet, or the like. This is the preference of many couples, but it can also become very expensive to create a meal based around special diets, and it might be out of your price range if you are planning a wedding on a budget. Another choice is to offer more standard fare to your wedding guests but to have a special meal prepared to suit the dietary concerns of the bride and groom.

Scenario 2: You eat a standard diet, but some of your guests have strict dietary concerns.

This is a tricky scenario to deal with, because you want your guests to be happy and comfortable, but perfectly meeting everyone’s different dietary needs and preferences perfectly at your budget wedding just isn’t possible, especially if you are having a large wedding. Not everyone can eat dairy or gluten. Not everyone chooses to eat meat. Many people avoid carbs or sugar like the plague. So what is the savvy bride to do? Fortunately, most people with food allergies or strict diets know how to manage their own diets when they are eating out. They may choose to eat before they come, or they may pick and choose what foods best fit their dietary needs. One of the most practical food options for a group of guests with diverse dietary needs might be to offer a buffet with a variety of food choices and small cards that list the ingredients in each dish, to assist those guests with dietary concerns.

Are you planning a wedding on a budget with diverse dietary needs? Share your tips with us!

Photo credit: mattlemmon

5 Ways to Stay Sane While Planning a Wedding on a Budget

by Melia Dicker Tuesday, 08 May 2012 Wedding Ideas

planning a wedding on a budgetMy husband and I were married last winter, after a year of planning and decisions and details. Because we were saving for a home and investing in our small business, we were committed to planning a wedding on a budget. At the same time, we wanted our wedding to be one of the most beautiful days of our lives, and one that was as free of stress as possible. I'm happy to say that we accomplished our goal to stay sane throughout the planning and the wedding day, and we learned these five things in the process.

1. Remind yourself frequently, "Our wedding is a stress-free zone."

You wouldn't believe how many times I said this to myself, silently and out loud. Remember that your wedding is about celebrating your love and commitment to your partner, so it would be a shame to let worries about money and logistics steal your joy. If you feel yourself getting anxious or upset about something, take a deep breath and put it out of your mind for a while. Before you come back to it, recommit to making your wedding a stress-free zone. 

2. Decide where to save and where to splurge.

My husband and I decided to invest in the items most important to us -- photography, food, and music -- and seek out inexpensive options for most everything else. We bought affordable wedding rings, reasonably priced wine, and a beautiful wedding dress on closeout. To finance our honeymoon, we encouraged guests to donate to our Honeyfund account instead of sending us a gift. It wasn't important to us to provide wedding favors, so we simply skipped them. Make a list of items you want for your wedding and rank them in order of priority. Splurge on the items at the top of the list, and save on the ones at the bottom.

3. Limit your guest list to close friends and family.

Given the astronomical costs of the average wedding -- currently more than $25,000 -- people will understand not being invited when they hear that you're keeping your wedding small. Let's put it this way: Are you willing to pay around $100 for your second cousin once removed to eat a sit-down dinner? Although I couldn't afford to invite my extended group of local friends to my wedding, I wanted to include them in the celebration. I sent an email early in the planning process to let them know that I was keeping my wedding small, but I'd love for them to join me at the after-party. Guess what? They completely understood. Plus, those who were planning a wedding on a budget themselves didn't feel obligated to invite me.

4. Find vendors through your network.

I live in a small community, and my husband and I made good use of our local connections to find vendors for our wedding. A few traded labor with my husband; for example, he designed a website for someone in exchange for professional lighting at our reception. Other vendors knew that we were planning a wedding on a budget and liked us enough to give us a good rate on their services; in turn, we recommended them to others as often as possible. We asked two dear friends to play music during the ceremony as their gift to us, and they were honored to be part of our big day. Think about your own connections, and the skills that you could trade with wedding vendors, or loved ones who have similar talents.

5.  Make decisions by asking yourselves, "What do we want for our wedding?"

You'll get tons of unsolicited advice from friends and strangers (Exhibit A: this very blog post!), and you'll probably feel pressure of some kind from your families. Take other opinions into consideration if you like, but keep coming back to what will make you and your partner happy on your wedding day. If you're lucky, it'll be the only one you ever have, so tune out the noise and make your own decisions. 

Stay within your budget by finding affordable wedding rings at My Trio Rings.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user sinksanctity.

Purchase Affordable Wedding Rings Online

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 11 April 2012 Wedding Rings

Not so long ago, buying something like diamonds on the Internet may have seemed unusual to many people. But these days, if you are looking for affordable wedding rings, it is much easier to engage in comparison shopping and find the most beautiful rings for the best price online. Reputable online jewelers such as My Trio Rings offer helpful customer service agents, fast and reliable shipping, and free warranties and returns. If you are planning a wedding on a budget and are still searching for those perfect affordable wedding rings, then look no further.

Is it safe to purchase affordable wedding rings online?

One recent customer reports:

My fiance and I were very skeptical about making and important purchase, like our rings, online. However, we followed our hearts and ordered our wedding rings with My Trio Rings, and we cannot begin to tell you how satisfied we are. We love the bling, and we got it at a reasonable price. Your representatives did all in their power to assist us all the way in the sweet island of St. Lucia, located in the Caribbean. Everybody instantly falls in love with our rings...but we love them more than they do! WOW...I recommend this company 100%...look forward to doing business with you in the future (renewal of vows).” – March 2012

Another customer, this one from Alabama, adds:

I wouldn’t have thought that an online company could be so courteous and true to their word. The ring I got for my fiance is beautiful and fits perfectly. He loves it! The customer service is so friendly and helpful. No complaints at all! I recommend this site to everyone! Thanks My Trio Rings!” – February 2012

In Pennsylvania, one woman writes:

My husband and I were VERY skeptical to make such an important purchase online, however, My Trio Rings has exceeded our expectations!!! We found beautiful rings that were within our budget, and along with superb customer service, who could ask for more? Both of us find ourselves just staring at our rings and watching them sparkle. We couldn't be more pleased. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” – March 2012

From the Caribbean to the Erie Canal, our customers agree that when it comes to purchasing affordable wedding rings online, or even getting tips for planning a wedding on a budget, My Trio Rings is an excellent one-stop shopping destination. Get started today!

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Budget Wedding Registry Tips

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 04 April 2012 Wedding Registry

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, then you are probably planning to start your life together on a budget, too. Think ahead carefully about what you might need in order to maximize the usefulness of your budget wedding registry. Before you start drooling over the enticing catalogs of your favorite expensive kitchen stores, take stock of what you already have. If you each already have a home, then you probably already have some duplicate items that you may want to sell or give away. Regardless of the situation, it is best to make a list of what you need first, then think about what you want, and then start looking at the catalogs and websites to craft your budget wedding registry.

Budget Wedding Registry Tips

Items to Choose

1. Select long-lasting, high quality items for your wedding registry. Don’t choose items just because they are inexpensive, because then you may need to replace those items in a few years.

2. Select solid colored or neutral patterned pieces when you are choosing items that will be around for a lifetime. If you ask for high quality white dishes, for example, it will be much easier to match those dishes to different seasonal décor or your own changing tastes over time.

3. Do choose items for your registry in a variety of price ranges so that none of your budget wedding guests feel left out.

4. In addition to more practical items, consider asking for some memorable items that will always remind you of your wedding each time you look at them and the person who gave the gift, such as a really beautiful wooden fruit bowl or handmade pottery mugs.

5. If you’re already pretty well set for items for the kitchen, bed, and bath, then don’t forget to consider having a honeymoon registry instead to help pay for your budget honeymoon!

Items to Avoid

1. It can be tempting, but don’t ask for a bunch of fancy appliances that are likely to gather dust. If you’re not likely to make homemade pasta or funnel cakes but once in a blue moon, you may  be best off asking for a multi-purpose electric griddle and borrowing the other items from a friend on occasion.

2. Don’t select items that are so expensive or fragile that you would be too intimidated to use them – or that none of your guests would be able to afford!

3. Just because you’re planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t mean that you don’t have an eye for quality! Items that are too inexpensive or cheaply made, such as particleboard furniture, is not long-lasting and may not make it to see your first child, let alone your grandchildren!

Photo credit: craiglea123

Planning a Wedding on a Budget – at the Last Minute

by Kelly Smith Thursday, 22 March 2012 Wedding Ideas

When you’re ready to get married, you’re ready to get married. But according to some sources, most Americans are engaged for over a year before they tie the knot. Some couples need time to save up for their wedding, and others feel the need for plenty of time to plan the perfect wedding. Whatever the reason, many couples like having a lot of time between their engagement and their wedding. But believe it or not, if you’re ready to get married sooner, planning a wedding on a budget at the last minute is easy to do with a few easy tips.

Planning a Wedding on a Budget – Fast!

1. Food

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, then it is a wise move to avoid a wedding that coincides with a meal time, no matter what your time frame is for making wedding plans. It is much cheaper to serve your guests appetizers, champagne, and wedding cake than a full-on catered meal. Even cheaper would be just cake and champagne. If you’re hoping to plan a wedding in a short amount of time, then your best wedding cake option is probably a large grocery store bakery. They are likely to have more last-minute availability and lower prices than dedicated wedding cake bakeries, and they will still taste delicious.

2. Décor

Get married in a beautiful outdoor setting or a gorgeous church if you want to save your decorating dollars. Or plan an impromptu flash wedding in an art museum, like in the recent romantic movie “The Vow.” If flowers are important to you, consider planning a last minute wedding in the spring, when lots of flowers are in bloom. If you’ve got a green thumb, you could host a wedding in your own backyard garden, or you could at least grow your own bouquet or flowers for the reception.

3. Attire

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, then you can easily shop for affordable wedding band sets online and have them shipped quickly. The wedding clothing might seem more complicated than the wedding jewelry, but that is not necessarily the case. Last-minute tuxedo rentals are not too difficult to come by, especially if you avoid a date that coincides with local high school proms. And as for wedding gowns, look into gown rental at local bridal shops or costume stores, or buy a dress straight off the sale rack and have it altered. And if you’re thinking of a spring wedding, there is no shame in choosing a less expensive white prom gown!

What are your last minute wedding planning tips?

Shop for affordable wedding band sets online now!

Photo credit: lisaclarke

What Does a Diamond Cluster Ring Mean?

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 29 February 2012 Wedding Rings

When you start planning a wedding on a budget, it may seem like purchasing a diamond cluster ring is just another item on your to-do list. Depending on your point of view, it might seem overwhelming to shop for such a big purchase, or it might seem like a really straightforward shopping trip.

But before you run to a jewelry store or click “purchase” on a wedding jewelry website, slow down for just a minute and consider all that this purchase means. A diamond cluster ring is a physical symbol of your lifetime commitment to your spouse. After all, we all know that a diamond is forever! A diamond cluster ring means that you give each other the future, no matter what it holds. It means that you will stay together through thick and thin.

As a result of the lifelong importance of your purchase, you will want to make sure that you make a wise investment when you purchase a diamond cluster ring.

How to Invest in a Diamond Cluster Ring

1. While you are planning a wedding on a budget, allow an adequate budget for a high quality diamond engagement ring made from conflict-free diamonds. You can probably save money if you choose such products as a diamond cluster engagement ring or a trio wedding ring set.

2. Select a timeless ring design that will symbolize your love and commitment for many years to come rather than choosing a trendy look that one or both of you might tire of over time.

3. Choose a ring that you can afford to buy with a clear conscience, without jeopardizing your wedding budget or your future financial security. Don’t spend more than your ring budget.

4. Take excellent care of your ring by getting it cleaned and inspected regularly.

5. Insure your ring through your insurance company to protect against loss or damage.

Check out these timeless rings from My Trio Rings!

Photo credit: ShadowWolf13

How to Save Up for Affordable Wedding Rings

by Kelly Smith Sunday, 12 February 2012 Wedding Rings

You are ready to propose marriage to your girlfriend, so now is the time to shop for and buy an inexpensive diamond engagement ring. But even affordable wedding rings seem may seem out of your league without a plan. What is the solution? Follow these easy budget tips to get you saving up for that conflict-free diamond ring – fast.

1. Month 1 – Instead of taking your girlfriend out to dinner at the new seafood bistro downtown on Friday night, look up a couple of easy recipes online to create an inexpensive, romantic meal at home. Put aside the money you would have spent on appetizers, entrees, drinks, and dessert in an envelope – that’s $50 toward affordable wedding rings!

2. Month 2 – Your boss asks you to pick up extra hours one Saturday to help him out. Encourage your girlfriend to have a chick-flick marathon with her friends and work those extra hours. Add that $100 to your envelope to save for a conflict-free diamond ring.

3. Month 3 – Ask your girlfriend to join you for dinner and a movie – at home. Pick up a pizza and a movie, and slop the saved movie theater ticket – drink – and popcorn money into your envelope (or savings account). You are $25 closer to purchasing affordable wedding rings.

4. Month 4 – Think about small ways to economize your budget. Downgrade your cell phone plan, wash and iron your own clothes this month instead of taking them to the dry cleaners, put your gym membership on hold for a month and jog around the neighborhood instead. Just a few economical measures could save you $75 or more.

5. Month 5 – You get your tax refund check in the mail - $250 in the bank! Combine that refund check with the $250 you already have saved, and you are ready to purchase not only a conflict-free diamond ring, but an entire trio wedding ring set – with just five months of saving! You will even have a little extra money to spend on taking her out to dinner to celebrate.

What are your tips for saving money?

Photo credit: 401K

How to Save on a Budget Honeymoon

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 08 February 2012 Honey Moon

After you pick out your affordable wedding rings and plan a beautiful budget wedding, it is time to think about planning your budget honeymoon. Just like with planning a wedding on a budget, it is necessary to prioritize your honeymoon dreams in order to maximize your honeymoon dollar. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Shop around

One of the best ways to save money on your budget honeymoon is to shop around. Sometimes discount travel sites such as Expedia.com and Orbitz.com will offer the best deal on airfare, rental cars, and the like. Other times, your best bet is to purchase directly from an airline or hotel. Sometimes more generic deal sites such as Groupon.com will run great travel deals. Once you have a general idea of your budget honeymoon priorities, start searching all around for deals in your price range. In general, the sooner you book travel, the better prices you can get, although there are some last-minute travel sites that could work well for you if you are willing to wait until the last minute to make your plans.

2. Be flexible

If a beach honeymoon is your dream, you can likely save a lot of money if you are flexible about which beach you choose. A stateside beach resort or state park is likely to be less expensive than a beach honeymoon in the Caribbean, for example. You may also be able to save a great deal of money if you can be flexible with your budget honeymoon dates. It is often cheaper to fly mid-week than to purchase airline tickets for weekend flights, in case air travel is part of your honeymoon plans.

3. Travel off the beaten path

Just like with planning a wedding on a budget, it can often be cheaper to choose not to do what everyone else is doing for their honeymoon. If you are willing to consider alternate destinations or are excited about traveling to popular destinations in the off season, then you might be able to get more for your budget honeymoon buck.

What are your honeymoon dreams?

Photo credit: SpecialKRB

3 Budget Wedding Tips for a Fall Wedding

by Kelly Smith Sunday, 02 October 2011 Wedding Ideas

One of the best ways to stick to your budget wedding plans is to plan a wedding in the fall or winter, when fewer couples are tying the knot. Many wedding planners agree that choosing to get married in the off season is an excellent way to save money. So after you order your affordable wedding rings online, pop the question, and start thinking about budget wedding ideas for a fall celebration.

Here are 3 fall budget wedding tips:

1. Decorations

Instead of shelling out a lot of money to the florist, consider using seasonal flowers and foliage as decorations at your fall wedding. Ask your favorite local florist if you can pay a small fee to rent potted seasonal flowers, such as mums, to decorate your ceremony or reception venues. Choose a flower color that will coordinate with your bridesmaid dresses. Or purchase inexpensive glass vases for each table at the reception, and fill the vases with small branches of colorful fall leaves and grasses collected by friends and family. Better yet, choose an outdoor venue and let the beauty of the natural world serve as your free decorations.

2. Food

Work with your caterer to create a budget wedding menu that includes fruits and vegetables that are in season. This choice is better for the environment and may also save you a fair amount of money by selecting produce that is plentiful and available at this time of year. Butternut squash, pears, and tangerines are just some of the bounty of the fall harvest. Butternut squash bisque, a mixed greens salad with tangerine dressing, and pear tartlets all sound delicious and seasonally appropriate for a fall wedding.

3. Attire

If you get married in the fall, you may benefit from bridal stores attempting to mark down the wedding gowns they still have in stock after the spring and summer wedding seasons. If you are having an indoor wedding, then a sleeveless wedding gown will still serve you well for a fall wedding. If you are planning an outdoor celebration, then you may wish to find a coordinating lacy shawl or elegant shrug to stay warm. If you find a more elaborate shawl, then it would likely be best to opt for a very simple gown. Or perhaps you wish to find accessories that will coordinate with your affordable wedding rings.

Photo Credit: Flickr (Dani Lefrancois)

5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos on Your Budget Honeymoon

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 27 September 2011 Budget Buy

You are almost there. After months of writing lists, making phone calls, and planning, you are about to embark on the budget honeymoon of your dreams. There’s no doubt that you are ready to kick back and relax with your new spouse. But how can you best capture the memories from your honeymoon?

No matter what budget wedding photography decisions you made, you will most likely be on your own to take your honeymoon photos. Even though professional wedding planners don’t recommend a DIY approach for wedding photography, it is unlikely that you will have a professional photographer at your fingertips on your honeymoon.

Here are 5 tips for taking beautiful pictures on your budget honeymoon:

1. Request a digital camera on your budget wedding registry.

If you don’t already have a nice digital camera, it is a good investment or a good wedding gift to receive. You save money on film and developing costs, since you can take as many pictures as you wish but only develop your favorites. Many people don’t develop pictures at all – they just store their pictures digitally to enjoy in online photo albums, share on Facebook, or email to relatives.

2. Pack extra batteries.

If you are going out of the country or to a remote location for your budget honeymoon, you will want to be sure that you have extra batteries for your camera. If it is a camera with a rechargeable battery, you will want to make sure that you will have the ability to recharge the batteries. If you are out of the country, this means you may need to purchase a country-specific electrical adaptor.

3. Practice taking pictures ahead of time.

To avoid wasting your valuable honeymoon time trying to figure out a new electronic device, be sure to play around with your camera for a few weeks ahead of time to learn its features and be ready to point and shoot at the first beautiful sunset you come across without missing the sunset.

4. Don’t be afraid of taking multiple pictures of the same scene.

There is no cost for taking several pictures of the same thing on a digital camera. You can keep the best image and easily delete the rest off of your camera or your computer. If you are likely to take a high volume of photographs on your budget honeymoon, you may wish to consider purchasing an extra memory card for your camera in case you fill the first one up.

5. Put yourselves in the pictures.

Take turns taking pictures of the beautiful scenery, and make sure to include each other in the pictures. In years to come, chances are that you will be much more interested in how young you looked or how happy you looked on your honeymoon rather than what a particular beach or mountain looked like. Ask fellow tourists to take pictures of the two of you as a couple, and request that they take a few just in case.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your budget honeymoon. You can always buy a postcard with a beautiful sunset or a stunning view, but you can’t always enjoy the company of your new spouse on your honeymoon, since it will too quickly become a happy memory.

Photo Credit: Flickr (mikebaird)

5 Ways to Weatherproof Budget Weddings

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 06 September 2011 Wedding Ideas

With all of the extreme tropical weather (and earthquakes!) in the United States over the last few weeks, thousands of weddings have been disrupted or postponed. One problem with these recent weather patterns is that making last-minute plans often derails budget weddings with large, unexpected expenses. According to CNN.com, the average American wedding already costs over $25,000, and a huge percentage of that tab is composed of sunk costs that will be lost if the wedding does not occur on the day it is planned for.

There are some venues that offer wedding insurance for a fee, to help recoup costs in case of a tropical storm or other unexpected problem. However, many of the costs of a wedding are paid outright for perishable goods. Brides and grooms who are affected by tropical weather may lose money on flowers or food – and then might need to purchase those items again at a later date if they postpone their wedding. Often, a performer or venue will still charge even if the wedding did not occur. Budget weddings can’t withstand that kind of last-minute expense. In some cases, the alternative might be to have a room full of beautiful flowers and a table full of delicious food, but very few guests to enjoy it, if weather conditions make travel difficult.

So what are the savvy bride and groom to do? Here are 5 strategies:

1. Avoid hurricane season. Although you can’t plan for an earthquake, you can absolutely schedule your wedding outside of hurricane season, which conveniently also avoids the expensive peak wedding season. This is helpful if you are planning a wedding on a budget.

2. Explore cancellation and insurance policies. Find out the cancellation / postponing policy for the wedding venue and all of your vendors as you are planning a wedding on a budget. Be certain that you are comfortable with those policies in case of a natural disaster or other problem. If any offer an insurance policy, consider purchasing it if the terms are acceptable to you.

3. Weatherproof your honeymoon as best you can. Beyond budget weddings, severe weather can also disrupt honeymoon travel plans. You may wish to purchase travel insurance policies or plan travel for a time of the year when tropical weather is unlikely.

4. Have a backup plan in mind before disaster strikes. If you are flexible and already have a plan B in mind, then you are less likely to have to pay a premium for last-minute changes.

5. Keep your wedding simple. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, avoid elaborate perishable flower arrangements, for example. Choose a venue that will not need such expensive decorations that will go to waste if you need to change your plans.

Photo Credit: Flickr (Sister72) Jackie

5 Budget Wedding Photography

by Katy Smith Sunday, 07 August 2011 Budget Buy

While some couples in Hong Kong are taking budget weddings to another level by tying the knot in McDonald’s, most Chinese couples spend extraordinary amounts on their weddings, including in the latest trend of elaborate pre-wedding photo shoots. Several months before the big day, couples put together pre-enactments of the event, dressing up in rented bridal gowns and tuxes, renting out a church, and hiring a photographer to capture those crucial marriage moments. Such performances can cost up to $10,000, which falls on top of the more traditional wedding expenses. Many couples choose to document a variety of staged experiences that incorporate several costume changes, and some couples even travel to exotic locations for these photo shoots, adding to the cost. Brides and grooms are seeking to capture fantasies rather than candid moments, and because of that, few pictures are actually taken on the day of the wedding.

In the U.S., the emphasis is on the big day itself, and anyone organizing a budget wedding knows that photographs are a crucial part of capturing the magic. As you plan your own budget wedding, consider a few alternatives to the high cost of wedding photographers. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Ask a trustworthy or artsy friend to take photographs.

2) Find a package deal with a local photographer who would be willing to do both your engagement and wedding photos.

3) To supplement professional photographs, leave disposable cameras on your guests’ tables during the reception to add more candid shots to the mix.

4) If there are shots you want to make sure you have, plan them out before the wedding day, and let your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family members know when and where you’ll need them. You’ll save your photographer’s time, thus saving money.

5) Ask recently married friends for their budget wedding tips. You want to be sure you have beautiful images of the day without spending an arm and a leg.

Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio

McDonald’s: A Surprising Budget Wedding Venue

by Katy Smith Thursday, 04 August 2011 Ceremony

As you plan your budget wedding, devising ways to pinch pennies here and scale down there, you may not have considered moving your venue to the nearest fast-food restaurant. But in Hong Kong, where elaborate weddings routinely cost couples more than $40,000, a new trend in budget weddings seems to be gaining popularity: McMarriages!

Since January, Hong Kong-based McDonald’s franchises have opened themselves up to hosting weddings, with several planned packages for brides to choose from. The basic package costs only $1,300 (a bargain in today’s wedding-crazed environment) and includes rental of the space, a catered dinner, party favors for the guests, organized games led by perky employees, a wedding cake constructed out of individual apple pies, and, for a few hundred dollars more, a wedding dress made of white balloons. For a Hong Kong couple planning a wedding on a budget, such a set-up is ideal.

Sound crazy? In Hong Kong, McDonald’s doesn’t carry the same stigma of cheapness that it does in America. Couples that have taken advantage of the package deal so far have expressed how grateful they are to be able to share their happy day with friends and family in a fun atmosphere. In Hong Kong, taking a business client, a dear friend, or a first date to McDonald’s is perfectly ordinary, and many couples share rich memories of their times at a local chain.

While Americans may not be ready to abandon the church or large hall in favor of a fast-food restaurant, couples planning a wedding on a budget could certainly gather a few tips from their Asian neighbors. Why not forgo the elaborate wedding cake for something simpler and easier to serve, like cupcakes? Instead of forking over several thousand dollars for a fancy wedding venue, what about relocating your budget wedding to a beautiful state park or fun community center? You don’t have to get married at McDonald’s to save a few dollars!

What reasonably priced wedding venues have you heard about?

Photo Credit: Ian Mutto