Category Archives: planner

Tips for a Less Expensive Wedding – #2 The Money Chat

#2 Have the “Money Chat” with Whoever is Footing the Bill

DO NOT start off your marriage with a power struggle!  Sure, you want your wedding day to reflect you, but keep in mind that there are many people around you who may want to be a part of this process; and if they happen to be paying for some part of it, that’s probably only fair!  After all, it makes sense that they’d want to have some say how their support is put to use.  Your “parents” (be they grandparents, the uncle that raised you, or your soon to be in-laws), as well as chosen attendants, are a part of your life now—and hopefully will be for a long time to come!  It may seem like a frightening thought, but sitting down with everyone that will be helping out financially can relieve a WHOLE lot of stress later.  Really.  Have a civil chat about who is paying for what so that no surprise “necessities” crop up the week before the big day.

To make having a chat with everyone about the cost of your wedding a little bit easier, I came across some great advice on the internet ( here, here, and here ), which I compiled into one easy pdf for you to peruse:   Who Pays for What  Print it off and check off or change things as needed!  Hopefully it will help in the planning process!

If you are like me, you may look at that list and laugh at how complicated it is.  You may be able to instantly cut several of these traditional costs.  On the other hand, maybe you (or your parents) are very traditional and will want to do all of these things.  Can you see why it is VITAL to have a conversation with all the involved parties (you, your spouse-to-be, your parents, their parents, the best man, and the maid/matron of honor) to figure out who is going to pay for what!?  I know it seems like an uncomfortable subject to broach, but it can be a big step in establishing a trusting and respectful relationship with all of these people!



I actually didn’t want a reception.  My parents handed me the $2,000 cash they’d intended to use toward a reception and told me to do whatever I wanted with it instead.  Unfortunately, because my husband is the youngest in his large Argentine family, his parents weren’t about to let him get off the hook that easily.  It was pretty easy, though, to compromise.  They offered to cover the food (a huge part of any Argentine celebration), and we covered the rest.  We easily cut some of those traditions that weren’t meaningful to us, including many of the “Pre-Wedding” events and even things like bridesmaids’ dresses—his cousins in Buenos Aires are always getting a chuckle out of American weddings where everyone wears the same outfit…  We opted to set the bridal party off with matching corsages/boutonnieres, instead.  We also cut many of the ceremony costs and reception center costs because in my native Utah, our religious facilities are free for wedding use.  Knowing ahead of time who would cover what saved hours of headache for everyone involved!

How A Wedding Planner Will Save Your Sanity

Today, according to industry estimates, roughly 20 to 30 percent of weddings involve the use of a wedding planner. And with hundreds of thousands of destination weddings happening every year, people are paying a pretty penny for the experience. While there s no getting around the extra fees and added cost of travel accommodations that make excursion weddings an expensive proposition, one place you may be able to score some savings is on your planner. Destination weddings, or even local celebrations with a unique appeal tend to attract a higher class of wedding planners. For a destination wedding, a planner can add their own personal vacation before and/or after your ceremony! For a local wedding, play up anything that is significant or unique about your event because pleasing aesthetics or a high-end venue would make a nice addition to a portfolio for a planner, and they are often more willing to underbid one another to get an enticing event.

A wedding planner makes suggestions for things that you would never think of that will add to your big day. If there’s anything unique about wither of you, tell your planner and that will open the door for her to research; arriving at custom and personalized ideas you would never think of – and ones that will make your wedding ‘your’ wedding and make it memorable. This is the day you make a statement about your life.

Anyone can give you a wedding checklist and a date to have items accomplished by, but there is so much to consider….. time factor, when’s your date, are you in a hurry, do you have years? A planner can help you not choose a trend that will change by your date and show you upcoming trends. They will listen to your ideas and together you can turn your dreams into your reality. They take your dream wedding, and make it better. Wedding planners do all the planning and legwork, and you just show up to appointments, approve designs, sample menus, and so on. They will save you stress during the planning process and especially on the actual day of your wedding. Are you getting unsolicited advice and input? Wedding planners are a nice way to side step your mother, and future mother-in-law. Ask your planner if you can to direct all suggestions to her. It’s peace of mind for bride! Your planner may also provide peace of mind for the mother of the bride as well. And then the day can be fully enjoyed by all. Be a guest at your wedding – don’t give yourself a job to do.

You might think it’s an expense you can do without, but wedding planners know the best vendors to hire, many have great working relationships with vendors and they can negotiate ‘Firm’ contract rates. They won’t let anyone take advantage of you, and they can help you stay within your budget.  I recommend you start your search for a planner well in advance; at least 10 to 15 months ahead of time. Not only will the planner you hire have more time to realize your vision but they will be more willing to cut you a good deal. And that’s because they will be able to save money by locking in vendors, such as photographers and reception halls, well in advance and often before annual rate increases, generally every January. The best planners are those willing to take matters into their own hands when necessary. Things are always going to go wrong but that’s why you need a professional. Don’t be the stressed out bride on your wedding day. It’s like an interior decorator for your home. Not everyone wants to hire one because they know they can redecorate their home if they don’t like the way something turns out, but you only have one shot at the perfect wedding….hire the interior decorator for your big day, the Wedding Planner.

A few words of caution:

#1    Work off of references. Since wedding planners require no formal training, use a Well-known and respected wedding planner   Get a planner who is a Member of the Association of Bridal Consultants. (

#2     Many full-service planners are now charging clients a percentage of the weddings total budget rather than setting a flat fee. And the consultants commission grows in tandem with a clients budget, it gives them incentive to encourage you to pull out all the stops on your big day and virtually none to negotiate with vendors for the best deal. Make sure you give a FIRM budget from the very beginning.


Keri O’Hara

(360) 790-5870

>Get Organized!


Black Bird DayPlanner by doublehappiness

It’s the start of a new year, and this offbeat bride’s resolution:  

 Get Organized!!

Planning a wedding is an incredibly exciting and sometimes completely overwhelming undertaking. No matter how large or small, formal or informal, offbeat or traditional, your wedding, there will be more than a handful of decisions to make along the way – not mention numbers to keep track of, appointments to keep, and people to coordinate.

If other offbeat (read “creative and inspired”) brides out there are anything like me, they are masters of scheming, and dreaming, and bookmarking, and “to-do”ing, and sketching and scribbling, and “favoriting” all over the place!


Resolution for the new year: get all those names, and numbers, and ideas in one place!

Bonus: With a little help from other creative people, like the shop owners at, organization doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, your wedding planner, should be the first thing you purchase or create for your wedding that radiates the oh-so-in-love personality you hope to capture on the big day.

~ * ~


Custom Wedding Planner Binder by Pick Me Paper Designs
By far the most comprehensive planner out there – custom-designed to match your wedding colors and motifs; chock-full of check-lists, logs, and organizers; includes pockets for vendor materials and weekly and monthly calendars as well as available customized add-ins.

Custom Weekly Planner and Notebook Set, Handwoven with Satin Ribbons
by PriaVanda 
Great for a bride who wants one place for dates and “to-do” lists and another carry-everywhere notebook for jotting down ideas. Available in all colors!!
Oilcloth 3-ring binders by rbtbags on Etsy
Or for the true DIY-er, there are loads of wedding planning printables available on the web to help you get organized in any beautiful book or binder that you choose!