Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

:: Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding… Without Anyone Missing a Thing ::

As we all know, weddings are expensive! For the budget conscious engaged couple, having a wedding with family and friends may seem like an impossible dream, but never fear! There are ways of having a lovely wedding without breaking the bank (or robbing one)…

1 :: Check out inexpensive venue options :: Your venue does not have to be some fancy pansy hotel with impossibly high rates. Choose a place where you can have your ceremony and your reception. How about a beautiful park or a community clubhouse like a senior center or a VFW hall, or even a friends backyard? Get married at the courthouse, then celebrate with friends and family at a local hangout. Think outside the box and take note of what is available in your neighborhood.

2 :: Avoid guest book bloat :: Be thoughtful about your guest list. How many people can you afford to invite? Be prepared to make some tough decisions. Be cognizant of your budget bottom line and develop your guest list accordingly.

3 :: Supply your own beverages and food :: Buy your booze at a cut rate liquor store. Or just serve beer, wine and soft drinks. Make sure you have plenty though… Nothing spoils a party like running out of spirits. Are you having an outdoor wedding? Consider a barbeque. Or how about a relatively inexpensive Italian feast of spaghetti, meatballs and salad? Or a Mexican meal with big containers of rice, beans, shredded beef, tortillas and condiments so guests can put together their own plate?

4 :: Save on wedding attire :: Scout for sales, or display items, or gently used, or discontinued clothing lines. Check for buys after high school prom nights. Think beyond “wedding attire”. How about after Christmas holiday dresses that can be fabulous substitutions? Wear a suit instead of a tux. Or, go casual and comfortable and leave tradition behind.

5 :: Enlist the help and talents of friends and family :: Do you know any musicians who could play at your wedding or during the ceremony? Can someone with a good PA system act as a DJ utilizing your pre-planned song list? Does anyone you know know someone who is an excellent baker and can make your wedding cake for a bargain price? Put out a call for help. Ask for ideas. You can even suggest that friends help with the wedding instead of buying gifts!

How did you, or are you, saving money on your wedding?! We would love you to share your suggestions in the comments below…

MRSter :: Because Love Is Love!

:: MRSter :: Because Love Is Love ::

MRSter {miss-ter} has been a wedding planning resource for LGBTQ and straight couples for years now, and we recently decided to invest even more time and money into the growth and development of the site. We created MRSter to bring BADASS vendors to the fingertips of modern couples {and your mother, your brother, your sister AND your friends…}!

Our resource provides a place for all engaged couples to get ideas and be inspired while planning their wedding.  We now have marriage equality nationwide {YAY!}, yet couples unfortunately still face a lot of bias today. This is why they need a place like MRSter to go to; somewhere they can be confident knowing they will be treated with respect and never have to ask if it’s okay to do business with any vendor.

We are connecting with amazing vendors nationwide, and are currently running an awesome promotion to spread the love this Valentine’s Day, and grow our MRSter family! Check out this BIG news below…

#LOVEISLOVE

#LOVEISLOVE

Yep, you did read that right… We are giving away 1100 FREE listings!! Be the first of twenty vendors from each state or country, and receive a FREE listing for THREE months on our FABuLIST of ‘MRSter Approved’ vendors. The FABuLIST is a collection of rad industry professionals who have already joined our open arm revolution in celebrating ALL couples.

So, what’s the catch? Simply, if you believe in what we’re doing, all we ask is that you ‘sample’ becoming a part of the MRSter family {for FREE!}. We are confident that you will LOVE what we are about, and continue to grow with us.

Give us an opportunity to connect you with AMAZING couples. Don’t miss out… Click here to fill out an application to become MRSter Approved {for FREE!} TODAY!!

Psssttt :: Please note that you must complete the shopping cart process for your vendor application to be sent to us!!

#LOVEISLOVE

 

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Budget-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations

:: Budget-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations ::

Traveling with your love can be SO exciting, and a Honeymoon destination should be given careful consideration. Whether here or abroad, careful planning will give you the most bang for your buck.

Booking ahead is one of the best ways to find deals. Make sure you have a reasonable Honeymoon budget in mind, and resolve to stay within that budget. Here are MRSter’s top five budget-friendly honeymoon destinations to book now for a Summer celebration:

1 :: Puerto Rico :: With oodles of indoor and outdoor activities, a fabulous nightlife and historic sites to visit, you won’t have a moment of boredom in beautiful Puerto Rico.

Photographed by :: Frances of Rincon Images

Photography :: Frances of Rincon Images

2 :: Florida Keys :: If you enjoy the ocean, this is a great option for you. There are many water sports to do including snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking. Enjoy the beautiful beaches and travel over 100 miles of scenic highways.

3 :: Ireland :: Lovely and luscious, Ireland has become one of western’s Europe’s best travel value. Visit charming villages, incredible castles, and see scenery that will take your breath away.

4 :: Lake Tahoe :: Featuring options from beaches to mountains, Lake Tahoe has it all. Take a ride in a hot-air balloon, view the beautiful mountains from a gondola, and enjoy scenic lake cruises.

5 :: Rocky Mountains, Colorado :: Featuring some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the USA, the Rocky Mountains offers many romantic Bed and Breakfast establishments as well as secluded cabins. Enjoy hiking and picnicking on beautiful trails and in gorgeous meadows.

Did you go on a budget-friendly honeymoon? We would love for you to share your suggestions on where to go in the comments below!

Coming to Phoenix :: Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program by 14 Stories // This Is Not To Be Missed!

Advisory board member of MRSter and founder of the Gay Wedding Institute, Bernadette Smith, is coming to Phoenix to certify!

14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute certificate program is coming to Phoenix on Wednesday, August 26th! The workshop will be taking place from 9.30AM until 4.00PM at MRSter Approved venue the Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix!

14 stories

The U.S. became the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide back in June! Fantastic news for us all, as not only are LGBT weddings good for society, but they are also very good for business! Despite the marriage equality ruling, however, wedding planning can be a very daunting experience for many same-sex couples. With unfortunate stories of businesses being shown to discriminate against same-sex couples being commonplace in the media, it is difficult for LGBT couples to know which vendors they can turn to and trust.

“Same-sex couples are a lucrative, emerging market that can help grow your wedding business. To reach this powerful market, you must be ready.  You don’t want to lose business or risk offending potential clients!” [14 Stories].

14stories2Kate McElwee Photography via 14 Stories

Would you like to become more open and knowledgeable about working with LGBT couples when planning their wedding day? We want all wedding professionals to be knowledgeable, confident and excited about this newer market, and now is the perfect opportunity!

“Earn the trust of the loyal LGBT wedding market by learning from the experts at the Gay Wedding Institute” [14 Stories].

:: What Is The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program? ::

The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program is “the world’s only wedding certificate program that focuses on the LGBT market” [14 Stories]. The course will inspire you, energize you and put you in a position to attract loyal customers. It will allow you to “master the skills and strategies to reach the loyal same-sex wedding market” [14 Stories]. Since the Gay Wedding Institute launched in 2009, “over 700 people have completed this program, representing 14 countries around the world”. [14 Stories]. The Gay Wedding Institute continues to be “a national thought leader, researcher and educator on gay and lesbian weddings” [14 Stories].

14stories3Kelly Prizel Photography via 14 Stories

:: What Will You Learn? ::

This course covers a variety of topics, including;

  • The financial impact of the gay and lesbian wedding market
  • Differences between straight and gay weddings
  • Language and terminology
  • Marketing to engaged same-sex couples
  • Law and policies affecting same-sex couples
  • Same-sex wedding traditions
  • LGBT wedding data and trends

And much, much more…

“This intensive and interactive workshop will [also] include lunch, a packet of materials and tons of great ideas to reach this powerful market” [14 Stories].

14stories4Photography by Antonio del Valle Studio via 14 Stories

:: What Is The Benefit Of Doing The Course? ::

“Besides a projected increase in business, participants who attend this all day session will receive a 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute certificate badge you can proudly display on your website, a copy of the book The Business of Gay Weddings, a certificate of completion and resource materials. Graduates will also be listed on the Gay Wedding Institute website” [14 Stories]! Not only this, but you will also receive a FREE FABuLIST listing on MRSter for one year!!

MRSter Icons-10

:: Who Are 14 Stories? ::

14 Stories is a MRSter Approved boutique wedding planning firm based in Massachusetts! Their vision is for “a wedding industry fully inclusive of all couples, including LGBTQ couples” [14 Stories]. This is something that they have been working on since they opened their doors in 2004; making them the first firm in the country to specialize in planning legal same-sex weddings!

14 stories

Find out all about this rad company by heading to our Wedding Vendor Wednesday highlight blog all about 14 Stories here!

You can check out their website here, and of course, don’t forget to check out their FABuLIST listing here!

:: Interested In Signing Up? ::

If you are a wedding professional looking to become more open, knowledgeable and confident about working with the LGBT market, then you seriously do not want to miss this!

14stories1Photography by Kevin Day Photography via 14 Stories

Date :: Wednesday, August 26

Time :: 9:30 AM- 4:00 PM

Location :: (MRSter Approved) Hotel Palomar in Phoenix

To register for the workshop, simply head to this link to complete the application form!

Early bird registration cost $309, and expires on August 12th, so hurry to take advantage of this great deal! After August 12th, the price goes up to $349!

Will we see you there?!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

I Do. Wedding Charity Auction :: Donate. Bid. Win. Provide Change.

:: I Do. Wedding Charity Auction ::

SAVE THE DATE :: Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

If you are engaged or know somebody who is, then the I Do. Wedding Charity Auction is a must attend event! So save the date, and get bidding for some incredible savings on wedding products and services.

 So, what is it all about?

 “Vendors Donate. Couples Bid Then Wed. We All Make A Difference”

Since 2009, the I Do. Wedding Charity Auction event, formally Brides Give Back, has been raising funds for charities in need, whilst saving couples thousands of dollars on products and services for their wedding day. The I Do. Wedding Charity Auction is a one of a kind charity event, consisting of a committee of local planners who work together to obtain donated items and services from local wedding industry professionals. The vendors are screened by the committee, and then freely donate a good or service to the auction.

The event itself is a cocktail reception atmosphere; complete with music, food and beverages. Wedding couples are invited to participate in a silent and live auction to bid on wedding items and services for their big day. Some of the services up for grabs are photography and wedding planning packages, for example. See more of what you could win this year, here.

It’s that simple, and could save you thousands of dollars, whilst raising money for very deserving charities in the process. Find out how it all began here.

Who does it benefit?

Proceeds this year, will benefit Hospice of the Valley and Chromosome 6 research; in memory of baby Kinley and in honor of our industry friends Nick and Amber, and their baby girl Cora.

Kinley was born on August 23 2014 at 6:24 am, she was taken into the NICU where the only trouble she had was a little trouble breathing during her feeds. A few days later, after being discharged for a couple of days, baby Kinley ended up back in the hospital where she was born, undergoing tests and seeing many different specialists. It was found that she had a blockage and was septic with a blood infection.  Her arm was infected as well and it was decided that it would need attention immediately. That night at a mere 4 days of age she underwent her first surgery of 3 during that 17 day stay at the hospital. Upon release from the hospital, the last blood test Nick and Amber were waiting on came back. It was microarray and it revealed a chromosome 6p25.1p22.3 interstitial deletion. After an emotional few weeks at home, Kinley was admitted back to hospital as she was struggling to breathe and her feedings had been declining; this was the effects of hypotonia which is low muscle tone. The hospital immediately put her on oxygen and inserted a feeding tube, and as of November 7, 2014, Kinley had been in hospital for 24 days.

Sadly, Kinley lost her battle and Amber and Nick watched their baby girl drift into an eternal sleep on December 4th, 2014 at Hospice of the Valley. She was 3 months old and will never be forgotten. RIP Baby Kinley.

baby kinleyBeautiful Baby Kinley. Picture via I Do. Wedding Charity Auction.

 Read the full story of Kinley’s journey here.

When is it?

Event Date :: Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Venue Host :: SoHo63, 63 East Boston Street, Chandler, AZ 85225
VIP Vendor Funworking :: 4:30pm
General Public ::  5:30pm

Last year, a total of $15,027 was raised for Hospice of the Valley. Can you help beat this amount by bidding this year?

 To find out more, visit their website :: www.givegetwed.com

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

How to Have a Wedding for $1,000 :: Part 2

:: How to Have a Wedding for $1,000 ::

This week I bring you the second installment to the ‘How to Have a Wedding for $1,000’ blog. I am going to propose some more ways as to how you could plan your wedding for $1,000; saving you thousands of dollars, and countless headaches.

Photography :: Photography can be a big expense for a wedding, with the national average spend being $2,440 in 2013 (The Knot, 2014). Rather than shelling out thousands of dollars for a professional photographer, why not hire a college student studying photography instead? Though they will have less experience than a professional, for a much cheaper price, they can offer the necessary equipment, as well as the desire to take great pictures for their personal portfolio. Why not have an engagement shoot with them beforehand, to truly see the quality of their work and whether it works for you. Alternatively, skip hiring a photographer altogether, and instead, have your wedding guests take photos for you throughout the day.

camera photo“02282012 NEW CAMERA! Canon 60D!” by Melinda Swinford is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Food :: There are a variety of ways to keep costs down on catering for your wedding guests; the key is to think simple. One of the hottest wedding trends for the past couple of years, and continuing for 2015, is the use of food trucks (Huffington Post, 2014). Food trucks bring an element of fun to your wedding day, and offer an inexpensive alternative to traditional catering services; even giving you the flexibility to save money by handing the food costs directly to your guests, if this is something that you would feel comfortable with. And don’t forget the advice mentioned in part one of the blog, if you time it right then you could save yourselves a lot of money. Think outside the box; scale down on the food offerings by serving appetizers or desserts, and champagne, rather than a sit-down meal. You could cut costs even more by serving tea, coffee, sparkling fruit juices and sparkling water, rather than the more expensive alternative of champagne.

Cake :: If you or anyone you know loves to bake, you could save a lot of money by making your own cake. Naked cakes have been a particularly popular trend amongst the wedding scene for quite some time now. And the best thing about them is that they are made to look a little rough around the edges, so if any mistakes were to happen during the baking process, it’s easier to hide them than on a more traditional wedding cake. Alternatively, many people now opt for a small cake to act as the top tier of their wedding cake, which you could pick up from a local bakery for a reasonable price of around $30. Then the rest of the ‘tiers’ are made up of cupcakes! Cupcakes are a much simpler alternative to bake yourself, or with a baking buddy. They also give you the freedom to choose a whole variety of flavors, rather than having to opt for just one.

naked cakeCrear Wedding” by Zoe is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Music :: Reception DJ’s alone can cost you over $1,000, so you could save yourself a lot of money by using an iPod for your music instead. Apps such as Spotify and Pandora easily allow you to find suitable playlists, so you don’t have to worry about having to control the music all night. One way to make this more personal, is to have your guests help you create a wedding playlist on the run up to the wedding; why not ask them to request a song they would like to hear on their wedding RSVP? This would bring a more personal touch to the music and ensure that there will be songs that all of your guests will enjoy throughout your special day.

Flowers :: Flowers for a wedding can cost a great deal, but one way to save is to stay in season! If you stick with flowers that are in season, then your costs will come way down. Also, remember that less is more. Rather than having tons of flowers, with huge centerpieces, instead, be creative and keep the use of flowers to a minimum. There are hundreds of examples of simple yet extremely effective centerpieces on Pinterest. Another fantastic suggestion comes from one of our MRSter advisory board members, and owner of Life Design Event Planning, Cicely Rocha.Miller, who suggests having each of your guests bring a single flower. She says “give them a particular color scheme to stay within, and then as you’re walking down the aisle, collect those flowers and ultimately that becomes your bouquet, so there’s some sentimental value to it as well” (via AZ Family, 2014).

Décor :: Again, regarding décor on a budget, think less is more. Pinterest offers a huge catalog of ideas for décor elements, many of which you can DIY yourself for little money. Many suggestions actually include items that are readily available from dollar stores, such as candles, vases, and other items that can easily dress up wedding tables. I personally love lighting and lots of candles; they add a lot of ambiance to a wedding venue and are budget friendly alternatives. For other décor elements, be sure to check out recycled wedding item websites, such as Recycle Your Wedding – Ruffled, as they are full of discounted wedding items. What I love about this particular site is that you can search for items by state, saving money on shipping costs too!

candlesSpring Soiree – 2010 – 58” by FestivitiesMN is licensed under CC BY-NA-SA 2.0

Overall, there are plenty of ways that you can cut costs on your wedding day, and still pull off the day of your dreams. There is an abundance of inspiration for beautiful low-cost weddings readily available, you just have to think outside the box and not get carried away in the planning process. This can be tricky, as there is a lot of societal pressure that makes us believe that we have to splurge on a huge, extravagant wedding, but just remember that your wedding day is about you and your significant other, so focus on the act of what you are doing, rather than how much you are spending.

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

How to Have a Wedding for $1,000 :: Part 1

:: How to Have a Wedding for $1,000 ::

In today’s society, whereby the national average cost of a wedding is at an all-time high; a staggering $29,858 in 2013, and rising (The Knot, 2014), it’s really no wonder that wedding planning is so stressful and evidently costly. You may think that having a wedding on a budget is difficult, and I’m sure you think it is impossible to come up with a wedding for just $1,000. However, this is actually a feat that many couples have managed to make happen. The key? Keep it simple, be flexible, and think outside the box. Here’s some guidance as to how…

piggybankMoney – Savings” by 401(K) 2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Timing :: Be flexible about the timing of your wedding; down to the month, day and time of the ceremony. Understandably, the majority of event spaces charge considerably more for the most popular months and dates, because the demand is there. So rather than opting for a Saturday evening in June, September or October, instead go for a Friday or Sunday afternoon in a less popular month. If you time it right, this could help you save big on the catering side of things too. Appetizers and champagne mid-afternoon is going to cost you much less to provide to your guests than an evening sit-down meal. Due to there being less demand for these options, vendors will be more willing to negotiate discounted prices on various wedding services; saving you tons of funds.

Venue :: The venue is arguably the biggest wedding expense for couples. This is supported by the findings of The Knot’s Real Wedding Study (2014) that revealed the average spend on the reception venue alone is $13, 385. Add the separate expense of $1,793 for the ceremony site, and you can see that the average venue comes with a hefty price tag! But fear not, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be relatively easy to find free or inexpensive locations to get married, such as beautiful local parks, lakes or beaches. Or perhaps a relative or a friend of yours has a gorgeous backyard that would make the perfect setting. Think outside the box on this one, and do your research to find somewhere that’s perfect for your special day.

Lesbian Wedding Ceremony DecorationTaken by Cyndi Hardy Photography

Numbers :: Cost of Wedding (2014) state that “a single guest could add between $157 and $192 to the overall cost of your wedding”. So when it comes to numbers, the easiest way to save money on your wedding is to keep the guest list to a minimum. Instead of throwing a big extravagant affair where you feel compelled to invite anyone and everyone, opt for a more intimate occasion whereby you only invite your closest family and friends. Alongside this, try and keep the size of your wedding party to a minimum as well; this will greatly alleviate other costs such as apparel and floral.

Apparel :: The internet is one great resource for finding heavily discounted wedding attire. Some great options include recycled wedding item websites, whereby couples sell their items used for their big day, including apparel. Another popular alternative is rental websites; you can rent apparel items for yourselves and the entire wedding party for a fraction of the cost of buying them. When you’re done, just bag them up and put them in the post… simple! Also, keep an eye out for discounts in department stores, and sample sales at local wedding apparel stores, as they often have big discounts on designer suits and dresses.

CoronadoWedding32Taken by Kristina Lee Photography

Invitations :: Making your own wedding invitations could save you hundreds of dollars. If you are the crafty sort, or can recruit a friend or family member who is, you can visit a craft store and get all of the supplies you need to create DIY invitations for very little money. Alternatively, there are numerous templates and online photo print companies that allow you to upload photos that can then be easily turned into wedding invitations with the click of a few buttons. This has recently become a very popular option, and a cost effective one at that.

Head over to the blog next week for part two of the ‘How to Have a Wedding for $1,000’ series, where I’ll be giving you even more suggestions as to how you can pull off a beautiful wedding that doesn’t blow the budget.

 

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

Wedding Planning Apps

Organization and staying sane is a priority for every newly engaged couple, and now you can put your smartphone to work for you with these awesome and time-saving wedding planning apps! Here is just a few of my favorites…check them out!

1. Appy Couple :: Free!

It’s almost like a wedding planner in your pocket. Easy to use app creates a wedding website that your guests can interact with easily. Upload info about the big day and help loved ones stay connected! Best of all? It’s super stylish!

2. Brides Wedding Genius :: Free!

An amazing resource for dresses and jewelry! Also, make sure to check out the travel section!

3. Fun Wedding :: $1.99

This app has extensive music lists to keep the party rockin’! Browse by decade or look by father/daughter dance, bouquet toss, etc.

4. Guest List Organizer :: $4.99

The easy import from facebook or your contacts make this app super easy and convenient.

5. Pinterest :: Free!

We know, we know. You are probably already as addicted to this one as we are! But it warrants a shout out here! If you haven’t checked it out yet…go. IMMEDIATELY!

6. Tie Right :: $0.99

If only I had a nickel for every time someone in a wedding party did not know how to tie their tie. Eliminate stress by adding this handy app to your groomsman gifts. It provides step by step tutorials on taming the elusive Windsor.

7. Wedding Countdown :: Free!

Anyone can tell you approximately when your wedding is going to take place. Having this app insures that you know what time you are walking down the aisle to the second!

8. Wedding Gawker :: Free!

Like pinterest, except all weddings! Most images are submitted by photographers so the are great quality and provide serious inspiration!

9. Wedding Scan :: $2.99

Create a wedding registry from multiple stores! In the store and spot an item you want to register for? This app lets you scan it right then and there and creates and cohesive registry for you online!

10. Wedding Snap :: Free!

Let your guests know to download the weddingsnap.com app and the pictures they take at your wedding with the app will download to your wedding album. Everyone gets to be your photographer and you don’t have to pick up any disposable cameras!

 

MRSter and Kimpton Hotels of AZ Celebrate Marriage Equality with a Free Gay Wedding Giveaway

APPLY TODAY!!!

MRSter is excited for the newly changed law that allows same-sex couples to get married in Arizona.

To celebrate, MRSter is producing a same-sex wedding giveaway in which one Arizona couple will be awarded a dream wedding.

To celebrate their long time support of the LGBTQ community, Kimpton Hotels of Arizona has joined MRSter and will be sponsoring the free wedding giveaway.

In order to enter, couples can submit their love story in the form of a short essay, video, or collection of pictures to catering@hotelpalomar-phoenix.com. Finalists will be selected by the events team at Hotel Palomar Phoenix and a winning couple will be announced in January.

“We are very excited about the new marriage equality ruling in Arizona,” said Jim Hollister, Director of Operations for Kimpton Hotels of Arizona & General Manager of the Hotel Palomar Phoenix. “What better way to celebrate than to give away an amazing experience to an Arizona couple who thought they might never see the day that they could get married in their home state?”

“We’re celebrating love in a big way,” said Cicely Rocha-Miller, Founder and Co-Owner of MRSter. “We are incredibly excited that Kimpton is supporting our effort to create awesome memories for all Arizona couples. We have always had a great relationship with Kimpton, largely because of their unwavering support for the LGBTQ community, and it just makes sense that we have joined forces and will be working together with them on this fantastic wedding giveaway event.”

The winning couple will receive a rehearsal dinner the night before their wedding at Firesky Resort and Spa. The ceremony and wedding reception will take place at the beautiful Hotel Palomar Phoenix at Cityscape. The couple will then be sent to enjoy a mini moon at Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona. For more information, email info@mrster.com

Rules and guidelines can be read here.