5 Traditional Wedding Items You Can Do With OR Without

I apologize to anyone who is involved with the wedding industry, especially if I convince someone to forego something you sell/make..etc. (I’m sincere). ūüôā

5 Traditional Wedding Items You Can Do With or Without. // Cue to Cue Mama

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how wedding marketing (or really, any marketing..) makes every decision a bride/groom decides seem like the most important decision of their lives. Don’t get me wrong…I love planning my wedding. I love planning events, in fact (a little ironic since I’m such an extreme introvert, but take note that I said I love¬†planning,¬†not necessarily¬†attending).

Wedding details make me swoon. My wedding Pinterest boards are a bit out of control. But none of these decisions are the most important decision of my life. It doesn’t matter what flowers I choose, or dress (gasp), or cake. I’ve been to several weddings in the last few years and frankly — I don’t remember the food (I remember I ate, but that’s about it). I definitely don’t remember the cake. I remember how beautiful the bride was (which didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the dress). But what I remember from each wedding is how good of a time I had (or didn’t have). I remember dancing. I remember laughing. I remember drinking (sorry, but it’s true). I remember celebrating!

This post isn’t to try and convince you to scrap any and every wedding tradition. And it certainly isn’t here to make you feel judged for it. But if you’re really trying to cut down costs, or you’re not one for tradition, or you just wanna challenge yourself with something new, here’s a few areas you can cut down.

#1 The Cake

 

Oh man, I am fascinated by cake-making. It is such an incredible skill (and one that I wish I had). In fact, one of the things I miss most about having cable are watching cake competitions. And there are so many beautiful, creative, and fun ideas when it comes to wedding cakes. So, if I haven’t established it enough already — I love wedding cakes. That being said, we’re probably not gonna have one. Cakes are crazy expensive (okay, I shouldn’t say crazy because I know they take an enormous amount of time, patience, and talent). But they also aren’t¬†necessary. And if you’re having a large wedding, cakes can really start to break the bank. There are so many creative ways to forego a wedding cake too. Dessert bars, donut cakes, oreo cakes, and cupcakes. If you really want a wedding cake, go for it. But if you’re not all that into it, it’s okay to skip too.

 

#2 Save the Dates

 

I made our Save the Dates and had them printed through Vistaprint, so they were cheap and easy. I knew we were going to have a bigger wedding {sigh…}, and a lot of those invited lived out of town, and we’re getting married on a holiday weekend. So, I thought Save the Dates were a little more useful for us because it was a mass way to communicate and help people prepare, if they actually wanted to make the trip. There have been plenty of weddings, however, that have done without the Save the Date, and it was just fine.

 

#3 Videography

 

Oh my goodness. This one is difficult because I loooooove a well-shot wedding video. Videography has gotten so complex and beautiful. It is probably the one thing I¬†wish we could fit in our budget. And while I think videographers are justified in charging what they do, it’s just not in the budget for us. So, I’m considering using Wedreel. Basically, anyone who has recorded anything at your wedding/reception can upload it to your site on Wedreel then editors compile everything together and make a cohesive wedding video. It’s obviously not going to be as smooth or “artsy” as having an actual videographer, but it can at least get the job done. My dilemma comes with the ceremony. I’m actually pretty fond of little to no phones out during the wedding. I like the idea of everyone being totally present for the ceremony because frankly, that’s the important part. So, I might just give one person the job of recording the ceremony, and then everyone can participate at the reception.

 

If you have a local college nearby, you can also reach out to the students. Many of them have demo reels they can share with you to show off their aesthetic, and since they are trying to build a portfolio, their rates will be severely discounted. (KU Film Department, here I come!)

 

#4 A DJ

 

Now, hear me out. A good DJ can make a great reception. However, there are so many tools now that, if they’re not in your budget, or you can’t find one that matches your musical aesthetic well, you can DIY it. Be mindful that DJs serve as more than just “master music players.” They also help transition the night’s events, get your crowd involved, and can troubleshoot equipment issues quicker than you can. I’ll be honest, this is a decision that I’ve gone back and forth on several times. However, if the budget’s tight, it’s possible to DIY it and still do great!

#5 Wedding Planner

 

I feel like I need to preface this one A LOT. After attending many a wedding, running the day of coordination for one, and now planning my own — wedding planners/day of coordinators are EXTREMELY useful. But if you’re a DIY bride, like myself, or a master organizer (also, like myself), you may feel like you can forego this service altogether, and you would be right. However, and a big however, if you forego the day of coordinator, the responsibility of chatting with vendors, making sure details are taken care of at both venues (if you’re having the ceremony separate from the reception venue), and helping the process of the day/evening move along will fall squarely on your or one of your friends/family’s shoulders. I’m lucky, one of my bridesmaids is an Event Planner/Coordinator (Check her out at Hyer Expectations), so I am lucking out big time with help, but if she wasn’t, I think I still would’ve sprung for at least a day-of coordinator. Now, if you really can’t add that to the budget, chat with a good acquaintance or delegate mini-responsibilities to your wedding party. ¬†My decision for having at least a day-of coordinator: I want my friends and family members to be with me, celebrating with me. I don’t want them having to scurry around and fuss over the details. So, while, yes, you can pass up on this, I would¬†really recommend that you don’t.

 

What are some ways you chucked tradition to save some dough? I’d love to hear in the comments!

How I Made My Wedding Invitations for under $150 {for a big wedding}

 

 

How I Made My Wedding Invitations for under $150 {for a big wedding} // Cue to Cue Mama

 

How I Made My Wedding Invitations for under $150 {for a big wedding}

 

I am a major fan of DIYing it in general. If there’s a way that I can figure out how to do it myself — I do it. Mostly because I like the challenge of it. However, as much as Pinterest would like you to believe it, DIYing is not always the most cost effective route.

When it came to our wedding invitations, I knew early on that I wanted to create them myself. At first I had the ornate vision of making my own pocketfold invitations, but then I realized the amount of work it would take (without any help), and with the amount of change and transition I’ve had in my life recently, I just wasn’t willing to do it.

So, then I thought of the graphic design/printable route. I scoured Etsy and found things that I liked but didn’t love (and don’t get me wrong, I think there’s way too much pressure on perfect when it comes to weddings. People, these invitations will get thrown away — stop looking for perfect).

However, I still wanted them to reflect¬†us, and nothing quite made that cut. So, designing them myself was it. If I was gonna design them, I had to find a printer and frankly, it needed to take little to no effort (yep, sorry…wedding invitations have a purpose, but they don’t need to take up hours of my time, thank you very much). That being said, Vistaprint it is. I know, some people have their aversions to Vistaprint, but I’ve only had good experiences with them and they ALWAYS have coupons!

Side note: I’m having a big wedding (150ish or more). Don’t really know how it happened, but it’s happening, so trying to afford anything, including invitations for a wedding of over 100 people, is daunting. Sure, those wedding invitation sites look nice but they also cost you nearly $500. They may be practical for under 100 people, but certainly not for over…at least in my little budget-conscious world.

 

#1 Sign up for Cash Back & Instant Coupon Sites

 

First off, before you start making any purchases online, sign up for Ebates and Honey. (And ¬†Swagbucks while you’re at it). Ebates & Swagbucks give you cash back for purchases (and they both had deals with Vistaprint) and Honey…oh Honey…my favorite plugin…EVER. Honey looks for coupon codes upon checkout on most sites — and this plugin ALWAYS finds me great coupon codes for Vistaprint (I got my Save the Dates printed for half off & it took nearly $40 off of my wedding invitations/RSVPs).

Now, that you’re all set up with those sites, it’s time to design your invite. This may seem intimidating. So, here’s my process (and I am NO graphic designer).

 

#2 Create a Pinterest Board

 

This is especially true for the non-graphic designer. Pinterest¬†can¬†be overwhelming, so I say go in searching for colors/themes, then you can start breaking it down to practicality. What info do you for sure¬†need to share with your guests? What kind of look/theme do you want (color or theme like “starry night” or “rustic vintage.” I’m telling you, whatever keywords you can think of, there’s probably someone on Pinterest who has too. Once you have a hefty board, start deleting any invitations that don’t serve the exact purpose you need.

 

#3 Search for Fonts/Clip Art

 

I love doing this. In fact, if I’m not careful, it can turn into quite the rabbit hole for me. My favorite place to find Clip Art is on Etsy. Some of my favorite sellers are:

As far as fonts go, you can use free fonts on sites like

Font Squirrel 

1001 Fonts

Da Font

Fontspace

But I am a font fanatic, so I follow Hungry JPEG which has a ton of fonts that affordable (sometimes even free) and they offer monthly bundles that usually offer several great fonts. Plus, they always have great clip art and crafting resources too.

 

#4 Design on a Site like PicMonkey

 

I love Picmonkey. I’ve used Adobe Illustrator, Power Point, and Word to make invitations and printables in the past, but I love Picmonkey. They offer so much (even with the free version) and if you decide to upgrade to the royale version (which is super cheap – $3/month, paid annually), they offer an even more extensive font selection AND you can toggle between their fonts and your own too! They also have great backgrounds, clip art images, and filters. There is so much you can do. Just go to Design, then choose the size you want (most invitations are 5×7) and now PLAY. For my RSVPs, I made a 4×6 postcard. To make that on Picmonkey, just go to Design, Custom Size, and then enter 1200 x 1800 pixels. And if you want to make a different size, use this easy peasy calculator. Make sure to change the DPI setting to 300 DPI (that’ll ensure you get a high quality image).

 

#5 Submit to a Printer like Vistaprint

 

So, for my invites — to cut down on waste (and price!), I decided to do two sided printing. Front side the invitation portion, the backside with Details (including reception venue info and website).

How I Made My Wedding Invitations for under $150 {for a big wedding} // Cue to Cue Mama

 

Then, I made the RSVP as a postcard (no extra envelopes!) I thought about going completely online RSVP, but I know several members of my family who wouldn’t do it/like it, so I figured I’d go the “let’s do both” route.

 

How I Made My Wedding Invitations for under $150 {for a big wedding} // Cue to Cue Mama

 

I created a jotform (I was going to use a Google Form, but I hated that I couldn’t create a custom link) and I earned more submissions (free accounts only get 10 submissions/month) by following Jotform on FB, Twitter, via email. That way, I can keep it free!

And after adding everything to Vistaprint and using Honey to find my coupon code, this is my grand total (and yes, it comes with 100 free 5×7 envelopes):

How I Made My Wedding Invitations for under $150 {for a big wedding} // Cue to Cue Mama

And there ya have it! What kind of tips and tricks did you use to save some cash on your wedding? Let me know in the comments below!

Amanda

4 Alternatives to a Typical Wedding Registry

For almost a year, we’ve been planning our wedding. Since we’re a bit of an unconventional couple, as well as being pretty well-established, a typical wedding registry didn’t really seem to suit us. We originally tried to do the “normal” thing, scanning items at the local Target, but then it just seemed like we were asking for stuff that we had no place for in our current living situation (an apartment with not much storage space). So, of course, I started researching alternatives. I’m not one to really be sold on¬†having to do something for the sake of tradition. If there’s a tradition, I want it to be meaningful, and frankly, registries just aren’t that meaningful to me. If you’re a couple that is looking for something a little different, here’s what I’ve found:

Honeymoon Registry

 

This is a controversial one. Some think it’s a great opportunity to support experience over stuff, while others think it’s tacky. I happen to think it’s a great idea. I think if you frame it as a, “we’d rather have money spent on experiences rather than stuff,” it’s more approachable and authentic. If you come off as, “We’re broke and want somebody else to pay for our honeymoon,” it’s a little more jarring and awkward, I think. Just a personal observation though. ūüėČ

E & I are using the Honeymoon registry through Disney, since we’ll be spending 10 days at Disney World (Eek! Yes, what can I say? We really are obsessed with WDW!) Here are some links to reputable Honeymoon Registries:

Disney Honeymoon Wishes

Honeyfund

Traveler’s Joy

Gift Card Registry

 

So, I had found a a gift card registry, but for whatever reason, they are no longer accepting new registries. ūüôĀ I was super bummed because I think this is a BRILLIANT idea. Especially for couples that are already established or the indecisive couple that isn’t ready to pick the type of china they want (or doesn’t want china to begin with…) So, since the actual registry site wasn’t available anymore, I created a Target registry, but only listed gift cards on it. ¬†I am the queen of flexibility, and gift cards offer that. By registering at a place that is convenient for nearly everyone, it allows people to access the gift cards easily. You can choose gift cards to Target for housing items, or experience gift cards (ie. Disney, just about any restaurant, Apple, Amazon, Southwest, etc..)

 

Donate to Charity

 

This is one of my favorite options. There are a few ways to do this – you can just pick a charity and request that people make a donation in your name. Or The Knot has a great option to choose a charity and if your friends and family purchase items on your registry through The Knot, they will donate a percentage to the charity of your choice. E and I chose to support the CASA organization. Or there’s the I Do Foundation, which creates a registry that allows your guests to make direct donations to the charity of your choice.

 

Screw the Registry

 

This is also a great option. No one is forcing you to create a registry. Just about every wedding website will tell you a must-do, but it’s not. Your wedding is YOUR wedding. Do it the way you want. If you do forego the registry, just be prepared for whatever gifts may come your way (which could be great!)

 

Did you use an alternative to the normal wedding registry? Let me know in the comments!

4 Alternatives to a Typical Wedding Registry // Cue to Cue Mama

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

*this post may contain affiliate links

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

I’m in full-on Wedding DIY mode (which includes the decoration part). I’ve always been a DIYer, but I’m not one to really reinvent the wheel. What I mean is, I love Pinterest because other people do the creative work and I reap the benefits! (Okay, that sounds super sleazy, and I certainly don’t mean it that way…but those of us who are lazy creatives, understand).

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of luminaries, always have been. I remember my mom and I always admiring paper luminaries around Christmas. Then, once I had Z, the movie¬†Tangled¬†came out, which has floating paper lanterns. And then, E proposed to me with…can you guess it? Paper luminaries!

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

So, not only have I always loved the look of them, but I love the simplicity of them, not to mention how budget friendly {cough, cheap, cough} they are, AND they have sentimental value to me. So, I plan to use them in as many places as possible at our wedding, and will probably save some of them for holidays after. Here’s the breakdown:

Supplies

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

 

Instructions

These will probably be the shortest instructions you will ever read.

  1. Trim the bag. My bags were 11 inches, and I trimmed them down to 9. This is a matter of personal preference. I just liked the look of the smaller bags.

    A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

  2. Punch the bag. What’s nice about the Martha Stewart punch is you can punch anywhere on the paper because all of the sides are open. I will say, make sure you leave yourself a few extra because you’ll need to figure out the best way to space the punches — particularly with punches like this. I would start in the left hand corner and work my way down diagonally, but it all depends on the type of pattern you’re going for.


    A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

  3. Put a battery-operated candle in the bag.

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

See that? Easy peasy! I’m convinced absolutely anyone can do this craft. So, get to it! Post your creations in the comments. I’d love to see them!