Jen Plans a Wedding

Follow me as I attempt to plan a wedding in just one year on a tight budget. I'll post tips, tricks, and advice that I learn along the way for others who are trying to do the same.

Location: Minnesota, United States

Friday, November 04, 2005

Reserve your reception place EARLY!

If there is one piece of advice that I can give newly-engaged couples, its to set the date early. That should go without saying....

But, if there is one piece of advice that I can give that will save you a ton of frustration AFTER you have your date set, its to reserve your reception place right away!

I was told this by SO MANY PEOPLE, but I assumed that since we were engaged so early and had so much time, that we would undoubtedly get our date without a problem. I was so wrong!

Our original wedding date was October 14, 2006. Now it looks as though it might be the 21st or 28th instead. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal unless you wanted your wedding to happen during the peak colors of the fall season.....we did.

So we are struggling to decide where to have our reception now....we have appointments at three different places for next week with three different possible wedding days. Take my advice.....reserve the place of your dreams EARLY.....there is no such thing as planning your wedding too far in advance!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cheap wedding websites!

Yesterday I talked about how a wedding website can make the little details of planning a wedding easier. Today, I thought I'd share a deal that I've arranged with the hosting company that I use for myself and my clients. If you have considered starting your own wedding website, but you want the control that comes from hosting it yourself rather than using a wedding website service, this might be just what you've been looking for!

First, I should mention that the domain name that you choose for your site will be free under this deal for a full year! So brainstorm away and find that perfect domain name and then head on over to the link below to register it for free! If you stay a customer of the company past the one year mark, you can continue to renew the domain name for free each year you are a customer too!

Second, I would never recommend a company for something as crucial as hosting to ANYONE if I didn't have complete and total confidence in them. I've used this company for over 5 years with absolutely no problems! The only times that I have used their awesome tech support has been when I've personally messed something up and they helped me fix it. I can guarantee complete reliability and satisfaction because that is exactly what I have had for the entire 5 years I have been their hosting customer.

Third, speaking of guarantees, they offer a bunch of them. First, you get a 97-day money-back guarantee so if you aren't satisfied just let them know and they will refund anything you have paid. They also have a "price-freeze guarantee" which means that you will NEVER pay more for your hosting than the day you signed up. In fact, they routinely ADD features to all accounts (extra disk space, extra bandwith, etc) just for the heck of it and never increase the price!

Fourth, the prices are so reasonable, you would be crazy to host anywhere else. The smallest account starts at just $7.95/month and that includes MORE than enough disk space and bandwith and other features for most anyone. You can also host as many domains as you like at no extra charge. Most hosts have limits to how many hosted domains you can have on an account, but here you can host as many as you like!

Fifth...and finally....if you decide that you want to add a blog, a message board, a shopping cart, or other cool script, you should know that there are several "one-click" installs that will automatically install the software on your server for free! It is so easy to get a fully-functional website up and running with this service.

Here's the really cool part.....use the promo code, BRIDE when you sign up and you will receive an additional $20 credited to your account! This means that you could effectively get nearly 3 months of service for free!

In sum:

Free domain name registration!
Only $7.95/month to host!
Money-back guarantee!
Price-freeze guarantee!
Awesome tech support!
Extra features added for free constantly!
One-click installs of great web software!
Additional $20 free with promo code, BRIDE!

C'mon your own site! I'll post more tips and resources for hosting your own site in the next few days! I have lots of free software, services, and other goodies that will make your wedding website really impressive!

Use this link to signup:Dreamhost and use promo code, BRIDEto get $20 bucks off!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Creating a wedding website

One of the great things about planning a wedding in 2005 is that we can really use technology to its fullest advantage. I'm creating a wedding website at the moment that will feature all of the pertinent wedding information like dates, times, maps, and more. This wedding site will save me and my family an incredible amount of time because it virtually eliminates those phone calls and emails asking for more details about various parts of the wedding weekend.

A good wedding website should have the following features:

*A great picture of the couple

*Dates & times of the wedding, rehearsal dinner, and other special events

*Maps to all of the locations of wedding events

*Information for the wedding party (deadlines for fittings, phone numbers of tuxedo rental places, times of appointments, etc)

*Contact information for you, your fiance, your families, in the event that someone needs to be contacted quickly. Be sure to include your email address!

*Wedding registry information (this is the one place where posting this information is appropriate).

You can also have a little fun with your site by posting cute pictures of you and your fiance when you were kids, or asking guests to contribute to a guest book of favorite memories. Whatever you decide to do with your wedding site, make it personal and representative of you as a couple, and people will add it to their Favorite Places in a heartbeat!

Where have I been lately?

I've been blogging on another service for a few months and plan to move those posts over here one by one as I get some time.

The wedding plans are coming together, and our newest project is getting a preliminary guest list put together with the help of all four parents. I don't know how many of you have ever tried to get four people all on the same page about something, but it has been difficult. So far, the guest list is about half done, but I'd like it if by Halloween we knew exactly how many people we are inviting so that we can make some definite decisions.

Be sure to stop by more often because I'll be sharing some new tips and resources that I've discovered in the past few weeks! They will save you money and time!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Money-Saving Tips

I'm desperately trying to find information on how to save money on our wedding, and I think I found a resource that should help. I came across it in my daily web travels, but I haven't bought it yet because her daily emails have been so full of good free advice. The e-book is called, Fire Your Wedding Planner, and Stephi Stewart, the author, writes the most amazing tips and stories in her free ezine. I'll buy the book eventually, but for right now, in our early planning stages, her free advice has been really helpful.

I've also been reading tips and tricks on The Knot and WeddingPages but the forums there are hard to read because they aren't presented in a standard extended threaded style like I prefer. If they were smart, they'd use a solution like PHPBB which I absolutely sure would make looking for money-related tips easier.

For now though, I've created an Excel spreadsheet for our budget and have modified it as I learn what things really cost. I've found that I overestimated some things and drastically underestimated others. I'd love to reduce the budget a little so that we might actually have some money left over after our honeymoon, but then I also think that we are only doing this once, so we might as well spend a moderate amount and have it be really nice.

As I find more information about money-saving ideas I'll post them for anyone else who is trying to plan the "party of all parties"!

Church or No Church?

One of the newest obstacles we have had to face is the choice between having our wedding in a church or at our reception place. This is a big deal in our families because D's grandfather was a Lutheran minister, and my family is Catholic.

Of the two of us, I am the only one who has been to church willingly in the past two years. Derek is not much of a church-goer, but ironically, he is the one pushing for a church wedding.

My view is based on practicality....I know how complicated planning this wedding will be, and since neither of us could be considered devout in our religious beliefs, it seems easier to get married in a short, Lutheran ceremony at our reception place, and then dive right into the party!

D (and my Dad, surprisingly) both think that a church wedding is the way to go...something about doing the "right" thing in having it at a church, and then "cutting loose" at the reception. Hmmm...I get nervous anytime my Dad and D seem too in sync in their opinions! :)

Whichever way we go with this, we have to make our decision soon. I've tried to get D to go to church with me so that we can select a church and minister once and for all, but when Sunday morning rolls around, all of a sudden he is all for the "all-in-one" solution at the reception!

Monday, May 23, 2005


(Note: This entry originally appeared on a different blog of mine. It has now been archived here at my permanent blog.)

Welcome to our wedding...or at least the planning stages of it anyway. D and I were engaged on March 13, 2005, after dating for over two years. I knew the ring was on its way, but he completely surprised me by asking me to marry him out of the blue one afternoon while we were getting ready to go to his Mom's house for dinner. As much as I love his family, I had to call my Mom first because I wanted her to be the first person to know...

D and I are among the last of our friends to get married. Most of them married people they met in high school or the early days of college, so we are a little behind. The fact that we are getting married later than most of our friends has actually worked out well for us because we have so many people available to give us advice.

Hopefully, anyone who visits this blog will get a pretty good idea of how we have decided to plan our wedding. With about 16 months until our wedding, we have some time, but we are starting to realize that this isn't something that we can throw together in a few weeks. We are getting ideas, advice, and opinions from many different people, and finding the ability to accomodate everyone's concerns will probably be an ongoing struggle as we plan the first day of the rest of our lives.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Stress + Wedding = Weight Gain!

It's official...I need to lose weight.

If there is one thing that has happened in the past few months (mostly since December when I was dealing with a lot of stuff completely unrelated to the wedding) is that I've gained weight...quite a bit for me. Two years ago, I weighed 20 pounds less than I do right now, and I remember how great it felt to be able to put most any clothes on and feel more.
The weight crept up slowly, and it was caused by a few things. First, my activity level over the Winter was pretty much non-existent. D and I did a great job of warming up the couch and not much else. I was also under a tremendous amount of stress and feeling very sad about my Grandma. I ate stuff that two years ago I wouldn't have even touched, and now my reward is 20 extra pounds of yucky fat.

D has been great...he hasn't said a word about it and when I've brought it up he has been supportive and not judgmental at all.

You know what has changed since I met D? I'm eating "boy food" in massive amounts....Do you know what "boy food" is? It's food in larger quantities (boy portions) that usually has extra cheese, extra sugar, extra everything....because its seems that guys can eat things in larger quantities that we women just can't get away with! :)

So, "boy food" + stress + wedding stuff + lack of activity = WEIGHT GAIN!

I've been doing some research on weight loss and trying to help increase my activity. The one step that I took was I ordered Core Secrets, the fitness ball and video set that I saw on t.v. one night while I was waiting for D to get home from work. At first I was a little discouraged because when I tried the introductory workout it was much tougher than I thought it would be. But rather than adhere too closely to the video, I selected some key moves that were best suited to some of my "problem areas". My favorite move is complicated to explain, but BOY DID I FEEL IT the next day! :) It involves laying over the ball, both hands on the floor, legs straight out behind you and moving them up while leaning forward. If you need to do some work on your butt, this is the one to do! Overall, I like the ball a lot, and I have to admit that seeing Brooke Burke on the video is really inspiring because she has the exact body I want and she has already had two kids!

I really recommend Core Secrets if you are looking for something new that really targets your stomach area. Every move seems to make my abs burn, and its kind of fun to just sit and balance on the ball while I watch t.v.!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

We've experienced a few changes....

Since I last wrote, some things have changed. Most importantly, my attention to the wedding has waned a bit since my grandma passed away. The thought of even having a wedding without her caused me so much pain, that I decided I needed to take some time away from it until I could get my head back into it....and everything else.

Since she passed away, I've been scattered....not able to really focus on anything. I've always had that problem to a degree, but since this has all happened, I've been having a hard time thinking about things that require a great deal of planning....I just can't get my head around it that things have changed so much.

So, D and I have decided to stretch out our wedding-planning a bit....well, actually by a lot. We are now getting married October 14, 2006 instead of Fall of this year. Just having more time to really plan carefully, and within our budget will be a big help. D is so great about helping me put with everything, but I know that it would cause an unnecessary amount of stress between us if we tried to pull this thing off this year, especially after having several weeks where we did absolutely nothing to plan for it.

If I have one piece of advice that I can give you today, its to take your time and think about your values. I value time with my family, with D, having relaxing time to myself, time to work on my other goals, and simplicity. I realize now that in my quest to have the wedding sooner rather than later, I was taking away so many other aspects of my life.
Bottom line: Your life shouldn't suffer because you are planning a wedding. Yes, it will be stressful, and there will be days when you feel consumed by it, but don't let it become something that detracts from your daily happiness. I always knew this, but now I understand it much more.
In the next few posts, I have some great practical wedding-planning information to pass on....
Take a deep breath...