Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! Did you know that was a thing? We didn’t either but now we’re in love with the idea. After all, who says no to a warm, cozy mug of hot cocoa?! Being the perfect seasonal beverage, we love the idea of having a build your own hot cocoa bar at your winter event or wedding this season. There are so many fun things you can include: Bailey’s, candy canes, all the marshmallows you could ever dream of… the list of possibilities is endless! So in honor of this national holiday, we’re sharing some of our favorite inspiration shots to help you dream up your own DIY hot cocoa bar this season! Cheers!
Okay guys, one thing I didn’t fully prepare myself for coming into this wedding planning thing? Contracts. There’s a contract for everything. Which makes sense, it protects both parties and makes sure that everyone is getting what they are promised and providing what’s promised. But when I first started, it was a lot. I didn’t really know what I should be looking out for. What red flags would look like, if I could negotiate… I knew nothing! So today I wanted to help anyone else going through, or preparing to go through this process and share the list of things that Melissa showed me to look for in a contract, using our venue contract as an example. Obviously, each contract will be different in some way, but there are a lot of general things to look for regardless of what it’s for.
First thing’s first. Make sure to double check the spelling of all names and that contact information is correct! This may sounds like a no-brainer, but I totally missed that Jaren’s name was spelled incorrectly when I initially read our venue contract and that my phone number was missing. It wasn’t until my second pass that I noticed. Details people! If you aren’t detail oriented, it would be a really good idea to have another set of eyes on your contracts, at least while you’re getting the lay of the land. I have Melissa read through all our contracts before we sign off on anything.
Also in this category is the location information. Make sure the address, date and time frame are all correct. If you’re using multiple spaces within one venue, make sure that is all listed our properly as well.
Deposits and Minimums
If there are any minimums with your venue, you should already be aware of them. However, make sure that they’re listed correctly on your contract. For instance, our venue has a per plate minimum for catering, so we double checked that the figure quoted aligned with what what reflected in the contract. There should also be a clear statement of what your initial deposit is. Make sure that this is something you can pay TODAY! You can’t sign a contract if you’re unable to fulfill the financial obligation, especially because a credit card declined or a bounced check usually results in an additional fee. Always fully understand what your deposit goes towards (it should be going towards your balance of the event). They’re usually non-refundable to definitely be committed before signing anything!
Most contracts will lay out your payment schedule for the remaining balance after your initial down payment. Really review this, understand it, and make sure that you can meet the outlined plan. If you have any questions, ask! There was an error on our original contract, charging us $1,000 more than we were quoted. That was fixed in the next revision but our payment schedule was not, so it looked like we were going to pay more than our wedding was supposed to cost. (See what I mean when I say it’s all in the details?)
We had to give our credit card information for them to keep on file. Know what they are and are not allowed to use this information for. On our authorization form we had options for what could be charged to the card, so we know that the remainder of our payments will automatically be charged on the agreed upon dates.
Food & Beverage
Our venue has catering included, so this part may differ if that’s not the case for other locations. Regardless, know what is and isn’t allowed. Health laws will most likely prohibit any outside food from coming onto the property. This includes alcohol. Some venues will make exceptions for things like wrapped candy if you’re planning on having a candy bar. Know what the penalties are if you want to change your guest count, date, or time of the event as this will also affect your food and beverage charges.
Allowance and Limitations
Once again, it’s important to know what is and is not allowed with your rental. Can you bring in outside decor? Can you hang lights from the ceiling or walls? Know your limits! Also know what you’re liable for in terms of damages, replacements, clean up fees, etc.
Another point to note is what is done in-house and what is done by third-party vendors. For example, our venue contract outlines that they do not have in-house audio-visual equipment, but can provide it from a third-party vendor with proper notice, charging us for the usage.
Any quiet hours should also be listed on the contract. If nothing is listed, I would inquire -- maybe they don’t have any, but it’s pretty unlikely. Know what these are and make sure it’s something that you’re comfortable with. If you’re night owls and quiet hours start at 9 pm, this might not be the best fit for you.
There should be a clear deadline listed for when you need to have your guaranteed guest count reported. Add this to your planning timeline (along with your payment schedule) so that you don’t forget! It would be a shame to pay for 70 plates if you only have 60 RSVPs yes. Wasted food and wasted money. No one wants that!
This will appear in probably every contract. Standard legal language removing liability should anything crazy or Earth-shattering occur. If this is something that freaks you out, you should definitely look into wedding insurance (more on that another day).
Keep a copy of everything! Every email, every draft and revision, and your signed copies. Know the dates that they were all exchanged and when deposits were made. Heaven forbid anything come to pass, you’ll need to have all of this information at the ready. Being the crazy organizational freak that I am, I have a two part system. I have a hard-copy of everything stored in our wedding binder (complete with color-coded tabs) and I also store a copy of everything in our shared “Wedding Planning” Google Drive folder. This is my favorite because I have it with me everywhere I go and can easily check on details even if I don’t have my binder with me. It’s honestly a control freak’s dream come true.
Not the most exciting installment this week, but I hope it can help some other couples making their way through the process! I promise that next week will be way better… we’re diving into one of the topics I’m most excited about: photographers and videographers!
December is in full swing and we’re busy wrapping presents for the upcoming holidays. This year, instead of spending money on all the gift tags at the store, we’re giving you some of our favorite in-house designs for free! We have four different styles, each of which come in a variety of sizes and are easy to print out and use at home. We hope they help with your holiday gift wrapping!
Happy Holidays from our Parsimony Inspired family to yours!
You’re engaged, yay! One of the first -- and frequently overlooked -- steps is to insure your engagement ring. Your fiance most likely spent quite a pretty penny on it, or maybe it’s a family heirloom. Regardless of its history, it’s extremely important that you get insurance on it as soon as possible. Why? You insure other items that are high in value: your home, your vehicle, your health… so it makes sense that this would go right along with those things, too. This way, you have a backup plan if something were to happen to your ring. Instead of losing thousands of dollars in the ocean on your honeymoon, you know you can file a claim with your insurance when you get home to recoup your losses to replace your ring. Going about acquiring your insurance for your ring can be confusing, there are lots of different options! So today, we’re going to break down all those details and help you make sense of what your options are.
There are two main avenues you can pursue for insuring your ring. The first is to add it onto your home or renters insurance as a “rider.” While home and renter insurance typically covers items within the home, it’s really only up to a certain dollar amount. That’s why it’s best to get a rider to cover your ring specifically to avoid any complications. The other option is to get an independent policy just on your ring, usually from a company that specializes in jewelry insurance. A big pro to this option is that they usually offer more comprehensive coverage than a rider would. So instead of just getting the cash, your policy may actually issue a replacement ring in the event something happens to it.
The first step in any process is usually to have an appraisal done. Make sure that you’re having this done with a licensed gemologist. There’s usually a small fee associated with this process. It’s also good to note that you should get your ring re-appraised on a somewhat regular basis. We recommend every two to three years to make sure your insurance coverage is still the right amount. In addition to your appraisal, some companies will require your original receipt as well as a copy of your GIA certificate.
What can I expect to pay?
Typically, most policies will include a premium that is 1-2% of the ring’s value. So if you have an $8,000 ring, you can expect an $80-160 premium. That being said, rates will differ depending on the cost and quality of the piece, your location, and your level of coverage. Shop around and see what different quotes you can get with different options.
Questions to Ask:
This is the time to ask all the questions! You want to make sure you have a full understanding of your policy and exactly what is covered and what isn’t. Are there any hidden stipulations? Now is the time to dig in and really get all the answers! Some of the questions we suggest asking include:
Is the ring covered if you lose it accidentally, or only if it's stolen?
How will the company replace the ring? Are you insured for a replacement or only cash? Will they require you to purchase a replacement through a specified jeweler? What happens if a suitable replacement cannot be found?
What if it's a vintage ring or other unique piece? How will the quality and size of your diamond—and that of a replacement if needed—be documented?
Is the ring insured to full cost or a fraction of it?
How will you need to prove the ring vanished if you make a claim?
Are there any circumstances of loss or damage that aren't covered?
Can you choose who repairs your ring?
Will you continue to be insured when out of the country?
Are you covered for damage or just loss/theft?
Will the policy adjust according to inflation?
What maintenance is required?
What services go towards a deductible?
Remember, if there’s anything that you’re confused about, uncomfortable with, or just unsure on, now is the time to ask!
Things to Remember:
If you opt to insure your ring through a rider on your home or renters insurance, make sure you remember to move your rider with you to your next residence! This is something that can easily be overlooked and forgotten, and unfortunately you most likely won’t remember until you need it most. A lot of policies will require regular cleanings and checkups on your ring, even if your policy doesn’t, we highly recommend getting into this practice because it’s the best way to catch if something is coming loose before it’s too late!
The holiday season is finally here! We’re so excited to be fully in the swing of decorating and we’re already dreaming up some ideas for our holiday table this year. As always, you can go as ornate or as simple as you want, but there are some key elements we love to include in all of our holiday tables this time of year! The first on the list is greenery. The natural greenery that matches the winter holidays is just perfect. With this as your base, you can really carry it through the holidays and into the winter as well. We also really like including candles. The just really give that warm, cozy feeling! Other things to think about are adding in pine cones, berries, or even some ornaments, bells, or candy canes. Go wild and create that perfectly magical winter wonderland right in your dining room!
Welcome back friends! Can you believe it’s time to start going over the events from month TWO?! Holy moly, time is just flying by. The first thing we’re addressing this month is the process of starting to develop the guest list. Ugh. To be honest, I had already started coming up with a rough idea of this months before we even got engaged… that’s just who I am. This whole thing is definitely my least favorite part of wedding planning and reminds me why I stopped having parties growing up.
The guest list is pretty much synonymous with stress. Being that we’re trying to keep things small, you know going into it that you’re going to end up disappointing some people. Being a people pleaser, it’s really rough going into things knowing that. While I would love to invite all our friends and family from near and far, we’re just not looking to have a 200 person wedding (or have the budget for something like that). So, with that being said, Jaren came up with a really great guideline for us to follow: anyone being invited to our wedding has to be someone we both know on a first name basis and are familiar with. The more I sat with it, the more I loved the concept. Anyone that’s going to be invited to such a small an intimate gathering should be someone that we’re both comfortable and friendly with. It’s truly the people that we can’t imagine saying “I do” without.
Even within our families, there have already been some potentially ruffled feathers -- which I was totally expecting. Being that I come from such a large, close-knit family, my numbers kind of shoot up right off the bat. Just my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins total around 20 people. They’re all people that I can’t imagine getting married without. My cousins aren’t like normal cousins, we’re incredibly close and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. We grew up with my two closest cousins in age living less than 5 minutes away. They’re practically a second sister and brother to me. So that was my non-negotiable family list. With that, there wasn’t much room to add in any great-aunts or uncles. That wasn’t to the pleasing of my grandparents at first, but luckily they’re very understanding and know we’re working with small numbers. Jaren’s family is much smaller and therefore he has a lot more flexibility to pick and choose who he really wants there. His numbers round out to be just under 20, so we’re pretty close on that front.
When it comes to adding friends into the mix, there’s not much room to play with. I think with our first round, we’re around 15 guests each, including plus ones, putting us right around our max guest goal of 70. It was difficult to make the decisions here, but at the same time, I tried to follow a similar mindframe as with my bridesmaid selection. Who are the people that I’m closest with in my life and really keep in touch with? The list kind of fell together and just felt right.
It’s funny to look back at some of the articles I’ve written pre-engagement and how my advice stacks up to what I’m actually doing. I actually looked back at my guest selection guide to help with the process. One thing that I hadn’t thought of before that has since been brought to my attention is having a secondary list. It’s possible that a lot of guests on our initial list may not be able to make it to the big day, which means we have two options: have a smaller wedding or add more guests to the list. Honestly, the idea of having a secondary list gives me anxiety too, because I’m worried that people are going to be offended if they weren’t invited originally but then get invited later on. But I would hope that on some level they would be happy to be invited in general. If not, they always have the option to say no.
With the wedding being almost two years out still, and save the dates not going out for quite a few more months, there’s always a possibility that things will change. That’s why I think it’s so important to develop your list early, so that you have time to tweak and really think about your choices. Right now, I’ve hit a point of acceptance where I’m trying not to overthink or stress over the guest list. With us not taking action on it for a few more months, there’s no use in fretting. I tend to be an overthinker, so instead of driving myself crazy, I’m focusing on the more fun and exciting aspects of the planning process! But more on that next week.
Picking your invitation suite can be a bit overwhelming, there are so many options out there! All the different styles, packages, and price points can be difficult to navigate. That’s why we’re going to break it all down for you today and share some of our favorite resources for purchasing your suite! Keep in mind, you can go as crazy or simple as you want. Your save the date cards do not have to match your formal invitations. Your invitations can be simple or comprehensive -- including components like song requests, hotel information, RSVP cards, registry information, and more.
Mode of Purchase
In our day and age of advanced technology, your method of creating your paper goods is somewhat limitless. You can pick a pre-designed photocard, a pre-designed photo-less card, or you can have something designed custom-made just for you. You can order cards and have them printed and shipped to you, or you can order a template and print your cards yourself. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective method, we suggest doing your research to compare what costs end up being if you do select a template. You’ll still want high quality printing, so most likely not done at home. Check out the cost to make prints at places like Staples or CVS, and also remember you’ll have to purchase envelopes on top of it compared to if you order pre-designed cards from somewhere like Shutterfly, where envelopes will be included.
Places to Check Out
There is such a wide variety of options for places to look! If you’re looking for something more unique and personalized, check out Etsy. Lots of shops offer templates or even personalized suites. While they’re usually still pre-designed, not as many people think to go somewhere small like individual stops on Etsy. That being said, there are so many options of templates for pre-designed suites on sites like Shutterfly, Mint, Basic Invite, Vista Print, and Simply to Impress are just a few of our favorite options. There’s room for upgrades like foiling or even clear invitations. You can get matching sets or opt to mix and match. Price will often vary upon the amount ordered. That being said, you really can create some beautiful suites. Most of these sites have so many color options within each design. You can create regular paper invites, magnet save the date cards, postcards, etc.
We’re big believers in starting the hunt early! Create a spreadsheet with all the details for your favorite options: where they’re from, the cost, and a direct link. Often times you can order free or inexpensive samples to make sure you’re going with your favorite option. Starting the hunt early also means that you can watch for any sales or coupon codes coming down the pipeline. Regardless of what you choose, your invitation suite should be a reflection of you and your partner’s style, so have fun with it and choose what suits you best!
Showing off your style as a bride is such a fun part of the wedding planning and designing process! But when it comes to your attire for the day, expenses can stack up realllllll fast. Who would’ve thought that shoes would be so dang expensive?! We love a good shoe, but realistically, you won’t really be able to showcase those stunning heels under your wedding dress. Keeping that in mind, it’s hard to swallow the price tag on a lot of those Instagram-worthy shoes. That’s why we did a round up of our favorite places and styles of shoes that won’t break the budget for your big day! We love shopping for shoes at places like DSW, Famous Footwear, and Off Broadway to really find a good deal. You can usually find sales and even coupons for places like this versus going directly to somewhere like Steve Madden. While it can be hit or miss, check out your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls too, you can find some great steals there! While all the shoes shown here are going to be more traditional bridal whites and off-whites, shoes are a great way to bring in a pop of color or even your “something blue,” so definitely keep that in mind during your shoe hunt.
The holiday season is here and finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be quite the struggle! That’s why we’re making sure you’re completely covered for ideas this year. We decided to put out five different gift guides, one for each group of special people in your life! They may be little, but you can’t forget your little furry friends. Whether you’re looking to go all out or just something little, your four-legged friends want to celebrate the festivities too!
The holiday season is here and finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be quite the struggle! That’s why we’re making sure you’re completely covered for ideas this year. We decided to put out five different gift guides, one for each group of special people in your life! Finding something fun for your girls is a game all of its own. Whether you get something for each person or all go in for a gift swap, there are so many great options to choose from that they’ll all love! Whether they’re into makeup, fashion, home decor, or something else entirely, we have you covered this year.
The holiday season is here and finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be quite the struggle! That’s why we’re making sure you’re completely covered for ideas this year. We decided to put out five different gift guides, one for each group of special people in your life! Today we’re shopping for our significant others. Picking a gift for the one you love most can be deceptively difficult. Honestly, we always think this one is going to be a breeze and then end up stumped. So if you’re in the same boat this year, check out these suggestions! There’s lots of cute things you can do together to really focus on strengthening your relationship. Think experiences and memories versus material things!
The holiday season is here and finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be quite the struggle! That’s why we’re making sure you’re completely covered for ideas this year. We decided to put out five different gift guides, one for each group of special people in your life! Does anyone else wish they were a little kid again and could just get their siblings something they secretly wanted, too? Now that you’re grown up and trying to find something to suit their taste and lifestyle, picking a gift isn’t necessarily so easy anymore! Regardless of their personality and your budget, there are some really great picks any sibling is sure to love.
The holiday season is here and finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be quite the struggle! That’s why we’re making sure you’re completely covered for ideas this year. We decided to put out five different gift guides, one for each group of special people in your life! First up, your parents. Parents are honestly some of the hardest people to shop for (in our humble opinion). They’ve been crushing the gift giving game for so long and have done so much for you, so what really reciprocates all that and properly expresses your gratitude? We’re sure they’ll love whatever you get them, but here are our top picks this year!
We love a good deal, but sometimes Black Friday can just be waaaay too much. This year, we’re skipping the stores and opting for something a little different. That’s what Cyber Monday is for anyway, right?! There are so many other options for ways to spend your day. We love the idea of starting a new tradition for your future Black Fridays!
Have a Movie Marathon
Who doesn’t love an excuse to stay snuggled up on the couch all day watching movies? Pair that with being the day after binging on all that delish Thanksgiving food and you have yourself a winning agenda! Get a jump start on the holiday season with your favorite winter or Christmas movies or go for one of your favorite series. We’re suckers for a good Harry Potter marathon!
Try Some New Recipes
Big fan of spending time in the kitchen? Maybe you didn’t get your fill on Thanksgiving. How about finally making that recipe you’ve been dying to try? Or if you’re stuck with a bunch of recipes and looking to try something a little different with them, check out our article on some fun and innovative recipes using your Thanksgiving leftovers!
Cut Down Your Christmas Tree
With Thanksgiving officially behind us, we can now start the winter holiday season prep! This is actually a tradition we had growing up. Most tree farms open on Black Friday and going to cut down your tree right off that bat means you have ample time to enjoy it and you have your pick from all the fresh trees! It’s such a fun experience and can help kick those post-holiday blues by jumping right into the next round.
A lot of people will volunteer their time closer to the winter holiday season, or on Thanksgiving itself, but the truth is that volunteers are needed year round. After spending the day celebrating how thankful you are for everything in your life, it’s a very humbling and grounding experience to go out and volunteer to help those less fortunate. It may just be a couple of hours of your time, but it can mean a world of a difference to someone else!
We’re always down for a self care day. Instead of treating yourself to Black Friday shopping, treat yourself in a different way! If going to a spa isn’t in the budget, try an at-home spa day. A bubble bath, some body scrub, mani/pedi… sky’s the limit! Snuggle up with a good book and just take the down time to really relax and recharge before the last month of the year.
Welcome back friends!
Today we’re going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: picking your bridal party. If I’m being honest, this is something I’ve thought long and hard about for years. And in that time, a lot of people have changed on the list! When we decided to keep the wedding small, I knew that it also meant that I would want to keep my bridal party small. I have so many amazing friends that I would love to have stand by my side for my big day, but if I had them all up there, who would be our guests?!
There are a lot of politics involved, and I really didn’t want to deal with that. I know we’re going to deal with that when it comes to trimming down the guest list. This should be a fun and simple choice. Traditionally you don’t need to pick your bridesmaids until the 9-12 month mark. But seeing as we’re two years out, I’m stretching the timeline a bit and didn’t want to wait that long (especially because they already knew!). That’s one of my favorite parts about having all this time before the wedding, I can really take my time to ensure that I’m doing things exactly how I want, and I have way more flexibility in when they get done. You can see our traditional one year timeline here and my modified two year timeline that I’m following here! So the decision came down to this: who am I the closest with? Who are those people that I talk to constantly and trust with my life? Like I said, there are so many great friends who would be wonderful bridesmaids, but three people were miles ahead here. My sister, my cousin (who is like a second sister), and my best friend for as long as I can remember (who is also like another sister).
At first I didn’t like the idea of having an odd number of bridesmaids, but I decided that the number isn’t what matters. I don’t have anyone else that I would put on that same level and if I started to branch out, I felt like I would get into that territory where I could potentially hurt someone’s feelings. I know it’s no fun to expect to be in someone’s bridal party and then not get asked. So by keeping it nice and small, I felt really confident in my ladies. Not that I need to justify my choices to anyone, but sometimes with the politics of wedding planning, it really feels like you do! I know that people will look at my bridal party and think “oh yeah, that makes total sense.”
So this was all my thought process before I even had that ring on my finger. Which meant that they all knew it and once we were engaged, I had to backpedal a little bit! Even though they knew I would be asking them, I still wanted to get them each a little something special because you only ask your girls to be your bridesmaids once! So to Etsy I went. I went personalized everything, because why not. Cute little boxes with their names on them, makeup bags with their names on them, knot bracelets with their initial on them, and probably the most perfect card I could ever find. “Now act surprised like you had no idea this was coming.” I’ll take three, please.
I think it’s so fun to get your girls a little something, especially knowing all the time and energy they’re going to be putting into helping you with your big day. Nothing crazy, but just a little something that says “I appreciate you!” I’m so lucky to have three amazing ladies to make up my tribe and so happy they all said “yes” to standing by my side! That’s a wrap for the month one breakdowns, but be sure to stay tuned because we’re only a couple weeks away from diving into month two and all things guest list, photographer, and more!