Category Archives: {budget resources}

Thrifting Bride

{ignore the writing on the blue bag – the pic was cute so whatev}

I’ve definitely developed quite the thrifting skills since I’ve been engaged. For the past year and a half I’ve scoured the shelves of Value Village, Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul’s.  Oh, and yard sales – when applicable. The vintage fluff and knick knacks you can find really are amazing, so whatever preconceived notions (e.g., thrifting = grungy) you may have – get rid of them.  Secondhand stores are quickly becoming the new fad, don’t you know? Plus, it’s green, saves YOU money and allows the DIY bride to do her thing (I really wanted to put thang, but then realized I wasn’t 14).  And there is definitely an art and a skill set to develop when taking on this endeavor, though consistency alone will get you far.

Anyway, my current thrift obsession right now: vases. 


I’ve mentioned before how I love the look of multiple vases and minimal flowers.  And from all the budget + wedding blogs I’ve rummaged through (much like my resale stores), there tends to be a consensus that says it’s the cheaper way to go. Oh yeah – and I need vases + jars for my candy bar. Perfect.

My top two reasons for the large amount of vases + jars for my wedding:

1. Flowers die so you don’t need to spend an outrageous amount of money on them to get a cool look for your reception tables. 

2.  The thrifty vase idea is chic + trendy. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to sell them as a package via Craigslist.  Ah the beauty of a virtual yard sale!  You’d be surprised at the stuff I’ve searched for and found on that site – vases, mason jars, left over wedding candles, Chinese paper lanterns . . . you get the drift.

Below are a few links and some tips for the newbie thriftier bride (hint: also take this into consideration for flea markets):

Thrift shops in Yakima – my favorite is The Olde Lighthouse Shoppe, which didn’t make that list

A few more on the outskirts

Flea Markets

Virtual Yakima yard sales

Real life Yakima yard sales 


10 Tips for Shopping at Thrift Stores via The Bargainist

 1. Don’t be afraid of used. If you’re not a veteran of thrift shops and garage sales, you might be someone who only buys new stuff. Break free from that predjudice, because even if it’s been owned before, an item can be perfectly good (sometimes great) — and more importantly, it costs much less.

2. Be willing to spend a little time looking. Thrift shops can have some real gems — but sometimes they’re buried in piles of stuff you’d never consider buying. You’ve got to search, to sift, to rummage, to be patient. In fact, you may have to go through several thrift shops before you find what you’re looking for, if you’re picky. Think of it as a journey, not a quick stop, and you’ll find many more great things.

3. Sell your old stuff for credit. Before you go to a thrift shop, pull a bunch of old clothes from your closet, old books and magazines, anything you don’t need anymore. Put them in some boxes, and sell them to the thrift store for credit. You’ve purged a bunch of clutter while allowing yourself to get some great used stuff for free.

4. Bring cash. Most thrift stores don’t take anything but cash, so if you’re used to using plastic or checks, be sure to remember to stop at an ATM and get some cash.

5. Shop outside of cities. If you live in a city, you might find that most of the thrift shops closest to you have been picked through thoroughly. Many times the thrift shops in cities don’t have much to offer. But drive a few minutes just outside the city, and you’ll find many more great things. It may be wiser to wait until you’re going outside the city, and take advantage of that trip by stopping at thrift stores in the area.

6. Go with friends. Make it a fun outing. Hunting for great stuff in thrift stores with friends can be a real blast. Even if you don’t find anything, if you’ve spent a good afternoon with friends, making jokes and making fun of the stuff in the stores… well, it’s not a wasted day.

7. No dressing rooms. Most thrift stores have no place to change. So be willing to eyeball it and alter the clothes later to fit better. Or wear a tight-fitting tank top so you can try shirts on over it.

8. Look beyond the surface. Furniture, especially, can be scratched up, but still be a great find. Instead of paying attention to the nicks and scratches, consider how it’ll look if you sand and varnish, or give it a fresh coat of paint. Sometimes an hour of work can make it as fresh as new.

9. Enter your zip code on this site and you’ll get all the thrift shops in your area, ratings and reviews of each, and tons of great info.

10. Test things out. If you’re buying electronics, insist on testing them. For toys with batteries, open up the battery case to see if there’s corrosion. Look closely at other items. A few defects are OK, but you want to look closely, because you don’t want to take it home and find that it’s useless.

 Thrift it. Find it. Love it. Own it.

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Filed under Budget, candy bar, centerpieces, decor, green, inspiration, Reception, {budget resources}

Wedding Venue Cost Calculator

Found this helpful article and wonderful little tool, courtesy of Blue Orchid Design – felt the need to share, enjoy!


I’ve talked about the plus/plus rate and the hidden costs in wedding budgets on this wedding blog before, but in case you missed that post, plus/plus, in a nutshell, stands for plus tax, plus service charge. These figures are in addition to the cost your venue or caterer will quote you for your wedding.Wedding Venue Cost Calculator. The calculator is an excel spreadsheet that you can download for free. Don’t let the word spreadsheet intimidate you: all of the instructions (it’s pretty easy) are included.  The calculator also has space for you to compare the cost of three different venues so you can see at a glance which is the better deal.Download your free wedding venue cost calculator here.

In order to help you figure out what your real costs will be for your wedding location, I’ve created a

If you have any trouble downloading the calculator, try right clicking and selecting “save target as” and then opening after it’s saved.

I realize that talking money and calculators isn’t the most glamorous or inspirational part of wedding planning, but having a grasp on all the logistical details will help your day run smoothly.


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Filed under Budget, Catering, finances, planning, tidbits, venue, {advice}, {budget resources}

On a Budget:: Centerpiece Inspiration

Awhile back, one of my fellow Yakima brides, Chelsea, contacted me with the following question:

Hey Kadee! I love reading your blog! I’m getting married 7-10-10 and I cannot for the love of me figure out what to do with our centerpieces. We’re having an outside reception at a winery and are on a budget. Any ideas? I feel like I’m on the verge of a bridal meltdown and need a fellow brides opinion. Let me know if you have any ideas!
P.S I’m a Yakima bride too!

I thought this was a really good question, timely and useful for brides with budgets big and small.  Thank you for posing the question Chelsea, I hope the below resources will help you out a little.  Oh, and if you ever feel on the verge of a bridal meltdown, check out my personal episode here — just wanted to give you someone to sympathize with ;).

1.  Spray paint some branches to include in your wedding arrangement and minimize the use of flowers.

manzanita wedding tree centerpieces crystal tree orchid tree

DIY Instructions + Tutorial

more branch inspiration

2. Utilize candles in the centerpiece arrangements – they’re cheap and beautiful when lit.

varying heights candles

Wedding Candle Centerpiece Ideas here 

and here

3. You can have an arrangement with only a few flowers and decorate the vase with fruit instead.

lemon roses centerpiece

Fruit Centerpiece Ideas here

and here

4. Go with Simple + Sophisticated.  Order your flowers wholesale and keep your centerpieces minimal — more vases, in varying heights and sizes, and less flowers can look very chic and is an inexpensive way to fill space on the table. 

{this is my plan}

Wholesale Flower Info


{look into Costco for wholesale flowers and  local thrift shops for your vases}

5. Get creative with Carnations.

carnation centerpiece ideas

design ideas

 For more ideas, see what other brides are saying , look into DIY alternatives (don’t forget video tutorials), or just keep wading through the mounds of wedding photos  available on Google for inspiration . . . and maybe, just maybe, an idea will spark.






Filed under centerpieces, DiY, Flowers, green, inspiration, Reception, {budget resources}

Money Matters


I found this wonderful new site called The ManRegistry which — you guessed it — caters to the groom’s side {perspective} of the wedding . . . what they should expect, bachelor party etiquette, best man speeches + other areas of the honeymoon I won’t mention here ;).  Initially I ventured to this site to read up on the “Money + Marriage” articles but ended up finding SO MUCH useful information that I’m going to split that little journey up into two posts:  1. Financial Issues + Marriage, and 2. Groom Responsibilities . . . good reads for both males and females in the wedding  zone.


School loans. They’re a pain. My guy and I both have them. We also have our own credit cards and other financial woes that we brought into this relationship.  I’ve been thinking about these issues a lot lately.  Are we supposed to open a joint account when we’re married? Am I supposed to pay for his Nike shoe obsession and is he supposed to front the money for my happy hour dates with the girls? What a mess . . .

According to the experts over at ManRegistry, “statistics say that finances are the number one topic that married couples argue about . . . money is always a very touchy subject, especially if you don’t have a lot of it.  This is generally the case for newlyweds who are just starting out.”

In an interview session with It’s A Jamie Thing, MR suggested sitting down with your honey and discussing some of these tough financial topics before you say “I do”, in order to avoid problems in the future.  Below, are a few major issues couples face and the MR guys’ recommendations for each one.

Should we combine our finances after getting married? 

Not every couple combines their finances after getting married, but our answer to this question is yes. First, determine who the money manager is going to be in the family or if you’re going to split that duty. From there, we recommend creating joint checking and savings accounts and keeping personal checking accounts for each of you. By doing it this way, you can split common bills and still have “mad money” to spend on your own things.

It takes every couple awhile to get used to the “my money is your money mindset” that comes along with marriage, but if you can stay organized – it won’t be a difficult transition.

How much should we be saving from our paychecks? 

 If you haven’t noticed, our economy hasn’t been the most stable over the past year. The recovery has been nice, but we all have learned just how important saving for rough times can be. Depending on incomes, 30% is a great amount of net income to put away in savings/investments each month. Obviously, every couple isn’t going to be able to put aside that amount, but you’re doing yourself a huge favor even if you can only do 10% each month.

We both are bringing debt into the marriage, how should it be tackled? 

 Don’t freak out if you’re bringing debt into marriage. More couples do than don’t and there are ways you can tackle the debt together. The first and most important step is to be upfront and honest with each other about how much debt you each have. We recommend creating a chart of spending habits (it’s lame, but it works). This chart will help you both identify places you can cut back each month. If it’s an option, we highly recommend speaking to a financial planning professional. A financial planner can look at your debt and interest rates and help you plan where to begin paying down.

What should we do with all that cash we get as wedding gifts? 

Who doesn’t love cash? You’ll definitely be seeing green after the wedding as cash remains the most common wedding gift that couples receive. There’s nothing wrong with splurging a little with the new found greenbacks, but this might also be a great time to create that joint savings account we talked about earlier. The wedding cash would be a great first deposit. Depending on how much you get, you could always pocket a few hundred for honeymoon drinks and save the rest!

Okay great information but now the question is how do you get your man to talk about these issues {it’s not always easy, is it ladies?}.  Well not to worry, these guys have a pretty simple answer to that too!


Yes, {Financial} Football . . . the way to every man’s heart (well, mine anyways:) ). MR suggests for grooms to think of their “marital finances in football terms”. Check out their post to see how they suggest you “play the game”!

What a refreshing take on this whole financial dilemma that no married couple can escape.  I really feel better reading their articles and more prepared having expert advice to take into the conversation. So ladies, send your grooms on over to The ManRegistry . . . it’s okay if you want to take a peek too, you know I did  {pretty sure I’ll be a return visitor too} :).



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Filed under finances, Groom Resources, pre-wedding, {budget resources}

Budget Resource of the Day #5 – Knowledge

Budget Resource of the Day: Knowledge 


propse  plus_signknowledge paradigmequalscashforclunkers

Okay, this may seem more obvious than the ‘coupons’ post but knowledge is going to be your greatest asset going into the planning period.  The better ideas you have about what you want vs. what you don’t want, mistakes to avoid, how to protect yourself from scams, the items that are within your budget vs. how to cut the costs can all stretch your dollar a little further while making it the wedding of your dreams.

 As always, I’ve listed a few things every bride should keep in mind before signing any contracts, buying in bulk, or getting too far in the planning process.

#1 – Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

7 mistakes to avoid {pic from’s article}

Over at, I found this little list of 7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid, a culmination of advice from brides who’ve been there, done the wedding thing. This list avoids the obvious wedding pitfalls that can ruin the day (i.e. the cake doesn’t arrive, the venue catches on fire, etc.) and goes for the more “subtle wedding miscalculations . . . that even the most well-organized, well-meaning brides and grooms can fall prey to.”

One of my favorites on this list was about the rehearsal dinner. You never hear too much about this occasion, so I find any information on it very enlightening as a bride myself.  The article suggests varying the style of your events (wedding vs. showers vs. rehearsal dinner, etc.) in order to keep it fresh and allow your guests to have fun throughout ALL the festivities.  Allow a casual barbecue party and encourage guests to show up in shorts and sandals and “dance to mariachi music”.  I know this may not seem like a budget tip but varying your style will leave an essence of surprise for your guests on the actual wedding day and allow you to get the most ‘bang-for-your-buck’ {and your guests} on the big day.

Read the full article here  in order to eliminate the “if-onlys” and learn some lessons on your wedding day!

#2 – Save Big Without Skimping

engaged cost cutting tips {pic from’s article}

Also a courtesy of, comes their list of the 40 Best Cost0Cutting Tips for Your Wedding Budget.

The first item on their list: extend the engagement.  They say that “a longer planning period means a better chance of getting the best vendors in your price range” as well as locking in rates “that might increase by the time your wedding date arrives.”

Short note: With a loooong engagement period myself {two years by the time we get married}, I’ve also come to find that a longer engagement period allows you to gather plenty of ideas and sort out the ones you don’t need {which I seemed to want them ALL in the beginning when everything was new} – – it gives you time to get over the trends and focus on what makes you guys ‘you’!

A few other wise ideas on the list: avoiding a Saturday night soiree (good if you don’t have guests traveling); using a multipurpose venue (no transportation fees); use non-floral fillers (remember my post on this?) and minimize ceremony décor (guests only see them for an hour or two – so stick to the basics).

Read all 40 tips here!

#3– Avoid Wedding Scams

scams{pic from’s article}

Scams are everywhere these days {especially in this economy} and the wedding industry is not immune.  In this Wedding Scams article from (yes, again), the writers share a shocking story about a real life couple scammed by a no-show band on the big day.

The article goes on to note that “while no government agency specifically tracks wedding-industry scams, Sheila Adkins [of the Better Business Bureau], says that wedding-dress shops accounted for 1,016 of the 758,928 complaints filed nationwide in 2005.” As far as other wedding-related businesses, Adkins says that photographers accounted for 1,301 complaints which was {closely} followed by florists and limousine companies . . . yikes!  Alan and Denise Fields of Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget estimate that “as much as 10 percent of wedding costs is eaten by industry fraud.”

This article isn’t meant to scare you or to make you second-guess every vendor you come in contact with, it’s simply to make you aware — there are plenty of genuine businessmen & -women out there to work with . . . just make sure you find those ones!

More scamming articles to check out: shines a light on the hidden B.S. that accompanies many industry contracts and shows you how to save and what to look out for at your gift registry – and you thought you were safe!

#4 – Learn From Others

I found a new blog {I’m hooked on} called The Green Bride Guide written by a husband + wife team who planned an eco-friendly wedding in 2006.  My reason for falling in love with this blog: her Lessons Learned section.


One major thing she pointed out on her line up, that I feel the need to share with everyone, is her “cleanup advice = communicate.”  Kate {the brain behind the blog} shares “that no matter how good your intentions are, it is essential to give the cleanup crew a list of what you want saved (the candles, the charges, the framed table numbers, etc.) or some recyclable/reusable/resalable things WILL go into the trash can.”  She goes on to share that she lost almost $1,000 worth of decorations due to a lack of communication in this area – – who would ever know to do that unless they’d heard it from a past bride?

That’s it for budget week! The bottom line: research as much as you can, talk to family members and friends for referrals and things to avoid + get to know your vendors before you sign contracts. This time in your life is supposed to be fun and enjoyable!

Stay tuned next week for: Deals Around the Valley 🙂



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Filed under Budget Friendly Blogs, {budget resources}

Budget Resources #4 – DIY

Budget Resource of the Day: DIY Inspiration

If you don’t know, DIY stands for Do-It-Yourself and it has become quite the phenomenon in the wedding world.  It wasn’t until I was introduced to the ‘blogosphere’ that I discovered the true art of DIY and how to make it work for the big day.  Saturated with forums, journals, websites + plenty of how-tos, the internet is a wonderful resource to get inspired + learn from others. 

While DIY may have started out as a budget resource, it has quickly turned into much more.  The whole process can help you develop new skills and render an enormous feeling of satisfaction when you see your results. To me, this is worth far more than the money-saving satisfaction that comes with it.  It’s like cooking in the kitchen vs. eating out – you save money, build skills and enable self-expression.  {i guess this is my form of ‘cooking’ — sorry honey :)}

Whether you’re a reluctant bride reverting to DIY out of necessity or an avid do-it-yourselfer, these sites below will help you generate unique ideas and {hopefully} make the DIY process a little easier.

Love at first {web}site! iDiY {yes, another blog :)} is written by three women who, throughout their own wedding planning, “stumbled across dozens upon dozens of amazing sites that inspired [them] creatively” and now, they want to share their goodies with other DIY brides.  Full of tutorials, how-tos & free downloads you’re sure to fall in love too!

When I visited iDiY this morning, I was greeted with a delightful array of greens and yellows – reminiscent of a childhood lemonade stand. Complete with templates, this post is perfect if you plan to have a pre-ceremony lemonade-cocktail hour or are using the yellow/green hues for your wedding theme {so cute!}.


Another cute gift idea, handmade love for your BM’s!


bbuble bath - idiy

{a little bubble bath appreciation}

Like the idea of jumping on the DIY bandwagon now? Well, here, let me introduce you to this crafty little lady: Martha Stewart and her exclusive MS Weddings website.  With a brand new DIY Center, MS Weddings offers every DIY project you can imagine. My current fave: this Paper Garland Canopy  . . . so easy to add a pop of color to the ceremony!  No one does it quite like Martha 🙂


MS - paper canopy

Other resources: Check out my Real Wedding: Tori + Chad. Tori’s wedding was full of projects she created herself and you get to see how she used them throughout the ceremony and reception. Other great blogs are Budget Savvy Bride {forced to get creative on a small budget}, My DIY Wedding Day and Wedding Planning With Joy {check out her clay flowers}!   

I hope you enjoy these projects and resources as much as I do!

Take care . . . see you tomorrow!



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Filed under Budget Friendly Blogs, DiY, {budget resources}

Budget Resources #3 – Coupons

Budget Resource of the Day: Coupons

clipping coupons


I know it may sound obvious but don’t forget to look for coupons before you buy! Quite the little detective {& internet freak}, I search the web up, down and sideways looking for deals ::always lurking:: on items or websites before I buy and so for me, the wedding search&purchase game is no different.  Planning a wedding on a budget gives you reason to save every penny you can + a {smart} tactic that can be a big help financially.  There are plenty of coupon/code sites on the net that are outdated or difficult to navigate + paper ones {though always pretty good} don’t always come at the appropriate time for you needs. 

So, I’ve taken the pleasure of finding a few sites that, without a doubt, trump the top of the list and are particularly useful for bride- and grooms-to-be.

||Look to the right: there are new sites inhabiting my link section — wanted to make it all a little easier on you guys ;)||


This is one of the first coupon sites {they also do sale alerts}I discovered and was happy to find it catered to some exclusive wedding forums!

For My Wedding Favors they are currently offering codes for free shipping on $80 or more and another one for 10% off entire purchases.

my wed favors - coasters 

 Use the 10% off code on these natural bamboo coaster favors — perfect for the eco-friendly couple + their guests.


At the Wedding Channel Store, let your guests in on the photography fun at your reception with these disposable cameras ranging from 15-40% off original prices.

 wed channel -camera

Other notable places on WWW.SAVINGS.COMThe Knot Wedding Shop and are two other wedding sites featured with coupon codes as well as  Macys (good for toasting flutes + cake serving sets) and Ebags if you need luggage for your honeymoon!

My Craft Coupons  

This resource is actually a blog and it came by way of my Real Bride, Tori Blizard {thank you}.  My Craft Coupons is written by a young woman who – working on a teacher’s salary – is always on the prowl for new to ways to save a buck in order to purchase her first home.  Her site is especially useful for those DiY savvy brides as her coupons consist mostly of Michaels ::my fave::, Jo Ann’s, Hobby Lobby + AC Moore

Michaels - invite

::Michaels Creation::

Added Bonus: MCC writer recently launched a sister blog titled My Mall Coupons to include shops such as:

Victoria’s Secret

VS pink lotion

{smell lovely on the big day}

*pink body lotion – 1 oz free*

Bath and Body Works

B&B travel size

{useful for your honeymoon travels}

*free travel size item with purchase*


kmart - candles

Candles & Frames for reception and/or gift ideas

*$5 off $50 purchase*

.::I Saved the Best for Last::.

I think everyone should be introduced to RetailMeNot’s fantastic little site.  This fairly new coupon source offers a collaboration of online discounts, coupons and promotional codes for the budget-savvy shopper.  Their shop lineup includes industry ‘bigs’ such as: Starbucks; Victoria’s Secret; Old Navy + Amazon {to name a few}.  Easy to navigate and user-friendly, RetailMeNot offers visitors the chance to mark the coupons and codes – that are user submitted – as functional or not to let other viewers know when it’s a hit or a miss. . . with so many fake deals out there, RMN a refreshing breath of {internet trust}. 

Below, I listed some of the codes and coupons that caught my eye and can be useful for wedding-related items.

Best Buy is offering $30 off GPS receivers, $20 off IPODs and a 10% off select categories codes.  Brides, these could make great gifts for your hubby-to-be!

bb - ipod

Coscto’s Picture Center is giving away four free 8×10 photo prints for members with coupon code. . . slap a wedding photo in a frame and you’ve got a perfect thank-you gift for your parents!

RMN is also hosting a 10% off coupon for printer ink and free shipping on orders over $50 at Staples stores.  If you plan DiY’ing your invites, take advantage of this ink offer and check out Staples’ {pretty} collection of ready-to-print invitations . . . they really do have a wonderful selection.

Take my advice and browse through these sites to see if there is anything that will suite your wedding needs.  Recently, I found a 15% off coupon for Payless Shoe Source and bought all {6} of my BM’s shoes there – equaling almost $25 off the entire purchase – – that’s a pair a free shoes! 

Don’t forget your Sunday Yakima-Herald as a resource either!

I hope you all end up with success stories like mine . . . happy shopping! 🙂





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Filed under Coupons, {budget resources}