Creating a Budget Chic Wedding  


The average wedding costs $30,717. For a single day, it’s hard to justify when anyone getting married is also likely saving for his or her first home and/or planning to start a family.

Not to say your wedding day isn’t important, but is it worth $30,717? This is a question I ask myself constantly in the midst of my engagement to be married. I know two things: 1) I don’t want to throw down over $30,000 on my “Big Day” but 2) I also have expensive taste.

With these disparate forces at play, I have set out on a journey to create a budget chic wedding. Here are some of the ways I’m saving money and keeping the wedding bill below average.

Decide what’s most/least important

First off, you need to decide what’s most and least important to you as a couple. For us, the most important things were photography, food and drink, and the areas we felt we could save money on were the wedding rings, dress and tux, invitations, music and décor.

Even still, we’re trying to save money in all areas, even those of greatest importance to us. I negotiate with all vendors and I’ve saved thousands of dollars on the venue and photography. I knew my budget chic wedding will photograph well and look nice in vendors’ portfolios, and I used this as a bargaining chip. And I cut the cake – quite literally.

Wedding Rings

The vintage look is all the rage in wedding rings, so why not get an actual antique? That’s what I did and I saved thousands of dollars. There’s some unwritten rule pushed by the marketing departments of diamond jewelers that the engagement ring should cost two-three months’ salary. I think mine was two-weeks’ worth and I get complimented on it constantly for its originality. (Yes, I picked out my own engagement ring and wedding band, which was one weeks’ salary)

The Dress

As a modern bride, I plan to buy my dress off-the-rack. I’m even thinking of wearing a skirt. I honestly can’t even tell the difference between a cheap poufy dress and an expensive one – they all look the same to me, and it’s an overdone, dated look.

Take a cue from style star Olivia Palermo and try something different. To be fair, Palermo’s dress is likely not inexpensive, but it’s easy to replicate for under $500. (I’ve looked into it)

Furthermore, don’t burden your bridesmaids with $300 polyester dresses they’ll only wear once: the current trend is mismatched dresses in the same colour hue, so adopt it.


Wedding invitations are one area where you can easily save a few hundred dollars or more. Even if you are not totally down with evites, there are a few online vendors that offer modern, high-quality stationary at a fraction of the price of traditional stationary providers.

Minted and Wedding Paper Divas have a great selection of designs to fit any style and palette. I sent out “Save the Dates” via Paperless Post and plan on snail mailing the invites using one of these online vendors.

Additionally, I created a wedding website where guests can view detailed information on the wedding like the schedule and accommodation options, and where they can RSVP. This saves on printing, and there are many wedding template websites to choose from. I ended up picking Riley & Grey after receiving a 50% off offer, but I also looked at Squarespace and Appy Couple, among others.


“That wedding had the best DJ,” said no one ever. So, for this reason and budget considerations, I’ve opted to build my own playlist. The venue has promised a “plug and play” sound environment, so I’m bringing my iPad equipped with Spotify. You can splurge on Tidal, but I’ve heard it’s not really worth it.


If you can, choose a venue that looks great on its own and fits your theme, then you won’t have to fill it with decorations. I’ve booked a stark, industrial converted warehouse and my theme is “industrial chic.” (If you’re curious what this looks like, check out my Pinterest Board) Décor is going to be minimal and flowers will consist of mostly greenery and shrubs. My dad is building a wood backdrop for the altar using old barn board and I will add a few knick-knacks here and there, but the theme is already played out in the venue setting.

Finally, if like me, you waited to come of age to actually afford a wedding, you can borrow a bunch of your friends’ decorations. They spent a ton of money on their weddings in their 20s, and now I’m 30 and have my pick of second-hand décor!

Additional financial considerations

  1. Start a wedding fund. Instead of getting married and then paying off the wedding, we set up a wedding fund that we contribute to monthly. It’s making for a long engagement (two years!) but we will actually have the money upfront to pay for the wedding.
  2. Skip the registry. Unless you actually need plates and pans for your new home, skip the registry. Your guests will likely give you cash in its place that you can use for the honeymoon.
  3. Get a travel rewards or cash back credit card. Charge all wedding-related expenses to a rewards credit card and see your cash back balance or travel points grow, which can be used to recoup some of your expenses or fund your honeymoon.

Author: Kerri-Lynn McAllister is the Marketing Director at RateHub.ca, a website that compares mortgage rates, credit cards and deposit rates with the goal to empower Canadians to search smarter and save money. Kerri-Lynn is getting married in August 2016.

Photo from Pixabay

Relationships and Your Money: Are You Doing It Right?


Do you consider yourself good with money?  Do you consider your spouse to be good with money?  Some of us may say yes, others may say no and some of us may be unsure.  Well today we’re going to put your money knowledge to the test.  Of course there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question “How should I manage money in my relationship?”

However there are some common money issues that can become a sore spot in relationships.  If you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship having the money talk is a good idea sooner rather than later to avoid any surprises that could lead to financial struggles later on down the road.

Think about how you deal with these common money issues in your relationship.  If you’re wondering if  you and your sweetheart are making the most out of your money ask yourself these three questions to get the conversation started.

Who controls the money in your relationship?

Finder, a personal finance education resource and comparison site, conducted a survey on America’s biggest money mistakes. The survey polled almost 2,000 Americans, and they found that 19% of Americans surveyed said they let their partner control our finances – and regret it.

One spouse may earn more than the other in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean the breadwinner has to control the household finances.  That may work for some couples, but in my experience it leads to animosity in the relationship.  I couldn’t imagine having to ask my boyfriend for money to spend, but maybe that’s just our relationship.

Does having children fit into your financial plan?

It’s no secret that kids are expensive.  My Dad always says he loves his two daughters, but his life would have been very different if he didn’t have children.  Having kids isn’t for everyone, BF and I don’t plan on having kids because it just didn’t fit into our plans when we were younger and now that we’re in our mid 30s it seems to be too late.

The survey found that people with higher incomes, $100,000-$149,000, were the most likely group to say having children was a money mistake.  Sometimes couples prefer to travel or enjoy a more luxurious lifestyle over starting a family.  That may be O.K., but it’s a conversation that couple’s need to have when planning their lives.

Did you overpay for your wedding?

Some people spend tens of thousands of dollars on their wedding day because it’s probably the biggest party they will ever host.  Others seem to think that spending that much money on one single day is a financial mistake.  I am not married, but I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle.  I would like my wedding day to be beautiful, but not if it costs more money than I can afford.

I wouldn’t want to start my happily ever after with a ton of debt because I know firsthand just how stressful money woes can be in a relationship.  According to the recent survey men were more likely to admit paying too much for a wedding as one of their financial mistakes.

Now going back to the original question, how is money in your relationship?

Photo from Pixabay


Unique Date Night Ideas


It’s said that you only get one chance to make a first impression.  Usually that only lasts a few seconds and then the pressure to be at the top of  your game goes away.   But that’s true only when you meet someone for the first time, what about the first time you go out on a date.

First dates can be both exciting and nerve wrecking.  The pressure to be perfect and make a good first impression so your partner wants to have a second date can be overwhelming.  Take all the pressure you feel when making a first impression and turn it in to a two hour event.  Now that’s a whole other level of pressure.

I haven’t dated in a while, but I remember first dates being awkward and uncomfortable.  I once had a guy bring me a happy meal toy instead of flowers on our first date – that’s a true story.  Needless to say there was not a second date.

If I was on the dating scene I would not want to have my guy plan the traditional dinner and a movie, I honestly feel like that’s a third date type of scenario.  By that time you are comfortable discussing your tastes in movies instead of being polite and sitting through a two hour movie that you hate.  I also wouldn’t want to go somewhere cliché like mini golfing.

Instead I would like a first date to be a relaxed atmosphere where both people can be comfortable and be themselves.  The chance to talk and get to know each other is also important.

Here are three unique first date ideas:

Go to a museum

Unless you’re going on a blind date the odds are you’ve probably had a couple of conversations with your potential sweetheart.  A museum is a great way to get to know someone’s tastes as well as give you a chance to talk.  If you’re partner has an interest in art, music, history or science a museum may be the perfect first date idea.

Get tickets for the theater

I would absolutely love to go to a Broadway play for a first date.  I love a good musical.  Tickets to any type of theatrical production – except stand up comedy – would be the key to a second date with me.

For our first date BF took me to a TLC concert, since then we’ve seen several other concerts together such as Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z.  We both love music so it’s a perfect date night idea.  We also bought tickets for an upcoming Cirque du Soleil show and I’m really looking forward to it.

Cheer on your favorite sports team

I am not a huge sports fan, but the ambiance of a live sporting event is like no other.  To be honest I probably wouldn’t go with my girlfriends, but I enjoy going to NBA and NFL games with BF.  Going to watch the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden is on my bucket list.  Not because they’re my favorite basketball team, just because it seems like an extremely exciting venue.  Sport games can be a very fun first date idea.

What’s your idea of the perfect first date?

Photo from Pixabay

How to Plan for Your Second Baby


If you have a little one running around the house do you ever think about the things you would do differently if you had another one?  Well now’s your chance.  If you’re pregnant with your second baby it’s time to take everything you learned from your first pregnancy and apply it to the next nine months.

Here are four things to consider when planning for your second baby:

How is your budget different?

According to Women’s Health Magazine it can cost over $5000 to have a child, that’s a lot of money and if you don’t have insurance then that dough has to come right out of your pocket.. Hopefully you still have baby clothes, accessories like bottles, toys and blankets as well as necessities such as a crib and changing table from your first baby.  This will help you save a ton of money on your second pregnancy.

If having a second child was always in your plans then hopefully you still have your maternity clothes in the closet, or at least in a box in the basement.  The first pregnancy is usually more expensive but if you kept everything you can save thousands of dollars by using the hand me downs and recycling other items.

Will you set up the nursery differently?

The last two baby showers I went to were gender neutral.  My mother completely disagrees with this concept; she feels little boys should be surrounded in blue and baby girls should own everything pink.  I don’t think the trend of gender neutral nurseries, clothes and toys are necessarily because parent’s want to avoid labelling their children.

I honestly believe it’s a budget issue.  If you don’t have to redecorate and buy new clothes in a new color then you’re saving tons of money by reusing what you’ve already got.

Are you thinking about your  health?

If you’re getting ready for baby number two to pop out you’re older than you were the first time you were pregnant.  This is both a gift and a curse.  You probably learned a thing or two about your body during pregnancy and this time around you can make adjustments to make the pregnancy a little bit easier (if that’s even possible), but at the same time this is the second time you’re putting your body through the “trauma” of giving birth.

What to Expect says to take your health seriously during your second pregnancy.  “You’ll want to be as fit as possible before tackling your second pregnancy.” says the popular family website.  They also suggest that women wait a full year after giving birth before starting to conceive a second baby because that’s how long it takes for your body to fully recover.

Will you set up an education fund?

It’s no secret that raising a child is expensive.  College Data says the average annual cost to send a child to an in-state school is just over $23,000.  The cost to send your kids away for college is a lot higher. Given the fact that you probably have 18 years and nine months to save for your child’s education now will be a good time to start.

Bankrate says that there are several ways you can save for your child’s education including opening up a savings account and setting up a  529 College Plan. Visit your local bank and discuss different options to find a savings plan that works best for you and your family budget.

If you’re planning for baby number two what are you doing differently this time around?


Photo from Pixabay