Category Archives: Marriage

Tying the Knot? Check Out These Money-Saving Ideas.

We found this very good blog post from a couple of years ago – and like all good advice – it still stands the test of time.

f you are planning a wedding, maybe some of these costs-saving ideas will work for you. It will be the wedding of your dreams, but it won’t make as large a dent in your bank account.

These smart ideas came from a soon-to-be-bride and reader named Kelly.

Off days: We are having our wedding on a Sunday instead of Saturday. This saved us 50% off the rental fee and we got a catering discount. Even though it is planned for Labor Day weekend, we got a tremendous deal. If you plan a wedding in the months of November through April, you will also find many deals. Or, consider a Friday night wedding.

Flowers: I found a florist who works out of her home, so she has no overhead costs. She matches any price you find anywhere else and I think her work is better than the expensive floral shops.

Photographer: With a little searching, we found a photographer who has been in the business for 17 years, but only in Milwaukee, WI for two years. She is offering her services for less to help build her client base in the new city. She also includes all of the files in her price. This is extremely important and represents a major value for me. Most photographers charge extra for photos on a disc.

Cake: I didn’t get a chance to do this due to the timing of our wedding, but I found out that you can go to an area technical college where they offer cake baking and decorating classes. The class would make the cake for you at a fraction of the cost. Instead, I found a baker who creates the cake at her home with the help of her husband. This saves money! She offers free delivery and is providing the stand at no charge.

Bridesmaid dresses: I found a dress I really liked, then called three other stores for price quotes. I used these quotes to convince my bridal shop to match the lowest price. Plus, they waived the shipping charge because I found it for less somewhere else. Most stores will quote you a price, although some are more strict than others. (When it comes to the wedding dress, this might prove to be more challenging.)

Flower girl dress: My mother found a shop that had two of the same sample dress and allowed us to buy the extra sample instead of ordering one at full price. I also heard that I could rent the dress from an online retailer. I wanted something specific in the style, so I didn’t do this even though some of the sites have lots of cute dresses.

Use Internet Resources

I wanted a flower in my hair but I didn’t want one that would wilt. I did some research online and found a great website, www.etsy.com, where people buy and sell homemade goods. On the site, I discovered Kat in Hawaii who makes clay flowers by hand that look amazingly real. Her company is Petal By Petal’s and instead of buying real flowers that would wilt, I am having her design clay flowers for my bridesmaid and me. They are the flowers and colors I wanted for a fraction of the price. They will also serve as keepsake gifts.

I researched everything, not just the popular brides’ sites. I found local sites, too. If you aren’t too picky, you can order almost anything online. Be careful, though. Some are authorized and others are just copies. You need the facts and to find a reputable company before ordering online.

  • WHN TIP: Do a search and enter the word “scam” with the name of the company. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) to see if there is anything information about the company on their sites.

Thanks for the great advice, Kelly!

The next ideas came to WHN from Michele Acklin whose daughter, Sheri, is getting married on May 2, 20009.

Instead of a unity candle, the couple is pouring colored sand together to make a keepsake. The two colors will create a design that is unique and beautiful.

At the reception, there will be black cloth squares and fabric markers on each table. People can write comments about the couple. This might be trivia, good luck wishes or a special memory of the bride, groom or both. I am having them sewn into a memory quilt with wedding and other photos on some squares. This will be a gift for their first anniversary.

To save on decorations for an outdoor or evening wedding reception, you can light multi-colored tapers and place them in buckets of sand. (Of course, this won’t work outdoors if it is windy.) These are most likely available at your local dollar store if you don’t already have some at home. They don’t all have to be the same length.

Also for the reception, I am cutting tree branches, painting them white, wrapping them with tulle and placing them in buckets with white rocks. (You can collect the rocks and paint them when you are working on the branches.) These will be used to create an aisle in the reception hall after each is decorated with battery-operated strings of lights. More buckets of branches will be spread around the reception hall.

Thanks Michele!

If you have ideas you would like to share with other brides, please email me at Susan (at) WhatHappensNow.com

Laid Off? Let’s Move Forward Together…

With everything changing, one of the most common questions we get is – what happens now that I’m laid off?

Luckily, we have terrific readers all over the country who are sharing their stories – how they are navigating the new world order, and advice they find helpful.

Here’s one reader’s advice on how to keep yourself moving forward:

Hi WhatHappensNow –

I have learned a few things that someone else in my situation might find helpful.

When friends, former colleagues and family reach out, don’t avoid them. They are the strongest support system you’ve got. They want the best for you and aren’t judging you. I had to make a conscious effort to accept their help.

  • Remember that this support group might actually be your link to a new job. They know you best and will look for opportunities that you are most closely suited to. Look into linkedin.com and you might be surprised at how helpful this network can be. It is highly recommended by experts in the recruiting world.
  • Another way to network is to join a group of people who share your interests. It is also a great way to have fun. Check out www.meetup.com for lists of groups near you who gather to do everything from play cards to rock-climb. Registration is free and easy. You simply choose areas of interest, enter your zip code and the number of miles you are willing to travel. You will probably find a surprising number of groups who share your interests and who would welcome you as a new member. The only cost would occur if you choose a group that charges a fee. (See the site’s policy statement for complete information.)
  • Form letters/emails aren’t personal rejections (this is a tough one!). These companies don’t know what they are missing when they don’t interview me! It helps to view them that way instead of imagining the worst.
  • Exercise, eat well and laugh. Any one of these three things could go by the wayside and life is just too short to let that happen.
  • Don’t pay attention to economic news. Focus on the pieces that include information showing that there are still opportunities out there.
  • On a practical note, make a list of your current monthly expenses. Decide which items you can either do without or reduce immediately. If you have credit cards, reach the monthly statements carefully. Many of those companies have recently begun shortening the grace period from 30 to 25 or 21 days. Read every piece of correspondence from your credit card companies. If they have raised your interest rate, call them. They would rather reduce the rate than lose a customer. If at all possible, find a card with a special offer at 0% interest. We found a card that didn’t charge a balance transfer fee from our current card, plus the 0% interest rate applies for 15 months. Instead of credit cards, carry a specified amount of cash for the month, preferably in larger bills. We are all less likely to spend cash and are even more cautious about breaking a $50 bill.
  • At this point, make a conscious effort to give thanks for everything you have. Health, friends, family, lots of great experience on your resume and the knowledge you aren’t alone.

Thank you Reader!! (She wanted to stay anonymous)

****

Also, if you’re interested, here are two other articles from readers and experts on coping with lay-offs

- Just Laid Off – First Steps

- Seven Steps to Surviving a Lay-Off in a Bad Economy

If you have advice – email us – susan (at) WhatHappensNow.com

6 tips to hold off wedding day disasters

Good questions on weddings – how do you prevent wedding day disasters? While we can’t control the future, we can certainly put some things in place to mitigate. Here are some thoughts.

  1. Don’t create an unnecessary emergency!
    “I know we have a lot of brides who wear a size or two smaller because [they think] I’m going to lose weight,” says Megan Nolde, lead wedding consultant for OurWeddingDay.com. “Don’t do that! It’s cheaper to try to take it in than to take it out.”
  2. Take time when choosing the right vendors.
    “When an emergency happens (I’m not thinking 911 here) – don’t panic,” says Amy Child Marella, owner of the Hidden Garden in Los Angeles and the contributing floral/wedding expert for Inside Weddings and Better TV. “As long as you have hired competent vendors they will handle the problem and 9 times out of 10 the bride/groom won’t even know that something happened (if you have the right vendors).”
  3. Mention your top priorities to the wedding planner.
    “I had a wedding where the cake was the most important thing,” says Samantha Goldberg, Wedding Event Designer based in NY-NJ and a regular featured host/planner on the Style Network’s “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway” and “Married Away”. “The maid of honor called me and said the cake is falling apart. But we made it work.” Let the planner know which areas of the wedding are most important to you for your big day so they can be sure to pay extra attention to make sure things run smoothly.
  4. Have extra people to help.
    “On your wedding day if you ask for someone for help it really helps you because you don’t want to worry about getting cards in alphabetical order this way you can really relax and enjoy the day,” says Nolde.
  5. Try to keep the bride calm.
    “The bride is already stressed,” says Nolde. “If something does go wrong, try to converse in a different room. Stay calm. If you make it a big deal, she’s gonna get panicky. Help out wherever you can. Chances are it’s not a big deal and can be solved.”

  6. Try to keep the bride calm.Wedding Day Emergency Kit
    Designed to meet the needs for every emergency, the wedding day emergency kit is great to have on hand…just in case! Here’s a list of what to choose from so you can make one for the bride here.
  7. There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding.
    “Perfect is a perception. What’s my perfect might not be your perfect,” says Goldberg. “Remember it’s just ONE day. Don’t worry about it going wrong – if the day goes wrong, it’s not a sign for a destroyed marriage.”

– Susan

Job Scams on the Rise

Here are some insights and smart tips from a reader who is navigating life after being laid off – and wanted to share what s/he is seeing.

With the increasing unemployment rate comes the proliferation of new scams.

Nearly every day, I receive emails from people in various countries around the world with similarly strange “offers”.

For example – after posting my resume online at the usual outlets, one gentleman claimed to be representing a ‘client’ who wanted information about an industry I am very familiar with. He asked if I could make a determination about hedge funds. First – I don’t analyze hedge funds and second, it was difficult to understand the man on the phone who claimed he was calling from India. I told him that I would like to do some research and call him back. He informed me that I couldn’t call him back (he was “in India”), but I could call his colleague in South America.

Right….

My concern is that there are people who are in a state of desperation and they will pursue opportunities that aren’t real or safe.

The Better Business Bureau is warning that bogus work-at-home scams are much more prevalent now. Some of the schemes involve innocent people in criminal activities without their knowledge.

At the same time, own-your-own-business scams are spreading. Disguised under other titles, many of them are really pyramid schemes, chain letters and multi-level marketing. Officials at the Federal Trade Commission warn that if you earn commissions primarily by recruiting others and not by selling goods or services, the enterprise is probably illegal. In 2007, the FTC reported nearly 3,100 complaints about this type of scam and they predict the number will be higher for 2008.

From the experts, words of caution:

  • Never, for any reason, give your social security number, date of birth or bank-account number unless you know for certain that they are going to be used for something legitimate such as applying for a mortgage. These pieces of information won’t come into play in a job search until you are hired at a legitimate company and are completing the required new-hire paperwork.
  • Do not give any personal information that could be used for identity theft or to link you to criminal activity without your knowledge. Just because a website exists under a company’s name, don’t automatically assume that everything about them is legitimate. There are hundreds of “dummy” sites created specifically to commit fraud and theft.
  • Never give your credit card number without doing your homework. The vast majority of legitimate job opportunities will not require any investment on your part.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Before taking any action after receiving an offer or proposal via phone or email, Google to see if anyone has posted a complaint about the organization. Your secretary of state, chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau are all resources to check before you make any decisions.
  • Even job-search websites, executive recruiters and career counseling companies must be checked. For example, a Google search of “theladders.com” and “scam” quickly brings up a string of real-life stories about everything from wasting money on the membership fee to being charged for a “professional” rewrite of your resume.
  • Check out hotjobs.yahoo.com for more information about this and many more helpful topics.

The news isn’t all bad. There are legitimate companies offering real jobs. Remember to use common sense and some basic research before making a decision about your next job.

- Thanks WHN reader!

Bruce Willis Marries

Many media outlets have reported that Bruce Willis married his girlfriend, Emma Heming, over the weekend at his home in Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos.

Obviously, she’s already handled the issue of her passport, name change and marriage …passport, name change and marriage …

Wedding planning is in the air now, which means many of us will be wedding guests.  Here are a few etiquette hints and preparedness tips for wedding guests ..

Choosing a Gift

  1. Most soon-to-be married couples create a gift registry usually with a store or two of their choice (e.g. Target, Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Amazon, etc.). You can usually find these online by searching for either the bride’s first and last name or the groom’s first and last name.
  2. You can also head to the actual store itself to print out a registry list and purchase a gift there instead of having it shipped.
  3. If you don’t know if they’re registered or can’t find them online, consider contacting a member of the wedding party or another person who knows the couple well.

What to Wear

  1. Usually the date and time of day will give you a few hints
  2. Daytime summer or spring wedding? For the ladies, a nice summer dress or cotton skirt/shirt combo should work.
  3. For the gentlemen, nice khakis or dress pants with a collared shirt should be just fine.

What to Bring

Here’s a quick list of what to bring…just in case.

  1. Any special needs or medications
  2. Bug spray (for any outdoor fun….)
  3. Camera and film/extra batteries/memory cards
  4. Cash and quarters (for bartender tips or if no open bar; for parking)
  5. Cell phone (remember to turn it off before the ceremony!!)
  6. Extra makeup for touch ups
  7. Photo ID
  8. Speech for toast (if you’d like to give one or are asked to)
  9. Sunglasses
  10. Sunscreen (again- good for summer outdoor weddings!)
  11. Tissues/handkerchief
  12. Umbrella
  13. Water bottle (good to have on those hot days)
  14. Watch
  15. Wedding invitation and directions to ceremony/reception
  16. Wedding gift/card (if not being sent directly to the couple or their parents)

Other Helpful Tips

  1. Bringing a guest? Brief the guest beforehand: tell them how you know the groom and/or bride, the names of some of the people you’ll introduce them to and any other important details that might help them prepare for the many faces they’ll meet.
  2. Wear a watch. Weddings can be quite ceremonial, meaning certain events will take place at a certain time (ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, speeches, first dance, bouquet toss, cutting the cake, etc.). Look to the wedding program (usually given to you at the ceremony) for a list of important events and their times. It’s best not to arrive late!
  3. Out of town wedding? Plug your hotel’s name, phone number and address plus the number for a local taxi service into your cell phone…just in case you’re unable to drive.

And congrats to Bruce and his new bride!

– Susan

Three Celebrity Celebrations

Photo by Walker/Getty via DailyNews
Photo by Walker/Getty via DailyNews

Famous? Well, the playing field levels out when you’re having a baby, getting married or adopting a pet (especially pets and babies; they don’t know if you’re famous or not….)

1) People magazine is reporting that Lance Armstrong and his girlfriend are expecting a baby.  Obviously, they’ll be reading our advice from moms, nurses and doctors on what to bring to the hospital.

2) There are questionable reports that NFL football star Tom Brady and model Giselle Bundchen are engaged.  They are reviewing what saved brides and grooms from disaster in our Wedding Day Emergency Kits for the bride and the groom.

3) Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are celebrating a box office success with Marley and Me.  We’re sure they read info in Get Prepared – Pets.

Lots of celebrations…

– Susan

Wild Wild Weddings

I just got off the phone with Samantha Goldberg, wedding planner extraordinaire, and she has seen some amazing wedding emergencies – torn dresses, security issues, fallen cakes, ruined tuxedos, torrential downpours – you name it and she’s seen it.

The icing on the cake is that she still loves to plan weddings no matter what mishaps occur. After all, no wedding is perfect!

Still we’d all love for your wedding to go on without a hitch so print out our most popular and most downloaded form our on site:

Look for our wedding emergencies story on the site next week, just in time for the wedding season!

Have a wedding catastrophe story that you would love to share? Email us! We just might put your tip and story on the site!

Readers Top Tips

We just sent out our latest Two Tips for Two Days newsletter that featured two great wedding-related tips. The tips are so fantastic, I just had to post them here on our blog as well:

WHN TIP #1: After a Disaster, Create a Registry
My parents had a house fire that was such a complete loss. To help jog their memories about what was in their home, they went to Target, created a wedding registry, and scanned the items they lost in the fire.

Granted, the items they lost weren’t exactly the same, but it gave them a printed inventory list to use to create their property claim. We all got a good chuckle about my 45-year-married parents having a “new wedding date”.

- Jill A., MN

WHN TIP #2: Don’t Forget the Dress!
I was a bride who used your wedding day emergency kit list and followed it to the letter.  The only thing we forgot, since it wasn’t on the list, was the dress, veil, undergarments, and shoes!!! By adding these items to your list, you could save the bridal party valuable time and automobile fuel.

- Jenn J. W., bride

We’re working on a few wedding stories at the moment. What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen at a wedding? We’d love to hear the crazy stories! Post them in the Comments section below or send us an email!