Marriage or Mortgage?

Marriage or Mortgage?

Marriage or Mortgage?

Hey guys!  This weeks post is a bit different, and I’m excited to share it with you!  We’re going to talk about two of my favorite things, weddings and reality tv!

If you follow me on Instagram, @planningcollectively, I’m sure you’ve seen that I binged the new Netflix show called Marriage or Mortgage right away, and LOVED IT!   For those of you not familiar, the premise of the show is that engaged couples have saved between $20-$30k, and they are deciding on putting that towards a wedding, or a down payment on a home.  

Each of the 10 episodes features a different couple, and they work with realtor Nichole Holmes and wedding planner Sarah Miller to go through the options available to them with either option.  They tour 3 homes within their budget with Nichole, and Sarah walks them through potential venues, catering options, and other wedding details for their dream day. 

In the end, the couple meets with both Nichole and Sarah, and tell them what they’ve decided.   The episode wraps up by flashing forward a few months, to see the couple in either their new home, or on their wedding day.  

Earlier this week I had the privilege of chatting with one of my favorite  couples that was featured on the show, and I’m excited to share that with you all here!  Check it out, and then scroll down to see my key takeaways for all couples that might find themselves in a similar position.  

Denise & Nick are one of the most loved couples from the show. They are the absolute sweetest, and i’m so grateful that they could share a bit about their experience in not just the show, but how they went about making their decision.  This is your official spoiler alert that we do talk about their final decision, so if you haven’t watched yet, make sure to do that first.  Their featured in the second episode titled “Adopting New Traditions” 



    So what are my thoughts on the show?

    Many people have an immediate reaction when they hear about the premise of the show, and it’s definitely not in favor of weddings.  I have to admit, when I first heard about the show, I was very nervous that it was going to be a horrible reflection on the wedding industry.  That’s actually what initially made me watch the show right when it came out, planning to do a podcast episode defending the wedding industry. 

    I was very pleasantly surprised that the show really did a great job representing the decision making process, and how, for some, it can be a really tough call to make.  Of course, it is a reality show, so there there were some things that were thrown in for entertainment purposes on both sides that might not be standard for most couples either buying a home or planning a wedding.  And because we only see 44 minutes of a weeks worth of filming, there were some important details that didn’t make the final cut.  I can’t speak to the real estate side of things, but I did want to highlight a few of my main take-aways here.  

    1. Everyones financial position is different.  While we only get surface details on what the couples do for a living, and certainly not any info on the status of their bank accounts, we do know that they have a certain amount of money set aside for either a wedding or home.  I did love the approach that this meant they were taking with the wedding budget, having a big picture number of what you actually have to spend, vs. planning a wedding and then figuring out how to pay for it.   I get into this conversation about the budget, and how most couples plan their wedding backwards in Episode 2.  Make sure to check that out, if you haven’t already! 
    2.  Everyone’s life priorities are different. If you’re looking to start a family, spending money on in vitro, school, or other massive expenses, putting a chunk of money towards a wedding (or a house, for that matter) may not be at the top of your list. On the flip side, if your family/friends don’t live close to each other, or you don’t get to see each other often, the idea of having everyone together in one room to celebrate your marriage could be an amazing experience.  We often hear that the best gifts to give are experiences, and that’s exactly what a wedding day does.   Now, I would guess that a few of the couples could probably afford to do both at a similar level, but that doesn’t mean that both would be priorities for them 
    3. Everyone’s wedding priorities are different.  For this one, I’m going to refer you to the first episode of The Wedding Planning Collective Podcast.  I go over the main categories of wedding planning, and help guide you  through what your priorities would be fore your wedding day.  
    4. The negotiations seen on the show are definitely not the norm. Again, I can’t speak to what might be normal deals when you’re buying a house, but I’m guessing both sides received some of these amazing discounts because of the potential promotion of the show.  That said, a wedding planner can definitely help save you money.  Sometimes it’s in actual line item discounts from their vendor connections, but often it’s by saving you from making really expensive mistakes! 
    5. And finally, you can do both!  No one is saying that whichever you pick, you can never have the other!  You don’t need to spend all your savings, whatever that might be, on one or the other.  Whether you split the difference evenly, or favor one or the other.

    So, what are your thoughts?  Check out Marriage or Mortgage on Netflix, and then head over to the Facebook Group to discuss!

    5 Things you Need to Know about Pinterest Weddings

    5 Things you Need to Know about Pinterest Weddings

    If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve most likely spent some time on Pinterest.  I really love the platform, and I encourage my clients to use it.  But there are 5 things that you need to know about when it comes to wedding pins on Pinterest. 

    The biggest thing to note is that many wedding photos are you’ll see are styled shoots.  That means that it’s not an actual event, but rather a collaboration of vendors working together to show off their work.  If you see only one reception table in an open field, or just a ceremony set up with only a handful of empty chairs, there is a good chance it was from a styled shoot.  

    Now, I’m a fan of styled shoots, and have participated in a few myself.  The problem is that they are often not realistic for several reasons: 

    1) Vendors want to promote new/upgraded/top of the line products.  This means you’re typically seeing their best products/services, which might not be conducive to a typical wedding budget.

    2) If you’re looking at a photoshoot at your venue, the layout or set up might not be realistic.  For a styled shoot, you don’t need to worry about the guest flow, size of the event, or if the catering staff can make their way between the tables.  Make sure to discuss these details with your planner or the contact at your venue.  

    3) You’ll often see fully set tables, or things set up that wouldn’t be set out for a typical wedding.  For example, most weddings won’t have the dinner plates set out prior to the guests arriving.  The guests will get them at the buffet, or the wait staff will bring them with dinner.  Because of this, your tables might not look as “finished” as the pictures, or you may want to rent charger plates to complete the look. 

    4) PLEASE don’t ever put glass containers or candles down your aisle.  I absolutely love the look of an aisle lined with candlelight, you’ll see photos of them all over Pinterest.  The problem is that I can just about guarantee that a guest is going to bump into one, sending wax and broken glass everywhere.  And it’s going to happen just minutes before the ceremony.   

    An alternative would be to use flameless candles set out on their own, or in lanterns.  I’ve seen some gorgeous photos of strand lighting along the aisle.  Make sure to consider guest safety, and not creating a trip hazard with where they are plugged in.  Keep in mind that most ceremonies occur earlier in the day when the candles or lights won’t be visible.  If this is the case, you most likely wouldn’t have the same visual impact as the styled shoot photos anyway.

    5) And the final issue with planning your wedding on Pinterest is that you have no concept of budgets.  For styled shoot images, you typically see only one or two tables or settings.  If you were to replicate that design for all the tables, it could be a very expensive wedding!  Even if the photos are not from a styled shoot, often the most popular pins are from higher budget events.  It’s easy to fall in love with a look, only to be disappointed to find out what the actual cost would be to make it happen.  

    Now that I’ve spent all this time warning you about the negatives of Pinterest, why do I still encourage my couples to use it?  

    1. The visual of the images makes sure you and your vendors to be are on the same page.  There won’t be any confusion over shades of pink, or the shape you’d like your bouquet to be.
    2. It’s a great place to get started, especially for those lost or confused about wedding design

    Finally, I want to share a few tips with you to make the best of your Pinterest experience!

    • Do you love a table design, but it doesn’t fit in your budget?  You can use it for your head table, and use a more affordable design for the guest tables.
    • If you’re flexible with the type of flowers you use, ask your florist if there is a cheaper alternative available to create a similar look to an inspirational picture.
    • Add notes in the comments about what you like and dislike about the pin. You might love the flowers, but not the chairs or linens used.  Adding these notes in helps to ensure everyone to be on the same page.
    • Follow your venue and vendors for more inspiration for your wedding.  

    Including your pets at your wedding

    Including your dog in your weddingTo so many people, our pets are a legitimate extension of our family.  Some might even prefer the company of their furry friends to most other humans, and I don’t see anything wrong with that!  This does often lead to an important planning issue to handle, how do we include our dog, cat, llama, or pot-bellied pig into our wedding day?

    Over the years, we’ve seen quite a few different attempts at this, and some work better than others.  So here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to decide on the best way to incorporate your pet into the big day:

    Rules of the Venue  The first question you should be asking is to your various venue coordinators.  Many venues will allow a quick visit for photos with your pet, but might restrict the animals to being outside, or only for a few minutes.  Most churches are strict about this, so if you are having your ceremony at a church, you’ll most likely not be allowed to have them there.  It can’t hurt to ask though!  Reach out to your contact at the church or venue and ask if there are any restrictions to bringing in your little guy or gal. 

    Personality & Temperament  The next thing to think about is how will your pet react to the craziness of the day.  If you’re hoping to have them walk down the aisle, but they are nervous around groups of people, it’s probably not a great idea to put them in that situation.  On the flip side, if they get SO EXCITED to see people, it’s probably asking for a very chaotic and stressful moment right before your big moment. 

    Serve as a ring bearer or flower girl  If your pet passes the personality and temperament part of this quiz, it’s often tempting to include them as a flower girl or ring bearer, which is absolutely adorable!  My HUGE suggestion is to avoid the temptation of tying the wedding bands to the collar, or having them carry them on a pillow to bring to the Best Man.  Your little guy could have just taken home Best in Show at Westminster, I’m still going to recommend you put fake rings on that collar or pillow!  I actually give the same advice when we’re talking about little kids having the real rings.  Once those church doors open, or everyone stands and the music starts to play, the eyes of the audience on them can make them act out of character.  Previously cooperative little boys might sit down and refuse to go down the aisle, and well behaved golden retrievers might run for that squirrel in the distance.  It’s definitely not worth the risk, so make sure a responsible member of the wedding party is hanging onto the real rings before the ceremony begins. 

    Logistics of the venue  Another big consideration you’ll have to make is regarding the logistics of the space.  Is there an outside space suitable for potty breaks?  Where will your cuddly buddy go after the photos or ceremony?  Make sure the venue has a safe and comfortable space for them, or better yet, arrange for someone to take them home where they will probably be happier.  If they will be staying onsite, or if you will be at a hotel and they can stay in the room, make sure to bring some familiar toys and/or blankets with you so they have something familiar, and are less tempted to “explore” the new space!

    Will you have a sitter available?  This seems like a simple one, but a lot of our couples get stuck with this because most of their “go to” pet sitters will be attending the wedding, and are most likely close friends/family that you don’t want to be absent because they are taking care of Fido.  If you need to bring in someone new to help on the wedding day, I always recommend that you have them come by to meet your pet(s) a couple of times before the wedding day.  That way everyone will be familiar and comfortable with each other beforehand. 

    What will they wear? It’s tempting to think that you’ll be able to dress your little one up in an adorable tux, or cute tutu dress, but if your pet doesn’t let you put so much as a festive bandana on at Halloween, it’s probably unlikely that you’ll succeed with this one.  Test it out though.  Sometimes they just need to get used to something new, so don’t wait until the wedding day to dress them up.  If the full outfit isn’t going to work, you can always add a bow or a bowtie to their collar, or dress up their leash with some lace or to match the wedding colors.  We’ve also had floral collars made for them, and they are so adorable!  Make sure to snap some pics right away though, they often get curious about them pretty quickly!

    What will YOU be wearing? It’s important to not forget that you won’t be in your normal wears on the big day either.  Whether you’ll be in a tux, suit or fancy white ball gown, your little guy has the opportunity to do some damage.  If you know he/she is a jumper, avoid taking photos outside where their paws will get dirty.  You can also bring a white sheet with you to use as a barrier between the elements, and the photographer can help arrange it so it’s not visible.  Make sure to also have several lint rollers around so that those tux jackets will be pet hair free afterwards!

    What if your pet can’t be at the wedding? If, for whatever reason, your pet can’t actually be present at the wedding, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate them into the big day!

    • Take them with you to your engagement photos and display those at the reception
    • Use images for stationery items like table numbers, favor tags, or welcome bag stickers
    • Have a custom cake topper made of them, there are lots of sources on Etsy!
    • Have a “doggie bag” table with dog treats for the guests to take home at the end of the night
    • In lieu of favors, make a donation to a rescue or shelter

    How will you be involving your pet in the wedding day/plans?  Share your ideas on the Collective Forum!