I love Givaways!

I have found that there are 1000s of giveaways out there! Similar to how you apply for 1000s of scholarships hoping to hit the jackpot with at least one heading into college, I hope to get something useful from at least one of these giveaways. If not, it is always fun to see other budget conscious brides' blogs! I have learned more from reading a variety of bride blogs than from any magazine, book, or T.V. show. It is just so much more real when you are getting the information from someone who's "been there, done that," not a "professional" hired to say and promote certain topics!

Anyway, the lastest (and I think greatest) giveaway out there right now is at The Broke-Ass Bride. She is giving the "gift of favor" to one lucky bride- free favors for the wedding! She points out that many times, the favors are the first to go on a tight budget (my wedding included), so she is giving away the opportunity to have that desired item, for free!

Check it out!


Staying with the budget-savviness (just made that word up!) I was planning on making my own invitations. My plan was to have my maid-of-honor visit this huge paper warehouse in Hillsboro, price out paper and supplies, and have a big "invitation-making" party. Then, I realized that for the money I save, I will be putting in quite a few hours; hours that I don't currently have available! So... here are my top two choices for invitations (already made). Both are from Wedding Paper Divas and both are very affordable!

What is nice is that I will be able to mimic both styles pretty well, and incorporate them into the theme of the rest of the decorations. The first style goes very nicely with my pomanders I made (pictures to come), and this is the one I am leaning towards. Both would work wonderfully, and I don't mind spending the money on them. After all, I have saved EVERYWHERE else in this planning process. Why not save myself some time and get the invitations all ready to go!?

The Test Was a Success!

So... as I have mentioned many times, I am having an atrocious time finding catering! This is seriously the one sore spot in my wedding planning. I have even gone so far as to take this as a bad omen on the whole day! One night a couple weeks ago, I called S (as I do every night) and we were talking about wedding planning. The food situation came up, and I started in on how difficult it is to find someone to do what we want for a price that makes sense. From this, I broke down into a blubbery mess. I was telling him that I didn't think the colors would work, that the decorations at the reception would be horrible, that the flowers wouldn't be nice because it wasn't a professional doing them, and that the DJ probably wouldn't show up.

He, of course, reminded me that all I was really supposed to be worrying about at this point was the fact that there does not seem to be a caterer in the area willing to make meat for a fair price! In fact, adding to the story about the horrible meeting with one potential, economics is actually thrown out the window for some of these rednecks (no offense, I take pride in living here!). I was informed by one, who will remain nameless, that in the restaurant prime rib costs $22 for the dinner. So, Eastern Oregon redneck economics enter stage left, that means the wedding (a guaranteed 150 people!) will be $25 per person. WHAT!!!? How does that even work!? Are you serious!? Sir, I have a degree in Accounting and Finance, and I would like you to know that it just doesn't work that way! If I can guarantee a number much greater than the two people who eat a prime rib in your restaurant any given night, your cost drops drastically; thus, the price per person should DECLINE, not increase! Crazy!

Needless to say, I have began to seek alternatives. One such alternative was cooking up my mom's great lasagna in mass quantity and freezing them about a week before the wedding. I would then hire a few good Young Life girls to throw them in the oven at the reception venue an hour before, and "viola," a meal everyone likes. But, I was concerned that freezing the lasagna would ruin the homemade taste. The only way to know was to try it!

I made up a lasagna and threw it in the freezer for a week, planning to thaw it and bake it- a test run so-to-speak. Tonight, was the moment of truth. I took out the lasagna this morning, and baked it this evening with my mom, sister, friend, and myself ready to critique the results. It was perfect, just like it had been made up that day.

This is great news! Now, the stress of finding a caterer is off my shoulders. At least I know I have a good fall back plan. I can make lasagna, and everyone likes lasagna!


There is always a lot to be said regarding a honeymoon. I have received advice ranging all over the board on where to go, when to go, why to go, etc. In fact, the one thing my mother told S when he asked if he could marry me was that we needed to take the time to go on a honeymoon. She told him that if you think you can just do it later, you won't. This tidbit is convenient when S starts dragging his feet about going! I kindly remind him that it was my mother's one request. Besides, I think he's just huffing for my benefit! :)

I have spent many hours researching various locations from Europe to Tahiti. It is important to note both the high and low seasons of a particular location. These seasons are mostly structured around weather, so finding great deals in Tahiti during the monsoons may not actually be worth the savings! It is also important to remember that the "deal" rates that you see listed on certain resorts are probably posted for the off-season. Be sure to look into the exact dates the deal is good for, don't just assume that will be the price you will pay all year round! Another thing to avoid (unless you want to be there) are the large holidays in certain countries. For example, you may want to avoid going to Hong Kong during the Chinese new year!

Based on high/ low seasons, S and I chose to go to either Greece or Fiji (very different, I know). May is a relatively easy time to go just about anywhere as it is usually categorized in the "middle season." Typically, prices are still low, but rising sharply depending on your destination. In Greece, May is arguably one of the best times to go. The rainy season is well out of the way and all of the spring flowers and color starts to arrive. It is still a month or so off from the high tourist season, so there is just a slow trickle of people into the country. May in Fiji is, again, a "middle" or "shoulder" season. It comes between the end of the wet, typhoon-ridden October to April, but before the hot, dry June to August. Fiji, however, has a very short, almost non-existent "low season" as it is a desirable place to go year-round.

One piece of information that came up quite often when looking at honeymoon tips was the benefit of knowing someone whose "been there, done that." This seemed reasonable to me; of course it would be easier to know what to expect and where to go if someone had already been there. Then, someone else could make mistakes for you to learn from, not do! They would also be able to let you know where the best bang for your buck will come from. Knowing that having a friend "in the know" would be helpful, S and I chose Fiji as our destination. S has a close friend who was raised there, and lived there for many years in his adult life before moving to Washington state. We called him and asked for suggestions for resorts and he listed a few of his top picks.

So, at this point, we are looking at Tokoriki Island Resort or Matamanoa Island Resort. Both of these resorts were recommended by our friend because of their secluded setting. Each is a small island with little family tourist activity. They both would be fantastic for a honeymoon! Check out the links to the websites! Here are a few of the pictures from the Tokoriki site:
And from the Matamanoa site:

It's been a while!

Some of you may have noticed that it's been a while since I last posted. School just started back up, and I am desperately needing to get back into the routine of teaching all day and having a life at night! I also notice that with my days now filled by a job, I have much less time to get anything done wedding-wise. This has become a concern in the catering department.

A caterer was one aspect I wanted to have taken care of prior to school starting back up. S had high hopes for a restaurant just out of town being able to accommodate our needs, but they fell short. They were a testiment to going with a gut feeling! Within two minutes of talking to the guy, neither S or I felt good about having them do the food. Regardless of the quality we know we get when we eat there, the thought of them being in charge of the catering on our big day scared us to death!

So, this leaves me still with the catering delimma. S really has his heart set on a full meal, but I am apprehensive to spend too much money. Does anyone have any suggestions on full meals that are budget-friendly?