Use this simple math equation.If you have a big budget goal that seems daunting, divide it into smaller chunks that are easier to digest. The simple math trick that makes it all work? Take the sum of your desired budget and divide it by the number of months you have to save up. Getting married in a year with a budget of $20,000? Divide $20,000 by 12 (which equals about $1,700 per month). If that amount seems like too much per month, add more time or try cutting back on a few of your big-ticket monthly expenses to help you save. “That’s literally how simple planning [financially] for a wedding can be,” says David Bach, founder and chairman of FinishRich Media and author of Smart Couples Finish Rich, about this relatively simple math. Where should this money go? Into a newly created “wedding account,” of course. Throughout your life, having a savings account dedicated to something more exciting than a retirement plan, like travel, a wedding or another big event, is a good idea and will help make saving more fun. Obviously, the amount of time you’ll need to save up for a wedding depends on your current income and expenses. For example, if you can only save $800 a month, but your dream wedding looks like it will cost somewhere in the $50,000 range, you’ll be saving for over five years. When you’re thinking of your budget, work within realistic parameters and don’t set unattainable goals. For some couples, more drastic sacrifices will be required, while other to-be-weds will be splitting the cost with relatives to help lighten the load. Think about what’s best for you and your partner and what makes the sense. Be practical about your limits. The amount of time it takes you to save will depend entirely on your own circumstances.
Cut back on monthly expenses.Do you belong to a gym, club or subscription service that takes a monthly sum out of your account? Cutting back on these types of expenses can have some of the quickest effects on your account balance. Turning off your cable could save you $100 a month, and ending a gym membership could put an extra $75 in your account each month. You’re not going to give up your cell phone, but you might be able to change the data plans or forgo on-demand movies for a year. You should make a habit of reaching out to your cell phone and cable companies annually and negotiating a better deal. Sometimes, just by asking, you can get a price cut on your bills. Even $20 off a monthly bill can save you $240 over the course of a year. Nowadays, it’s so expensive for a company to acquire a new customer that most will lower their fees just to keep you around. And if your attempts at negotiation fail, consider cutting out nonessential monthly costs. We’re not talking about your health plan or your life insurance—those things are non-negotiable. But for things like cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Birchbox and Spotify—anything that debits you on a monthly basis—the time has come to really consider if these are must-haves you truly need, or if you can sacrifice them for a bit in favor of a larger wedding budget—and that fancy cake you have your eye on.
Stop little spending habits that add up.Scale down your shopping during the months you’re saving or only buy lunch out one day a week. You’ll begin to see a little wiggle room for your wedding account in no time. “I call this ‘the latte factor’—the way we spend money on a lot of little things without thinking about it,” Bach says. “It could be your coffee, bottled water, eating out for lunch and dinner, or having drinks. It could even be taking a cab instead of taking the subway, or parking your car closer to your office and therefore paying a higher parking fee.” A dollar here, three dollars there—it adds up over days and weeks. Cutting back on a few (or a lot) of these expenditures can result in saving up to $10, maybe $20, per day—that’s $300 to $600 per month. But don’t worry—cutting out these expenses isn’t going to change your whole life for the next year. Trust us, time flies when you’re wedding planning.
Make bigger sacrifices, if you’re willing.Looking for any possible way to cut costs or find extra money to help pay for your wedding? There are some more drastic measures you can take as well. You could move in with your parents to save on rent for the year (or move in together if you haven’t already). If you both own a car, consider selling one of them—that itself could save you more than $5,000 in expenses like gas, tune-ups and insurance. “The expenses from that car could pay for a third of the wedding,” Bach says.
Use your credit cards—realistically.If you’re in the process of saving up for the wedding while you’re making deposits to reserve your venue and other vendors, you’re likely going to have to use credit cards. That shouldn’t worry you as long as you’re using them correctly (read: paying them off in full in a timely manner). Credit cards can actually protect you from fraud and make transactions easier, so we don’t suggest avoiding them entirely as long as you’ve saved up enough, or will have saved up enough to pay them off before interest sets in. But one big thing to keep in mind: Don’t start your marriage off in debt—it’s never a good idea—and don’t consider paying for things with money you don’t have and won’t have for a long time. You also shouldn’t take out a loan to cover costs. “Going into marriage with debt for a one-day party is a huge mistake,” Bach says. “People start their lives in these huge financial holes and it’s just a shame. It’s smart to create a specific wedding account to put money into and then simply reverse the math to come up with your savings plan.” Bottom line: Don’t spend more than you can afford.
Think of creative ways to make more cash and save.Have you considered selling items you don’t need anymore online? What about starting an Etsy shop or doing freelance work? This can be a great way to supplement your wedding fund. Once you have a plan in place to actually pay for your wedding, start a wedding budget. It’s also worth looking into expensive wedding dates to avoid and checking out some planning advice to get a handle on the whole process.
You’ll forget to plan it
Let’s say you’re planning a normal vacation. You’d probably takes months reading up on the destination, researching flights and hotels, and creating your itinerary. But this no ordinary time in your life—this is your “wedding planning life,” and you are busy. But set aside some time to orchestrate your honeymoon, because once you finally pick your head up from planning, you’ll be so glad there’s a relaxing trip on the other side.
It will be incredibly special
Even if you swear all those clichés of couples cuddling at the airport or holding hands while checking into their hotel is so not you two, don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you find yourselves acting just like those other happy couples. You’re celebrating a very big, very happy event—not to mention, you no longer have the stress of planning on your shoulders. Enjoy it!
You might not feel relaxed until a day or two in
If you expect that it will only take an hour or two of sun and a strong cocktail for you to feel rejuvenated and focused on each other, you may be surprised. You’ll have so much adrenaline pushing you through the wedding that you may be exhausted or just feel kind of out of it for the first day or so. Prepare to go with the flow, be kind to yourselves and maybe push that adventurous scuba excursion or hiking to the top of the volcano until later in the week.
It won’t always feel like a romantic fantasy
After you’ve packed the fancy lingerie you got at your bachelorette party and pre-ordered the expensive champagne for your hotel room, you imagine romance will be in the air all day every day. But sometimes, too much sun, surf or sightseeing can really take its toll, and you can bet that at least one night you’ll just want to do something sort of lame, like watching a TV show in a foreign language (and trying to decipher the plotline) while eating some room service.
Mishaps might happen
On a related note, be prepared for unexpected—and unwelcome—events. Your hotel room might not be as lovely as it looked in the photos, you might miss a connecting flight or you might even get sick, but if you roll with the punches when things go wrong, you’ll be able to enjoy all the amazing things that go right. And keep in mind that most hotels have doctors on call to help and medicine in the gift shop, but pack a few Imodium and Advil in your suitcase just in case (it’ll be way cheaper than buying it there).
You won’t want to come home
Whether you’ve already been on tons of vacations as a couple or this is your first big one together, coming back from your honeymoon is a quick trip back to reality (sorry!) and everything you’ve been neglecting while you were planning your wedding, like a stack of work, your taxes or cleaning the bathroom. Planning your next trip can ease the pain a little, as can scheduling a fun date night for the weekend after you’re back.
Finding motivation to work out can be hard enough without the pressure of fitting into a dress or a tux, but having a partner usually makes it bearable—and who better to join you in your workouts than your fiance? We spoke to some of our favorite instructors and personal trainers to find the most creative and effective couple’s workouts. Below, you’ll find the best ways to sweat with your significant other, from simple body weight resistance moves to intricate circuits.
Use Medicine Balls and Resistance Bands
Weighted medicine balls and resistance bands are an easy way to incorporate a partner into your workout, and there are endless ways to use them. For a great ab exercise, sit back-to-back and pass a medicine ball back and forth, twisting to each side to catch the ball—see how fast you can go! You can also throw a medicine ball back and forth while you stand and face each other for a great arm sculpter. Want to tone your biceps? Have one partner perform a wall-sit, holding the middle of a resistance band while the other partner grabs each end of the band and does bicep curls.
Use Your Body Weight
Don’t want to buy any equipment? No problem! You can use each others’ body weight as an effective resistance tool. Just have your partner push back at you while you try to tone legs and arms: While you’re curling your biceps or triceps, your partner will hold your hands and push back the opposite direction gently, or while you’re lying down for leg lifts, your partner can place their hands on your feet to resist you. Adding a bit of extra weight or resistance can make your workout much more effective, so you get more out of each move.
Take a Class Together
If you’re both in need of motivation, take a class together or hire a personal trainer to work both of you out. Take advantage of one another’s diverse fitness likes and attend a class that you wouldn’t normally take. “I love seeing couples getting out of their comfort zones and going to their fiance’s preferred workout, even if it’s not their first choice. For example, seeing guys in a barre or Pilates class, and girls in a boxing gym,” says Emily Susen, fitness instructor at Recycle Studio and Barry’s Bootcamp in Boston. You’ll work muscles that you normally don’t work and have a fun, new experience to bond over with your other half.
You can also hire a personal trainer or get a private dual sweat session at many gyms and studios around the country if you’re motivation-starved or class-averse. These instructors will whip you into shape in no time flat.
Go For a Run, Bike or Hike Together
Go on an active adventure with your significant other, like a run, bike ride or hike. It doesn’t cost any money, and you two can take it as fast or slow as you want (even turn it into a romantic date by choosing a cozy setting as a destination and setting up a picnic at the finish line). “The most popular workout I see couples doing together is running—you can do it anywhere, in your hometown or on weekend getaways, and it’s a good chance to catch up and also clear your head while getting a good sweat in,” says Susen.
Work Together or Compete
Work toward personal goals by having your partner encourage you. Sometimes all you need is someone to say, “You can do it!” to finish that last pushup or final mile. If you’re the fiercely competitive type, try to out-do each other in pushup competitions, crunches or personal-best running times to get your blood pumping.
Incorporate Tabata workouts (high intensity bursts of exercise for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between each session, for eight rounds). Tabata can take many forms and target many areas—do non-stop squats or pushups for 20 seconds, then switch to planks, burpees or jumping jacks and keep going for as long as you want. “Tabata is easily digestable for anyone, because the most work you’re doing is for 20 seconds, then you get a break,” explains Erica Robertellio, personal trainer and owner of The Living Room Brooklyn, a training facility in New York City. “Doing a Tabata exercise for 15 minutes is more effective than doing a traditional strength training workout for 30 minutes. People who do Tabata-based exercises loose more weight than people who do traditional strength-based exercise.” Plus, you can get free Tabata timer apps on your smartphone that will count down the seconds for you.
Do Circuit Workouts
Just like Tabata, circuits take advantage of every moment of an exercise, so that even when you’re resting, you’re being active and burning calories. “Circuit-formatted workouts take less time and are really effective,” says Greg Doyle, creator of the Wedding Gym and author of Fit for a Bride. “Circuits keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire exercise.”
For each of the workouts below, you perform the first half of the circuit while your partner does the second, then you’ll switch. You’ll need dumbbells and a jump rope.
- 30 seconds of mountain climbers
- 30 seconds of dumbbell thrusters
- 30 Seconds of jumping rope
- 30 seconds of pushups
Once you’ve finished both exercises, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the whole thing two times before switching to circuit 2.
- 30 second stationary plank hold
- 30 second dumbbell goblet squat
- 30 seconds of high knees
- 30 seconds of bent over dumbbell rows
Once you’ve finished both exercises, rest for 30 seconds, repeat the entire circuit two more times, then you’re done!
Our wedding day was a dream. Both our ceremony and reception were held at The Silo
Event Center on November 23rd, 2019. We chose their two day event package so that we
could have the rehearsal dinner on-site the night before, and also use their beautiful Bridal
House to get ready on the day of the wedding.
It was truly incredible and flawless. The highlight of our wedding was the moment we walked into the Silo and saw how absolutely beautiful everything looked from the floral design to the table decor. The Silo has so many centerpiece options, and helped put together beautiful tablescapes. It was just breathtaking!
It was such a wonderful venue, and we cannot thank their staff enough for impeccable
day-of coordinating that made our day so easy and flawless.
Our 14th Annual Wedding and Events Showcase took place last month in the beautiful Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, TN. The 2020 edition was the largest ever with 50 wedding professionals participating. These professionals created some amazing booths and presented themselves well to our guests.
Nicoletta’s Catering returned as the sponsor for our busy stage! Our scavenger hunt was the key to earning a spot in our coveted Cake Dive! Our Cake Dive was sponsored by Discovery Parks of America this year and featured another wonderful Sweet Tooth Designer Cakes cake with a Tacori Diamond Pendant necklace inside courtesy of McKenzie and Smiley Jewelers. The five brides put on quite a show as we wrapped up the afternoon with our signature event!
Before the Cake Dive though we had a wonderful fashion show put on by Wedding Belles. Highlighting this year’s bridal and formal trends, Wedding Belles showed off nearly 40 dresses! The fashion show ended with a bouquet toss where the bride who caught the J. Botanica bouquet was given a nice gift from Wedding Belles.
For this first time in many years we had a Grand Prize Wedding Giveaway that included nearly $9,000 in prizes. Brightfield Farms provided their venue, Liz Courtney Photography providing her photography, It Takes 2 Events gifted a coordination package, Wedding Belles gifted a dress, Sweet Tooth Designer Cakes offering a cake, We Bring the Party Events donated a photo booth, and Orange Theory Fitness gave a month’s membership to the winner! It was a delightful moment when we announced the winner!
We want to thank everyone for attending our 2020 Showcase. We saw so many excited brides to be! We also want to thank our professionals who brought their best for the afternoon! Be sure to check our Showcase page for a full list of participants. We hope you will give them a call when planning!
And make plans to attend our 2021 Showcase which will be Wilma Rudolph Event Center on January 24th, 2021.
All photos in this story are from Liz Courtney Photography
How Levi + I met
Levi and I both grew up in Clarksville – I attended Clarksville High School and he attended North East High School. While we only went to school minutes from one another, ours paths did not cross until January of 2015 in statistics class at Austin Peay State University. After talking in class over the semester we ended up going on dates here and there and then on to dating not long after.
Levi always knew I did not want a public proposal, and he made sure to follow that. On August 26th 2017 – we went on what I thought was a normal date night. I could tell something was off with Levi, but had no idea what was coming. After dinner we headed back to the house, and walking into the door I noticed our dog Nellie had something tied around her neck. Me not thinking anything went and took off what was a sign without reading it, and turned around to Levi on a knee. I then read the sign that was on Nellie’s neck which said “Will you marry my dad?”. To say I was in shock was an understatement, and after standing their for what Levi said “ was the longest moments of his life” I said yes! I then found my best friend and maid of honor Emily hidden behind a wall taking pictures. Emily had also decorated the house in wedding attire and moments later both our of families showed up and celebrated us. It was the most simple yet perfect proposal I could have dreamt of.
The highlight of our wedding was how simple everything went throughout the day. I had always heard “something will go wrong on your wedding day, and that it will be alright” , but truly we had the most perfect and simple day. We can not thank everyone enough. From the Silo Event Center being the most beautiful location, J.Botanica for arranging the incredible flowers and decor, J. Photography for keeping everyone laughing and on schedule while taking photos. We truly had the wedding of our dreams!
The 13th Annual Wedding & Events Showcase took place at the City of Clarksville Parks and Recreation Wilma Rudolph Event Center this past Sunday. Once again the Showcase featured a sold out floor of the area’s best local professionals. Our future bride guests were joined by friends and family who were able to meet with professionals covering every category one would need to plan their wedding, all under one roof!
The Nicoletta’s Catering Main Stage was busy all afternoon with our scavenger hunt and professional panel. Planning Professionals from PSR Events, Every Detail Event Planning, and It Takes 2 Event Planners shared their experiences from start to finish with the audience. Wedding Belles took over to showcase the latest in wedding fashion, which is always a huge hit!
And as always the Clarksville Brides Cake Dive presented by AK Travel was the “icing” on a wonderful afternoon. Our brides to be tore into a 4-tier Sweet Tooth Designer Cakes cake looking for the hidden Tacori Diamond Pendant necklace from McKenzie & Smiley Jewelers.
We want to thank all of our guests for coming out and making this show a success! We also want to thank our Platinum Sponsors Liz Courtney Photography and Naimoli Estates for their contributions to our showcase!
Our 2020 Showcase will be held on 1/26/2020 at Wilma Rudolph Event Center
Post by – Liz Courtney
I met with Cristin and Shawn and in December of 2017 at a Starbucks. We spent a lot of time talking about their big day, what they wanted in terms of photography and about my business. I could immediately tell how in love they were and how excited they were for their big day. Cristin and I immediately connected. We parted ways that day and a couple weeks later I was officially their photographer. Over the next couple of months as they planned all the details of their big day, I spent my time getting excited to photograph their wedding day at the stunning Ruby Cora. May 19th dawned hot and muggy with a chance of rain. I walked into the Ruby Cora to find Cristin in the bridal suite excitedly getting ready with her ladies and Shawn hanging out with his guys in the equally gorgeous groom’s suite. Excitement was in the air. The entire day was smooth sailing. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were so much fun and were clearly excited to celebrate with Cristin and Shawn.
The ceremony came and went and not a drop of rain. Cristin’s mother walked her down the aisle as her father had passed away when Cristin was younger. Everyone there said that her dad kept the rain away so she could have the perfect wedding day. Shawn was so emotional and excited as he saw his bride walk down the aisle. Cristin and Shawn chose to do a first look and many people think that doing a first look will take away the emotions of seeing each other at the end of the aisle but I find that it isn’t usually the case. The moment you see your loved one at the altar is another feeling entirely and Shawn’s face when he saw Cristin said it all. He couldn’t wait to marry her! The two partook in Holy Communion and after some beautiful words by their officiant, Chad Rowland, the two exchanged rings and were officially husband and wife. The look on their faces said it all! The practically ran back up the aisle from excitement.
After a few fun and formal wedding party portraits, we took some time just for the two of them. I let them get close and sink in the moments that were quickly slipping away. Weddings do go very fast and that’s why I love couple time. This time allows you to be with your spouse and take it all in. The photos I took of these two are some of my favorites. They were so easy to work with and an absolutely gorgeous couple! During this time, it got a little crazy as the rain did threaten to start and during the reception it did sprinkle a little but it never poured. Mr. and Mrs. Jones were welcomed into their reception with laughter, clapping and so much joy. The two danced to Chris Stapleton’s Millionaire and after the cake cutting, the bouquet and garter toss and sweet toasts from Shawn’s best friend and Cristin’s sister, the party officially began. These guys can party. The dance floor was always packed and their music selection was on point. As the party wrapped up, everyone headed outside for their sparkler exit and let me tell you, this has to be my favorite sparkler exit. These two drove off from their wedding day in a Cadillac that Shawn has been working on restoring. It’s beautiful! What better way to leave one of the best days of your life then by a Cadillac!!
I can’t express how much fun and love was had on their big day. I asked Cristin to write a little bit about how she felt after her big day and this is what she had to say: “It was the most perfect day I could have ever imagined, my sweet Dad who is in heaven made sure his baby girl had the best day ever. Everyone who was a part of it made things so easy and carefree for me so I was able to soak in each moment without worry!”
Ceremony/Reception Venue: The Ruby Cora
Photographer: Liz Courtney Photography
Baker: Sweet Tooth Designer Cakes
Bridesmaids Dresses: Wedding Belles/Designer-Bill Levkoff
Wedding Dress: Wedding Belles/Designer-Maggie Soterro
I first met Kelsey via FaceTime. I love to meet my couples in person to talk about their wedding, but Kelsey and Joe live in Atlanta so that wasn’t going to be super convenient for them at all. Thank goodness for modern technology! Kelsey and I had the best conversation! We were able to talk about all the details that she and Joe had already planned for their Owen Farm wedding. For the details that they hadn’t decided on, we were able to talk about all their options and I was able to give a photographer’s opinion on what would photograph well. I really do love that part of my job! I remember one of the more important things that we talked about was the advantages of doing a first look and I’m so glad that they decided to go ahead and do a first look! We were able to capture so many special moments before the ceremony had even started.
I didn’t get to meet Joe until weeks later when Kelsey and Joe were in town visiting their families for the holidays. We met at Starbucks to finalize their timeline and make sure that they were going to have enough photography coverage to capture everything that they wanted. I got so excited just planning their timeline that I knew their wedding day was going to be so much fun. Kelsey and Joe are so funny and easy going and when we left Starbucks that day, they felt like friends instead of clients. If you spend even just a short amount of time with them, you will see that they are so perfect together.
The wedding took place at Owen Farm which is a gorgeous wedding venue with the whole package. Kelsey and her girls were able to get ready in the main house and the guys got ready in the adoarble Silo house near the reception location. It is a perfect setup to keep the bride and groom from accidentally seeing each other! Kelsey and I were able to go outside the main house to capture her getting in her dress, a few moments with just her girls, and the moment her dad got to see her in her wedding dress for the first time. First looks with dads are always a favorite of mine to capture! Kelsey’s dad reminds me so much of my own dad so when he got to see his baby girl in her wedding dress for the first time, I had to fight back tears of my own. Now that I have a baby girl of my own, I am soooooo much more teary-eyed while photographing weddings.
Once we were done with Kelsey’s first look with her dad, it was time for Joe to see his bride. They exchanged their gifts right before their first look and it was so sweet to witness. Both of them had written the same exact thing at the beginning to their letters to one another! They couldn’t help but laugh and I couldn’t help but think how perfect they are for one another. Joe’s reaction to Kelsey’s gift was so sweet and perfect. It seriously made me want to go back in time and redo the gift I gave my husband on our wedding day.
I’m so glad that my wonderful friend Bri was able to shoot alongside me that day so that we could capture both Kelsey and Joe’s faces during the first look. I love how intimate first looks can be and that couples get to have this sweet and private moment where they can hug and actually talk to one another. Joe’s face when he saw Kelsey for the first time was so perfect. You could see how much he loves her and you just know that he feels like the luckiest man in the world for getting to marry her. Their ceremony and reception were perfect and I think my favorite moments were Kelsey’s father daughter dance to Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl (so so fun!!) and her dad’s toast to them. Mr. Kenneth’s toast was the perfect balance of funny, sweet, and meaningful!
OH! And I loved their Krispy Kreme donut bar instead of the traditional cake. I love me some Krispy Kreme donuts!!
Kelsey and Joe, thank you so much for choosing me to photograph your elegant country wedding! You guys were a joy to get to be with on your day and I hope that we will keep in touch so that I can celebrate all your big moments as your life grows together. Below are just a few (ok, maybe a lot!) of my favorite images from your wedding day and I hope that you love them as much as I do!
Each half of the heart that was sewn into the bottom of Kelsey’s dress was a piece from each of her two grandfather’s shirts.
Kelsey’s florals were stunning!
It’s always fun when little ones are part of the ceremony. I think there might have been two meltdowns but they eventually all made it down the aisle with a little help. They were so adorable!
I love that they rang the “wedding bell” right after the ceremony.
How gorgeous was Kelsey’s veil that her mother made?!
I’m so glad they humored me and snuck away before sunset to get a few more photos.
Their wedding hashtag was PERFECT!
It all started with a proposal in the rain, while stranded with car trouble in Gatlinburg! Lauren said ‘yes’ to Anthony and so on November 11, 2017, at The Tanglewood House here in Clarksville. The two love birds tied the knot! The walls of the popular wedding venue were filled with warmth and love as Lauren and Anthony’s family and friends gathered to witness them declare their love for each other in the afternoon on that crisp, cool, fall day. We, the husband and wife team of Wallflower Wedding Photography, were selected by the happy couple to have the honor and privilege of capturing their blissful day.
Lauren chose burgundy and navy blue as her colors, which were tastefully combined in the flower arrangements and the bridal party’s attire. The couple opted for a first look, which Lauren chose to have Anthony blindfolded at first, she then removed the blindfold, revealing herself in her beautiful gown for the first time. Kevin, their 5 year old son, was the best man and carried out his duties wonderfully, delivering a classic speech at dinner!
The cake was simple, yet elegant, and tasted delicious! The family was all smiles all day and were so welcoming to us, making our job more of a pleasure to capture their special day! Van was the DJ and MC for the day, doing a fantastic job of keeping things running smoothly and the dance floor hopping! The dancing started off with the traditional bride and groom, then the bride with her father and then in lieu of a groom and mother dance, Anthony chose to have a special dance with his son! The guestbook was a creative puzzle, in which all the guests were to sign a piece of the puzzle, which would later be assembled and framed as a keepsake.The entire family was so sweet and welcoming!
Congratulations you two, may your journey together be magical and wonderful!
Photography and story by Wallflower Wedding Photography