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Mother Polka’s Musings – Need Or Want

by | Bride, Mother Polka's Musings



Being aware of money, beyond the amount you get in your pay cheque every fortnight is crucial if you want to be the master of your own destiny, financially.

The usual things like setting up a system that works for you, to ensure that bills are  budgeted for and paid on time,  working out with your fiancé what will be joint money and what you will each keep as ‘your’ money, how much you need to save to get the big items, like a house, should be ‘given’ in couple’s life.

However, if we look beyond the physical aspects of money, we can start to tap into our attitudes about money. Have you secretly, now that you are getting married, sighed with relief that ‘he’ will be there to manage the finances, because, let’s be honest, you never had enough or you didn’t care enough? Has fulfilling your own ‘needs’ been paramount, over paying that pesky bill? Has that night out or buying that dress been more important than saving for your future.

Do you see your fiance as your ‘ticket to ride’ – oh, he will pay the bills, and make sure there is enough money in the account to do so. Yeah, I will just use my money to buy the things I want – his money is our money, my money is my money?

If you are serious about a strong financial future together then it is prudent to look honestly at these attitudes. What is it that you both really want in your future? House, new car, children – how are you going to provide in the best possible way for each of these? What will you need to sacrifice in order to save for the house deposit, to buy the new car? How will you provide for your time on maternity leave?

One of the best questions you can ask yourself when shopping is, ‘Is this item a ‘want’, or a ‘need’?’ Prepare to be surprised as you honestly consider each purchase. There are so many times the item will be a ‘want’ and not a ‘need’. Are you prepared to sacrifice something else in order to fulfil your ‘want’? Will you put this purchase on a credit card to worry about and justify to yourself later? In buying this item am I going to feel the tiniest bit guilty?

It is said that you need to have at least 6 months worth of savings in case you or your partner lose your job. To do this, most of us will have to really question our ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.

We live in a world of instant gratification, where the pressure to have the latest and greatest of everything is always present. But being really honest with yourself about your true material needs is so enlightening, and comes with more than a touch of empowerment.

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Wedding News Roundup

by | Blog News, Bride


There have been so many new developments this week, I thought we’d take a break from finance and kick off the last day of the week with some wedding news from around the web!

Sugarlove Weddings are giving away a Valentine’s Day prize to one couple over on their blog A gorgeous dozen long stemmed roses and tickets to the Valentines Movie courtesy of Roses Only, together with a bottle of Taittinger Champagne (Total Prize Value $250). To enter simply send  the story of how you first met your Valentine to or check our their blog for more.


Speaking of Sugarlove Weddings, they were recently the good luck charm for pro surfer Layne Beachly. Newlyweds Lauren and Tim were having their wedding photographs taken while Layne was snorkeling nearby looking for her wedding ring she’d lost during fitness training. She found her ring right in the middle of the photo shoot! A good news story to end the week!

Infinity Photography Blog

Infinity Photography have launched a new blog to showcase their work and interact with their brides. It’s full of their gorgeous images and work a peek! Check it out here.


Tea Lily Photography also launched a new website and blog over the Christmas break! I love the soft and glowing feel to Trish’s new website!

The Wedding Establishment

The Wedding Establishment premiered their brand new site this week ahead of their September expos. They’re also running a competition! Entrants have the chance to blog for the site as well as win a gift voucher at David Jones, wedding planning consultations and a double pass to the wedding showcase.

Nonpareil 1 Beautiful on a Budget | DIY Wedding Projects, Free Templates, and Ideas at Nonpareil Magazine

Nonpareil magazine launched this week! It’s an online magazine created by Maddy of The Inspired Bride and  Kristen of Papercrave. The magazine is designed for the DIY, craft bride and is packed with templates, hints, tricks and gorgeous images. The first issue is titled “Beautiful On a Budget”. Check out the Nonpareil Magazine website for more.

The Wedding Workshop-1

The Wedding Workshop is on again next month and is back with a brand new look! The next event will be held at the glamorous Villa Kula in Perth! Expert panels, fashion shows and prizes all accompany your glass of bubbles.

The M Word

by | Bride, Finance



Claire and Tim captured by You Can’t Be Serious Photography

I am delighted today to introduce a woman who has become a dear friend- Carolyn Gerin is the creator and co-author of the three book Antibride series for Chronicle books, she coordinates the Antibride blog (for which she asked me to write as Aussie Bride) and is also the Senior Editor on one of the best destination wedding magazines- Destination I Do (on stands March 15th). She’s just returned from a swanky press trip to Western Australia where she fell in love with the country and the Australian people.

Carolyn is one of the most down to earth and grounded people I’ve met- but she also has a wicked sense of humor and a generous spirit. So when I asked Carolyn to write today’s guest post, I knew she’d come up with something fantastic!

When Ms. Polka Dot asked me to write a blog post about finance and weddings, I was at the ready, armed and dangerous, with more information on the subject than most sane women would readily admit. But suffice it to say, we will call this post the “M” word, because I believe it’s easier to broach the subject of the Kama Sutra as acceptable family dinner conversation than it is talk about money. Especially when it comes to weddings.

Tough Love: Note To Self

Money is indeed the root of all evil – if you let it envelope you in an opium cloud of a fantasy life that you currently do not live. Shows like Platinum Weddings – should be treated as an inspiration tool, not gospel – use it like a wedding magazine to pick and choose ideas to inform your own event based on your budget. If you aren’t Ivanka Trump, you must belly up to your bank statement and take a little dose of tough love, as you may not be able to afford everything you see and dream about.  Dreams have a price tag.

The Anti-Bride series came from this thought process: it’s about celebrating your lifestyle (and who you are as a bride and a couple), and honoring that in rituals, celebrations, food, apparel and décor and not getting trampled by the Wedding Industrial Complex (or be made to feel that you somehow don’t rate on the bridal Richter scale because you’re not rocking a Vera Wang). There is no one on this earth like you and your sweetie. You have your own love story, clock speed, style and quirk. You’ve got taste, you’ve got game, and most likely been throwing fabulous soirees since you were old enough to hold a martini glass. The particular brand called YOU doesn’t necessarily need to be outsourced to someone who knows better. That said, you know what you can afford. The art of living well needs to extend into a fiscally fabulous, anxiety-free newlywed bubble of wellbeing after the big day. Surrounded by the best people in your life, the person you love, the food you crave, the music you like to dance to, is the key. So it doesn’t matter if your wedding is in a VFW hall or the Taj Mahal, it will be the best day of your life….

Asking For It

Some lucky brides have proud parents who have saved up for her big day since birth (my family saved up for college tuition). The new rules of the road dictate that in this economy, it’s a shared load, where the bride’s family, the groom’s family and the couple chip in, many times, in equal measure. The genius part about a three-way financial team is that the couple has more say as they are “equity holders” and “investors” and the event parameters will then be dictated by the budget (just like at work!). If Daddy Donald is funding Ivanka’s throw down at the golf club, there’s probably a few more strings attached.

At the get-go, discuss specifically how much the bride and grooms parents want to chip in, and any specific requests they would like to throw into the ring for consideration (a Huppah, a special ritual, a certain scripture reading, a favorite recipe, a cocktail from the old country). Discuss the feasibility of making this a reality. Get the checks at the beginning of the process in whatever denomination is decided. Then the mind games, the passive aggressive stuff and the back and forth will evaporate (at least until the flower arrangements and dress decision comes up).

Uptown Girl:

What if you and your and your intended’s families come from very different financial backgrounds, and you’re worried about the contribution disparity?

The financial arrangements should depend on the couple’s finances and the families’ abilities (and willingness) to cover expenses. One foolproof strategy to prevent money discomfort is to plan a wedding you can afford yourself. Any money from family can be considered pennies from heaven. Also, do not ever disclose the disparity in contributions. To anyone. If the bride’s family covers 80% and the groom’s family covers 20% it’s nobody’s business but your own. The idea is to join families, and celebrate this new and wonderful union, not create class warfare. If the groom’s family experiences a pervasive feeling of dread at the thought of attending Thanksgiving (because they sense they’ve been tagged as the poor relations), that is downright bad Karma.

How to Ask for Money instead of Gifts

You can’t. But here’s how to get it anyway: we know you’d rather have a stack of $100 checks or gift certificates than a crystal dinner bell or 10 toaster ovens. The key is discretion. To indirectly get the word out—rely on your Mom or mention something on your wedsite. Since online registries are de rigueur, list the stores you want to work with and inform them beforehand that you are interested in gift certificates only, in any denomination. It used to be gauche to list your registry on your wedsite, but people are too time crunched to beat around the bush or call your Mom, (if they’ve even got her number), and then try and divine what you want. So just list where you are registered on your wedsite, and save everyone the time and energy.

One bride’s mother when contacted about the couples gift registry by guests, told them if they wanted to do something easy, contribute to the couple’s “down payment fund” for their house and gave them the contact information. This can easily be set up on Pay Pal. I’ve heard of couples who are renovating setting up registries at Home Depot. We boiled it down further: Hop scotching on our 3-city wedding cocktail party tour: San Francisco-DC-Paris, we simply couldn’t transport gifts. But we could certainly transport checks and gift certificates (Williams Sonoma, Borders, Macy’s, and Home Depot). My mother was the point person who communicated the “they can’t transport gifts” dispatch, which translated into “Oh well, I guess we’ll write a check.” People always take the path of least resistance: writing a check is about 15 minutes faster than buying a gift certificate. We also registered for furniture at our favorite Mid Century Modern emporium. Also, consider registering for stuff you’ll use that are non wedding related: Like at your local surf shop (wetsuits, surfboards, hoodies, booties), mountain bikes or snowboard gear. If the sporting life is a part of your married life, you should think about what’s more important, a new longboard or a set of dishes…Hmmmmmmmm…..

W Is For Weddings – Behind “The Wedding” Word Part Two

by | Bride, Finance



Chelsea and Mark by Renee Brazel

Welcome back to part two of our feature article “W Is For Weddings – Behind “The Wedding” Word!

2) In a television report on the (Choice) article it was suggested that prospective brides and grooms not tell the vendor that they required their services for a wedding, but for a party instead. What effect would this have on you as a vendor?

One wedding planner said that if a ‘couple approached us and described a fairly costly event, without mentioning it was a wedding, we would likely suggest our wedding package, as it is more cost effective to them and guarantees them more service from us’.

Other vendors, such as hire cars and paper goods suppliers said that telling them the event was a party (when it was really a wedding), would cause embarrassment for both the bridal party, and the vendor themselves, at not being able to fulfill their client’s requirements adequately. It might also mean that if the vendor was unable to fulfill ‘project expectations’ it would potentially take time away from other clients (while the problems were rectified) and reflect adversely on their business.

One vendor said that this would this would cause stress and not allow her to ‘make a fair quotation for (her) time and services’. Another vendor expressed that she would realize after lengthy discussion with the couple that the event, was indeed, a wedding!

A florist said she would place special orders to source flowers for a wedding. For a standard party request, the stock flowers in the shop may be used.

A jewellery designer  (as distinct from a jewellery store on the high street – which we did not canvas with these questions) said that ‘the only difference in price would be attributed to any difference in the cost of materials’.

A venue operator said that whilst it wouldn’t affect their pricing structure, they have ‘a dedicated Wedding Team……that know the inside and out of the wedding industry including the best suppliers, ideas on theme (ing) and entertainment and ideas to make your day stand out from the rest’.

An apparel vendor told of a person who rang up their store and said she was attending a wedding as a guest. After being told that there were cocktail and evening dresses that might be suitable for the occasion, she traveled for over an hour to get to their store, only to tell the owners that she was the bride. She had wasted her time as the store had no wedding dresses to show her – they would have been ordered in especially for her – if she had been honest about her needs.

3) Would the couple’s honesty (dishonesty) have an effect on the way you provided your service to them and what would this mean for future couples you supplied?

All vendors expressed that they would not be influenced by the couple’s (dis)honesty and would do everything they could to fulfill their requirements as per the contract they had signed.

They did, however, express feelings of hurt, embarrassment and betrayal if they found couples were not honest with them. They also at the same time asked that couples be honest with them about their budgets and expectations and not undervalue them and the services they provide.

The over-riding theme from all vendors interviewed was that they were transparent with their pricing structures and wanted the chance to provide the best possible service to their brides and grooms. Many expressed pride in the individual touches they could provide and felt it was an honour to participate in some way in making the couple’s day ‘something truly special’.

As one vendor so beautifully put it ,‘I think clients should look at being honest as an advantage, as a starting point of negotiations – what’s wrong with letting the vendor know your budget, and your expectations, before assuming the price will jump? Honesty can work out to be the best tool for both the client and the vendor, as it puts you on the same page. Give the vendor a chance to do their best to make you happy ….’  And as another vendor said, ‘Why not use their expertise to make your planning ….easier?’

As always, ask lots of questions, be honest and upfront in your expectations and communications (and contract) with the vendor, and shop around until you find vendors that you ‘click’ with. Another vendor finished with ‘if a client doesn’t trust their vendor, I would suggest that they haven’t found the right one and should keep looking’.

Our heartfelt thanks go to these vendors who gave us their valuable time and insights in answering our survey:

Natasha at Your Special Day

David at  Cloud 9 Wedding Cars

Matt at Boston Limousines

David at David Frith Jewellery

Lyndsay at It’s A Date Design

Nancy at Nancy Liu Chin Designs

Sara at Bella Notte Wedding Consulting

Aletha at Pearls Events

Autumn at The Paper Couturiere

Erica at Opera Point Events

Suzi at  Alannah Rose Stationery

Dannii at The Kissing Tree

Kathryn at Pink Frosting

Gisella at Exclusively Bridesmaids

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