Budget Wedding Ideas

2017 Awards’ Shows have begun!


Awards dresses are the precursor to your wedding aisle dresses. Did you watch the Golden Globes on the 8th of January? Did you see those fabulous dresses? They were bright, white and some were even tight and definitely fun. My favorite of the night was worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the “A”-Line or ball gown with the long-sleeved dropped shoulder white dress. No need to imagine it, because it was on the Red Carpet in all of its glory. So cool.

74th Annual Golden Globes

74th Annual Golden Globes


There was plenty of extremes glitz and glam as well as schmata’s that should never have left the home. Beautiful women all. The men were stunning in their tuxes as well, with special mention of Cuba Gooding, Jr. in his Italian designed tux. He looked stunning!

Cuba+Gooding+Jr+74th GG

Colors of the night leaned toward eggshell, gold and yellow. Not all yellows were of equal value when it came to the people wearing them. Honorable mentions are Reese Witherspoon, in Atelier Versace and wrapped up like a present and a simple, but elegant, one-shouldered, empire waisted confection worn by Viola Davis, in Michael Kors.


Did you get a chance to hear Valerie interview me?

If not, here’s your chance, on the fabulous

Valerie Kanay Talks show:




CharLena Pearson-Fulcher





COUNTDOWN SALES every 23 hours:

New York City Budget Weddings: Elegant and Affrodable

Starting 18 March 2016 from $1.99 – $5.99

through 22 March 2016

The Oscar Red Carpet’s Look at the Bedroom


Bridal Plus-Sized Lingerie

It’s crazy that anything over a size 12 is considered to be plus-sized. It’s ridiculous, because the average woman all over the world is a size 14, which means we are all plus-sized wearers. Terms, like that need some serious re-working, re-thought and really just eliminated. Anyway with the Academy Awards Red Carpet especially the term Social X-Ray (woman) dressing is the norm. This often causes women to strive to be too small for words because the Hollywood producers or directors in charge would prefer waif-looking female actors. If you look at the last person on PopSugar’ Red Carpet (https://www.popsugar.com/fashion/Oscars-Red-Carpet-Dresses-2016-40320448#photo-40320448) photo array, you will see exactly what I mean.

The owner of this website is an affiliate that may receive compensation from the companies’ products recommended. The owner uses some of the same products recommended to you so you can be sure you are getting her honest feedback. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

We are championing the “so-called” plus-sized woman who wants to look and feel like a star or celebrity at her wedding as well as on her honeymoon. Fortunately on both the Oscar Red Carpet and your future bedroom we can achieve it. Although for your bedroom attire go with a look that appears celebrity-like, but is comfortable, too. The Oscars are a little more subdued and sedated as compared to the Golden Globes Red Carpet and certainly the Grammy Awards Dresses. There is no eating during the event. People are just seen in their elegant attire sitting or walking up to the podium after they’ve modeled whatever they are wearing on the Red Carpet. Clothing that they have been poured into for the sake of showing off the designer’s line of the wearing apparel are the norm.

Plus Size Soft and Comfy Dress with Criss Cross Back, BlackPlus Size Cotton Sleepshirt, WhitePlus Size Satin Chemise with Lace Trim and Robe Set, Charcoal

buy plus size panties on sale

Above is lingerie based on the three female actors’ best wedding styled dresses below:

29 – Alicia Vikander – yellow Louis Vuitton with silver appliqués and a small belt, diaper-like upside down pouf short in front longer in back – no train

Vikander -Getty

Photos from Getty Images

This is a gown with the short front that is very easy to walk. Plus Alicia with its big ballroom-like skirt she will be able to get up and down easily without having to ease up or down. This is the perfect dress to look great in and feel great all afternoon and into the evening, even if you don’t get eat much you’ll be able to dance at your wedding without much of a challenge.

18 — Brie Larson – Gucci longitudinal ruffles princess-like soft ballroom gown is another great dress because you can move effortlessly in it. Plus, the ruffles just make it fun especially since they are not along the bottom, but float the long-way down the front. Mmmh, this could be fun in bed too, but we have lingerie for that.


Brie Larson - photog Kravitz

Photo From Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz:


26 — Sofie Turner – Galvan, silver column mermaid with a tank top and thigh high slit.

Sofie Turner - Getty Images

Photos from Getty Images/Todd Williamson

This is a dress in color, design and style that exudes elegance, so it’s perfect for the Oscars, plus it isn’t exceptionally tight either. I guess for my choices I have gone against the grain of the traditional tight-fitting Oscar dress


For your wedding night or honeymoon, it doesn’t have to be SO stringent, but you’ll see the difference between the three awards show dresses that I picked for my best of the Oscar Red Carpet on my blog and the lingerie here.






Are you ready for your close-up? Have you always imagined you SHOULD be on television? If you have, but didn’t know how you’d do it then this is your chance with Producer, Lauren Riccio of True Entertainment who has a great copportunity for you. A couple of years ago, I did a one day shoot with this company, which was a lot of fun. So if you are ready for your BIG Break or your Close up, then sign up and you might get the chance to be a STAR.

True Entertainment, the Producers behind “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, “Love Lust or Run”, and “Oprah, Behind the Scenes”, are casting a new TV project and seeking TRI-STATE AREA couples getting married in April/May 2016.

Are you excited about your BIG DAY but nervous that a few things aren’t going as planned? Do you wish you had a wedding ringer to help pull it all together and keep everyone in check?

If you are worried about family drama, a disorganized bridal party, or even the stress of event planning and it’s putting a downer on your special day; we can help!

For more information email: 
weddingshowcasting2016@gmail.com and include the following information:

Name, Age, Location
Phone / E-mail / Instagram or Facebook link
Date of wedding
Recent photo of you and your husband
A brief description of your wedding issue and why you need help!



Are you trying to come up with ways to fund your wedding AND stay within your budget while have all that you desire? Here’s an opportunity in which you can do just that and keep on doing even after your wedding if you like receiving money.


This Blogger made


Learn to Blog1

It’s easy you’ll like it, your friends will like you and Amazon with love you.

Kristina Latour – Latolur de Force Productions

Video Producer can take your pictures from childhood through adulthood along with music of your choice and show your guests your life and the romance of your relationship. Or it could be a perfect gift for the wedding couple. Want more information about her? Check out our conversation on BudgetWeddingsNYC4U on Blog Talk Radio:  http://preview.tinyurl.com/napmh7p

Jewelry for your wedding.

I just came back from a beautiful shop in Forest Hills Queens, that I think every bride needs to go to. There is jewelry to purchase and to rent. There’s even jewelry for women in search of that special someone. The shop is run by Tina-Yin Di. You might even want to hold your bridal shower for 7 of your closest friends in attendance.

Super Dolls Lounge/The Jewelry Lounge, 70-23 Austin St. in Forest Hills, Qns-NY, just south of Queens Blvd.

Here’s a sneak peak of her shop:  102_1046These are Ener-Gems for the release of stress, balance and enlightenment in your life.

For your bridal shower you may bring in food, or arrange for a spa atmosphere  or jewelry-making or even look at jewelry that you can rent for the wedding (By Appointment Only). There are six different sections within the shop to choose and all of the artisans represented are local. The shop is quite beautifully arranged, including hats that have a draw string to keep the hat on during a windy day.


CharLena in a cloche a Super Dolls Lounge.

CharLena in a cloche at Super Dolls Lounge.

Book update:

Book is in Pre-Pub. There will be four teleseminars, with wedding industry professionals to answer your questions live 1/20, 1 – 4 pm, 7 – 10, 1/24 2 – 8 pm and 1/28 2 – 9 pm. More information later, if you’re on my list. If not, why not sign up for the newsletter and you too, can be in one of the limited seats with unlimited information.

11/1 – 10 – Located a company to format the book for Kindle, since I have several tables in the book along with links in my Resource section I couldn’t just upload it to Kindle easily.
More next week for updates.

I lucked out and a good friend of mine

who is an artist,  offered to assist me among other things who has helped me out with the layout design. The book cover looks beautiful. I never tire of looking at it.

The edits are done: WooHoo!

As of 9/20 one person has read and reviewed it. Two additional people are currently reading and I am waiting for their reviews. I am also working with a graphic artist for the eBook cover design.

I’ll keep you posted on what else is going on in CharLena’s book world.

I am now working on my absolute final edits, making sure all the information is clear, then it’s back to my wonderful editor for corrections and formatting. I can hardly wait. WooHoo! New York City Budget Weddings: Elegant & Affordable. YaY! Pretty soon, I’ll ask you which cover you like best for the eReader version of the book.

Allow me to assist you in planning your wedding either a Snappy Wedding or your regular-length wedding plans. Magnificence knows no length of preparedness.


Need help planning your wedding, don’t forget you can contact me here via cpf@budgetweddingsnyc.com or 917-548 4870.  Or even through:

Wedding party planning  I’m always looking for ways to assist the engaged couple live a happier life through planning consciously via your wedding. Thumbtack allows me to show off my expertise in wedding strategies for the conscious couple.  Check out my profile to learn even more about what I can do B4 you say, I do! …On Thumbtack.com.

And I sing, too.

The wedding stats are out for the 2014 – 2015 wedding season. Expectations for the wedding expenditures are up to and possibly surpassing $87,000.  That up $22K from last year’s (outrageous) total of $65,000.

Be true to yourselves.  Do not succumb to expectations.

3 Stress-Reducing Tips for the New York City

Bride or …Groom


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3 Tips to staying calm within stressful situations, even in New York City, especially while planning your wedding.



Did you know that you can relieve stress while in the midst of the stress-maker without anyone knowing that’s what you are doing?  Let me tell you about 3 tips that have nothing, or almost nothing to do with counting to ten.

Let me give you a couple of short scenarios:  You’re with your BFF who is also your Matron of Honor and you are looking at accessories.  Your BFF has always been outspoken, but for some reason, you thought she’d let you have your day.  Each time you ooh and aah over something she says she’d never have ‘anything as ugly as that’ in her wedding.  Have you gotten to the point that you just want to shake her, yet?  But you can’t do that in public without possibly being arrested.  You could take a deep breath at that point, sigh and count to ten, but she’d know she’s gotten to you and might try to push even more buttons.

Or what if you are on the phone with your soon-to-be Mom-in-Law and she is telling all the things you already know about your fiancé and why you can’t do something you’d planned for the reception.  You can’t yell at her, right?

Or what if it’s something you and your fiancé have never agreed upon and you both have pushed it under the carpet until further notice.  And now that time is here.  Do you reach over and throttle him, yelling your points at him all the while you do it?

The answer to all of these situations is, no.  No, you can’t.  What can you do to relieve the pressure you’re feeling around your collar and in the pit of your stomach from the stress.  Here’s a tip for each scenario.  You get to choose which one is best for the situation?

  1. From a seated position, get up and stretch for a full five to ten seconds.  Allow your arms to leave the sides of your body and shake your hands at the wrist.  You could even make it a dance.  (The very act of stretching takes your mind off the situation and when don’t you breathe slowly while stretching?  You might even yawn, which makes you bring in needed breath, which automatically relieves some stress.)
  2. In public:  Use of a mantra of your own choosing that automatically puts you at ease.  Say it silently or in lowered voice.  Whichever will make the most impact on your psyche.
  3. The following will work any situation:  Think of something funny and laugh.  Or just make the whole incident funny and laugh.  The comedian George Wallace says, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop laughing.”  Laughter, decreases stress-producing cortisol that usually forms in your abdomen.  (Not an area you want to grow before your wedding day.) Laughter, improves mood by releasing endorphins into our system naturally.

There are lots of other ways in which you can ease the stressors in your life including of course meditation, and I don’t mean sitting in a lotus position meditation.  You can use walking as your meditation, but whatever works best for you, use them especially now during the stressful processes of getting ready for your wedding day.


If you’d like more information on stress reduction, please tune-in to Midnight Meditation with CharLena every Friday evening on www.blogtalkradio.com/budget-weddings-nyc or I am available for consultation cpf@budgetweddingsnyc.com or join in the upcoming De-Stress B4 the Dress Teleseminar March 26th & April 2nd 2014.  For more information or to sign up  email me at above email or call:  347-530-9132.

There will be a PayPal button live on the  Books & Courses page on Wednesday 3/19/14.



Change Has Come to the Wedding Toppers . . . Finally!


It’s here and he will be on my show Budget Weddings NYC 4U in the about two months to tell us all about them.

Do you recall about two years ago, I wrote about the new law regarding Same-Sex marriage that was passed here in New York State?  I mentioned within that article, that I hoped that the wedding cake topper manufacturers would get the idea to change the way they mass produced the toppers.  I had even hoped my own husband would jump on the band wagon,  design and sculpt some wedding cake toppers.   Alas, he did not.

When we got married there was not much to pick from in terms of our own features.  No it was the mass marketed stuff that’s been produced relentlessly for at least four decades with only a change of hue for” the other” couple getting married.  Of course, there were various occupations and or playful stances on top of the cake, but nothing too extraordinary or specific race-wise to the people who were actually getting married.  Even with the change of the law the only thing that changed were the sexes of the figures.  Still the same features.  Dare I say it the same features of a Caucasoid coupling.  After the passing of the law, sure there were two men or two women, but the same features as before.

You may remember I said that the world has changed and continues to change and yet these, oh so important to the bride and sometimes the groom have stayed the same, when it comes to the features on top of the cake.  It seems so unfair.  Here we are searching for various things that can help make a wedding feel special, elegant and if not look like the couple, at the very least resemble them.

Finally a gentleman by the name of Art Winford and his company My Memory Dolls is here to fill in that void.  I will talk to him live on www.BlogTalkRadio.com/budget-weddings-nyc-4U, possibly in mid-March.  In the next week or so you will see some of his company’s work under the website in the Resources tab.  I hope if you getting married and desire to have your cake topper look like you, that you check out his product.

All-Inclusive Wedding Package


It’s a great idea especially if the venue is throwing in mostly everything needed for your wedding day.  But what can you expect in an all-inclusive wedding package, especially here in New York City. And how can you be sure you are being served best by going this route. Be extra careful  to make sure you get everything spelled out in your contractual agreement.   Anything supplied that is special or extra must be put in writing.  If you a have particularly difficult timeline, make sure to have a dress rehearsal and even if the venue has an in-house Wedding Coordinator, I suggest you hire your own Wedding Consultant or Planner at least for the day.   That way you will have your own advocate guiding your wedding dreams to fruition.

There are many places to choose from around the city.  In this week’s newsletter I name eight.  While I was re-writing my wedding planning book I came across some that were even below $10,000.   This time, I think I’ll give you hints as to where to look for possible combo packages for your wedding.

Where to look for an all-inclusive wedding package:

1.  If you belong to a spiritual center or religious organization, check to see if they have space available for both the ceremony and the reception.  If you are a member check to see if there are special prices.

2.  Schools, just like spiritual centers have cafeterias, sound systems, bands and eating centers and that is at all levels.  Albeit for your wedding entertainment, you might want to bring in your own musicians, especially if you rent a grade school.

3.   Big libraries will have an auditorium or even a large entryway, sound system and possibly a catering hall.  And the main libraries usually have beautiful steps in front of them for your pictures.

4.   Some of the older court houses has all of the above, including Justice of  the Peace in case you are not keen on a liturgical officiant.

5.    Theatres whether they are smaller Off Off Broadway, Off Broadway or Broadway theatres, if they are dark (or without a show), are itching to make up money by renting space.

In almost all of the venues above there is bound to be a bar on the premises or a selection of wine available The exception would be both the elementary and secondary schools. The combination wedding package still means BIG savings  within your budget.  All you have to do is decide in what arena you would like to have your dream wedding.  Envision it, imagine it and you can make all your dreams come true especially with the “all-inclusive package” for your wedding AND within your budget even here in New York City’s 5-Boroughs.



Wedding Seasons 

The wedding season months might be earlier than you truly believe. As you know according to my source (2012) at David’s Bridal – Brooklyn, the wedding season starts with a bang right after Christmas and so the information although newer is actually a little off.  I still wanted to show you what goes on in the fashion and magazine world.  I hope you enjoy the video.

http://youtu.be/w1I0GJtFjGQ .


 Do It Yourself Hair 


Have you gone into your favorite bookstore or via kindle store recently to check out either hair magazines or bridal magazines that are guiding toward the newest trends for wedding or bridal hair of the season?

Easy DIY Wedding HairStyles

As I spoke about earlier this afternoon (4/22/2013) on my radio show Fit or Fashion, this season’s trends seem to be leaning toward DIY or Do-It-Yourself hair styles.  Not to worry most of them, I am sure you have tried before or have even had them within your everyday arsenal.  While I was in Barnes n’Noble to looking, I noticed most if not all of the wedding magazines were boasting about this very trend for wedding hair.  Not wedding trends in hair, although it was a nice surprise to see all of the bridal magazines leaning toward that direction, I wasn’t even trying to find out about wedding hair trends.  Truth be told, I was looking for myself.  I want a change of hairstyle and I was looking for inspiration.  Yup!  For myself this time, I wasn’t even thinking about keeping you all abreast of the new bridal trends.  It just happened that the magazines screamed out for me to take notice of the bridal world at large.  As women, we are lucky because we can change our hairstyle or color on a whim as long as we do not damage our hair or scalp.  Men may be better paid, but in terms of personal maintenance including their clothing, they are pretty much stuck in the 19th century garb and hair designs of their ancestors.  Don’t believe me; just look back over the last 50 years at movies.  If you don’t count the sixties, the hairstyle change for men has been minimal or nonexistent.  The 60’s for the most part scandalized men’s hairstyles and look how long that lasted. 

Back to us/we women, we get to change our hair as often as the day passes within a week if we want to.  Personally I love that about being a woman almost as much as our clothing style or actually the variety of our clothing styles especially in the last 30 or so years.  Prior to the mid-sixties our clothing was stuck in a rut, too, but not as much as men’s.

DIY Wedding Hair Accessories

Now with the DIY trend for 2013 regarding bridal hair we can do SO many things when it comes to our wedding hair design. Now in 2015 the DIY trend is still being edged out by couples who know exactly what they want & refuse have their hand in everything. Let me enumerate a few of them now, and I will start small with accessories and then graduate to hairstyles themselves:  stick pins, bows, combs, flowers, tiaras hats, designed cloth, veils with hats, flowers.

Easy Do-It-Yourself Hairstyles

Hair:  loose, braided, curls swept on both sides, one side or held in place with mousse or any of the previous accessories for the hair, short hair or long and or medium in length, braids, romantic curls loose or tight, French braid or chignon (For 2014, these are the height of elegance for all brides with medium length hair, but this year, 2015 it long and flowing over ears and shoulders.)  Then you could forego any of the previously mentioned accessories and go (au naturel in 2015 hair) with the a off-white hair sash decorated with sequins, or rhinestones or Austrian crystals, or pearls, seed or otherwise or even beading or running lace through a braid or around your head. In 2014 hair up with only a few wisps on the neck seems to be the

           As you can see, you can go simple or elaborate and it can all be done without you so much as thinking of stepping into a beauty salon, unless you want to.  



From March 2013 Newsletter  – Wedding Planning on A Budget

Travel, if you will, through the varied wedding categories and their percentages, since what you project for your budget will inform you of how many people can be on your guest list. Let me hearken back to my book and my research; whenever there was a wedding there was always a gathering or the local community to break bread together and toast the new couple.  And that is as far back as history whether from a wealthy family or the poorest of poor.  There was a gathering with food and drink (of some kind).  You will want to keep to your budget when it comes to food, especially how many people will be able to partake.

When we get to the food there are various ways to feed an army of folks on a small amount of money, but right now we are talking budgeting for the guests.


Church/ceremony site fees & Officiant fees: 10%  May be one price, but can be a separate cost.

Reception:  Generally between 38 – 45%

The food and beverages will eat up the largest percentage of your budget.

This category includes:

  • Site fee, if applicable
  • Catering costs (including tax and tip)
  • Bar and non-alcoholic drinks, punch, shots, etc.
  • Wedding cake and sweets

Valet parking, if applicable

Transportation (5%)If you are on a strict budget, this is one place you can save. Transportation should be one of the smallest percentages of your budget. This category includes the following:
  • Limousines
  • Limo buses
  • Specialty cars, etc.

If you are really strict, budgetary-wise, that would be one Limo for you and your entourage and maybe a specialty car for the groom, then release the Limo and you and your spouse take off in the specialty car after the ceremony.  Or have a friend drive you after the ceremony and drop off the specialty car wherever you rented it or got it from. Entertainment (10%)
This category includes the following:

  • Ceremony music (organist, harpist, strings, horns, piano, etc.)
  • Cocktail hour music
  • Reception Music (DJ or band)

Flowers (10%)
Be very careful, flowers can insinuate themselves everywhere and unless you go with a florist that can work within your budget-WATCH OUT. It is easy to get “carried away” ordering the most “visual” aspect of your wedding. This category includes:

  • Ceremony – site flowers
  • Bridal bouquet
  • Wedding party flowers
  • Parent’s flowers
  • Reception centerpieces and floral displays
  • Boutonnieres, etc.

Attire (10%)
This is another category that is really easy to go wild on. While selecting your “gown” keep your “bottom line” in mind. This category includes:

  • Dress
  • Headpiece/veil
  • Lingerie*
  • Jewelry
  • Shoes
  • Hair and makeup
  • Grooms tux or suit

*Buy something you can wear again for special occasions AND make sure it comfortable.  it is not cool to faint at your wedding or anywhere else because you can’t breathe.  This is not the Renaissance nor the Victorian Age.

Photography/Video (10%)Your memories can eat up another 10% of your budget. This category includes:

  • Photography
  • Video
  • Engagement portrait
  • Wedding – album package
  • Digital albums save big or do the album yourself or a scrapbooker your respect

Stationery (4%)This is another category in which you can save by choosing a simple invitation or setting it up yourself and printing it. This category includes:

  • Invitations and enclosures
  • Announcements
  • Thank-you notes
  • Postage
  • Programs

Personally, I did this myself.  I found it to be a lot of fun.  You might love picking out the papers as much as I did.  I found that calming.  Go with your heart.

Miscellaneous (6%)
This is where you put all the extra items that can really add up to BIG MONEY!! If you choose all of the little extra touches, you will go way over your allotted 6%. You need to make a choice on how important each category is to you and “borrow” percentage points from other categories which may be less important to you. Items usually needed:

  • Attendants gifts
  • Wedding gifts for each other
  • Favors***
  • Welcome baskets for out-of-town guests
  • Wedding rings
  • Rehearsal Dinner (not usually included in budget)
  • Marriage license
  • Specialty linens
  • Chair covers
  • Other reception or ceremony decoration

Honeymoon:  (10%)

Yes, your honeymoon is within the overall wedding budget.  Remember not 10% each but together.  You can STILL have a fabulous honeymoon with your new spouse for that amount, I promise.


What’s your wedding formality Style?  Let’s take a quiz.  Black Tie, Formal, Semi-Formal, Informal, or Casual

(Continued from the March 2013 Budget Weddings NYC Newsletter)

 6.  For the music in your wedding will you have?

A)  A traditional entrance, complete with receiving line or Honor Guard

B)   Your first dance with father or male elder

C)   Come with a specific dance or movement as your entrance together with your wedding party

D)   Come in after the ceremony, no frills

 7.  What are you serving for dessert?

A)  Four or more layered cake complete with a cake ceremony (feeding your new spouse)

B)   A three to five tiered cake along with passed desserts

C)   Table of desserts, served buffet style, complete with candy possibly cake pops

D)  Big Box Sheet cake display or homemade cakes

 8)  Will you have little favors for your guests?

A)   No

B)   Yes

9)  What do you prefer your guests wear?

A)   Evening gowns and morning courts with bow ties, cravats

B)   Tuxedos, or with different colored tux jackets

C)    Business attire

D)   Dressy, but comfortable clothing

10)   Will your wedding be held in what part of the day?

A)  Strictly evening, of course on Friday or Saturday

B)  Afternoon, early evening -usually Friday, Saturday or Sunday

C)  At or after noon to midday

D)  Any day of the week, at  any time of the day



If you answered with mostly A’s your style is Black Tie and you are receiving the wrong newsletter and on the wrong website.  J
If you answered mostly B’s – Formal, definitely a possibility, my own wedding was formal and I was on budget and it came in much less than $15,000.
If you answered mostly C’s with varying degrees can be either semi-formal to informal
If you answered mostly D’s can be casual or even more comfortable or edgy, a happening.

Wedding Planning on A Budget

I thought it was about time, I spoke to you about more than weddings, but rather your budget readiness in preparation for your wedding.  Budget planning for the wedding and beyond.   Let’s face it you want your wedding to be special, beautiful and elegant, but you DON’T want to break the bank doing, right?  You want to be able to hold your head up high after you are married, because you even have money left over from or apart from your nuptials.  In other words, you still want to be able to live in  the means that you have either grown accustomed or with yours and your spouse’s combined resources live even better than before, not worse.  If you overspend, the worse part will be your new life.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t always recognize the ways you might waste your money. No matter what kind of life you lead or career you have, you probably throw away at least some of your precious green.  And during the course of the wedding planning unless you keep exact notes you will do the same during it, too.  Often the little things that you are using your green on seem to be the ‘to die for’ musts, but later after your wedding it may be more than to die for, it might be a contentious point between you and your spouse.

With each purchase, think about how the new item will affect your bottom line.  If it’s a big purchase, go home and either discuss it with your fiance or think about what it could do to your budget, then your wedding.  By giving yourself an overnight processing time, you may come away with the same conclusion, but there are times when you will not and you’ll be glad that you waited.

Book News:

The revised version of the “cake book” is being edited and should be on Amazon early February.  What’s been revised?  More pictures, more information, and more advice.  Coming soon with an easier title, too.

Creating an Effective Wedding Budget

In October I was thinking ahead to the New Year and how much fun to start at the beginning of the wedding preparation for an eighteen month to 24 month advance of your wedding.  I haven’t quite decided what the time frame is.  If you have a preference, please let me know.  Anyway, I want to do the year or so of planning all while staying within our budget of under $15,000.  This also references my soon to be published book on weddings in New York City (New York City Budget Weddings:  Elegant and Affordable, Create Your NYC Wedding for under $15,000).  There will be excerpts from my upcoming book with add-ons and updates, as well.  Join me in creating your perfect wedding while staying on budget, but doing it all elegantly for the next eighteen months (at least).

Budget Wedding Pre-Planning Checklist

Creating your wedding budget can be both fun and frustrating.  You will want everyone who is supplying you money to be in on the budget creation.  If it is just you and your fiancé, it might be easy, at least easier than if it’s the two of you and either or both of your parents.  The creation process begins from two different aspects.  One way is that you already have prescribed an amount that you want or can circulate (spend) on your wedding.  The other way is based on how many guests you want to invite.  Which one (the formality) is preferable to you.

How do you decide on the number of guests?  That is up to you and your financiers.  Keep in mind as you add guests that it does drive the price of your wedding up, especially depending on your reception space and or the caterer.  The food and who serves it, along with the beverages is the most expensive part of your wedding.  The percentages vary between 38 – 45% of your entire wedding budget.  The average hovers at approximately 42%, no matter the budget of the wedding.

The other way for you to decide is what your wedding will look like or the formality of your wedding.  There are between five regular formalities and three additional with parts from the first five worked in.  You are also allowed to do bits and pieces from any and all five, too.  It’s your wedding, your tradition.  One of them is for people who want to spend (circulate) more than $15,000.  I’ll include it here just so you know what it is. Over the course of the next couple of months we’ll delve deeper into the formality of various parts of the preparation including apparel and invitations.

Just to whet your appetite for things to come here are the top five formalities to weddings:

  • Black Tie – Well above $15,000, late afternoon or evening, 200 or more guests, elaborate venue hotel or religious venue.  Tuxedos galore, chapel or cathedral train with full-length dress with sit-down five or more course meal.
  • Formal – Afternoon or evening, in religious venue or hotel, with buffet or sit-down dinner.  May be 100 guests or even more.  Grooms wear tuxedoes and bridesmaids’ floor-length dresses.
  • Semi-Formal – Less than 100 guests, house of worship if you like, fingertip veil brides’ attire cocktail length or full length with up to chapel length train.
  • Informal – Daytime wedding.  Home or non-religious venue, with fewer than 50 guests.  Pantsuit to linen tea-length dress – but no veil, sports jacket and suit pants (different color is fine)
  • Casual – Bride can add sparkle to something out of her own closet.  Guests arrive in fancy business attire, glammed down wedding dresses.  Fun shoes are allowed.

And of course you can select parts of any of the others to make your own traditional wedding’s formality.  The first chapter I will combine two ideas into one, first the creation of your budget then the maintaining or staying within your budget.

Once you have the budget you may think, it’ll be a piece of cake to stay within it, but as you go from service provider to service provider or on your search for the perfect accessory for your wedding day.  Wedding accessory is not just for your apparel, but also for the ceremony venue and or the reception venue.  Plus, while you are talking to your service provider, some of them will ask you your budget and either ignore it or suggest you go over it to get that splendiferous effect or whatever and that you will not find it any lower anywhere.  You may say no, or I’ll find it elsewhere, but “they” will then still try to get you blow your budget out of the water. Just be prepared but stand fast in your determination to stay within your budget.

One of the ways to stay within your budget is to take a firmed hand friend, a parent or your fiancé (If your fiancé can say NO and mean it.).Keep in mind you will want to do lots of research or online comparison shopping before you step into any service providers’ establishment or office.  You want to be armed with knowing their prices or at least the parameters or the prices before you go in. Another way, especially for big expenditures, is to ask if you can think about it overnight so you can really think about it and discuss with fiancé.  Take pix and get back to them even if you decide against it.

The third way is go with the amount that you are willing to use on it completely spelled out in your wedding binder.  Oh I didn’t tell you about the binder yet.  The binder is something you will carry with you everywhere until you relinquish it to your “Day Of” wedding planner or a couple of days before your wedding, whatever is best for you.  This will depend on whether you are a ‘Type A’ personality or not.  Once you have determined the formality of your wedding and the number of guests that you want to attend your wedding you can now determine where you want to hold your ceremony and reception.  If you are trying to have something extraordinary at your reception ceremony, for instance cater the event, (for instance if you want to have a non-licensed caterer supply food, too), if that is not what you plan to do, it should be smooth sailing.  Without a wrinkle like that you it should be fun to figure out what type of food, theme or extraordinary things you might want.

One of the techniques to creating your budget is to sit down and write down everything, including style or things that you can’t live without, that the two of you want within your wedding.  Then you discuss what things that you can live without and cross them off the list, which in itself is an act of saving within your budget.  We’ll talk more about that next month, or check on my website @ budgetweddingsnyc.com or listen to my radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com/budgetweddingsnyc4U to get even more advice.  You may call in at:  347 996 5829


Rev. Louis Olivieri will be on my show on Thursday, 24th 5:30 or 6 pm.  I am leaning toward       6 pm.



Ms. Carla Lynne Hall will appear on www.BlogTalkRadio.com/BudgetWeddingsNYC4UComposer Songwriter Carla Lynne Hall on Thursday, 29 Nov. 2012.   We’ll get to talk to her about the new launch of her webinar series, her books, and of course her songwriting for engagements and marriages.  Ms. Hall  along with Curtis & The Dilletantes also is playing that next night at Wicked Willey’s, 149 Bleeker St. in the Village.

Upcoming guests on BudgetweddingsNYC4U radio show in the near future are our own: Rev. Louis Olivieri, Fouzia Elidrissi, along with newcomer/friend to Wedding Cake Taste-Off Bridgette Bartlett.  I’ll welcome back Rev. Debbie Nardozzi and Pauline Stoute in the new year.

Also on BlogTalkRadio.com/BudgetWeddingsNYC4U/ in the new year 2013 look for the show starting shortly before the end of rush hour, so you can all listen live rather than on the back end during the last hours of work.  I want you to be able to call in and ask your burning questions.




Did you see the article yet, about the new old savings of weddings in backyards, regular people and celebrities, i.e. Mark Z. style.  It’s retro traditional.  Yes, that’s right until just under 100 years ago, that how most people got married, at home.  Anyway . . . Here’s the link from the New York Times.


Here’s preview picture, so you can see it can still be elegant and affordable:  


But wait. Yes, there are some all across the U. S. that have come to their senses.  Check out the first page of this website for entire article by Helen Olin, journalist for the New York Times, from  August 10th.  People coming back to celebrating within their community rather than spending big buck for big buck’s sake.

Here’s a snippet just to whet your whistle:

The lower-key wedding, if still a bit unexpected, is having a moment, thanks in no small part to May’s surprise backyard wedding of the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, with fewer than 100 guests and catering from two local restaurants in Palo Alto, Calif.


And this from www.OffbeatBride.com article entitled “The Backyard as the New Ballroom” which reference’s the Zuckerberg – Chan event, a couple of months ago, as well as other celebrities low-key weddings.  This puts DIY or less extravagant weddings on a more relatable level, easier on the wallet and nerves both present and future.  So let’s jump on the bandwagon.  You’ll be glad you did especially later on when it comes to buying a house, condo, co-op, becoming an entrepreneur,  or sending your future children to pre-school through college.  See, you’ll have plenty to spend big bucks on in the near future, plus everything else will last longer than a couple of days of joy.

In case you think that brides have come to their senses when it comes to spending BIG bucks on a one day celebration, read this:



Keep in mind these are NOT New York City prices, so you can just imagine those prices are doubled.  Do you want to be in that group?  Sure if you can afford do it, but then again, it’s ONE day out of your marriage.


Do you know a bride, bridesmaid, or someone else in your wedding party, that has a green thumb but no real space in the City to use their green thumb effectively?




I’m thinking wedding cake or cakes can be eat year round, so why not have two events to help out the brides, bakers, and the vendors?  What do you think?  Write me, I’d love to get your feedback.  I’m thinking October 2012 and March 2013 for starters.  Plus in 2013, an All Things About Weddings . . . Health NY Harbor cruise?  Thoughts?


Currently available on Amazon’s Kindle:

Selection of a wedding cake may seem daunting at times, but with the correct information, it can become a sweet challenge in more ways than one. This 22-page Special Report will answer all your questions.  And it’s now $2.99.

Now selecting your perfect wedding cake is an opportunity to have another skill that can help you beyond your wedding day for any special occasion. In this special report you are given tips and questions to ask during your search for your wedding cake baker. If you have ever wondered how to go about selecting your wedding cake, this special report will put everything into perspective.

Learn about where the customs for the inclusion of cake for a wedding came from. Have you ever wondered how we even got to the multi-layered cake? Learn the complete making and baking  of your cake after its selection, from start to finish. Be better informed about what to expect your baker/pastry chef to do.

Are there certain trends for a wedding cake that remain the same? What are the up and coming trends of the day. Which are best design details, flowers, natural sugar, or gum paste, and which frosting to use for your cake.

Know the unexpected before it happens. This special report answers your questions about saving money and purchasing your cake for your special day.


Who Did I See?


In the same week of my foodie experiences was my accidental meeting with someone who I haven’t seen since July 10th.  Why do I know the exact date, well this person was at my event.  In fact, this person was one of my judges.  Just to get you acclimated as to why I was at the place I ran into her, I was picking up my favorite fix of almond butter from WholeFoods in the Time Warner Bldg.

Now shall I make you guess?  I love guessing games which thankfully my chum and brother John C. likes too.  Excuse me I digress.  Here’s to the guessing game.  Ready?


  • Who’s a baker, but not  of cakes?
  • What does this judge bake?
  • Who has a product at WholeFoods?
  • Whose product is so good, you would swear it was sugar-filled?
  • How many WholeFoods is the product in?


Did you take three guesses?  I wonder if you were close.  Should I tell you now or draw it out a little more?  What do you think?  Alright, I’ll draw it out a little while longer.

If you were at my annual event, “Wedding Cake Taste-Off 2011” on Sunday, 10 July at The Riverside Church, you would probably have a better guess.  Although you might very well think that I ran into bride that sat on the panel, but you would be wrong about that one.  I won’t use her name here, since I don’t have her permission, but it was not her I ran into.

Alright, I’ll tell you who it was.  It was old home week running into her having not seen her in three months.  So much has been going on with her and her business is booming.  Another thing is she has expanded from two flavors with an additional three for a total of five flavors.  Plus, coming up near Christmas, the packaging is changing from a tub to a package {box}.  You will still be able to break off as much as you want to bake.

Here’s a clue, this person is female.  Her product is found in the freezer section of desserts.  Her product is a cookie, but in five delicious flavors; Bold Espresso, Heavenly Chocolate Chunk, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin, Dark Chocolate Fudge, and Nutty Peanut Butter.  Go to her website to see her new packaging.  Of her new flavors I tasted the Dark Chocolate Fudge, oh my goodness, it is wonderfully rich. If you are a chocolate lover, you will swear you are in heaven.    Oops!  I almost forgot to tell you it is.

Give up, yet?  Loren Brill of SweetLorens.  Her cookies have been in WholeFoods @ Columbus Circle, for almost two years and now her product is in Union Square as well and two locations in Brooklyn.  If you want to get her product in a WholeFoods near you, request it.  Have all your friends request it, too.  On Tuesday, she was offering samples of her yummy cookies.  As you may guess, I love to direct and marketing is another form of direction, so I had to get into act as well.  Just for a little while, before I left with my almond butter.

It seems she too does events in which she brings her delicious cookies .  Last weekend, October 15th – 16, her cookies could be found at the Tribeca Cinema for the New York Film & Food Event.  This weekend October 22nd – 23rd, she will be at the Greenwich Film & Food Festival in Greenwich, CT.  If you haven’t tasted her cookies you re missing out.  So if you live near the event in Connecticut or want to take a day trip, skip over to that event and indulge your sweet tooth with her great cookies and meet the originator and baker of these tasty morsels.

Also go to her website for details about her new flavors, the new packaging, the upcoming events of where she and her cookies will be appearing and the locations you can find her cookies, go to www.SweetLorens.com



My travels this past week has been one of a “Foodie” rather than a Wedding Specialist and writer.  Only one of my adventures was planned and the other was a delightful, yet completely accidental.

My planned excursion took me to La Bodega located in La Marqueta on 115th Street underneath the elevated Metro North on Park Avenue.  What a thriving community of restaurants and stores in that neighborhood and also in La Marqueta, which by the way has a number of food spots within, including a school for future bakers.  I was dropping in to see my friend; Gourmand Impresario – John Colon.  a Bodega is both a store and has a luncheonette counter.

Who is John Colon you may ask?  He is an entrepreneur who turns various foods, but especially Spanish Diaspora foods into delectable mouthwatering flavor-filled explosions in your mouth.  Yum Yum!

Currently La Bodega is set up as a store with a small counter top on the left hand side of La Marqueta when you enter.  In the very near future both the store and the counter will be set up on the immediate right side with a larger counter for lunching customers and what a treat they will have.  As you enter La Marqueta you will be greeted entering into the store of La Bodega, with all of Mr. Colon’s wonderful products including kitchen accessories from tucocina, which are very reasonably priced.

Last Saturday, as I arrived just before closing I was greeted by John who urged me to taste one of his meat patties.  It was the very same recipe he’d recently served en mass at a Black-eyed Peas event.  Yes, Johns’ corporate company:  The Know Company – www.theknowcompany.com caters.  In fact just last Thursday he was to cater another event.  Anyway back to his delicious handmade [yes, from scratch] meat patties [empanadas].  I tasted the beef flavor, which was as referenced above quite yummy.  I had to purchase his last one and then because John’s food is damn good, even though I was chickened out (I had had too many chicken dishes, although most were good I’d had it up to my eyes with any body’s chicken.)  in the past week I bought a chicken meat pie as well.  Can you say “YUMMO!”

Go to La Marqueta in the ‘Hood and eat at his counter something, ANYthing, he has made and La Bodega will become one of your favorites, too.



8 Days left to sign up for the Wedding Cake Toppers That Rock! A hands-on workshop at Hiveat55.com from 6:30 pm – 8:30pm on 30 August. How can you resist making your wedding reception more personable?

Be the first person to sign up and win an hour’s wedding consultation with me, as I help you stay within your budget.

Pauline Stoute of P’s Baking AND Catering Won!!!!!!   Didn’t I tell you?  I can’t believe it.  It’s been almost 2 weeks since she won, both the New York City Brides’ Bakers Best Award and Wedding Cake Taste – Off Award for 2011!!!!  WooHoo!

I bet you want to know who all is coming to the event, right?  I know I’d want a hint or two, well here are a couple, just to whet your curiosity appetite:

The day is mostly about the bakers, the brides and the book, but there will be others there as well.         Of course the judges, I have mentioned two of them already, but there are other vendors you may want to connect with as well. Fouzia Eldrissi – Certified Wedding Planner www.MyBridalBudget.com Rose Jeffries – Fashion Designer, www.facebook.com/rose.jefferies TBD:   Florist -Blissful Blooms Balloon Designer – Xclusively Yours Events Maybe our photographer – Cliff Weissman Would you like a hair stylist too?  Let me know thoughts.   It’s going to be a lot of fun.

My eBook is in the editing process, now.  We are coming up to the finish line and it will go live in the next couple of weeks or so.  My editor and Internet Guru & Marketer, Carla Lynne Hall, thankfully is a stickler.  I hope you are looking forward to it, as much as I am.  It is my hope that it will help you save lots of money on your wedding rather than money going into a never filled hole.  And of course, doing it elegantly, as well. By the by the book title is: New York City Weddings, Elegant and Affordable

CharLena’s new eBook about Budget Weddings in New York out within the month on this website.

So you want to get married but do it economically and still do it chic – ly. Lots of people say it cannot be done.  And some  of those people are within the wedding industry.  Well, I say nonsense, it can be done.  I did it back in 2005.  And of friend of mine did it a few months ago.  We both got married in New York City.  Imagine spending well under $50,000 (which is the 2011 average in NYC) and $20,000 and up everywhere else. Can it still be fun?  Will everyone still have a good time?  What’ll people think–I’m (we’re) cheap?  To those questions I say yes, yes, and no, but who cares what they say?  Plus, if your budget is a number you can’t go over, but you do it stylishly, it isn’t cheap.  You’re staying true to your budget.  Plus, you’re asking them to celebrate your day and the start of your new life with the two of you.  And you and your fiancé’ have to ask yourselves at least five of questions: 1)    Do you want to be in debt for the rest of your lives – or at least feel like it, if you’ve spent $40k and upwards on one day out of your lives together? 2)   Do you want you and your new husband’s main topic of conversation after you return from your honeymoon to be a loud discussion or fight over the money spent and what you can’t spend until the wedding’s paid off? 3)   Are the people who you think are secretly* calling you cheap (*or not so secretly) helping to pay for your wedding? 4)   Aren’t you in charge of the invitations?  If you are, don’t invite people who call you cheap? 5)   Do you really care what others think about how much your wedding cost, when you can have peace of mind for the rest of your lives? 6)   And, is it really any of your business what people think about you or your life?  No, not at all and if we remembered that more often, we’d fair better throughout our lives. I will show you how to avoid the pitfalls of falling into debt, to suit your friends taste.  Let them do that for their own wedding or their child’s coming out, or coming of age or quincinera, or graduation party.  Remember a wedding is big party that is celebrating your new life with your new husband and his family.  Get it out of your mind that it has to cost a down payment to a house.  Remember, it’s one day.  One day out of the rest of your life with your spouse. Okay, now this book is about weddings that are stylish and inexpensive. Anyway, a wedding that is well under $20,000 dollars can and is still a great party or happening.  Our wedding 2005 years ago was $7400 and that included the wedding dress, tux rental for my husband, chapel rental at the Riverside Church in Manhattan for the ceremony.  Reception was held at the old Galapagos Art Gallery I will take you through the options I had, along with some other friends who also managed to keep their wedding well below $15,000, yet have all the bells and whistles of having a great event and party. My new eBook about budget weddings in New York City will go live very soon.   You’ll be the first to know.  Look for it online here at www.BudgetWeddingsNYC.com, Amazon and on  www.BookBaby.com

1 Comment on Budget Wedding Ideas

  1. Very good write-up, best of luck with writing in the future!

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