Your Wedding Decor For LESS

What seems to be the most daunting task is also in my opinion the most fun when it comes to weddings. The decor. From picking colors to theme to the little details. These things can also often come at a hefty price. It doesn’t have to however. If you plan enough in advance you can actually do most if not all of it yourself. I know there is the dreaded “Pinterest Fail” but fear not; there are plenty of easy to do craft ideas that will save you money.

When putting together your wedding remember that all inclusive or renting might seem like an enticing option and my guess is, it is easy, but I have found out that when purchasing the items you need like chair covers, table runners, decorations, place settings at a similar price as renting would be it is more cost beneficial for you. When you are done with those items you can turn around and sell them afterwards. The awesome thing about that is even if you don’t sell every piece after your shindig you could effectively not pay a dime or at the very least much less than had they been supplied for you. These items you could even save for later use. Maybe you like to host brunch or a party; you would be all set. The best part is you spend less on your wedding!

a centerpieceLet’s talk about flowers. Most brides can’t wait to have fresh flowers throughout but we all know that those truly cost an arm and a leg. If you can’t live without and are determined to have fresh flowers for your wedding I suggest finding simple arrangements that you could do yourself or just a couple single flowers for your table settings. Rather than calling up your local florist try your grocery stores or budget stores that do fresh flowers, Sam’s, Costco, just to name a few. You should go ahead of time to order the flowers in bulk for the day you need them. Discuss with them the state (bloomed or not and how long before they do) that your flowers will arrive so you can make a decision on when you need your order to arrive and the care to take so they will be beautiful for your big day. This one thing alone will save you hundreds!

The decorations throughout don’t have to be lavish. If you are willing to have similar but not identical set pieces thrift stores are your best friend. If you haven’t figured it out yet; I LOVE THRIFT STORES! Have an idea for theme and you can find some great pieces at fractions of the price that will fit your style. Craigslist is another great resource. Like you will hopefully be doing, other brides will sell off their pieces after their big day. Another fun personal thing you can do is place tiny photos of your relationship on the tables; this adds a nice touch to let your guests into some of your adventures as a couple. It is also relatively cheap to do at Walgreens. You can even make your own table ornaments by saving glass sauce jars and fashioning them to fit your style.

Each of these are things that Richard and I did for our wedding and it came out beautifully. What have you done to save on your wedding decor or have you tried some of the things we did? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments! Til next time Pengminions!

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Finding A Wedding Venue

When starting to plan for your wedding one of the biggest choices you have to make is the venue. Venues come in all shapes and sizes and determine when, where, and how you get to celebrate your wedding day and reception. When picking a venue Richard and I knew we did not want to break the bank but since we were going to be inviting about 60-70 people we knew we needed space. We also knew that cost was our greatest concern. To start we definitely, for s’s and g’s, looked at your more traditionally utilized spaces for weddings. They were: $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and often they didn’t include everything unless you want to pay even more!


So, once we reinforced our gut feelings we sought out alternatives. We knew that we were not looking for an all-inclusive venue because food, alcohol, decorations, cake, flowers, ect. we could and wanted to do ourselves; besides knowing we could find it much cheaper than if we had it included in the venue. We went with a basic, bare community center in Texas knowing we could turn it into something all our own. All for the great big price of, $350. There are many community resources out there that offer spaces indoor and outdoor to hold your event and for a fraction of the cost of most wedding venues.

Before: Venue

Some alternatives can be, depending on size and what you are wanting to do, are:

1.) A local or even destination park – You can often rent spaces at community parks for almost nothing. You might not even have to pay if it is super small.

2.) A beach – Just do your research early on for potential permit requirements or restrictions.

3.) Community centers -They offer spaces that are sometimes really basic and bare and other times quite beautiful. They almost always will be many times cheaper than a true wedding venue.

4.) Have a backyard wedding – If you, family or friends have a nice house that wouldn’t mind offering up their home for your big day you could make it an extremely budget friendly wedding.

5.) The great outdoors – Even some National Parks offer the ability to hold your event in beautiful locations. Check out some of these suggestions, here.

6.) Have your wedding on an off-peak day (during the week) or during the off season.

7.) Use your creativity! You can get married almost literally anywhere! Use venue search terms that don’t include “wedding” and you might find something perfect that you may have missed otherwise.

The greatest key here is start doing your research early. Some of these ideas fill up swiftly like normal wedding venues so getting the process started early is important. Some don’t require as much prep or any permits but you should make sure you find out ahead of time so you know what you are getting yourself into.

Find out the requirements and restrictions when you are researching so you know what you can and cannot expect from a particular site. You don’t want to have paid for particular elements like a band, decorations, alcohol, ect to find out the day of they are not allowed. Know what you want and what you are willing to do without. Not every THING is as important as it may seem. Save money and just enjoy spending time with the people you are sharing this all with.

Remember it is supposed to be an experience of a life time not an experience you end up paying for for a whole life time. What are some unique ideas you have for a wedding ceremony, reception, or both? How were you able to save money planning your wedding? Let us know in the comments; we love hearing about your experiences. Til next time Pengminions!

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Your Wedding Day is YOUR Wedding Day

Your wedding day should be just that, YOUR, wedding day. A day for you and your future spouse to celebrate however you deem appropriate. Your day is NOT to please other people. In my opinion it should be a reflection of your love for each other and what you value. Not what your parents, your future in-laws, you other family, your friends, or anyone else believes it should be.

My #1 piece of advice for you is to set your ground rules or share your plans early on in the process. Let those involved know how you feel and what your plans are, especially if you know that their opinions about your wedding day differ from what you plan to do. This helps to alleviate some of the potential blow ups during the process. Not to say that family or friends might not get upset but they should understand that it is your wedding and not theirs; you are inviting them to celebrate your union in a way that represents the two of you. They need to support and respect that. You also want to avoid surprises in the process especially “on the day of” revelations if at all possible. Luckily they don’t all end in disaster but heading them off ahead of time can save you a potential catastrophe.

Richard and I chose an extremely nontraditional route and it took us some time to figure out what exactly we wanted to do. We ended up having what we called a “Soiree” as our reception where we dressed up in fancy steampunk garb and celebrated our coming commitment to one another with family and friends, as a send off of sorts. This was on a Saturday and on Sunday, the 13th of April, we celebrate our anniversary and the day we chose as our commitment day. Spring forward 2 months and that is when we finally got around to filling out paperwork and having an officiant sign our licence for the silly government.

What is usually the ceremony part, our commitment day, was about us and no one else. We felt that at the end of the day no one comes home with us to make our marriage work and we wanted that to be our private event. Yes, family and friends are important and they influence our lives but they don’t live our life and so that is why we chose the reception as a way to include them in our union.

What did you do or are you planning to do that is a little or a lot out of the ordinary? Let us know in the comments section below. Next, we will take you on our journey of how we only spent about $4,000 for our whole shindig! Til next time Pengminions!

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It’s Wedding Season!


Not my actual wedding dress

It is that time of year, spring/summer, when the weddings seem to be never ending. Every where you look there is another white dress by a costly designer, extravagant venue, artistic masterpieces for cakes, guest lists that go on forever. Bridal magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram all perpetuate this idea of what we “need” for a perfect wedding. The average cost of a wedding in the US is $35,329! You read that correctly. That is minimum $10,000 more than the cost of my Subi!

I am amazed at the amount of money people spend on their weddings. Why? Why are we spending so much money on these one day events? What does putting yourself in debt to start this brand new, beautiful adventure do for you? What is the meaning behind all of it? Are we really thinking about these things before we do them? In most cases I don’t believe we really ask ourselves these questions or give them much thought. This brings me to one of my favorite shows, Adam Ruins Everything, and I would like to share with you his comedic historical based video snippet on weddings.

When planning your wedding I implore you to question what you are spending your money on, ask yourself why, and whether or not it truly is important to you and your significant other. It is just one day, a special one but it shouldn’t put you back monetarily or be about things that don’t matter to you both. Spending more on your wedding makes it more likely to end in divorce, according to researchers at Emory University. Maybe think twice about the extravagance or pleasing others and focus on the things that are most important; the two of you.

These next few blogs I write are going to be about some of the decisions we made for our wedding day that might help you save or think a little differently and creatively when planning your special day.  Til next time Pengminions!

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Penguins Take Flight

Hellloooooo Pengminions!

Richard here with the next update for your (hopefully) favorite penguin peoples! Unless you know actual people/penguin hybrids in which case they can be your favorite though I would be concerned for your safely but I’m getting off track and-

So Halloween came and went not long ago with a fun little bash here to wrap up the 2013 PA Ren Faire experience. As usual I DJ’d for the event, providing some unique mixes of some classic Halloween songs I had come across. Hours before this however Kristen and I were in our room elbows deep in our makeup kit creating our couples costume for the evening. Trolling around the internet we came up with a couple possibilities but settled on a dark take on the King and Queen of hearts, with some very fun results.

Kristen’s specifically had a very interesting look as for hers we decided to make it a little more glamorous on the face to contrast the exposed heart on her chest.
x10 heart

Back in the world of actual reception planning we’ve begun looking for more definitive ideas about what we want to plan and do and how we’re going to do it. It is a massive undertaking trying to plan all of these things out and we’ve come across a lot of ideas out there in Internet land about things other people are doing. Everything from reception games, to light entertainments, to more circusy acts have all been used in recent years as people more move away from the “traditional” reception. While some of these ideas are perfect, others among them, well… might be a little much. Call me a little old fashioned but I would rather our reception be a little more about us and a little less about the acrobat who broke their leg. Some of our more likely ideas we’ll keep up our sleeve for now, but I will share with you one of my personal favorites; The Shoe Game! How it works is this, the couple sits back to back, takes off one of their shoes, and exchanges it with their partner. Whoever is emcee will then begin asking personal questions and each person will hold up the shoe of the person they think it corresponds to. Questions such as… “Who wakes up in a better mood?” “Who cooks better?” “Who drives better?” etc… So as you can see there is an immediate opportunity for hilarity and hopefully no arguments later (though she knows I’m the better driver anyway… Just don’t tell her I said that) If you have any fun and mostly clean suggestions for some questions we could ask, let us know in the comments!!

Continuing in the vein of reception things, Kristen and I are more than elated to announce that we have officially made the single largest expenditure we will have during this time and have purchased our flights to New Zealand! Flying penguins ahoy!! Now while I am SUPREMELY excited about this trip I will also readily admit to dreading one thing about it. The twenty hours worth of flight and travel is not something I will relish. As a decently sized guy, over 6′ tall, travel in the economy class of airplanes is, to put it mildly, a thing that could only have been concocted in the most wretched of medieval torture chambers. I barely fit side to side, my knees are constantly pressed into the seat of the person in front of me, and being comfortable is about as fond a dream as, well, actually getting to New Zealand. Kristen on the other hand, at a tiny 5′ 2 1/2″ can literally curl up in the seat, and go to sleep. The envy I have for her capability to do that, combined with her comfort level being over 9000 (DBZ reference, what up!) knows no bounds. I cannot wait, however, to actually get there and begin the adventure! So much to do and we have a WHOLE MONTH to explore this alien place to our hearts content. The range of this country north to south is expansive and we have already begun preparing for the weather ranging from a warm summer in the north island, to near freezing in the south. Ohh! and speaking of the south island, THEY HAVE PENGUINS!!! I KNOW PENGUINS AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS GO PET ONE AND MAKE IT MY FRIEND AND MAYBE PACK HIM IN MY LUGGAGE AND DO YOU THINK CUSTOMS WOULD MIND ME COMING HOME WITH HIM?!?! Ok…. I’m better now….

That’s about it for now pengminions, so I leave you with this shameless self promotion of one of our other pages on the site to check out if you haven’t already! Tada!

Stay frosty!
Richard out!

We have a venue! Now what…

Greetings Penguin Lovers!

Richard here today coming to you live from the PA Ren Faire where we are just about to open our third weekend of our run! It’s been hectic for sure, and between rehearsals and trying to plan things there isn’t a ton of time left for much else. Kristen has been amazing in her work so far and fits supremely easily into her roll as a frolicking, gleeful, silly gypsy (who would have guessed!) Desdemona Galosha. She also makes one of the most ferociously adorable lions you will ever see. My work in the faire has been interesting to say the least. Sir Richard Bingham is essentially the opposite of who I am in many ways but is entirely something that I enjoy playing with. I’m also in love with the fact that I am involved with so much of the stage combat throughout the day.

On the reception side of things we have officially booked our venue. YAY! The venue it’s self is absolutely nothing special; just a large community center we got for a steal. However we were more than satisfied with our choice after spending quite a bit of time looking at most conceivable options in the greater Houston area and finding that anything that we were excited about carried a price tag of at least twice our budget. The additional bonus to spending so little on the venue is now we get to spend more on decorating and really bringing some steampunky life to the otherwise sterile venue. This is actually somewhat of an exciting prospect as we’ve started planning and looking at decorations we can create and come up with for the soiree. I’ve also begun to start thinking about ways to get around the whole “the whole ceiling is nothing but florescent lights” problem. Initial thoughts are to bring in some theatre lighting to shoot up at the ceiling and create enough ambient light from that to set the mood properly or to cover the lights already there with some sort of thin fabric to at least tint the white light coming from them. On the floral front, one of Kristen’s brothers was even kind enough to begin growing a rare variety of plant Kristen came across while we were in Chicago in hopes of using them for our reception. No details on what they are yet, wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Needless to say it’s a madhouse here in planning and life!

Stay frosty out there penguin peeps!


Searching for a Venue…

Greetings Penguin Lovers!

So if it wasn’t obvious already, Kristen and I are going to get married and have a reception (shocker I know), but the first step in this process is “Where are we going to have it?!?” Now, we are planning our lovely soiree to happen in the Bay Area of Houston, which is an amazing place for all sorts of different venues. Our first project has been to identify exactly what we want from our venue. Key points for us are: Cost, Capacity (about 100), Outside Catering (Cost efficient), Alcohol (Arm and a leg for booze? No thanks), and near the top is the ability to put up decorations (since we’re all artsy/craftsy and stuff). The combination of these is making things quite interesting in terms of cementing down a location and, given that the first one on that list is the most important, has put some interesting constraints on our searching.

The main problem however is the more traditional venues also carry a MUCH heftier price tag than we are willing to spend. Don’t get me wrong, Butler’s Courtyard is an absolutely stunning place, and as an old bank turned reception hall is a perfect setting for a steampunk soiree. However, the $12k price tag associated with it makes me want to cry myself to sleep at night. Even the “cheaper” places we have found are all over $4k. Much more reasonable, but at the same time is still half of our budget for the entire reception. With awesome decorations, outfits, and more planned, that amount is still far more than we want.

It all seems to be coming down to “what do we want to do with as minimal a budget as possible.” We have to be able to hold the 100~ people that we are planning to have there, while at the same time trying to create a unique atmosphere, and not break the bank. Some of the minimal price locations we’ve been looking at are more along the lines of community centers in the area. Definitely fits the cheap bill, but are sorely lacking in the “ambiance” category. On the plus side though, Kristen was kind enough to point out that those kind of places are MUCH more likely to allow us to do our own thing there. Big money savers such as our own caterer, alcohol, and music or DJ. As well as smaller details like hang things up, put decorations out, use our own lights, etc… Which could end up working quite well considering all the construction I have planned for decorations and Kristen for unique flowers.

Further beyond this is the additional concern that until we cement a time and location we realistically can’t begin searching for anything else. Some places will only let you use certain caterers, florists, have different rules on alcohol, and any other myriad of small details. One location that was PERFECT had this in the small print “There is no dancing of any kind allowed.” Seriously? No dancing? What kind of venue has a zero tolerance policy on dancing of all things?!?

For now though we find ourselves at an impasse of trying to explore as many options as possible to find something that works for us. So if you know of any place in the south east part of Houston/ Clear Lake / Webster / Seabrook area that you know of, let us know! We would LOVE to hear from you.

In the mean time Penguin followers, did you find something special for you that was a budget saver? Or did you blow it out for the best place you could find? Let us know in the comments!

Richard Penguin