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Planning a wedding in a town beat down by the fledgling domestic auto industry, in a region where tens of thousands of people have or will lose their jobs, and in a state where the housing market continues to deteriorate, can be positively frightening.


I’ve lived in suburban Detroit my entire life.  Several members of my family have worked in the automotive industry all of their lives.  And – Kenny and I currently work in the auto industry.  If you live in the Metro Detroit area, it’s impossible to be unaffected by what’s going on at the automakers – especially, GM, Ford and Chrysler.  Not to mention the suppliers that supply parts and components to those companies.  Really, if you’re in the business of selling anything to any automotive company, you’re feeling the pain – From auto suppliers and paper supply vendors to local restaurants and hotel chains.  Throw in the Wall Street credit crunch and the collapse of global markets and you have a widespread economic crisis.  (Once again, I’m stating the obvious here!)


So, how do you plan a wedding in an economic downturn?  I’ll be honest, earlier this month I became really concerned with my wedding plans.  Some contracts were already signed and deposit checks cashed.  Would the fiancé and I both fare the changing automotive landscape?  How could we possibly accept money from our parents with their 401K’s plummeting?  How could we continue to plan and spend money on one day when I’d like to start shoving money in the mattress in case one of us loses our shirt? 


Panicking is not going to get you anywhere… But, rethinking your budget will ease the pain.  So, I took a deep breath and I called Kenny.  He was all for trimming the budget and renegotiating with some vendors, if that even was a possibility.  Well, it is.  I called-up one vendor and negotiated particulars, which helped save some dough.  And, if I want to further drive down the cost, I can make a proposal to their management.  I’m also working on sharing our ceremony location with another couple – which would shave off a nice chunk of change.  (Basically, we’d have an earlier ceremony time.)  


I started scrounging around (even more than I had) for the best possible deals.  And, there’s a lot out there… You can find great deals on the Knot Detroit Message Board, Craig’s List, eBay and from vendors who work out of their homes.  I’m even thinking about nixing flower arrangements for the tables and going with candles and rose petals…


I’m also cutting cost at home by clipping coupons, spending more frugally on groceries and other household needs and I’m no longer dining out with the gals.  (We’re dining in!)  And, one thing I did was open a new credit card that gives you 3 percent cash back rewards on all purchases.  I’ve been throwing all the wedding expenses on the card and earning cash rewards.  I’ve already earned $200.  The catch is you have to pay it off immediately – which I do.  (Already been through that credit card debt thing and I’m not goin’ back!)


The most important factor Kenny and I have is time.  We have time to investigate vendors and really think about what it is we want to do.  Not to mention, there’s a lot of time to figure out how to do things yourself that you would generally job out.  More to come on those crafty skills…    


I have to preface this post by saying I was not at all interested in having a wedding videographer.  If you look at the pricing out there, it’s easy to suffer from sticker shock.  And, if you look at the finished work of those vendors who guarantee a fantastic deal, you see just how lame videographer’s can be.  (Ok, this is not an absolute truth here! There are some gifted and up-and-coming videographers who charge reasonably.  They were just booked.)  To forego this seemingly unneccessary cost, we thought we’d recruit Kenny’s best friend’s wife to video the ceremony and the best man/maid of honor speeches. 

Basically, Kenny and I were professional videographer nay-sayers.  But my mom, on the otherhand, was not.  Every day, she’d weave-in her key messages of the importance of having a videographer capture the big day.  No matter what the conversation!  Talk about the art of persuasion or maybe the saturation of messaging, but she broke me… she beat me down with her videography campaign.  (Not to mention, my parents are giving us a generous chunk of change and they have some say in where it goes.)

Two Penny Productions

Two Penny Productions

Anyway, I begrudgingly jumped on the bandwagon and started looking at videographers.  I started with the extremely reasonably priced vendors, but I wasn’t at all impressed with their sample videos.  Not that I wanted a full production with a cinematography director and all that, but I didn’t want it to be the epitomy of lame either.  This is when I come to the realization:  All prices are negotiable – especially for those vendors who run their own businesses.    

So, I made tons of phone calls.  It was time to wheel and deal and get the vendor I (ok – my mom-) wanted at the price we could afford.  

Top three picks and why:
Castle Video Productions – This by far is the best deal out there! This finished product is amazing and you can’t beat the price.  This is a woman-run show and she really has this videography thing nailed down.  It’s no where near lame.  It’s elegant, eloquent and you feel like you’re there.  You get a superior quality product for a reasonable price.    However, she books 18-24 months in advance.  I almost spiraled into a depression when I found out she was booked.  She did recommend Tri-foot Productions and Two Penny Productions.  

Two Penny Productions – All I will say is you HAVE  to visit their site and check out their videos.  The second I navigated onto the site, I didn’t care about any other call backs.  (And by this time, I left several messages with several vendors.)  Until I saw their work, I always connotated a videographer with the word lame.  This started back in highschool.  But I must say, these people are really good at what they do.  And, you work with them with crafting a theme.  I was sold right away, but their price was more than what we wanted to pay.  But, after talking with them, we negotiated an awesome deal.  (It’s a really, really good price!)  So, we booked them! Oh, and this was the one vendor my mom wanted.  Everyone is happy, especially the mom! 

Tri-Foot Productions – Another great deal in the making.  Check them out.  Their getting a lot of buzz on the Detroit message board.  If I wasn’t able to negotiate with Two Penny, I would’ve booked Tri-Foot.  Now this is an up-and-coming videographer.  Their reasonably priced and you get a great video.   

I called several other vendors and I’ll post their info on my vendor details page soon.

All of the above vendors send two people to video the wedding.  Oh, and when you’re shopping around for videographers, make sure they include several copies of the dvd and the raw video footage in the package price.  Some vendors charge more for that.

It’s interesting what people will say and do when you and the significant other announce you’re getting married.  I won’t go into all the nitty gritty details, but I have to tell you, it’s tiring.  How can you possibly begin to please everyone?  It’s an emotional brain drain.  Up until earlier this month, I was really enjoying planning the wedding.  I love researching potential locations and getting the best deal possible.  Kenny and I really want our wedding to be a party.  Nothing too formal, nothing too religious, but something that everyone at any age would enjoy.  But then something happened that really took the wind out of my sails.  To be honest, I wanted to cancel everything and just head off to some beach with the beau and have a small, quiet ceremony.  (Now, I understand why some people actually do that.)  But, we’re not doing that.  Mostly because Kenny won’t let me.  And, I suppose I’d regret that choice in the future…

The point of this blog post is that a person only has so many “happy” life-changing events in their lifetime.   I’ll state the obvious here: A wedding is one of those events.  And for me, I don’t want to look back and have regrets or wish I’d done something differently.   There is a bigger picture here…  Friends and family are what’s important.  One thing I know about me is that I have an awfully dry sense of humor.  Sometimes so dry, it chokes.  Yeah, I have to work on that.  But, what I also know about myself is that I can’t harbor anger or bitterness for any length of time.  If someone hurts my feelings intentionally or unintentionally I can’t dwell on it.  I can’t be angry about it for too long because it’ll take me down.  This wedding planning is a good lesson in “getting the poison out.”  That’s what the Japanese call it when they purge the negative feelings they have inside.  It’s a perfect phrase, because anger is like a poison that’ll eat away at you… And if you allow it, it’ll turn into something ugly.  Life’s just too short for all that nonsense. 

So, from this point forward, I’m looking to get the wind back in the sails.  Let’s see what kind of deals are to be had out there!

A surefire way to get more junk email is to attend a bridal show and give out your real email address.  That was a big lesson learned for little ole me.  Advice – set up a new email account just for the bridal spam.  I’ve received about a 100 emails, countless phone calls and snail mail from vendors salivating for business.  While, most of it is JUNK, I did get some great deals and some good ideas. 

Last month my best girlfriend took me to my first bridal show – And lemme tell you, I wasn’t really interested in going someplace where I would be surrounded by crazed brides looking for deal.  I guess I imagined bridezilla’s running rampant, knocking down blue hairs and stomping through the place.  While I was right about the crazed brides looking for a deal, it wasn’t all that bad.  I did, however, feel sorry for some of the fiances who were dragged to the show. 

We went to the big bridal show at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich.  The show was slated to start at noon, so we thought we’d be punctual.  BIG mistake!  I’ve only seen lines like this at amusement parks.  (I should’ve had the foresight to bring a flask!)  Everyone gets to the show when it starts, which means you wait in a very long line and then you’re literally stuck in a crowd.  It’s feels like you’re herded cattle, slowly grazing the show floor.  (The cattle term is only a metaphor here…) And believe me, looking around the herd, it’s pretty obvious that some may be suffering from mad cow.    

But, joking aside, I’m glad I went to the show.  They have absolutely every vendor you can think of there.  From dj’s and photographers to caterer’s and bakers to botox and lipo reps.  (Yep!  Botox and lipo reps…)  It was truly eye-opening.  I must have brought home 20lbs in paper with all kinds of info.  I must admit, a lot of it went into the recycle bin and most of the follow-up emails went into the trash bin.  But, I did get a few good deals.


  • I won a free teeth whitening for myself and a guest (While it was not the free honeymoon package I was hoping for, I’ll surely take this one! Let’s just hope they don’t glow in the dark)
  • I got an additional $165 off a vendor I booked immediately following the show. 
  • Got 20 percent off a wedding dress from Demetrios.  (There was a little fandagaling here, but that’s another post)
  • The fiance is getting a free tux and 20 percent off the entire groomsmen tux’s.

If you’re heading to a bridal show in the near future, check out the below tips.  I wish I had known this before my first bridal show debut…


  • Set-up a new email account for all the bridal show spam. (There’s more than you can imagine…)
  • Take a wing person.  You can tag team and sign-up to win free stuff faster. 
  • Arrive fashionably late – you’ll avoid the lines…
  • Take return address stickers (with that new email address on it).  This way, you and your wing person can just stick on the contact info instead of having to hand write everything.
  • Bring an over-sized bag with comfortable straps to stuff information in.
  • Leave the fiance at home unless they beg you to let them come. 
  • OPTIONAL – Have a long brunch with a couple mimosa’s before you head to the show!

Link to Bridal Shows in the Detroit Area

Did you know that some divorce lawyers are now squabbling over who will get the cat or dog?  I really can’t believe this one!  Check out this CNN article Kenny sent me last week about pet prenups.   In a nutshell, this article is about what people will do to have custody of their pets after a break-up.  People are even sharing custody – with weekend visitation rights!

And get this l’il tidbit of info – “In a 2006 survey of 1,600 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a quarter said they had noticed an anecdotal uptick in pet-custody cases in the past five years.”

While I love my dog dearly, I would not spend the money to go get a pet prenup!  I bought the dog, but honestly, that dog loves my fiance.  If we were to split (GOD FORBID!) and he wanted the dog, he would get him. 

People seem to forget about what’s important these days.  People are important.   Some people treat their pets better than they do the people they love.  Maybe we should re-prioritize?  Instead of thinking about who gets what and why, maybe people should think about what went wrong and why?  I understand people can’t always reconcile their differences, but don’t get married if you’re not prepared to work hard.   I don’t recall anyone ever telling me marriage was going to be easy!

According to the Wedding Report, the national average cost of a wedding in 2008 is right around $29,000.  And the Michigan Business Directory states couples will spend $26,120 for their wedding in Michigan -which doesn’t even include costs for the honeymoon, engagement ring, bridal consultant or wedding planner!  Ouch! 

Traditionally, brides and grooms have relied on their parents to pay for their weddings.  But these days, most couples are paying for the big day themselves.  And, if you’re lucky (and fortunate), you get some financial help from the parents.  Kenny and I are the latter – our parents our thankfully chipping in. 

But still, how do you it?  Two key factors to not going into debt is 1) budget and 2) time.  One of the reasons we both like the idea of a 14-month engagement is it gives us time to pay for our wedding as we go.  One thing we both decided is that we do NOT want to go into debt for a wedding.  We’re not starting off our marriage in the RED. 

We’ve had a lot of people ask us about the total cost of our wedding.  And, yes, we’re on a budget and it’s below the industry average.  A budget was the FIRST thing we discussed.  Obviously, your vendor choices will ultimately determine the price of your wedding.  And, while we splurged in some areas, (I splurged on the photography and he on the ceremony site) we’re scaling back in other areas.  For us, it’s balancing priorities against the wants and knowing when to splurge and when to save. 

And, there a several ways to cut costs when it comes to the wedding:

  • No  wedding planner or consultant for us.  We’re researching and coordinating everything our selves.  (And it’s something we’re having fun doing together – especially scouting reception sites.)
  • Flowers – less is more.  And we’re going with seasonal blooms. And, Walmart does wedding arrangements now. Definitely worth checking out. 
  • The cake – it will look dazzling, but will it be edible?  The sheet cake’s in back!
  • Limo – it’s included with our reception contract!
  • Invites – Not ordering out, but making them myself.
  • Veil and bridal accessories – don’t mind if they’re used!
  • Dress – You can actually have a local seamstress make the designer dresses for significantly less.  Oh, and no strings attached!  I will be selling that bad boy on Craiglist. 
  • Making the guest gifts myself.
  • Take advantage of the bridal shows.  Tons of discounts!  But watch out for the spammers!

Check out some of some of these links on creative ways to save $$:
When to splurge and when to save on your wedding
10 Ways to Cut Wedding Costs 
Tough economy: Brides making choices about dream weddings
Getting Guests To Pay For Your Honeymoon
Downsizing Your Wedding
Paying For Your Wedding Day

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Email me if you have a question or if you'd like to submit your real Metro Detroit wedding or other inspiration ideas.

Married September 19, 2009

About Me

I love my guy. I love my town. I could have a torrid affair with every cake, cookie and cupcake I come across. I love sharing a good bottle wine with good people! And, I truly enjoy blogging about wedding finds. Which is why...

Change is Coming!
When planning my wedding I loved researching and stalking out Metro Detroit venues, vendors and other finds. Now that I'm married, I'd like to turn this blog into a Metro Detroit Wedding resource for all of you. So, change is coming soon!

Please share great venue, vendor and other finds with my by emailing me!

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October 2008
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