Thursday, August 30, 2018

Free Wedding Budget Checklist and Guest List Spreadsheet




When we got married in 2015, my husband (then fiancé) and I thought it would be cost effective to get married in a backyard. After all, we had access to a family member's stunning property that backs up to a secluded mountain preserve. It's an undeniably magical spot at night -- the glassy pool reflects the hovering moon, dangling amidst a canopy of twinkling lights. They seem miles closer from this exact desert latitude. And on the horizon are several layers of city lights.

It was the perfect backdrop for our big day and it was perfectly free! That's right, we had access to it for four days from setup to tear down at no charge. So we'd save a TON of money.

Right?

Well I wasn't convinced. After all, as a cake decorator I was very familiar with weddings and I knew all of the legwork involved in putting together even the most seemingly simple events. Thankfully, we created a trusty wedding budget and venue estimate spreadsheet to help us make our decision.

Wedding budget spreadsheet to the rescue!
We did a ton of research. I spent a ton of time initially looking for a free template, and I couldn't find anything that included everything I needed to make the best decision. I needed:

  • A breakdown of venue costs to cross compare locations
  • A wedding checklist
  • A wedding budget spreadsheet
  • A week-of and day-of-wedding schedule
  • And I needed to know what I didn't know.
So we put together the ultimate spreadsheet. And ultimately, we ended up deciding to use the backyard property.

Are backyard weddings more affordable?
What we still lovingly argue about today is whether we actually saved money. Because when the week of the event came and we needed certain things that we didn't account for -- we threw the budget out the window and purchased what was most convenient. 

But -- I did add those last minute line items to our spreadsheet. So I'm sharing our budget and checklist with miscellaneous items and all!

Please download it here for free at your convenience. I hope it helps you make the best decision for where to host and how to best coordinate your big day!

THE ULTIMATE


Friday, January 25, 2013

Bridal Retail Therapy- Macy's Bag Shower Cake!

As not only a guest at this party, but also the cake maker, it was quite funny arriving at Alia's Bridal Shower with her Retail inspired Cake. I wish I could count how many times someone thought a present had been placed on the dessert table, or someone asked where the cake was =) It was too funny seeing their reaction as they did a double take and realized the spoon was not wooden, and the tissue was not paper! Well, I guess I'm glad I was there to moderate!

Butterflies for Every Occasion! Cake + Cupcakes + Smash Cake

For Sage's bright personality, pretty purple, pink and yellow were only appropriate when choosing her  birthday colors! And the free spirit that she is, she had to have butterflies! Mom ordered a smash cake just for Sage, Mini Butterfly cupcakes for tiny hands to grab, and a butterfly cake as the centerpiece of the party as well as treat for the mommy guests!


Not too long after Sage's party, I had an order for more Butterfly cupcakes. This time for an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) participant's 11th year of sobriety! Butterflies (which were created by hand with chocolate) of course symbolize freedom,  Maroon was the color of the chip she earned, and pink was her favorite color. Such a cool milestone to celebrate and what better way than with cupcakes =)

Pretty Little Pink Penguin!

What do you do to celebrate a little girl who loves pink AND penguins? Well, duh, you make a pink penguin cake of coarse! And she had to have a hat...but of coarse. The only thing she is missing is her girlfriends to have tea with! The only problem for her is that tea goes perfectly with...cake =)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mustache Lollipops, Cupcakes & Smash Cake - a must have!

The chococlatey, red velvety, mustache-y goodness was flowing at this one year old's birthday party! Not only did he get his own little smash cake, but his friends and family were able to join him in wearing their dessert with the lollipops and cupcakes! Choices for lollipops were milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate!

A Victoria's Secret Bachelorette Cake with a little hint of lace!

Does any other girl get excited when she sees those red and pink stripes? There's just something about them, even if you know what's inside! For this lovely bachelorette, there is cake inside! Such a cute bachelorette party idea =) Congrats Amy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Going Out in Gangnam Style! A Well Suited Cake

We're not really sure how the picture on the left became a friend of mine's Facebook profile picture, or where the photo originated, but he inspired a Gagnam Style themed night for one of my best friend's going away parties! Another friend made fortune cookies with a personalized going away message, and another painted a portrait of the guy pictured left, who we think the guest of honor might have looked like as a child. So while we checked, and he's not in the Gagnam Style video, the theme was well "suited"!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Captain America- for Captain Chaz's Birthday!


Chaz, who is a huge Captain America fan, needed his own Captain Chaz cake for his birthday! We personalized the cake by adding a "C" on top of his mask rather than an "A". I didn't ask Chaz's age, but he is a grown up, which was the best part! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Preggo Belly Cake- Polka dot dress with floral accents!

I have been admiring this cake design on Pinterest forever- so when I was asked to do a preggo belly cake, I was sincerely hoping I could convince my client to let me make it for her! She loved it more than the one she had chosen, so I got lucky =) It's hard to find a tasteful, as well as tasty maternity cake, and I love this one for it's modesty. The blue flower was a fun finishing touch!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

iPhone Cake for a Pinterest/ textaholic!


Kara, a friend of Allison's who ordered the cake, took a picture of the home screen on Allison's iPhone so that I could see some of her favorite apps =) Her favorite of all was Pinterest which I made sure to include! Allison, you have a message- "happy birthday girl!!"

Whattup, Yo Gabba Gabba Cake!!

Plex, Muno and Brobee made their appearance for this 3 year old's birthday cake! Alexander wanted Yo Gabba Gabba and that's what he got! Happy birthday buddy!

Hello, Kitty Cat Cake!

If boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dog tails, then little girls are made of kitty cat kisses and pretty little bows! Happy birthday to such a sweet little girl, from Hello Kitty!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wine Bottle Cake for a 21st Birthday!

For some, it may seem like waiting for a fine wine to age until you finally get to enjoy your 21st birthday, twins Michelle and Christy got to enjoy both cake and wine on their 21st, thanks to an awesome mom who knows what they love! Hope it was a top label birthday ladies!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tiffany's Box Style Present Cake!

Know a lovely lady who would fall easily for pearls, diamonds, or maybe just...that beautiful turquoise box that every girl loves to see? This present isn't about opening, it's about eating, so enjoy your gift- whether it's chocolate (a girl's best friend in my opinion), vanilla with salted caramel frosting, or fresh raspberry filling, red velvet heavenly goodness...need I go on? =)