Ask MarryThis!: How much food to serve at a
self-catered wedding?

Today’s installment of Ask MarryThis! comes from one of our fabulous Facebook fans! Nicole writes:

“My fiancé and I are self-catering our brunch wedding for about 50 people – how much of each item should we make? I’m currently thinking of serving mini quiches (made in cupcake pans), bacon, two salads, and the Croissant sandwiches from your self-catering article. I want there to be a variety but I don’t think guests need a smorgasbord, either. Can you help?”

First, let me say, NOM! Can we come? ;)

A Charming Brunch Wedding

Second, good on you for taking the plunge into self-catering! We know that it can be incredibly intimidating to prepare and serve a delicious meal for that many people. You are a woman warrior! You have also made an excellent, pratical decision in choosing foods that can be prepared ahead of time and then warmed (if necessary) before serving.

Now, onto your question: For the main dish (in this case, the Croissant sandwiches) and dessert we recommend serving enough for 125% of your guests – you want to make sure everyone gets one or two of each. As for each side dish, I would only serve enough for about 80% of your guests, since everyone won’t eat the same thing and you don’t want to have a ton of leftovers (which means more money in your pocket and less in the trash!).

I hope this helps, thanks so much for your question Nicole! If Nicole’s wedding spread sounds right up your alley, check out our Charming Brunch Wedding Guide and our Fancy Croissant Sandwiches!

Happy planning!

Registry Dos and Don’ts – We’ve Only Used our Favorite Gift Once!

If you haven’t registered for gifts yet, it’s time to get scanning! I absolutely loved the thought of roaming isles and scanning each and every thing I wanted. It almost feels like you can just pluck the items right off the shelves and take them home. My fiance would rather be doing ANYTHING else, which is why he whined the whole time like a little ……. but I digress.

Seeing how you’re here in my little corner of the internet, chances are you’re a practical girl and want to create a super useful registry. Here’s the thing: Every couples’ situation is different, so there really isn’t any set of “registry” rules that will work for everyone. But, here’s a little food for thought before you start scanning:

Don’t forget about expensive stuff you don’t need now, but WILL need in the FUTURE! 

Enter the tent. My favorite gift we received from our registry. (Thanks, Uncle Bob!)

What to register for

We got married in March (a particularly COLD March) – and we didn’t use that tent until last summer, when we had already been married for two years, I was 7 months pregnant, and I had to find a way to get to the bathroom in the middle of the FREEZING woods every night when I couldn’t even wriggle in and out of my damn sleeping bag. BUT, we used the crap out of that tent, and it was awesome.  It’s about the memories, people. 

But let’s say you aren’t a camping couple – that’s fine. What will you need in the next few years that you don’t necessarily need now? A lawn mower? Gift certificates to Home Depot? A vacuum? A patio BBQ? I know you can find something – and when you’re newly married and strapped for cash (ahem, you just spent. it. all.) that gift will seem even better.

Here’s a rundown of some of my favorite gifts I received/registered for:

  • The tent
  • Smores set (it could do hot dogs, too!)
  • Basket of games (Uno, Trivial Persuit)
  • 8 pc. set of matching dishes (white, to match everything). Although on second thought I should have registered for 2 sets so I could sub-out chipped plates when needed.
  • Cooler, beach chairs and beach towels – which also came with a bag of tortilla chips, salsa and a case of Corona (didn’t use the chairs/towels until years later, and LOVED it!).

THINK TWICE ABOUT: Small kitchen gizmos and gadgets. A spoon is a spoon is a spoon. What’s the dif.

I hope this helps some of you! If you want to forego the traditional registry all together, here are some awesome alternative options: Unique Wedding Registries. Also, I can’t sign off without saying,
THANK YOU NOTES! Do them. Otherwise you’re a douche.

Happy scanning!

Bridal Shower Favor: Take-home Cake Pop Box!

Bridal Shower Favor: Take-home Cake Pop Box

Good morning dearies! Wedding season is ramping back up, and I’m so excited to share with you more budget-friendly ideas! I absolutely LOVE this bridal shower favor, but full-disclosure, that’s probably because these were the favors I made at my shower! If you’ve read this blog before you know that I am a HUGE fan of edible or practical favors. Because if my opinion, if you can eat it or use it – it’s junk, and I hate the idea of my hard-earned money going straight to the trash. 

And WHO doesn’t love cake pops?

Cake Pop Favor Boxes

Here’s what you’ll need:

Instructions:

1. Download your free Cake Pop Box labels!!! We recommend printing these labels on full-sheet label paper. Customize and cut out each label. Never used our printables before? Visit our printing FAQ page to learn how to customize your printables in Adobe Reader (it’s easy!).

Do you LOVE this idea, but our yellow labels aren’t working with your color scheme? We offer customized versions of our printable labels in our Etsy shop for as little as $5! We can change colors, fonts, etc.! Contact shop@marrythis.com with questions or to request a custom order.

2. Assemble your pre-baked cake pops. I followed this recipe, except I used pink and brown candy melts instead of almond bark to coat my pops. Decorate the pops using your favorite toppings! I used pearls and sprinkles as well as shredded coconut (my favorite).

Bridal Shower Favor: Take-home Cake Pop Box 
3. After the cake pops are fully set, place each pop in a clear treat bag. Tie each bag with a twist tie. Cut off any excess. You can see a few pink wrapped pops toward the back of my crappy photo above ;)

4. Assemble your boxes! My boxes held 8-10 cake pops each. I laid them flat, alternating directions, so they nestled nicely. Wrap your boxes with a bow. Peel and stick on your customized label, and VOILA! Favors that are GUARANTEED not to end up in the trash. I have it on good authority that most of my favors didn’t even last through the weekend.

Bridal Shower Favor: Take-home Cake Pop Box

As always, if you used our free printables in an awesome project, we would love to see your work! Send your photos to allison@marrythis.com for a chance to be featured on our blog! Happy gifting!

Our favorite paper flower tutorials, part 2

Not to be all braggy on myself, but one of the reasons why I adore MarryThis! is because it’s a labor of love from one cheapskate to another. These days budget-friendly is the name of the game and that’s what we’re all about. And what’s one of the biggest expenses at weddings? Flowers. Now I’m all for flowers … but flowers die, and I’m NOT about throwing money away. If you’re looking for ways to cut down your wedding budget I’d start here.

If you like fresh flowers, why not compromise a little? Spend extra for beautiful, fresh bridal and bridesmaids bouquets – and use paper flowers for your table decorations. There are so many great tutorials online that you can even make them yourself. We’ve compiled some of our favorites below. And, in case you missed it, check out part one: The Best Paper Flower Tutorials.

Save big bucks on your wedding and use paper flowers! Click here for a roundup of our favorite paper flower tutorials: http://www.marrythis.com/?p=4547

1. Handmade paper flower bouquet | 2. Thick paper roses | 3. Hanging flower ball
4. Tissue paper and tulle flower | 5. Two methods to craft paper flowers | 6. Paper flower bouquet
7. Giant paper peonies | 8. Tissue paper flowers | 9. Watercolor paper flowers

Freebie Friday! Printable Wedding Planning Timeline

Wedding season is almost here! If you’ve been procrastinating on wedding planning, now is the time to take action! Believe me, I KNOW planning a wedding is difficult.

Super helpful free printable Wedding Planning Timeline! Click here to download: http://www.marrythis.com/?p=4512

I remember thinking, “What do I do first? What can wait until later? How do I put it all together?”

In hopes of simplifying the process I’ve created a free printable wedding planning timeline. Just follow along with the tasks each month and you’ll avoid the stressful mad dash at the end.

Download the guide here.

Since every wedding is different I would recommend reading through the entire checklist first (making edits and notes as you go) and keeping a separate checklist for anything specific to your wedding that we might have missed (the horror!).

Happy Planning!

Picture Perfect:
Finding the right wedding photographer

You may not realize it, but besides your husband, you’ll most likely spend most of your big day with a paid stranger – the photographer. They’ll be the flash-happy ninja documenting everything from the first kiss to the first dance. So, consider these elements when choosing the right wedding day “third wheel”: 

5 Tips to Hire the Best Wedding Photographer. Click here to read: http://www.marrythis.com/?p=4489 #weddings #photography

STYLE

Photographers all have their own different techniques. Consider how their artistic approach fits in with your taste. If you’d hang their portfolio photos on your walls, that’s a good indicator.

BUDGET

Sure, you’ve got a budget to stick to, but the prevailing wisdom is to get the very best photographer you can possibly afford. Consider hiring a well-established photographer for fewer hours so you still get great photos but not the big bill.

EXPERIENCE

A more experienced photographer will know how to deal with difficult lighting situations and have quick timing. Ask them to show you a portfolio of an entire wedding they’ve shot versus a few highlight photos of an event. Photographers only pick their absolute best photos to show off to clients, so by asking to see an entire wedding, you’ll get a more accurate scope of their work.

FILE STORAGE

Ask photographers how they archive and back up their photos – and if they archive, how long they store them. God forbid there’s a fire, or your computer crashes, and you contact the photographer only to find out your wedding photos are gone, lost out in computer space, and never coming back.

CHEMISTRY

It is essential that your photographer makes you feel at ease. If you don’t trust, respect or get along with the person behind the camera, you’ll look uncomfortable, uptight, and uneasy in the finished product.

Do YOU have any additional photographer tips? Or horror stories? We’d love to hear your advice! Leave us a comment below to get the conversation started. PS – If you love the photo above, make sure to check out our free, downloadable Charming Brunch Wedding Guide.

Bridesmaid Dress Roundup!
22 Dresses Under $50

Wooo! Today’s post makes me so happy. Not just because I love bridesmaid dresses, but ya’ll know I am also the biggest cheapskate ever – so today is like the roundup mecca of awesomeness! Take a scroll through our budget-friendly finds below, wont ‘cha? All of the product information and prices can be found at the bottom of this post.

22 Bridesmaid Dresses Under $50

1. Strike a Concord, $37 (sale price) | 2. Moxie in Magenta, $25 (sale price)
3.  I Love Your Dress in Plum, $43 | 4. Beige of Honor, $43 (sale price) | 5. Strawberry Iced Tea, $48
6. How Blue You Do, $48 | 7. Seams Only Like Yesterday, $45 | 8. I Dream of Indigo, $50
9. Frock Solid, $50 | 10. Closet Braid, $48 | 11. Midnight Sun Dress, $43 | 12. Steel My Kisses, $50
13. Easygoing Ending, $48 | 14. Not Just an Illusion, $50 | 15. Aquarium Afternoon, $45
16. Peppermint Iced Tea, $48 | 17. Versatile Lifestyle, $48 |  18. My Finest Aura, $35 (sale price)
19. Be Weave Me, $45 | 20. All Day Cachet, $50 | 21. The Current Time, $35 (sale price)
22. It’s Only Mint Believe, $50

Well ladies? What do you think? Do you have another favorite bridesmaid dress that is less than $50? Share a link for us in the comments below!