Our Wedding Day

Wow! Where do I even begin? I have been anticipating writing this blog for so long. September 14th, 2019 was one of the best days of my life. I had dreamt of it since I was a little girl but had no idea how perfect it could truly be. Being from California but living in New Zealand made it that much more exciting. For those that don’t know, Robbie (my husband) is from New Zealand and I am from the States. We have been living in New Zealand and I planned our wedding from overseas. With family all over the world, it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We had friends and family traveling from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Spain, Minnesota, Arizona, Idaho, and more.

I’m going to save all my advice and all the things I learned for a different blog post but I’ll walk you through a little bit about our day. If you want to see where we got all of the beautiful items to help pull together our wedding day, click here. All the images in this blog were taken by Susannah Lynn Photography and edited by me (Mary Taylor Photography). Click on the images to view them larger. Scroll to the bottom to see our wedding video!

Some of the links below are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use these links. It doesn’t cost you anything and I cannot see who purchases what. 

We started our mornings in separate locations (the guys got ready at an airbnb and the girls got ready at my mom and step-dad’s house). The first vendor to arrive were our videographers from Hart Marketing! They had already been to see the guys! They were so flexible about going back and forth to capture exactly what they needed. Hair and makeup by Peretti Hill Glam Squad showed up a bit early just to make sure I would be done on time! I started to feel like everything was coming together. My artist, Saundra, was completely on top of it! She even allowed my mom to add on hair last minute! I couldn’t believe it! Our last vendor to arrive was the amazing Susannah from Susannah Lynn Photography just in time for getting ready images! Susannah and her team captured myself and the girls getting ready as well as the guys getting ready. I loved the moment they captured above of our officiant (one of Robbie’s best friends) trying to puncture a hole in his formal shirt in order to fit the cufflinks! I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there to witness that! 

We also got images of all of the little details throughout the day. As a bride, I put in so much time and effort into picking out everything to make our day special – even the small things. It was so nice to have someone like Susannah noticing those details and photographing them! We absolutely loved the custom ring box we got from AliExpress as well as my beautiful earrings to match my ring. The wood watches were engraved on the back and gifted to the groomsmen to wear on the wedding day!

She also captured this beautiful bracelet that Robbie’s mom gifted to me and the blue handkerchief that my aunt surprised me with at my bridal shower. It happened to my grandmother’s before she passed away and although I wasn’t going to participate in “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” I ended up bringing this handkerchief with me as my something blue on our wedding day!

I love getting to see the behind the scenes including gift givings, my dad seeing Robbie for the first time, the girls and I drinking champagne, and me seeing my dad for the first time. Doing a first look with your dad is super special!

It’s easy to forget these moments when you look back but to have images of everything means the world to us. I truly feel like I can relive the day just by looking at these images. Especially the images of us getting ready since we weren’t there together in the moment! Like this moment of Robbie giving our dads the custom wallets he bought them!

They also captured me giving my mom Pounamu (New Zealand Greenstone) earrings. This gift was SUPER special to me and not many know the story behind them.  I had been searching for months for the perfect thing to gift my mom. I knew I wanted it to represent New Zealand as we would both now be a part of New Zealand forever. 

In order to make sure we had time to spend with friends and family during our wedding, we did a first look! Honestly, in terms of the timeline, it the best decision we made! Although the boys were a bit late that meant I had time for some portraits of myself! My photographer and coordinators kept saying that I had planned our timeline perfectly and even had extra time for more images and the slight slip up of the guys being late. If you want to see our timeline check out my previous blog about timelines here.

Once Robbie arrived we got him into position with his back facing me. Unlike most first looks, Susannah wanted me positioned further away from Robbie so he could really absorb the full look! Seeing his face light up as he turned around was absolutely incredible. It was so nice to have just a moment to ourselves before the craziness of 80 guests!

After our first look, we got to see our entire wedding party and our families! One of my favorite prompts from our wedding party images was “walk as if you’re drunk!” We all laughed but the images actually turned out really good! I had a super hard time finding dresses that I wanted for my bridesmaids but when I found Azazie, I knew they were the one! They had every size (even custom sizing), shape, color, and style of dress and tie! They even had matching bow ties for Robbie and his nephews! I was so happy with the price, colors, and quality! If you’re a current bride or just looking for a dress or matching tie, I highly recommend Azazie!

I can’t imagine if we had to have done all pictures after the ceremony! Getting family pictures was so important to us because of everyone living so far away. I’m honestly so in love with how these images turned out! I tried to come up with every variation of image possible and I think it worked!

Our ceremony was absolutely perfect! I know I might be biased but it was a great combination of funny, serious, sentimental and unique! Some things that made our wedding different included our bridesmaids walking down the aisle with lanterns instead of bouquets, I walked down the aisle with both my parents (and again, no bouquet), we performed a hand ceremony during the wedding ceremony, and didn’t have our wedding party stand at the “alter” with us. As I walked down the aisle, my Godfather, Art, and his wife, Marilyn, sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley! It meant so much to hear their beautiful voices as I walked down the aisle. Fun fact: they also sang at my mom’s wedding when she married my step-dad!!

Our officiant, Robbie‘s best friend Quentin, did an amazing job!! I can’t wait to share the video which has some snippets of our ceremony and wedding in real time! Look out for an update to this blog for our wedding video. You can also watch it “live” with us at our second reception here in New Zealand on December 14th (if you’re in the US it will be December 13th). We will be having a viewing “party” on our Facebook page – just give us a like so you don’t miss it! 

One thing we made sure to do was look out at everyone. It’s hard to remember to take a second to breathe and see all your loved ones who are there to celebrate you! It was such an amazing feeling! 

We wanted to incorporate something within our ceremony that we could remember for the rest of our lives. Something physical we could take home and keep forever. We thought about doing a sand ceremony but when I was researching officiant speeches and other things to do, I read a hand ceremony that I fell in love with. The night before our wedding, during our rehearsal, we made a sculpture of our hands which we then displayed at the ceremony and reception. Our bridesmaid, Michelle, and our groomsmen, Adam, performed our hand ceremony for us! Here’s what they said:

Michelle: Today, as you face each other and hold hands, I want to remind you of the gift these hands are. These are the hands of your best friend, young, strong, and full of love for you. These are the hands that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

Adam: These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

And after our ceremony we took a few last-minute group photos including photos with our friends! I definitely recommend doing this! It was so much fun and such a good memory of who was there to celebrate with us!

Now, for the party! We did a grand entrance with our wedding party and went straight into our first dance. Our first dance was to the song “This Is It” by Scotty McCreery. After our first dance, so many people told us that it looked like we had practiced a lot and choreographed our dance. Truth be told, we had never actually practiced!

And it was also our first time seeing our reception venue set up! It looked better than I ever imagined! The team at Shadowridge Golf Club used my drawing diagrams, explanations, and all our decor to make my dreams come true! I 100% trusted that they would make it look beautiful and they did just that!! 

I LOVED how our centerpieces and cake table turned out! Wedding Apparel NZ did an incredible job with our custom wine labels which we used as table identifiers. Each place was somewhere in the world that meant a lot to us. We even included a little snippet on why it was important! We also had custom luggage tags for each guest to take home. They were a HUGE hit! 

After our first dance and some food, it was time for speeches! Everyone did such an incredible job – even if some of the speeches were slightly embarrassing (but that’s what makes it fun right?!). They had the whole room laughing!!

Then, it was finally time to dance! We did three special dances – mother/son, mother/daughter, and father/daughter! It was absolutely perfect!

And last, but certainly not least, the dance floor opened up to guests! What a day!

A quick but big thank you again to our amazing vendors (especially our coordinators Anna and Codie from Shadowridge Golf Club), our family and friends who made time to celebrate with us, and to our wedding party for all their help and love! We couldn’t have done it without all of you there!

Our wedding video by Hart Marketing: 

If this blog helped you to get some inspiration or you just enjoyed reading it, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at Mary Taylor Weddings and join me in my deals Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds for more wedding shopping fun!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Between Me and You Bridal – Sustainable Wedding Gowns

Who knows where their wedding gowns were made? How about where the materials are from? How about what’s going to happen to their dress after their big day?

I am a part of several women entrepreneur groups on Facebook and was introduced to a woman named Kayla Cummings. When we got chatting, I learned that she is the co-owner of Between Me and You Bridal, an Australian based, sustainable wedding dress label. I am a huge supporter of all things sustainable so I wanted to learn more about what they do at Between Me and You Bridal! 

© EastWest Design |

Kayla says, “My sister, Meaghan, and I have always loved making elegant wedding gowns, but hated the tons of waste and pollution associated with a dress that’s only worn once. So we made the decision instead of using polyester and synthetic materials, we would only use natural and recycled materials for our gowns.” 

© EastWest Design |

To be honest, I had never really thought about the waste that goes into creating a wedding gown. Although several gowns are resold, they eventually will end up in a landfill somewhere. I love that Kayla and Meaghan have followed their passion of dress making and found a way to make it better for the earth. 

On the 22nd of July they will be launching their first sustainable wedding dress collection – consisting of 6 gowns. They have sourced certified organic cotton lace from Germany, natural materials such as hemp, tencel, silk, bamboo and linen blends and even recycled materials produced from PET bottles. They source their materials and accessories from all over the world – Australia, New Zealand, America, Germany and Asia. 

Another thing that I love about Between Me and You Bridal is that all their gowns are made to order. Kayla says, “All of our dresses are sewn in house on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) with organic cotton thread and finished off with recycled zippers that have been made from recycled post-consumer polyester/yarn waste.” Even their packaging and tags remain plastic-free!

© EastWest Design |

A little bit more about their process: All their gowns are sold online and available through their website. A finished gown takes 12 to 24 weeks to complete. 

At Between Me and You Bridal, they use Eco-friendly and Earth-conscious materials — for a happy bride and a better future, one wedding gown at a time.

You can check out their wedding gowns, amazing photographs, and incredible videos on their Facebook page at: You can also find them online on their launch day and thereafter at:

I am so glad to have met and talked with Kayla from Between Me and You Bridal! I am so excited to see this sister duo launch their incredibly beautiful and sustainable bridal collection on July 22nd! Thank you for allowing me to feature you on Mary Taylor Weddings – the blog! We can’t wait to hear how the launch goes.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


For more blogs and to stay updated, like me on Facebook at:

Don’t forget to join myself and other current brides in our bridal shopping group:


My First Podcast: How We Met, What My Mom Thought, & My Top Tips

Welcome brides and grooms!

I am so excited to finally be releasing my first podcast! I’ve had this idea for such a long time and kind of put it off to get everything else up and going. I started this podcast to help brides and grooms to plan their wedding. Along the way, we will talk with wedding professionals and brides to hear their recommendations, tips, and funny stories. 

This first podcast is a little bit about me – more in depth than what I shared before. I talk about how my fiancé (Robbie) and I met, my mom’s impression of Robbie, my grandpa’s thoughts, how Robbie proposed, and a little bit about what life looks like now. I’ll also give my top tips for wedding planning along with what you can look forward to in the future from Mary Taylor Weddings – the podcast.

Go to Facebook and let me know who you want to see featured on the Podcast! 

Groups/links that I mentioned on the Podcast:

  1. Mary Taylor Weddings Facebook Page
  2. My Etsy Shop
  3. Weddings, Wine, & DIY Free Facebook Group
  4. Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals
La Bella Blooms

How To Create This Look: Alter Curtains & Greenery

You know those amazing Pinterest pictures that you see and think, “I want to create that too! It can’t be that difficult!” And then, you have to spend time not only figuring out how the heck you’ll do it but then need to find the best deals on those items to make it worth it? Let me help with that.

First, don’t forget to go like Mary Taylor Weddings on Facebook and join our deals group here. If you’re after more Pinterest ideas, you can follow me here.

For our first “create this look” I am starting with something that an actual bride reached out to me to help her create. I’d probably get regular curtains like the ones below and then just make sure you measure how long they need to be based on your gazebo/alter. Then, buy rope and greenery. Add flowers for an extra touch!

© Brooke Images |


Curtains: or




eFavormart: Remember to use code MaryTaylorWeddings at checkout for 15% off









how to create this look, diy wedding, alter garland, diy bride

I hope this helped you learn how to make a new decoration for your alter or maybe even just fine some new floral arrangements! If you have more ideas of what you want to see as a “create this look” head on over to my Facebook page and leave me a comment on this post! If you have created something else that you want featured, let’s chat! I would love to see what my readers have made!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

© Bourdon & Lace Studios |

Bouquet & Garter Toss: Pros, Cons, & Alternatives

I did a poll in Weddings, Wine & DIY to see what my next blog topic should be (because let’s be honest, I could write about a million things when it comes to planning a wedding)! You guys chose bouquet and garter toss!

© Marie Diane Photography |


First, let’s talk about where the garter toss originated from. If you don’t know this already, definitely keep reading because it’s really interesting (and weird AF). Tossing the garter is an old time tradition. Brides and grooms used to have show proof that they had consummated their marriage. Friends and family members would join the couple in their room to witness this and would then need to leave the room with the “proof” aka the garter. Yup, you read that correctly! And, it gets better (or should I say worse). Having items of clothing from the bride and groom was considered lucky so while the couple was consummating their marriage, the eager onlookers would try to grab their clothing for good luck. Often times the bride (nor the groom) liked people trying to grab at them (shocker) which is why the tradition changed to tossing the garter so no one else would need to obtain it themselves. It’s said that in other cultures, people race/compete for the garter instead.

© Stefanie Irene Photography, LLC |

Now that you know the history, here’s some pros, cons, and other ideas!

  1. The biggest pro is that it’s tradition (well in some sense at least). If you still want to have a garter or bouquet toss, no problem! I’d first recommend having an extra of each so that you can keep your actual bouquet and garter for your own memories.
  2. The biggest con is that it can make single people feel left out (especially if most of the people at your wedding will be married). To keep with the idea of tradition but not make anyone feel bad, you could hand your bouquet to the couple that has been together the longest.
  3. Another con to the garter toss (and garter removal) is that it’s just awkward. No offense but no one REALLY wants to see your man under your dress grabbing at your lingerie with his teeth – especially your parents and grandparents. While it can be funny, it also makes several people uncomfortable. With that said, you do you.
  4. Another way to go about it is to still have a garter but just have your husband remove it in the privacy of your own room after the wedding. If you still wanted to do the toss with it, have him remove it privately in another room and then come back to the reception to toss it.

So, what can you do instead to fill the time?

  1. An anniversary dance for your parents and grandparents
  2. Shoe game
  3. If you still want to do the bouquet toss or hand out your bouquet but want to skip the garter toss, toss something else (like a football, stuffed animal, etc). You could also pretend to go down to get the garter but pull something else out (large granny panties, a doll, something else funny, etc).
  4. Girls only and guys only choreographed dances with your bridesmaids and groomsmen
  5. Split the bouquet (or have another one made to split) to give a part of it to each of the important women in your life. Some people also make a breakaway bouquet to toss.
  6. Dance with your grandparents
  7. The kissing game
  8. Just skip it and don’t replace it with anything else – there are so many people to talk to and songs to be danced to. There is no need to get caught up in a ton of “extras” if you don’t want


I hope this helped you to think about the pros and cons of all the options! Remember, this is YOUR wedding day so make sure to do what feels best for you and your partner. 

Want to learn more about wedding planning and find great deals? Don’t forget to like me on Facebook and join me in my group for wedding shopping fun and great deals!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Cover/first image by: © Bourbon & Lace Studios |

© Jinal Govind Photography |

Tips For The Bride

Do you ever see ideas that you think, “I wish I would have thought about that before!” I’ve gathered a list of tips from actual brides who have already said “I do.” These will help you to prepare for the best day of your life!

© Jinal Govind Photography |


💍Don’t wear a bra or anything tight the morning of your wedding day so you don’t have marks/lines on your skin

💍Tell your HMUA you need to be done at least a half hour before you actually do, as many will run late (this depends on the artist but I have personally heard so many “horror” stories)

💍Hydrate the night before your wedding

💍Pack snacks in your bridal bag so you never get hungry – Don’t forget to eat throughout the day

💍Wear a shirt that buttons or zips while getting your hair and make up done – something you don’t have to pull over your head

💍Make sure you don’t have a hair tie around your wrist

💍Number all your invites/rsvp so that if guests forget to include their name, you have a record of who sent back their rsvp

💍To pee: straddle the toilet, buy a bridal buddy, or get a SheWee

💍Don’t forget to try sitting in your wedding dress before you have the alterations completed

💍Do a first look with your parents

💍Don’t forget to sit at your head table and just watch your guests for a moment – absorb the moment!

💍Make an emergency kit for the day of! Don’t know what to include? My check list has a separate list just for the day of: Checklist here.

💍Create a “don’t call the bride” list of all your contacts so you don’t have to be interrupted on your wedding day. Find that in our list of questions to ask wedding vendors.

💍Have some one-on-one time with your husband and have a private cocktail hour (or 20 minutes) in a separate room from your guests

💍Instead of throwing your bouquet, hand it to the couple that has been married the longest

💍Don’t rush into choosing your wedding party – things change quickly especially when you’re planning a wedding!

💍Create a separate email for all your wedding related inquiries – make sure your fiancé has access to it as well!

💍Make sure your invites/save the dates/rsvp cards/etc. all match and print extras for your keepsake and for your photographer to capture on your wedding day

I hope this helped you to think of some ideas that you hadn’t thought of before! Want more tips and tricks? Like me on Facebook at

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

© Jinal Govind Photography |

© Bourdon & Lace Studios |

How do I begin wedding planning?!

Welcome to the new brides that don’t know me yet! Let me first introduce myself. My name is Mary. I am a current bride getting married in September this year. I am planning the wedding pretty much alone and have learned SO much since starting to plan over a year ago. We are having a “destination” wedding in California (where I am from – we currently live in New Zealand)! I’d love to get to know you and would love to see you on my Facebook page Mary Taylor Weddings. My posts are designed to be interactive so I can actually talk to the brides that are reading my blogs. I cannot wait to read your comments! If you’re already keen to start looking at decor, gifts, outfits, and more join me in my group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals.

© Susannah Lynn Photography |

Now, onto the MOST IMPORTANT topic (yes, I said it. This, this is the most important topic of the entirety of wedding planning)….. Where the heck do you even start?! You’ve got this gorgeous ring on your finger and you’re sitting there dreaming about the future. Maybe after a few days (or months or even years) of absorbing the fact that YOU’RE ENGAGED (woo-hoo!) you’re ready to start planning. You’re on your phone or your computer ready to start but have no idea what’s next. You’ll see (or you’ve seen) in my other blogs that I am pretty straight forward. I love lists. I love organization. So, here’s your first list.

Link to Bridal Subscription Box - Miss to Mrs

These are the first things that you should do (in order) when you’re ready to start planning your wedding:

  1. Join our FREE wedding shopping group on Facebook for deals, finds, and inspiration
  2. If you know you’re going to want extra support and help, check out this blog post about our exclusive group.
  3. Sign up to our email list to receive our timeline to-do list for FREE or purchase it here. You can sign up to our email list while joining our Facebook group or on our homepage.
  4. Budget (check out my blog about budgeting). Research average costs of weddings in your area. Look at some potential venues and vendors briefly to get an idea of a realistic budget.
  5. Get a list of questions to ask your wedding vendors (especially for your venues because there will end up being a TON of questions you’ll want to ask them). Here’s a resource that includes questions to ask and an excel sheet (or pretty printable) to record answers.
  6. Write a very rough idea of your guest numbers (check out this blog on Who to Invite). Once you start writing down names, you’ll likely realize it’s more than you thought. I always recommend writing your lists in different columns or parts (must invites, really want invites, want but not needed/could live without) and separate them into categories (immediate family members, FH friends, FW friends, extended family, friends of both of you, parents friends, coworkers, and other).
  7. Venue (check out my blog about what to consider and some questions to ask wedding venues). Look for and book your venue. Do this before getting your heart set on a date. In my mind, date and venue should really be considered at the same time. If you’re really set on a date, be prepared to be told that date is booked for this or next year. If you’re planning far in advance, you may not have to worry about that date being booked. Here’s a blog about things to consider when choosing a date.
  8. After you’ve got a date, rough draft guest list, and your venue booked, if you haven’t already got a checklist, now is time! Do this before you get too far along in planning. Here is the checklist that I recommend: Click here.
  9. Start booking vendors (start with photographer, videographer, and then DJ. Next should be caterer, HMUA, etc.). Here’s a blog about questions to ask every one of your vendors.
  10. If you’re visual like me, start a Pinterest board! Feel free to check mine out here. I have boards such as wedding fashion, decor, bridal shower ideas, and our wedding inspiration vs. what we have actually purchased/are actually doing.

© Jocelyn Marie Photography |

Now you’re off to a great start! Look out for more blogs on other topics such as DIY projects, advice from real brides, money saving tips, and more!

I hope this helped you to feel confident in where to begin your wedding planning process. A few more recommendations that I have:

Don’t forget to like my Facebook page for blog updates and more! We’d love to have you join our women’s shopping and inspiration community at Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals on Facebook.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Happy bride-to-be with Miss to Mrs subscription box full of bridal must-haves
© Bourdon & Lace Studios |

My Amazon Wedding Purchases

Hi savvy brides and grooms!

I’ve already written a blog about some of our wedding AliExpress finds (if you haven’t read it, find it here) but I wanted to share some of the things we bought off of Amazon as well. I love giving brides recommendations based on real weddings (like our own)!

In the States, Amazon is HUGE. I even have an Amazon credit card and had Prime for years. Since I have moved to New Zealand, I haven’t done as much shopping on Amazon since we don’t have it here. But since our wedding is in the States, I have been able to buy things and have them shipped to my mom’s house. 

© Bourdon & Lace Studios |

Here’s a list of the things we have purchased so far:



Diesel Men’s Spray:

Akner powercore:

White floral short dress:

My silicone rings:

His silicone rings:

My Engagement Party dress:

Silk flowers (we got them in pink and white):,

Candle holders:

© Bourdon & Lace Studios |

Here’s a few things in our cart at the moment:

BM getting ready rompers:

BM hair tie & bracelet gift:

Floral bouquets:,

Wood rounds:


Burlap & lace:


© Bourdon & Lace Studios |

Here are some recommendations from other brides:

Wedding gowns:,,,,,

Guest book ideas:,


Cake toppers:,,


Flower girl:,,,, 

Dresses for events (bridal shower, bachelorette party, engagement party, etc):,,,,,,,,,,,,

Bridal Accessories:,,,

Honeymoon swimsuits:,

Bridesmaid gifts:,




I hope this helps you to find some amazing wedding items on Amazon! Did you purchase something else for your wedding and would like to share it with more brides? Comment below or head to my Facebook page to leave a comment on this shared blog! I cannot wait to see what you all purchased! Come back for even more purchases along the way.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


* I cannot guarantee the quality, speed of delivery, or anything about the items that you purchase. These are simply recommendations from brides including myself. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases

© Sierra Amor Images | Monterey, CA

Wedding Bar Options – Pros & Cons

You’ve picked out your venue, you know their packages, and you’ve got to select what type of bar you’re going to have. There are a few different options when it comes to having a bar at your wedding. If your wedding venue allows you to bring your own alcohol, great! This is the best way to save money on your wedding day (unless you’re just choosing to go without a bar which of course will be the cheapest option)! Below I will list out the different types of wedding bar options along with their pros and cons.

Open bars: Let’s start with the most preferred type of bar. Most couples choose this option because it’s easy. No thinking about how much your tab is going to run up, what drinks people might like, or worrying about how much people will drink. Cash bars are done in a few ways:

  • Just wine/beer
  • Full bar with liquor
  • Price per person
  • Price per bottle
  • Price per drink
  • Price per hour


– No fuss or stress that you’ll end the night with a large tab to pay (it’s predictable)

– Guests don’t need to worry about bringing money or paying for their own drinks

– It’s proper etiquette 

– There are several ways to customize it so you and your guests are happy


– The most expensive option. 

– If guests don’t drink enough to justify the expense it can be frustrating. You have to pay for the non-drinkers as well. 

– People usually get really drunk.

Cash bar (guests pay): A cash bar is like an open bar in the fact that guests can drink whatever they want but in this case, the couple doesn’t pay for anyone’s drinks.


– It’s cheap for you (except for your own drinks). You don’t have to pay a huge amount up front and have guests not drink enough to justify the cost. 

– Guests might better regulate how much they’re drinking (because they have to pay for their own drinks)


– Even your guests that aren’t drinking alcohol will most likely need to be pay for other drinks as well.

– It’s not proper etiquette

– You may have some guests that are upset by this decision

– It could effect the amount and types of gifts you receive (gifts are sometimes based on the amount you’re paying per guest)


Consumption bar (couple pays): Sometimes venues offer couples the option to just pay for what their guests drink. To your guests, it acts as an open bar because they don’t have to pay for anything and they can get whatever they want. However, this means that at the end of the night, depending on your guests, you could end up with a massive bill! If you are thinking about a consumption bar, consider offering a limited bar and putting the amount that you’re comfortable spending on the bar tab. That way, when it runs out, guests can pay for their own drinks.


– If your guests don’t drink much or you’re only having a very small wedding, you won’t end up spending too much and guests can still get what they want


– May end up with a massive bill (it’s very unpredictable)

© Sierra Amor Images | Second photographing for Blissful Moment Photography

Limited bar: A limited bar is when the couple pays for only a portion of their guests’ drinks. This could be based on a ticket system, only for a specific amount of time, or with a certain amount of money on the bar tab. Once time or money on the bar runs out, guests start paying for their own drinks. Also, ask your venue if you can have a limited bar but choose which alcohol is included. This will help make sure the amount you put on your tab will last longer.


– You still provide alcohol for part of the time and it’s not as expensive as an open bar.

– You get to customize how much you want to spend


– You most likely will have to pay for sodas/juices as well which can add up for those that aren’t drinking alcohol. 

– Even though you’re paying for some of it, it’s better etiquette to pay for an open bar.

– If you have a tab to a certain amount, it may run out quicker than you think.

© Sierra Amor Images | Second photographing for Blissful Moment Photography

BYO: BYO standings for Bring Your Own. This when your venue allows you to bring your own drinks. Although the alcohol is cheaper in this case, there many be other costs associated with bringing your own alcohol/drinks. Some venues allow you to only bring your own wine, others only beer/wine, and others allow everything. The venue will likely also require you hire someone to bartend which could be an added expense. If the venue doesn’t provide cups, ice, coolers, and other needed bar items, you may also have to purchase these separately. is a great way to see how much of each type of alcohol you should be buying!


– Cheap and you can choose exactly what you want to serve 

– You can purchase the alcohol ahead of time so the cost is spread out over time

– You can purchase the alcohol when it’s on sale or at bulk pricing


– More work involved 

– It could end up being the same or similar price because of all the extra purchases

– You have to store and transport all the alcohol to the wedding

– There may be a corkage fee per bottle

– You have to hire a bartender separately

– Less options than a full bar provided by the venue

© Sierra Amor Images | Second photographing for Blissful Moment Photography

No bar: This will probably be the least desired option by your guests but, it’s your day! If you choose to not have a bar because you cannot afford it, consider still offering your guests drinks through a cash bar or asking your venue if your guests can bring their own drinks. Whatever the reason may be, be prepared some some guests to be offended!


– No one gets drunk so you don’t have to worry about them getting sloppy 

– It’s cheap for you (and your guests)

– Everyone gets home safely without needing a taxi/Uber/Lyft


– Guests may be upset and some may not even attend

– There may be less dancing (haha)

– Could effect the type or amount of gifts


I hope this helped you to understand the pros and cons of different types of bars you can offer! Whatever you choose will end up being the right choice for you. Regardless of others’ feelings, only provide what you can afford. It’s really not worth going into debt for! If having a specific bar is important to you but you cannot afford it, consider cutting costs in other areas! For those having BYO weddings, you can also host a stock the bar engagement/bridal/bachelor/bachelorette party where guests bring different types of alcohol/drinks! 


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Featured image (first image) by Sierra Amor Images | Monterey, CA Photographer


Questions to Ask Your Wedding Vendors

You’re looking for your vendors now! How exciting! But you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “I have never done this before. What should I ask? What should I look for?” Those are great questions to start with. Of course, your list of questions will depend on the vendor but here are some general questions you’ll want to ask all of them!

  1. Do you have / require insurance? Your venue may require your vendors (or even yourself) to have insurance. Always make sure that you ask this upfront so that you don’t get your heart set on someone who you cannot end up hiring.
  2. What do your services include? For example, does your florist include installation for gazebo/decorative pieces? Does your cake baker include delivery to your venue? Does your venue include linens, chairs, etc?
  3. What is your deposit and when does final payment need to be made by?
  4. If we pay in full ahead of time, can we receive a discount?
  5. Is this your full time job? How long have you been a ______? You may want to ask them this to get an idea for how experienced they are.
  6. If you haven’t already, ask for their portfolio and social media accounts to get an idea of the work that they produce. Ask yourself: is their work consistent?
  7. What happens if I need you stay an extra hour because the day has run longer than we thought? How much extra is it per hour?
  8. Are taxes included? What about gratuity? Is any amount of gratuity required?
  9. What is your backup plan if you cannot make it?
  10. What is your cancellation policy?
  11. Do you have a contract that we sign upon our deposit? This is to protect all the parties involved and is extremely important!!

For specific questions to ask certain vendors click below:

Printable and editable lists for all vendors

What to ask your venue

I hope this helped you to figure out some questions to ask your vendors. If you’re still stuck, look out for more blog posts coming soon and don’t forget to check out my new ‘questions to ask your wedding vendor’ lists!

If you’re a part of Weddings, Wine & DIY, I have offered a surprise discount code to the first five people to purchase! Just find the post about the list and comment on it <3


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3