Secrets to Cutting Your Wedding Costs

Couple figuring out wedding budget

Cutting your wedding costs can seem like the new priority once you start to get actual quotes for wedding services. Your initial wedding budget may be way off from those other actual quote numbers! Fortunately, there are often ways of cutting your wedding costs.

To do so, though, you will need to prioritize and agree to spend more of your budget on only a few of those things you both feel are most important. For the rest, you will need to become more flexible or downright cut-throat so you can substitute or eliminate other things often included as part of “traditional” weddings.

Here are several ideas for cutting your wedding costs, if you dare…

1. Avoid or reduce use of real flowers – Use potted plants or other decorative inexpensive items as centerpieces, artificial flowers, or paper crafted flowers (the latter two can also work for bouquets). Or, use extra-large type of flowers so that you can buy less stems overall.

2. Have your wedding reception at a fancy restaurant in a scenic location to avoid renting a location and separately catering

3. Have your wedding ceremony and your reception at the same location

4. Find a venue that gives you the flexibility of using your own outside vendors instead of only theirs

5. Ask for help from friends and family members and use their gifts and talents for your memorable wedding day. You can request their service instead of a traditional gift. You may have a friend of family member who is skillful enough to make your wedding cake, another who can craft flower arrangements, or another who may be willing to help you set up a play list or be skilled as a DJ or musician.

6. Choosing a wedding day that is a weekday or a Sunday (instead of the most in demand day, Saturday). Also, when possible, find out the high season in your area, and see if you can instead book a wedding date during a lower season to reduce costs.

7. For the reception, consider either: no alcohol, limiting alcohol to just beer, wine and champagne (rather than open bar with all liquor) or limiting the hours of an open bar

8. Take a premarital preparation course. In Florida, and in some other states you can get incentives from the state- For instance, if you’re marrying in Florida, you can save money on your marriage license and avoid the usual 3 day wait. Regardless of state incentives, though, taking a premarital course can help you have a more successful marriage and avoid a costly relationship breakup later on.

9. Find and compare all inclusive wedding ceremony and reception deals which can sometimes save money on separate pieces and using various individual vendors. For example, consider a golf club location/restaurant, cruise ship, local botanical gardens, or local dinner cruise boat. They will often offer wedding packages that already include scenery, decorations, music and/or food.

10. Consider use of a wedding planner, especially if they can show you they have discounted deals with various vendors that you can benefit from.


Florida residents complete a premarital preparation course online at




Same-Sex Marriage in Florida

How apologizing can go wrong

As of 12:01 AM on Tuesday Jan. 6, same-sex marriage in Florida will be legal.

Beginning as soon as January 6, 2015 same-sex couples can be issued marriage licenses for the first time in Florida. Months ago, federal district court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that disallowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. On Janurary 1, 2015, he confirmed that his same-sex marriage ruling applies to all 67 Florida counties, and therefore all counties should be issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses.

Since views about same-sex marriage in the county clerks of court is a combination between personal conviction as well as logistics, it has made some counties evaluate whether they want to continue to offer marriage ceremonies. At this time, a handful of counties have chosen to only issue marriage licenses and eliminate courthouse ceremonies. Duval, Clay and Baker counties have discountinued courthouse marriage ceremonies, indicating that although the changing situation with same-sex marriage was involved in their decision, there were other factors involved in the decision. Since some clerks may feel it goes against their personal beliefs to perform these ceremonies, some counties will allow clerks to individually decline performing a ceremony if they feel uncomfortable. For instance, in Putnam county, clerks can decline to perform marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples, but nobody has indicated that they would decline to perform such a ceremony at this time. However, the legal counsel for the county clerks of court advises the clerks to follow the judge’s ruling or face possible consequences. Pam Bondi, who has fought against same-sex marriage has indicated that her office will not intervene further in the matter. Her statement, along with the Judge’s clarification of his ruling eliminates the possibility of further delaying same-sex couples from being issued marriage licenses.

Regardless of whether you are a same-sex couple or not, taking an approved premarital course will allow you to skip the 3-day waiting period and receive a discount of $32.50 off of your marriage license.

Tips for Getting a Florida Marriage License 3 Day Waiting Period Waiver and Discount

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Did you know that Florida offers several perks to couples who take a Florida premarital course as part of their pre-wedding preparations?

They do! We’ll tell you about them here and also provide you with several tips to help you avoid problems with getting those perks when you’re applying for your Florida marriage license.

Before getting married in Florida, you will need to apply for and get a marriage license in any Florida county. The license is only valid for 60 days, so make sure you obtain it and marry within that time frame. You don’t have to get married in the county where you obtain the marriage license though, because the marriage license can be used in any Florida county. After the wedding, your wedding Officiant just needs to submit your completed and signed marriage license back to the county where you obtained it.

Florida resident couples who plan to marry in Florida qualify for a discount on their marriage license fees of $32.50 if they show proof of having taken an approved premarital preparation course. As an added bonus, the state will also allow them to waive the usual Florida marriage license 3 day waiting period.

However, a few couples may experience challenges with getting these perks when they go to the County Marriage License offices or when talking with the clerks if they are not properly prepared. To help you avoid any difficulties, follow these suggestions.

1. Complete your Florida premarital course within one year of the date you apply for your marriage license.

2. Verify that the Florida premarital course provider is registered/approved (listed as a provider) in the county where you will apply for your marriage license (“your county”). There are only certain types of providers that are authorized to provide premarital counseling services or premarital preparation courses by Florida Statute. However, it is not enough to use the services of one of those licensed professionals or clergy. The provider, their program, or their Church organization also must be registered/approved in your county.

  • Check with the provider’s website, send them an email, or call them to ask if they are a provider for your county.

  • As a further check, contact the county directly. Go to their online listing of providers if they have one, or call their marriage license   department to make sure they can find the provider on their list. Please note that the provider may be listed in some counties under one or another of the following possibilities for the name: provider’s name, instructor’s name, company’s name or church name. Because of this, and sometimes due to errors with spelling a name, it can sometimes be tricky for some clerks to locate any particular provider’s name. If you are prepared ahead of time and know what name to use or what page number on an online list your provider is found on, then things are likely to go smoothly at the marriage license office.

  • In a rare scenario of a clerk still being unable to locate your provider’s information, note the clerk’s name for future reference, and we suggest you speak with a supervisor, and/or call your premarital course provider to ask for their assistance. They can often help to resolve the issue.

3. Take printed copies of your Certificates of Completion from taking an online Florida premarital course, or take original Certificates for each of you to the marriage license office. Most Florida counties will take a printout/copy of the certificates. Just a few counties in Florida state that they require original certificates. Be sure to find out if you are getting a marriage license from a county that requires an original Certificate so that you can arrange to get an original Certificate, if needed. (Although we’ve heard of a few couples who have presented a printed out copy of their digital certificates and obtained their marriage license without incident even though they were told they needed to present an original certificate- to be on the safe side- we suggest that if they say they want an original certificate, take an original certificate).

4. If you are short on time, consider this other idea. You can apply for a marriage license from a neighboring county that accepts a printed out/copy of the Certificate of Completion instead of a county that requires an original certificate. Your provider or the county directly should be able to tell you which type of Certificate of Completion they require.

Envision Love, LLC (also known as is listed as a provider in most counties of Florida. We are found on county provider lists using either our instructor name Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams or using our company name Envision Love, LLC. Go to to find out more and to enroll in our Florida premarital course. You will not only get the perks of learning how to have a successful marriage, but also get the perks that the state of Florida offers you!


Avoid the Florida Marriage License Crisis

Wedding couple quarreling conflict bad relationshipsFlorida offers couples an array of wonderful options for a perfect wedding. But, while you’re busy with the wedding planning business, have you also taken care of all of the logistics?

Getting your marriage license may not sound like a big deal, but without it, you can’t get married! One of the most common problems that couples face before the wedding is forgetting to purchase their marriage license in advance. Florida has a mandatory 3 day waiting period before your marriage license is valid. This means that if you want to get married on a Friday, you would have needed to purchase your marriage license by at least Tuesday.

“Oh, no! We don’t have that sort of time!”

Don’t worry. Although Florida has a waiting period, there’s a fast and easy solution! The State of Florida believes in the importance of successful marriages, and offers couples the opportunity to skip the waiting period AND receive a discount off your marriage license when you spend at least 4 hours taking an approved premarital course.

“A premarital course? But, we don’t have any problems we need to talk about.”

It’s always good to feel comfortable and confident in your relationship, especially when you’re about to tie the knot! However, premarital counseling is designed to help you understand what you can expect after marriage and get both individuals most prepared to succeed. Whether you have topics you feel you still need to discuss or not, anyone could benefit from taking a premarital course. As an added bonus, it’s a fun activity for you to do as a couple and it’ll give you at least 4 hours away from wedding planning.

“What if I’m a Florida resident and my significant other is an out-of-state resident?”

As long as one individual is a Florida resident, you will be able to skip the 3 day waiting period and receive a marriage license discount of $32.50 by completing a premarital course.

“Do we both have to be there to purchase the marriage license?”

Yes! If you want to purchase a Florida marriage license, you both need to be present. In addition to this, you must have a valid ID and proof of age and residency. To get the discount and to skip the marriage license waiting period, you must show a certificate of completion at the time of purchase, as well. Purchasing a marriage license is a critical component for your wedding, so make sure to schedule a day where both you and your significant other can make the trip to the county clerk.

“We’re getting married in a different county… can we do that with our Florida marriage license?”

Absolutely! Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from the effective date and can be used in any Florida county. The only stipulation is that within 10 days from the date the marriage is performed, the marriage license must be returned to the same Clerk’s office where the license was purchased.

“We’re coming to Florida for a destination wedding. What are the most important points for us to know?”

Non-residents have no waiting period and can get married immediately after they receive their marriage license. Unfortunately, non-residents are not able to receive a discount on their marriage license by taking a premarital course. However, doing so is still highly beneficial for any couple.

Whether you’re planning in advance or in a time crunch, we’re here to help. Sign up for our Florida Premarital Course and you’ll be set!

Unique Engagement Gifts That Encourage a Healthy Marriage

bigstock-young-couple-dancing-19438625Engagement parties are one of the highlights for the newly engaged couple. Finding truly meaningful and unique engagement gifts to celebrate can be a struggle. Here are some gift suggestions that can help promote a strong marriage.

  1. Various themed books. This includes funny or sweet couple activity books, marriage themed cookbooks and more. This type of gift provides the couple with something that they can do together for fun to create new memories, and reminds them of joyful past experiences that they have had together.
  2. A pre-paid outing. While this doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, it should allow the couple to get out of the house and enjoy an activity together. Examples of this could include a trip to a museum, theme park admission, movie tickets, or something else entirely. Since couples tend to jump straight into wedding planning as soon as they get engaged, this gives them the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy their newfound status by going on a fun, romantic date.
  3. Do something artsy with some photos of the couple. Did you know? Young adults with big grins in their photos are less likely to get divorced in the future. Find a few photos of the happy couple and encourage them to remember that fact! It’s certainly something to smile about.
  4. Give them something to look forward to. If the couple has a favorite hobby, they might enjoy being part of a monthly membership club for wine, chocolates, fruit, magazines, or something else entirely. Between jobs and wedding planning, their lives might feel hectic, but these gifts will provide much needed stress release and valuable alone time to enjoy one another’s company.
  5. Give them a discount on their marriage license. With all of the things that go into a wedding, the most important is the purchase of a marriage license. Without it, a wedding can’t happen. By purchasing access to an online premarital course, the couple can get a discount off their marriage license of $32.50 and bypass the 3-day waiting period. Plus, they will learn a lot of valuable information to help them achieve a great marriage. However, it is important to be sure that they plan to get married within a year of taking the premarital course.


Wedding Checklist: One Month to Go

florida weddings last minute checklist

You’ve already chosen the venue and set up the vendors. You’ve bought the dress, sent out the invitations, purchased the rings, and are so close to walking down the isle. Now that you’re only a month away from saying “I Do”, you might realize that there is still a lot that needs to be done. How can you keep panic from setting in?

By establishing a checklist, you can keep track of your tasks and accomplishments. Plus, it’s the perfect tool to use when delegating. Keeping a checklist will help you keep the stress down and act as the roadmap for your big day.

One-Month Wedding Checklist:

  • Get in touch with guests that have yet to RSVP. You can ask your mother or maid of honor to help you contact your guests. It is very important to get the final guest count so that you can finalize wedding plans.
  • Confirm all vendor bookings, and ensure that they have the most updated information.
    • Meet with your caterer and discuss finalized table designs. Determine which linens, napkins, chairs, glassware, cutlery, and décor you plan to use. Give the final head-count and the dietary requirements of your guests.
    • Provide your florist with the number of banqueting tables there will be as well as the final number of flowers required for the bridal party.
    • Make a list for the photographer of “Must Take Photos” that you expect to have by the end of the wedding.
    • Provide a preferred song list to your musician. Also provide a list of songs that you would like to avoid.
    • Finalize your hairstyle and make-up selections.
  • Send out all final payments.
  • Create the seating plan for the ceremony and/or reception. This should be one of the last things completed because guests will continue to RSVP or cancel at the last minute.
  • Place any printing orders you need completed. Examples of this are place cards, menus, etc.
  • Send out the rehearsal dinner invitations and double check that the venue and vendors have been confirmed.
  • Make sure that your honeymoon plans have been booked.
    • Confirm hotel dates.
    • Don’t forget to update your passport and identification so that you can travel!
    • Purchase your honeymoon outfits.
    • Have your mail held at the post office, and arrange care for any pets you have while you are away.
  • Finalize wedding outfits.
    • Wear your wedding shoes around the house to break them in.
    • Select the outfit(s) you plan to use for pre and post wedding events.
    • Contact the bridesmaids and ushers to make sure that they have their outfits and accessories.
    • Men’s suits have been purchased or rented by this point.
  • Send the wedding day itinerary to the maid of honor best man.
  • Take a premarital course.
    • By taking a premarital course, you will learn many skills that will help you get best prepared for marriage. Plus you’re bound to learn new things about your soon-to-be spouse!
    • By completing an approved premarital course, you will qualify for a marriage license discount.
  • Get your marriage license.
    • Without a marriage license, you can’t get married. Remember that there is a 3-day waiting period for the marriage license that is only avoidable by taking a premarital course.
    • A Florida marriage license must be used within 60 days of the effective date.