Category Archives: Expenses


Oh, the Mauna Lani. How addictive you’ve become. Hooked, after just one trip. And now that the cold weather and snow have officially inundated the Hole, it’s time for a little visual trip back.

While the prices were a bit in the upper echelon, I couldn’t be happier about choosing to have our wedding there. Lauren was the first person to respond after I shot out a flurry of emails to hotels on the Big Island. Seriously, I think I emailed 15 places the moment we decided that Hawaii was the place to be.

Lauren emailed me back, got a general idea of what we wanted and immediately began working with me to ensure the best experience. Rather than pay a holy buttload up front, she allowed us to make a feasible deposit and pay down the rest over time. Which worked like a dream.

When the time came, she and Pinkie did everything to make sure we were within our means and had the best effing party at the same time.

And it wasn’t just them. EVERYONE at the Mauna Lani was amazing. From the service when we first arrived, to the helpfulness of everyone ranging from spa coordinators to front desk to bartenders to pool attendants. There was such sincere friendliness and genuine caring.

When they say the staff at the Mauna Lani becomes your ohana, they truly mean it.

Glass elevator. Open-air.

Oh, a few fish ponds? Sure. Why not.

View from the top.

Not bad for a little beach ceremony action.

Nice place to be a fish.

Beachy keen.

I like turtles.

How's the serenity?

Venue: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Photos: Persimmon Images

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Wedinated: Ruth and Nate.

When I first saw Ruth and Nate’s wedding pictures, I had a bit of a swoon. AND THEN I WATCHED THEIR VIDEO. And read Ruth’s words (let’s face it folks, I love the visual). And it all ties together. Check out the groomsman in the cardigan. Yes. And the baby with the Chucks. AND SHE HAD BALLOONS. These guys did it green, did it familial and did it with Chucks. My words don’t do it justice. Also? She supplied me with so much and I can’t choose. So, here goes my first multi-post!
























Name: Nate and Ruth Buma

Age: Nate, 28 and Ruth, 26

Occupation: Nate, Petroleum Engineer and Ruth, PA/HR/Church Volunteer

Wedding location: Uniting Church (Ceremony) and Laurelville Manor (Reception), York Western Australia

Wedding Date: 8 May 2011

Length of engagement: 4 months and a couple days!












Tell me about your wedding: It was a family affair! My aunty did our hair, my sister made the wedding cake, Nate’s grandmother made my dress, our bridal party and “speech makers” mostly comprised of family, my mum did all the stationary, my sister-in-law took photos … so it was very family orientated!
























I spent many moons on blogs getting ideas for the style, and Nate sourced EVERYTHING from far and wide.

We wanted it to be as organic and local as possible so we used the town and as many as the locals as we could which turned out to be amazing and really contributed to the country feel! The florist was local, as was the caterer, as was the kind man we hired the vintage car from. We used the heritage buildings and farmers fields to take photos … it was a really relaxed vibe. A few months back York had terrible storms and the ladies who run the Uniting Church, lost the roof to a building adjacent to the church that they use for teas and such things – we made a donation to their roof fund and they put a delicious afternoon tea on for us after our ceremony which was very sweet!

























While we were having photos taken, we had lawn bowls and cocktails (country style) back at our reception venue. That apparently (coz we were getting photos taken) was great idea! Good time, killer!

We wrote our own vows, which added a really personal and special touch to the ceremony!
It was just a really great experience for us! Relaxed and fun and a great reflection of us!












What was your favorite part of your wedding? I loved my dress. I loved the styling of our bridal party, with each person in their own interpretation of our colour scheme/ vibe that we wanted. I loved that it had so much of our nearest and dearest involved. I loved the country feel, and all the detail we had going on.












What disasters did you avert … or not avert and how did you deal with it? We left our seating plan until about 3 hours before the event kicked off! In a hurry to get it done we left some really key people off the plan so when they got there, they didn’t see their names anywhere, which was rather unpleasant for them! HAHA! Luckily they are close enough friends to know that we wanted them there so they did not leave! EEEEK!



































Was there anything you would have done differently, or do you have any regrets about how something went? I would have had it on a day that suited my brothers better so they could have been there! But other than that, nope – it was a dream come true and I loved every moment!












What was your biggest challenge in planning? Sourcing the detail. I had got some really great ideas from different USA based wedding blogs and I found it really hard to get some of the things I wanted (eg glass drinking dispensers for the cocktails!)! It took a lot of energy, time and patience on Nates behalf!






















What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? That it takes time and patience to hunt down a bargain and that NOTHING is impossible!












What was your biggest “holyamazeballzI’mfreakininlove!” moment? We has spent ages trying to organize a vintage car, it didn’t make sense to get one to drive out from Perth, so after weeks of trying to organize something, Nate just packed the idea in, and we decided to go with the very non-vintage, community bus! When it came time for me and the girls to leave the Manor where we were getting ready, this insane, OLD SCHOOL, beautiful car pulled up! Nate had organized it in the last couple days and I had no idea! So I was so so so so thrilled!! YAY! I still love thinking back to that moment! Another real special moment was in that car, on the way, I was with my dad, and that was pretty memorable.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
Nate’s vows
My sister’s brilliant effort with our 5 layered cake!
Loved my wedding dress – Grandma made my dream come true!
The styling (if we don’t say so ourselves!)
My cousin coming over from South Africa, my longest standing friend coming over from Adelaide and my grandmother coming over from East Coast













Top 5 least favorite?
It was a very stressful lead up. Nate and I had a very specific idea of what we wanted, and some things were a bit, non traditional, and we did get a bit of “abrasion” from the more formal family members – my least favourite thing was the stress of souring the detail.
Money issues are always not fun! And I am no budgeter so that was rather difficult! I was rattling off demands and wants and poor Nate was trying to manage the money side of things!
My younger brother ended up not being able to attend which was quite sad. He unexpectedly had to go overseas to an Olympic qualifier












What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? A video is not needed! Thank goodness we did not listen to that! We did and here is the trailer – (Eds. note: the full video will be in a later post. You know you want to keep watching.)

The best? A work mate said to me, that during the evening, Nate and I should go for a walk for about 5 mins, to a spot where we could see our wedding in front of us and just take a moment to breath and soak it up and acknowledge that this was our time. That was a great piece of advice and a memory I will always treasure.





























Cake: Jo Pletts (Sister) from

Stationary: Avrile Bird
Photographer: Louise Buma (Sister-in-Law)




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Sticker Shock.

Srsly. It floors me sometimes when looking around for something cute/fun/pretty to add to the Wedination and I realize it costs as much as our tickets to Hawaii. Fo real. I mean, if I only paid about a hundo for The Dress, how am I possibly going to shell out $225 for a hair accessory? Not that I would, but it’s the principle. I mean, I know some people can afford it. I know some people wouldn’t even bat an eye at spending an ungodly amount on an effing candlestick. But what about the rest of us poor saps? What if we don’t want to spend $40 on a bobby pin? Or $80 on a guest book that will end up in some drawer somewhere only to be looked at when we’re feeling especially nostalgic?

I know the WIC is part of the reason why brides and grooms feel obligated to go spend-crazy on their weddings. I get that. But what about independent vendors? What about Etsy? Even on there, a community of artists, there are some yikes!-inducing price tags geared toward brides and grooms.

I mean, sure, I could DIY the crap out of stuff to make it *more affordable*, but let’s face it: I’m not crafty. I don’t have much time (though, obv. I find plenty of time for Facebook and blogging). And I don’t feel like getting uber frustrated, as I know I would. I know part of price tags are paying someone else for their time to do something for you. Done. Get it. But … still. I know there’s a lot out there on how once you add a variety of words (including but not limited to: bridal, wedding, matrimony, marriage) to an event, the price skyrockets. Ariel touches on the subject here.

I wonder in earnest how one can still have an uber quality wedding without either DIY-ing out the ass or paying a buttload. I know you can always have friendors hop to it for you, but what if, like me, most of my radtastic friends are far away and living their own fun-filled lives? Must I still suck it up and either get my hands dirty or burn a hole in my wallet?

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A moment of reflection …

We’re just under six months away. The e-mail inquiries have started trickling in. The reality has begun to attempt to set in. The fact that the stuff that’s piling up on the corner of the dining room table, the area of the house known as “Weddingland,” is actually going to be used for something, is becoming clear.

As a result, I’ve begun compiling a more concise mental (and physical!) checklist … and have realized just how far we’ve come. Seventeen months of being engaged. Seventeen months of trying to figure out what in the hell my brain wants, what Aussie’s brain wants. What in the hell we’re doing. And we’re doing damn well.

It all started with a general idea of where. Somewhere easy (or difficult, all depending on how you look at it) for everyone. Somewhere that won’t be a total ass-pain to get to, or if it is, it’ll be an ass-pain for everyone. Fair’s fair, right? Right. Ok, so Hawaii it is. Where in Hawaii? The Big Island. It’s kind of off the beaten path, there’s a ton to do there and it was my personal favorite when Dad, Ro and I went. Done. Ok, but where SPECIFICALLY? I began by looking at the Hilton Waikoloa, the Fairmont Orchid and a few others, but I kept coming back to the Mauna Lani. I’m not sure what it was, but something (Honu Independence day? Quick and concise communication? Willingness to work within the budget?) about it that drew me in. So we booked, a mere three months into our engagement. Our coordinator is/was very willing to work with us financially, which was a huge burden off our chests.

Then we began figuring out what we wanted. The first half of 2009 was very difficult, emotionally, mentally and financially, for us, which I think helped us simplify. We figured out what we wanted (color! Booze! Food! Friends! Family! Awesome photographer!) and what wasn’t super duper important (Flowers? Videography? Sit-down dinner? Cake-cutting?) and began working from there.

In May, as you can remember, I was stuck in Hell in Utah, (aka: Salt Lake City) for some rather somber shiz. But it was during this time I was dragged out to go dress shopping. Reluctantly, I acquiesced. Good thing, too, or else I wouldn’t have found my stunnah of a dress. And it was all mine for around a hundo (thanks Janice!). Good, got that down. Little would I realize (though I should have figured it out, because that’s precisely how my brain works) that The Dress would set the bar for how much we would pay for anything else, save photog/lodging/booze/food.

And so it began. We began collecting items bit by bit, never paying any amount disproportional to The Dress. Rings? $25 each. Aussie’s outfit? Shirt: $30. Shorts: $30. Suspenders: $10. His hat will be about $50. But that’s his ENTIRE outfit. For around $110. Huzzah! Guestboard? $12. Save the Dates? Cost of postage (Thanks Lauren!). Our decorations are partially being handmade, partially being bought to be assembled later, because it’s cheap. We’re also trying to be eco-friendly, so we wanted decorations we wouldn’t hate putting around our house later. This means NO FLOWERS. I don’t like them enough in the first place to spend an exorbitant amount on them for one day. Also, it’s Hawaii and the need for actual decoration is pretty minimal. So, done.

Our focus is on being with our friends, family and one another. It’s our vacation, it’s our wedding, it’s the first time we’re meeting most (if not all) of one another’s family and friends. There’s no need for us to go overboard on this, or spend money we don’t have. So when we’ve had the money to get something, we’ve gotten it. There, done, out of the way. If we don’t have the money for something, we decide if it’s really that necessary, if we can save for it later or if we can figure out a viable alternative. This trend has continued, and still does, throughout the planning process. It’s a daily assessment. Where are we at? What have we left? Do we really want/need/care about this that or the other? A few things have been scrapped, a few have been added. There are still things I have NO CLUE about (hair? makeup? hairpiece? pineapples? flags? signs?) that I’m sure I’ll figure out in the coming months.

In all, I’m really happy we’ve done things the way we have. It ensures we’re able to afford it all without going into debt and it enables us to really figure out what’s truly important to us. And it’s a reflection of how we live our lives … just like the many times where we’ve only had so much money to make it through a month, we buy what we can when we can and don’t worry about it until we can do something about it. I think in this way, our wedding is the best show of us, as individuals, as a couple, as a baby family.

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