Category Archives: Must know

How to find an inexpensive venue

When working with a small budget for an event; it is important to find an affordable venue. A good venue will set the tone for the rest of the event. Some things to keep in mind when selecting a venue are: 

  1. Cost: An ideal venue should cost no more than 15% of your total budget if it does not include the rental of tables and chairs or 30% if it includes those items.
  2. Colors: Does the colors of the flooring and walls compliment the colors of your event. This is a very important factor when choosing a venue that generally gets over looked. 
  3. Rental items: the best venues will include the use of their tables and chairs as part of the base fee. Other venues may include the use of linens and centerpieces as well. The latter is not common but is a big bonus if offered.
  4. Hidden Fees: Sometimes a venue will seem like a great deal on its face but will add a lot of hidden fees such as requiring a dance floor rental if a dj is being used or charging for parking or security. It is important to have a list of questions to ask before booking any venue.
  5. Restrictions: Very common restrictions are alcohol, outside or unapproved caterers and or vendors. Usually restrictions are spelt out on the venue’s website but in the event that this information is unavailable, it is important to ask during the first meeting.
  6. Permits: Some venues try to be restrictive by requiring permits. Acquiring a permit is usually the task for the lessee.  One major permit is a liquor licence.

My favorite venue is a free venue. Using a family or friend’s house or yard I’d usually a good idea for weddings, birthday parties or any other family/friend oriented event.

When using this option be mindful of: 

  1. The season:  A tent may be needed with a heater to keep guests warm during the colder seasons. While a tent and air conditioning for hotter months or tent as a rain option.
  2. Parking
  3. The size of the house/yard in relation to the number of guests: Guests will need a bathroom option, so, be sure to explain this to the host family. Portable bathrooms will ease the use of the house bathrooms and are available in upscale styles.
  4. You will be responsible for all rentals: tables and chairs etc.

Churches tend to offer a discounted rates for members of the church. Many churches are designed to hold the ceremony and reception in the case of a wedding or any event that needs a ballroom type space. 

Churches generally:

  1. Will have tables and chairs available in the rental price
  2. Adequate parking
  3. Restrict alcohol 
  4. Restrict certain music

Community or recreation centers are my go to place to host a baby shower, reunion or brunch. 

Community centers generally offer discounted rates for its residents but will still allow non-residents to use the property. Things to keep in mind when renting a rec center:

  1. Centers usually have a time limit for rentals, including setup, event time and break down.
  2. Many recreational centers allow alcohol but my also require a permit so be sure to ask upfront.
  3. These venues may also restrict the use of tape or tacks on their ceilings or walls. 
  4. May require security guards or police presence based on the desired use. 

Whatever venue you choose just remember that all venues have pros and cons but the important thing is balance and ensuring that the pros outweighs the cons. 

How to coupon for your DIY projects

I must start out by saying that I love, love, love coupons.  animatedcoupon

My favorite store to coupon for my craft items is Joann fabric and craft store.  I do however shop at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Handcock, Ac Moore, Amazon and Etsy.  Although the staff at Joann is extremely helpful and friendly that is not the primary reason why I am in love with this store.  My love affair is mainly due to their coupon policy.

Joan buidling1. At Joann you are able to use an unlimited amount of coupons in store as long as each coupon features a different barcode.  2. Once you sign of for the email list, Joann will send you at least one coupon a week day, which is a minimum of 5 coupons for the week (all with different barcodes).  3. They mail you paper coupons frequently (all with different barcodes from the emailed coupons even if it for the same dates).  4. You are able to screenshot of take a picture of the coupons to save on printing and they will accept them. 5. Coupons are also available online and they do not match the barcodes of the ones mailed. 6. Joann has in store circulars with coupons for the following week. These however are all have the same barcode and cannot be used in the same shopping trip. 7. They always have great sales.

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michaels 1 michaelJoann, Michaels, Ac Moore have two main types of coupons as do most craft stores, the ones you can only use on one regular priced item and the ones that can be used on all items purchased including sale items.  Regular Priced item coupons can only be used once at Joann, but, at other stores they can only be used once a day (in one location, so you can use it in another store the same day). these coupons also can only be used on a regular priced item or a single cut of fabric.   Total Purchase coupons cannot be combined with another coupon on an item. But, in the same transaction you are able to use both coupons if you have purchased regular priced items and sale items.  For example: I purchase 1 regular priced vase for $6, 1 regular priced flower for $4 and 1 foam pad that was marked down to $2. Using the coupons above, the regular priced item coupon will be applied to my highest priced regular item which is the $6 dollar vase making it a $3 purchase price. The 15% coupon will be applied to the $4 vase and the $2 foam pad, making it a $5.10 purchase.  My total for my shopping trip will then be $7.10 as opposed to $12 without coupons.  If you have time before your event, try to buy all regular priced items with a regular priced coupon, even if it means making several trips.


There are several items that I cannot get a Joann, and so I tend to shop around. For local stores, I like Michaels, Ac Moore and Hancock. However, there coupon policy is rather strict and they do not offer many coupons each week. This means you will need to make several trips to purchase high priced items.  I do enjoy shopping at these stores because they have a very big inventory and with your receipt you typically get a coupon for a future purchase that is different from one that you can print from their website. Like Joann, you can present coupons from your smart phone.  Be warned, the employees at this store tend to not be familiar with their coupon policy so be sure to travel with a copy of the policy.