10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding


10 Ways to Save Money on your wedding collage (2)

Photos by: Bri Cibene Photography

Ahh…wedding planning. I remember it all too fondly. My first piece of advice I received after I got engaged was, “Delay wedding planning as long as possible. That’s when the stress begins.”

I think most of us (women) start planning our wedding before we’re even engaged, or dating! We think about what dress we’ll wear, what flowers we’ll carry, and what kind of cake we’ll serve. When you start planning, there’s a collision that happens…between what you’ve been dreaming of your whole life and what is now realistic. For example, growing up my family had a beach house on Long Beach Island, NJ. My grandfather built the house, and I have vivid memories of my summers spent there. The car rides would seem so long, but when we finally got to the bridge leading onto the Island, my heart would skip a beat.

As I got older, and started to dream of my wedding day, I would imagine it taking place at the Yacht Club located at the entrance of the bridge. I would gaze out at the grand estate, and think “there’s no where else I want to get married but here.”

Well, 15 some years later, my dreams were crushed. I had almost forgotten about this place, until the memory hit me one day as we were venue searching. I didn’t know the exact name of it, but I knew the location and so I did what all of us do…I consulted Google. I found out it was called the Mallard Island Yacht Club. It looked a lot more prestigious than what I had remembered. I clicked on the Weddings tab, and found out that the estate rental fee was almost $20,000! (that wasn’t including food or drink). Unfortunately, this was way out of our budget.

All our lives we dream of our wedding as a one day event. However, when we find our dream man (or woman), the ultimate prize is not the wedding day, but getting to spend every day for the rest of our lives together.  

No matter what you do, or don’t do…the most important thing is who is waiting for you at the end of the aisle. 

Here are 10 things that helped me save money when I was planning my wedding.

  1. Not Using A Florist

My mother-in-law had warned me about how expensive flowers would be…but I couldn’t bring myself to use fake flowers. After getting a few estimates from florists, I knew I would have to get creative. That’s when I turned to Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods has an amazing floral department and employees who specialize in floral arrangement. Because they’re a large retailer and they buy in bulk, they can get flowers from the wholesalers at a cheaper cost. I personally used the Whole Foods Market in Palo Alto and worked directly with a specialist  who was able to give me an estimate that was less than 1/3 of what the florists told me. Since we got married in the Spring, I had a wide variety of flowers to choose from that were in-season. I got to have beautiful, fresh flowers at a fraction of the cost.

2. Using One Venue

What appealed to me about the venue we chose, was that they had the capabilities to do everything on-site. That meant we could have our ceremony and reception in one location and cut the costs needed to transport the bridal party and guests. That also meant less time wasted in the car, and more face-to-face time with my family, friends, and most importantly.. groom.

3. Not Using a (Traditional) Caterer

We got very lucky with our venue. At the time, they did not have a vendor list like many places do, that required we use one specific caterer or photographer. After securing Whole Foods as our florist, I thought…Why don’t they cater our wedding too??  I can’t claim I was the first person to think of this, but I did feel pretty savvy at the time 😉 One thing to keep in mind is that they do not serve the food. They will drop it off for you, but you have to have a venue that either provides wait staff, or you have to hire them on your own.

4. Not Buying an Expensive Dress (or shoes)

Every bride is different, but for me, I personally didn’t place too much emphasis on what I would be wearing…a shocker I know! I didn’t have the luxury to spend thousands on a wedding dress, nor did I want to! The most important thing to me was that I felt comfortable. It’s important to think about how and where you want to spend your money. To me, I wanted to put more money into our reception and entertaining my guests instead of wearing an expensive dress. When it comes to shoes…the reality is, no matter how “comfortable” you claim your heels are, you’re going to be kicking them off on the dance floor.  (I ended up purchasing my heels from Nordstrom Rack for $50!)

5. Borrowing from fellow Brides

This is the best! If you have friends who have gotten married, it’s most likely that they have something you can borrow. I was extremely lucky to have some amazing friends who lent me decor, candles, and even a veil! Every little bit counts and most of the time people are eager to help and happy to see their things put to good use.

6. Skipping the RSVP cards

I didn’t see the point of printing extra paper for RSVP cards when people could just go online and do the same thing. Ultimately, when the wedding is over, think about what you’ll want to save; most likely it will be your wedding invitations or program…not your rsvp cards.

7. Making your own Decor

Yes, we’ve all gotten sucked into the DIY movement…but there is something really rewarding about doing this. For the things I couldn’t do, I enlisted the help of talented people on Etsy. The biggest thing I did (with the help of my friend Kelly) was make ALL the table runners for our guest tables. It definitely was a labor of love but so worth it in the end!

View More: http://bricibene.pass.us/ribeiros



8. Not Having an Open Bar

We chose to serve beer and wine to eliminate high alcohol costs. We purchased all our alcohol from BevMo, and the best part was, whatever bottles we didn’t open (and weren’t chilled)- we got to return!! I ended up returning over $100 worth in alcohol; which was a welcome surprise after so much spending!

9. Hiring Your Friends

Most of us have at least one or two super artsy or crafty friends. My sister-in-law happens to be one of them! She handmade decor for her own wedding, so I asked her to make a banner and cake topper for us. She also did my make-up, which was a huge help (and cost saver)! I had a friend from high school, Bri Cibene, who started her own photography business, so when it came time to choose a photographer, I hired Bri because I completely trusted her and knew she would do an amazing job! Our videographer was also a personal friend, and I can’t tell you how comforting it felt to be surrounded by vendors that we knew and trusted.

10. Being your own Planner

The beauty of planning a wedding these days, is that we have Pinterest! My decision not to have a wedding planner was mostly due to finances, but if I had to do it over again…I wouldn’t change a thing! Planning a wedding is something you’ll do once (hopefully) so all the ups and downs are just part of the process. I felt more comfortable making decisions knowing that I wasn’t being influenced by someone who maybe had ulterior motives. I tried to incorporate our family and friends as much as possible, and when I look back at the photos, I see the love that surrounded us that day…and every day since then.

And that’s a story I can share with our kids and grand-kids for years to come.





The #1 Self-Help Book Everyone Should Read

2015 was one of my favorite years yet. It marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life-one of personal growth.

It’s been almost a year since I left my office job and joined my husband Kendrick to run our personal training business. However, it wasn’t as clear at that point what my next step would be. Kendrick was my rock and encouraged me to take the time to be in solitude- read and write and not just jump into another job. As I reflected on my previous role, I realized that it wasn’t the best use of my skill-set. I am a people person; and I wasn’t able to shine because the job did not match my abilities. I also learned that just because you are a nice person, does not mean that everyone will like you. I struggled to fit in and looked for approval in the wrong places. It hurt to know that there was nothing I could do to make someone like me- that simply being nice was not enough.

But as I’ve grown, I’ve realized that’s okay. It’s okay that not everyone likes you. I’ve also learned this past year that my time spent with people is precious. We only have a certain number of hours in the day; and if we’re spending time with people who are bringing us down, we’re only going to become frustrated and lonely.

“It is better to spend time alone, than with the wrong friends.” -Jim Rohn

There was one book that I read in 2015, that completely changed me. It was John Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. I picked up this book shortly after I left my job last April. At first, it was really tough to read. Not in the literacy sense, but in the emotional sense. I felt like John was sitting in my living room and speaking directly to me. I started making it a daily ritual that when I got up to eat breakfast and have my coffee, that I would read a chapter of this book. It helped give me understanding that this period in my life was happening for a reason…and I could choose to let it pass me by, or I could be intentional.


The Law of Diminishing Intent says, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

That is exactly what I did; I changed my direction. This is what I learned..

  • Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself. -Dennis Waitley
  • Self-Esteem is the Single Most Significant Key to a Person’s Behavior
    • If you believe you are worthless, then you won’t add value to yourself.
  • The Value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us
  • In the end, it isn’t what we are that holds us back; it’s what we think we’re not.
  • Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
  • We will never change our life until we change something we do daily.
  • Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.

“God’s gift to us: potential. Our gift to God: developing it.”

  • Our history is not our destiny.

If you spend your time with people who subtract from you, who belittle or undervalue you, then every step forward that you attempt to take will be difficult. But if you find wise leaders, good role models, and positive friends, you will find that they speed you on your journey.

  • If we live life with the intention of making a difference in others’ lives, our life will be full, not empty.
  • The greatest gift we can give to someone is our own personal development. 

That’s why I feel so compelled to be sharing this with you!


I hope you feel inspired to pick up this book, and share it with a friend. I always love a good book recommendation, so feel free to share your self-help favorites below!


3 Ways to Develop Confidence

“Angela, you could be a great tennis player if you were more confident in yourself. The only thing that’s holding you back is you.”

I’ll never forget these words that were spoken to me back when I was in 7th grade. After retiring from gymnastics, I took up tennis and started private training with a coach. His name was Tom, and he was sought after as one of the best tennis coaches in the Valley. As soon as he spoke these words to me, I knew he was absolutely right. After leaving gymnastics, something changed in me. I had dedicated so much time to mastering the sport; and now, those skills no longer mattered. I was learning a new sport…and I often felt frustrated that I was starting from the bottom again.

 The summer before my freshman year of high school, my parents moved us to a new school district. I decided to join the tennis team, to make some friends before the first day of school. That year I tried out, I made the Varsity team! I couldn’t believe it. Going through tryouts and then getting selected, gave me confidence that maybe I would never be the next Anna Kournikova; but I was good enough to play with girls 4 years older than me, and that was something to be proud of.

Over the years, confidence has still been something that I struggle with. I think part of it may be that I’m a people pleaser; and because of that, it’s hard for me to be confident in myself when other people aren’t acknowledging my talents. It sounds a bit selfish when I think of it, but in my stubborn mind, I feed off of that approval.

In my blog post, “From PA to CA, What I’ve Learned“; I shared that one of the things I’ve learned in the past couple years, is how important it is to invest in personal growth. That could be reading a self-help book, listening to an educational podcast, taking a class, or spending time journaling/writing. Recently, I listened to a great podcast called “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes“. He was interviewing Joe Polish, a master marketer who rose to the top and founded Piranha Marketing Inc. (Joe also has a podcast titled, “I Love Marketing“.)

It was from listening to his words, that I was inspired to write this blog post. I hope you get a chance to listen to it, and it inspires you as much as it inspired me!


1. Have Faith

Faith has played a significant role in my life, and without it, I would not have the sense of purpose that I do.

Living in the Bay Area, I’ve observed a real loss of faith.  Most allow fear over faith to take over and guide their lives. People are stressed out, unhappy, anxious, selfish, and fearful…fearful that they won’t be able to keep up. Fear diminishes confidence.  But, when you have faith, you can trust that everything’s going to be okay–God has a plan for all of us…even if we can’t see it right away.

2. Fake It

Have you heard of the phrase, “Fake it til you make it”? Well, in this case, Fake it til you believe it. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is pretend. If we start “pretending” to be confident, soon enough, those positive phrases and encouragements we repeat to ourselves will start to sink in. When I was struggling in a tennis match, and had doubts that I couldn’t win, what sabotaged me was my own mind. Those negative phrases, that told me I wasn’t good enough and destroyed my self-confidence.

Beware of negative self-talk. Remember: Feelings are not facts. If you tell yourself, “I’m a horrible tennis player”, that’s not necessarily a fact. That is a feeling that you have, and the dangerous thing about feelings, is that they can lie to us.

3. Develop Rituals 

“You don’t think yourself into confidence, you ACT yourself.”

It sounds silly, but our daily habits greatly impact our attitude and performance. It’s important to develop positive habits whether it’s taking a minute to be grateful for what’s around you, getting a good night’s sleep, eating clean, exercising or meditating. Part of being confident is taking care of ourselves, fueling our body properly (this may be sleep, exercise, or nutrition) so that it can run effectively.

These actions can greatly affect your confidence throughout the day. Don’t you want to showcase your best self??

Start with these 3 practices and take it one day at a time.

Stay true to yourself, always.


holiday party




5 Moves for Buns & Thighs

5 Moves for Buns & Thighs

Happy Friday!

Spring is almost 2 weeks away…and that means, Spring Break! Time to don those bikinis, shades, and flip flops. I noticed the growing popularity of the “cheeky” bikini bottom last summer. If you were one of those bold trend setters, good for you! Whatever you choose to wear, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. I won’t be able to give you a Brazilian booty overnight; but, these 5 moves are sure to help sculpt those buns and thighs.. and I am all for that!

Let’s get started!


  1. Hip Dips – 20 reps

hip dips

Advanced option: Try single leg dips (10 reps each leg)

hip dips single leg

2. Lateral Leg Lift – 20 reps each leg

lateral leg lift smile

3. Backward Skaters with an Ankle Band  – 20-30 seconds

ankle band skater

4. Frankenstein Walk with Ankle Band – 20-30 seconds

ankle band start

5. In-N-Out Jumps with Ankle Band – 20 reps


Repeat this set 2 times; for best results, perform this circuit with your favorite strength workout twice a week.

Ready to start? Buy your Resistance Bands here.

*Make sure to consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.

What workout would you like to see next week? Share in the comments below!!


Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Is this really gluten-free?? The answer is YES.

Is this healthy?? The answer is debatable…

I need not bore you with the words….just let the pictures speak for themselves.


chocolate banana bread with logo

Mmm….look at those melted chocolate chips and gooey chunks of banana.

Make this now:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Baking Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with coconut spray.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Next,  stir in the baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes. (My exact bake time was 43 minutes in my oven.)
  5. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.



Crock-Pot Green Chile Chicken Soup


Try to say that three times fast…

Lately I’ve been on a Mexican food kick, and it’s kind of surprising me! I didn’t grow up eating a whole lot of Mexican food; my mom would make tacos or enchiladas…but that was pretty much it. I don’t recall eating a lot of beans either, which would shock my husband; since he pretty much lived on rice and beans.

When I moved to California, I was blessed with a plentiful of hole-in-the-wall taquerias and authentic Mexican cuisine. Now I’ve started cooking it at home…and any recipe that contains beans, chicken (or beef) and rice, you can bet I’m pinning it on Pinterest. 

The greatest part of this Green Chile Chicken Soup is that it’s made in the Crock-Pot!! Our Crock-Pot got buried in our kitchen for a while; but since winter began, it’s been resurrected. My husband was skeptical about putting raw meat in there, but when he saw how easily it pulled apart after 4 hours; he dubbed it the most amazing appliance ever.

green chile chicken soup

So…are you ready to make this soup??

You’ll need:

  • About 2 lbs. of chicken breast, fat removed
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans green chiles ( I used the Fire Roasted Diced green chile from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 32 oz container of chicken broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste



  1. Throw in the chopped onion, and minced garlic in the Crock-Pot.
  2. Top with chicken breast and spices.
  3. Add undrained cans of green chiles and salsa verde
  4. Add the white beans (drained and rinsed) and chicken broth.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours; or on low for 8 hours.
  6. Before serving, pull out the chicken and shred on a plate. Return to Crock-Pot. Squeeze fresh lime and salt to taste.
  7. Serve hot with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and cilantro. (My husband also added avocado on top.)


Let me know what you think in the comments below! Be sure to tag your creation on Instagram using the hashtag: #mrskfitinthekitchen. 

Sharing is caring! Tag a friend on Instagram, pin to Pinterest, or share to Facebook.

Happy March 1! : )