The story of a couple who put their wedding on a payment plan.

They call it the 'wedding industrial complex' for a reason.

People told us our wedding would be a day we’d always remember.

Though cliché, they were right — we will always remember that day. But the question that nagged and motivated us for eight months beforehand was whether we’d remember it for the right reasons.

Photos by Jacob Murphy/Love and Wolves used with permission.


As much stock as we place in the Beatles truism, “all you need is love,” when it came to planning a wedding, love had obvious limitations. Namely, financial ones. There we were though, endeavoring to build a life together, starting with one big and expensive party with 150 loved ones and plus ones.

While our hearts had led us up to that point, planning a wedding, we found, would demand much more of our minds.

Vendors vying for our business offered another numbing cliché: “This day is all about you.”

If that were true, a courthouse or a drive-thru chapel would have done just fine. But to us, this event was also about creating something special for all the amazing people who shaped usfrom our parents, without whose extraordinary sacrifices immigrating to the U.S. we never would have met, to our loving communities, spanning the country and even the globe.

The question then, of course, was, "Can we afford this wedding?"

Here's how we avoided the traps and navigated our way down the aisle — without marrying into money problems.

1. Remembering why we were doing this.

Weddings didn't become a multibillion-dollar industry by helping people save money. Pressures have built over the decades for celebrations to mimic those of the wealthy class — no matter how modest a couple's means. We avoided lavish up-sells by grounding ourselves with a simple reminder: That’s not who we are. Our guests may know and love us for a lot of things, but envy has never been one of them.

2. Embracing the side hustle.

Having recently started new jobs, we didn’t want to risk stretching ourselves too thin with second jobs. But odd jobs, we thought, could work. I picked up one-off freelance gigs for a little extra cash until a breakthrough came, ironically, in a no-fee rendering of service. Our friends needed a dog-sitter while they were on vacation, and we happen to be fanatical about pups. That opportunity blossomed into a full-on pet-sitting side hustle with our calendars booked up to the eve of our wedding. In the end, the extra income funded more than a third of our total costs.

3. Rolling up our sleeves.

Photo by Maz Ali.

Creative touches were important to us. We saw them as reflections of our identities and our story. But as we learned how quickly outsourcing those details could run up our tab, we realized they were some of our best savings opportunities. Save-the-dates and invitations, flowers and decor, you name it, we rolled up our sleeves, pulled out our tools, and embraced our DIY spirit. Though it was at times a headache — paint fumes will do that — we got them done in our own unique style and at a fraction of what vendors would have charged.

4. Giving ourselves a little credit.

Knowing we wouldn’t have cash on-hand for every big expense, we decided to give the credit card promos constantly filling our mailbox a look. We applied for a card with benefits we liked that was offering 0% interest for 18 months and made it our primary payment method for the wedding. By sticking to our budget, we were able to clear our balance with time to spare and give our credit scores a boost — without major changes to our general spending habits.

5. Making it a joint venture.

We knew how common financial issues can be in marriage, but we hadn’t yet opened up about our own money philosophies. Although the joy of our wedding sparked the conversation, it wasn’t easy. While I lean toward transparency, Nicole subscribes to a more restrained approach to money talk. As weeks passed, arguments evolved into compromise and discussions of combining finances with a joint account for all things wedding and, eventually, all things us.

In the end, those exhausting months, those days that were at once too long and not long enough, were worth it.

Not only was our wedding exactly as we dreamed, hiccups and all, it also taught us that while love may be all we need, being smart, flexible, and creative can help us reach our goals.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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