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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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House!


The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.


The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.

After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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