Truly Engaged: Finding Our Dream Mini-Honeymoon

Categories Honeymoon + Resources

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.


The honeymoon isn’t over…it’s just getting shorter, cheaper, and closer to home.

Finding Our Dream Mini-Honeymoon - MagnetStreet Weddings


When my fiance Tim and I vacation after our wedding in September, we won’t need a passport, a plane ticket, sunscreen, or even sandals. All we’ll need are two simple things: an overnight bag and a tank of gas.

Like many modern couples, we have decided to take a “mini moon” after the wedding–which is essentially an abbreviated honeymoon that is cheaper, shorter, and closer to home. Why? Well, it’s not because we don’t love exotic locales: In fact, we met while both working in Quito, Ecuador back in 2009. Our decision to “mini moon” came from a medley of factors: time, money, work schedules, moving…

After months and months of planning the wedding, and a super busy wedding weekend, we decided that for now, less is more.

With that in mind, we used these four “less is more” factors to help decide our mini-honeymoon:


Factor 1: Less Transit = More Time

We both work full-time, which makes our vacation time finite and fleeting. The wedding itself (and all the pre-wedding planning) has already depleted much of our vacation time, leaving us with a few precious days to take for our honeymoon. However, we realized that the less time we spent traveling to our honeymoon destination, the more time we could spend actually at our honeymoon destination, relaxing and basking in newlywed bliss.

Therefore, we narrowed down our mini-honeymoon options to places that we can easily access within a few hours of driving. That way, we could squeeze the most out of each “mini-moon” minute. No wasted times for layovers, shuttle buses, or cab rides…just three hours flat and we’re there!


Factor 2: Less Travel = More Luxury

Like many couples in this economy, our money is on the tighter side–and the last thing we want to do is enter our marriage with debt or empty wallets. By  staying local, we realized we could save hundreds and hundreds of dollars. No pricey plane ticket, no settling for a “mediocre” resort because we spent all our cash on the round-trip airfare. By staying local, we could afford amd indulge in a more luxurious place. Jacuzzi, fireplace, AND floor-to-ceiling lakeside views? Yes please!


Factor 3: Less Structure = More Spontaneity

Often times when you travel afar, you fill your days with pre-planned and pre-paid activities/excursions. In contrast, our simple, local mini-moon allows our vacation to unfold organically. Without pre-paying for activities, we can simply go with the flow and take each moment as it comes. It will feel spontaneous and exciting…just like the early days of dating. And what better way to celebrate marriage than to remember the way we fell in love in the beginning.


Factor 4: Less Pressure = More Fun

There’s so much build-up and pressure to having the “perfect” wedding, followed by the “perfect” honeymoon. It’s as if you’re never going to have another vacation again! But we love travel, met while traveling, and plan to make travel a pursuit of ours throughout our life together.

By taking a mini-honeymoon, we are putting less pressure on making our honeymoon the “ultimate vacation”. Instead, we can just focus on doing what we already do best: having fun. We can just laugh, relax, and enjoy being ourselves–our married selves, that is! :)


So where did we decide to go? Well, some things are best left a surprise….but it’s along the shores of Lake Superior and we couldn’t be more excited to go on our “mini-moon” in September. :)


I’d love to hear from more couples: Are you having a “mini moon” (mini honeymoon) after your wedding? Or if you already had your mini honeymoon, where did you go? Are you glad you went the “mini moon” route?


Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings

Tim and Rachel


Truly Engaged: Social Wedding Planning Tools

Categories Resources + Wedding Planning

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.


With less than three months to go before the wedding (gulp!), I’ve been feverishly working on all sorts of tasks–from invitations and bridesmaids dresses to ceremony readings and centerpieces.

The more I tackle on the to-do list, the more I realize that planning a wedding is a truly a group effort. It takes the help and support of many people: my mother, my wedding party, my future in-laws, and most importantly–my wonderful and amazing partner, Tim.

To keep everyone connected and involved throughout the wedding planning process, I’ve been taking advantage of some great online wedding planning tools. Now, there are a zillion tools out there for digital and social wedding planning. However, I’ve been using three main tools online to help collect, collaborate on, and share ideas with my wedding party.


Pinterest: Shared Inspiration Boards

Most brides are very aware of Pinterest by now. Pinterest calls itself a “virtual pinboard”,  but I like to call it my own social wedding binder. Not only can I find, collect, and organize wedding inspiration via pins and boards, I can also invite my wedding party to view, comment on, and contribute to my boards.

For example, I created a Bridesmaids board with pins of dresses, shoes, and accessories. I invited my Maid of Honor to help contribute to this board, and my other bridesmaids can comment on pins, telling me what they think of various options.

My mom is even on Pinterest! I invited her to help contribute to the Reception board. I love being able to share inspiration and ideas with my wedding party, and in turn collect their input on ideas.

Note: I’m still working on getting my fiance on Pinterest…  :)


Facebook Groups: A Private, Virtual Meeting Spot

When it comes to Facebook groups, most of us think of brands and businesses. However, Facebook groups can also be set to private, so that no one else can see or have access to it–which is great for personal groups.

I have a Facebook group for my bridesmaids, and so far it’s been a great online tool for us. With our busy lives (and one bridesmaid living out-of-state), it gets hard to meet in person on a regular basis. With our Facebook group, we can post pictures, asks questions, or create a poll for everyone to vote on (ex. What color heels do you prefer to wear on the wedding day?).

And since not everyone could make it to go wedding dress shopping with me at the various shops, I uploaded photos of me trying on dresses. It was great to get their feedback and keep them involved in that “classic” wedding experience. (And since it’s private, my fiance can’t see it–very important!)


Google Docs: Collaborative Task Management

While not as visual or “pretty” as Facebook and Pinterest, Google Docs has been a great organization and planning tool for me. Google Docs is where I get down to business with the “Big Three” of wedding planning: budget, guest list, and to-do list.

Since these three are very complex and constantly need to be updated, I’ve found that Google Docs is a great online tool for managing them. And since I can share Google Docs with my fiance and mother, we can all edit and contribute to the documents (even at the same time!).

For example, if a friend recently moved and the address needs to be updated on the guest list, no problem: I can go in and change it. If my mom thinks of another to-do task to add to the list, she can add it herself. We can move things up or down on the list, depending on how priorities change from week to week. And we can add photos to the documents for reference, reminders, etc.


What about you? Do you have any social planning tools that you use to keep your wedding party connected in the planning process? I’d love to hear what works for you!



Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings


Truly Engaged: Registering Outside the Box

Categories Wedding Planning

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.

Wedding Registry Gift ideas

With less than four months until our wedding day (gulp!), Tim and I have been immersed in one of the more fun tasks on the to-do list: creating a wedding registry!

While browsing registry checklists for inspiration, we ran across all the classics — from colanders and cutting boards to bed skirts and blankets. (Let’s not forget all the wedding “wares”: silverware, cookware, kitchenware…) I have to admit, it’s fun to meander down the aisles and go <beep> with the scanner—it’s like “pinning” for gifts!

However, as we began shopping and scanning, we realized that while the classic essentials are nice, we don’t necessarily need (or want) everything on those lists. We also felt that these lists no longer applied to our more modern relationship, lifestyle and habits.

We realized we wanted to expand our options and create a registry that not only reflects what we need, but also who we are and what we enjoy. Just like every other aspect of our wedding, we wanted the registry to feel personal, meaningful and relevant. In other words, we wanted it to feel like “us”.


Here are some ways we’ve been working to achieve that goal:

Creating an Online Registry

While we like Target, Macy’s, Crate and Barrel, etc., these stores don’t always carry the more hobby-specific items that Tim and I might enjoy. Therefore, we decided to sign up for MyRegistry—a website that allows you to add gifts from any site on the Internet. We even downloaded a button to add to our toolbar–that way you can quickly add to your registry from any website on the Internet. We really like having the freedom and flexibility to “register outside the box”. For example, I added a women’s hiking daypack from REI since Tim and I love to go hiking.

Other non-traditional registry websites allow you to register for your honeymoon (Honeyfund) or for enriching experiences (Cloud 9 Living).

Note: We’re still registering at two department/national stores, so that guests who prefer the traditional, in-person shop-and-buy experience can do that, too.


Adding Gifts that Reflect Our Current Lifestyle and Future Aspirations

Tim and I have been trying out different idea-generating methods to help brainstorm gifts that will be meaningful, relevant, and enriching to our lives as a married couple.

For example, we browsed pictures of us together and rummaged through my “boyfriend box” (yes, I can proudly admit to still having one) to jog our memory of fun dates and activities we’ve done in the past. We asked ourselves: What sort of gifts might help us create more happy, enriching memories like those?

We’re also exploring the idea of registering for cash gifts towards enriching experiences. For example, we’d love to go on a hot air balloon ride, so MyRegistry allows us to add a “cash gift” and label it “Hot Air Balloon” so that guests know what their money will go toward.


Thanking Guests for “Experience Gifts”

Although we might not cash in our “experience gifts” immediately, we will still send a thank-you note soon after receiving it (we practice good etiquette!). However, I’ve been thinking of a neat idea: sending an additional thank-you note after we have done the actual experience. For example, we could mail a postcard or photo card of us actually doing the experience (ex. hot air balloon ride), with a thank-you note attached or on back.


I’m curious about how other couples are personalizing their wedding registries. Have you recently registered for your wedding? What tips/ideas do you have for personalizing the registry?



Hey all–we’re kicking off summer with a June Giveaway on Facebook! MagnetStreet Weddings is giving away 300 Wedding Programs to one lucky Facebook fan. Enter here!

Have a great weekend everyone.


Truly Engaged: Disconnecting to Stay Connected

Categories Resources

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.


Meeting with vendors. Finalizing the guest list. Ping-ponging emails back and forth with my wedding party…. With so much to plan, pick out, decide, and do, I’ve realized that it’s far too easy to make “wedding planning” the starring role in my life–and more importantly, my relationship. Laughing and lounging get replaced with planning, prioritizing…and let’s not forget pinning!

Once I even caught myself zoned out at the computer, “pinning” my way into zombie-like state while my fiance–the love of my life–is merely yards away, fast asleep in our bed because he grew tired of waiting up for me. (Not a high point for me.)

I’ve realized that I have to stop being a “bride” and start being a better partner. That means regularly “disconnecting” from the wedding planning in order to reconnect with the whole reason my wedding even exists: my my partner, my lover, my best friend for life.


Below are a few ways we’ve been able to take regular “time-outs” from the wedding in order to stay connected and close with each other.

Photo courtesy of


You’ve Got Mail

Sure, there are texts, tweets, and emails–but to me, nothing beats a little love note sent by hand from the heart. There’s something very romantic and intimate about a hand-crafted note.

My fiance and I bought these adorable little mailboxes from Target around Valentine’s Day–we  have them displayed on our end table in the living room. Whether it’s a poem, a piece of candy, or a motivational pick-me-up after a bad day, Tim’s little love gifts never fail to make me smile. My heart goes aflutter whenever I see flag flipped up! We’ve even gotten a little creative with what we can fit inside the miniature mailboxes. (My proudest achievement:  a tiny puppy stuffed animal that barks “I WOOF you!” when squeezed. Success!) Life gets busy, but these little gifts are a way to say  I love you, I’m thinking of you, and you are important to me.


It’s a Date!

I value fitness, so I try not to miss my weekly Pilates class. Awhile back I realized: Why not dedicate that same regularity and commitment to my relationship? I figure, if we’re about to embark on a lifetime of commitment, the least we can do is commit ourselves to a couple “mini dates” per week. That’s why we have developed Pizza Wednesdays and Sunday Strolls.

Pizza Wednesdays includes a take-and-bake pizza from Whole Foods (spinach feta, preferably) and either a movie, a board game, or just some casual conversation (no wedding talk!). No matter how busy the week gets, I know I can count on Pizza Wednesdays to keep me connected with my love.

Our second weekly tradition, Sunday Strolls, entails a sunset stroll around the nearby lake. If the weather is bad, then we walk around the track at the gym. Getting outside the house (and couch/computer/TV) really helps us focus on each other and touch base with the non-wedding aspects of our lives. Whether we’re talking about career goals, a current event, or something totally silly, it’s great to just engage in a conversation that doesn’t include “the W word”.


Seize the Moment

In addition to weekly “mini dates”, my fiance and I have learned to seize the moment whenever we find ourselves with a free couple of hours. I’m a bit of a “planner”, but with our lives getting busier and busier, I’ve learned to embrace–and even enjoy–these spontaneous dates that spawn from our rare moments of free time.

For example, if we find ourselves free on a Saturday afternoon, we might simply walk out the door and go browse the consignment shops near our place. Or, we might drive to the global market nearby to check out a new ethnic eatery. Often times, these “unplanned dates” turn out to be the most relaxing, fun, and enjoyable dates of all. To quote John Lennon: “Life happens while you’re busy making other plans.” For us, love happens while we’re busy planning a wedding! :)



Are you engaged or recently married? How do (or did) you “disconnect” from your wedding planning in order to stay connected and close? I’d love to hear your ideas!


Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings


Mini mailboxes photo courtesy of Me and Him