Planning a Low Budget Wedding and The Art of Freelancing


I want to start off this post by apologizing for how late I’m writing. I suppose I could schedule this to go out in the morning – but it might be nice for everyone to wake up and have a new post in their inbox.

I guess we’ll see how that goes.

My primary focus in this post is twofold. First, I’m going to talk about freelancing and dispel some extremely stupid myths. Then, I’m going to share a little information about the wedding, and how we’re planning to celebrate our big day by spending less than $5000.

I’ll lead off with a post I made on Facebook about fifteen minutes ago.

“I am so sick of professional freelancers lying about the industry rate to get followers on their money-grubbing blogs.

For anyone interested in the writing field, do NOT believe anyone who tells you that you shouldn’t “get out of bed for anything worth less than a hundred dollars.” I promise you, no one is giving you that much money for one article.

Freelancing isn’t easy. There is plenty of debate about fair and professional rates.

To help you out:

$0.01 per word is an entry level rate.

$0.02 per word is a stepping stone.

$0.03 per word is for experienced writers.

$0.04+ per word is for top notch professionals

Rarely will a long-term client pay more than $0.10 per word – and even that is rare.

Educate yourself before applying. If you listen to the vast majority of writing bloggers (who are only trying to make a quick buck themselves), you’ll get laughed out of every interview.

Expect $10-$20 per 500 word article. On occasion, clients may pay up to $50. This is all assuming you aren’t writing pieces that require extensive field work and research for a professional newspaper or magazine – in which case, several weeks of work will earn you up to $1000.

Believe it or not, these rates add up when you compare the hourly requirement to complete the job. In fact, it is often more lucrative NOT to shoot for these high payouts – because many publications may not accept or publish your submission. Which means no payment at all.

Freelancing requires hard word and dedication. You will write 20,000+ words per week. You will work long hours. There is no “easy way out.” But you know what? If you do it right, you’ll have a career that lasts a lifetime.

Just some words of advice.”

In my personal opinion, the bloggers who advertise rates of $1 per word are simply looking to sell something. They want readers to pay for subscriptions to special “tools” and “resources” that will help them earn “top dollar.” But this “top dollar” is unrealistic and, frankly, unfair.

These unrealistic expectations divide the freelance community into “dreamers” and”doers.” The “dreamers” talk a big talk – but they rarely make the six figures they claim. And, if they do, it has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with marketing/advertising on their promotional blog pages.

The “doers” are the writers applying on a daily basis to freelance jobs offered on Upwork, Craigslist, Guru, and more. They are the individuals across the nation who charge reasonable rates ($0.03-$0.10 per word) and earn a fair income.

You know what? It’s more than a fair income. 30,000 words per week at $0.04 per word? You do the math. That’s more weekly income than many liberal arts graduates dream of making in their first year out of school.

I know most of my followers aren’t freelance writers. But if you know anyone interested in the craft, please share this post with them. It will save more than one headache – I promise. And this is coming from someone with six years of firsthand experience.

This is a fantastic (and accurate) article on the matter:

This one is a little less realistic. But it makes a valid point about the varying degrees of writing:

I say all of this on Misadventures because, between writing for this blog, I attempted to start a new blog called The Realistic Freelancer. You can read several blog posts now, but I think I’m either going to take the website down or make it a collaborative project between Austin, Olivia, and I (although I haven’t even asked them yet).

Alright. I’ve said my peace about freelancing. And we’ve hit more than seven hundred words – so let’s talk weddings.

At first, Austin and I wanted to get married at Kensington Metro Park. We chose a shelter and decided to go all-in for our fall outdoor wedding. We wanted to BBQ. We wanted to bring our own music. We wanted to have an open concept ceremony with our reception in a pavilion. We wanted casual dress – no dresses or suits other than the wedding party. We wanted 60-75 guests. Our budget was $2500 or less (discluding the cake and dress – which my mother and sister have graciously offered to handle as our wedding present).

It seemed reasonable. But the closer the time came to make Save The Dates, the more nervous I felt.

When you choose an outdoor venue, you risk everything. If it rained on the day of our wedding, we’d either have to cancel and hope to reschedule (losing at least one third of our guests) or we’d have to hold the ceremony under a pavilion. We’d also have to find a way to bring a stereo system to a place with no outlets, because a live band or a professional DJ certainly didn’t fit into our budget. We’d have to ask guests to help prepare the meal BBQ style – which could be fun but disastrous in the rain. We’d also have to handle our own chair rentals, archway rental, and chair coverings – if we wanted them. Along with any other decorations.

For me, the incredibly low-stress wedding we wanted was supplying a MASSIVE headache. I feared we’d have to make so many sacrifices in terms of entertainment and decorations that it wouldn’t end up feeling like a wedding at all.

Enter Princess.

I woke up about a week ago – having pushed wedding plans FAR back in my mind. And I saw a video on Facebook advertising weddings on a boat on the Grand River in Grand Ledge. The wedding would include a cruise. The total price covered food, basic decorations, and space. It covered wait staff and cake cutting. And, best of all, the reception was indoors.

After convincing Austin, I called for a quote. I talked to a woman, Sandy, who ended up being the nicest person I think I’ve ever met. She told me the prices for the Michigan Princess (the boat on the Grand River). Then, she told me the prices for the Detroit Princess (the boat on the Detroit River).

Let me share some of the big differences between the two.

  • The Michigan Princess is a single-level boat with one area for private events. Our party would rent the entire boat for six hours. The Detroit Princess is a five-story mega boat with a designated area for small private events on the fourth deck. Our party would have early access to the boat, plus full access for guests from 4:30-11.
  • Both boats cruise for two and a half hours, but the Michigan Princess is located in a more rural area. Less to see. The Detroit Princess provides some gorgeous views.
  • On the Michigan Princess, food is handled on a per plate basis. On the Detroit Princess, food is handled on a per person basis with a buffet and an option for unlimited beverages.
  • On the Detroit Princess, we can get married on the observation deck – giving us the outdoor wedding space we dreamed about with an indoor option, should the weather not cooperate. On the Michigan Princess, we can get married indoors.

These are just some of the major differences. It also came down to price and location. It might be nice to get married twenty minutes down the road – but it doesn’t feel as magical. It doesn’t feel as special. With the Detroit Princess, it’s something new and interesting. We both really like that. And that’s why we chose it and sealed our wedding date – September 30th.

Of course, it’s going to be more expensive. Not significantly. I’ll stick to what I said before. Our total wedding budget is under $5000. And, with this location, we can pay as we go. No dipping into our savings and wanting to die. I like that plan. Everything is upfront and included. The only costs we have to concerns ourselves with are Austin’s suit, hotel costs (if we decide to stay downtown the night before), invitations, and additionally decorations if we want them.

Well, that and Jack’s band (Yakety Brass) – a five instrument band that is going to play swing/jazz music during the cruise portion of the evening.

But, in order to meet that budget, we had to make some serious guest list cuts. We’ll only be inviting very close family and friends – and even then we have to make some sacrifices to keep our number around fifty people. We’ve always wanted a small wedding, but this makes it extreme. We’ll have to see how it pans out when we send Save The Dates next week.

I’m almost at 1500 words – again – so I’m going to stop writing for your sanity and mine.

Talk soon. Even if I can’t invite all of my followers – I’m really glad I came back to share these experiences with you.