Gratitude for Beginners · How to's · The Street · Weddings & Receptions

Your Wedding Day Time Capsule Awaits

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” -Dr. Suess

We all know Dr. Suess is right, we just don’t necessarily act on this knowing, especially when in the midst of wedding planning.  And while beautiful wedding day photos and a professionally edited video are wonderful to look back on too, they do not re-connect us emotionally in the same way as a personal message tucked inside a wedding day time capsule does.

I’ve collected a few ideas to help you incorporate some type of time capsule into your wedding day.  Confession, we did not do this on our wedding day – not because we decided against it, but because we were not aware of it.  [And I absolutely am sufficiently cornball/romantic to have included this.] So heads-up, David. I am thinking of including some version of this into our lives now – almost 2 years post wedding day.

There are two ways couples usually incorporate the time capsule idea into their wedding day:  “Day of” ceremony time capsule or a Guestbook time capsule.

“Day of” Time Capsule

Supplies:  A box & paper.

Really, the supplies required do not create too high a bar, even for those of us who are DIY-averse or flat-out-of-time.  We have some options on Taylor Street for boxes & stationery that will not only add symbolic significance to the occasion, but also create a true wedding day keepsake.  A shoebox with blank paper or note cards, however, will do just fine.

Boxes:  Both of these keepsake boxes could first be used for your wedding reception, so they would not only be pulling double duty, they would have the added significance of having been a part of your wedding day itself.


Tin Box with Blackboard Panel Display


Vintage Inspired Wood Case with Hinged Lid

Paper:  There are many awesome stationery alternatives available for you to consider.  We have a few for that would work well, like these:

Dandelion Wishes Note Card
Fleur De Lis Note Card

The directions are straightforward. You each write a love letter to your soon-to-be spouse, expressing your feelings on this day — your wedding day — what you are most excited about, your hopes, what is most important to you about this day, and why & when you fell in love with him/her. You know, the emotional kind of “stuff”.

[And this idea is really awesome for a blended family ceremony – including your children in on the time capsule by adding their own notes makes it even more memorable.  And, it creates a potential family tradition with the opening of the time capsule and its periodic updating.]



Guestbook time capsule

This version has you asking guests to write you a note on a postcard you provide and drop it in your “time capsule” to be opened on your 1st anniversary.  This invites your guests to participate in a way that a guest book signature does not.  Here are a couple of ideas for collecting your postcards.

Acrylic Box Card Holder




Wine Barrel Card Holder


Kick it up a notch:  So a year has passed and you’ve opened up your time capsule on your one year anniversary.  You’ve read your letters over a glass of wine and eaten what remains of your wedding cake.  So now what?! Here are a few ideas for what to add for “the next time” — regardless of what time capsule option you decided on — for your 5 year anniversary, 10 year, … or whatever year you agree to re-open it.

  1. Take a picture of the two of you with the time capsule the day you open it up & include it for the next time;
  2. Include that day’s front page from your local paper or print-out from your favorite news source;
  3. Write about:
    1. The hardest moments you faced as a couple your first year;
    2. Your favorite memory of year one;
    3. A goal or prediction for the next time you open your time capsule;
  4. Write another personal note to each other.

You get the idea, there are lots of things you could include.  Just don’t make this list so long that it gets tedious.

Close it up, store it somewhere safe.  Done.

This may become a ritual that you continue the rest of your lives or it may be something you enjoy once and set aside. Regardless, your notes to each other or notes from your friends & family will become something you will be able to look back on, reflect & reminisce when you do happen upon it – especially after it has gathered dust for years.  Your children may also enjoy the opportunity to glimpse a bit more about you as well, in your own writing and in your own words … “when you were young”.

Life goes by pretty fast and if you are like me, unless we force some pauses along the way to reflect and reconnect, we miss some awesome & inspiring moments, unique opportunities to really connect with each other.

Your time capsule may help you both re-connect, to a younger you and to each other.  Sweet.


DIY · Tablescape · The Street · Weddings & Receptions

Our 5 Favorite Wedding Favor Jars

Though it may seem there exists an endless list of possibilities, the truth is that many of the jars pitched as wedding favor containers are too small, poorly made, or too impractical to be of much use.  We’ve eliminated those that didn’t measure up in three important categories and then selected our favorites.  What makes these favor jars best of class?  These jars offer a combination of these characteristics…

1.  They are a good value for the price.
2.  They are versatile – they can be adapted to differing wedding styles AND can be used after the wedding, at home everyday or for other celebrations…like a baby shower!
3.  They are captivating.  They are a detail your guests will notice.

I also listed a couple jars that just did not measure up at the end of this article, along with a brief explanation.  Take a look.


Miniature Glass Bell Jar | Taylor Street Favors

Our favorite thing about these jars is how little you need to do to make these shine.  They are really interesting just to look at, especially massed together, and make anything inside of them look better — cookies, cupcakes, small plants – anything!  They are not so good when it comes to storage — the glass lid just sits on top and they are not very large.  You’re not going to be storing last night’s dinner leftovers in one of these.  Individually, these may not be as useful as when you have 6, 8 or a dozen that you could use at a dinner party.  They are a reasonable size at 3″ X 3″ x 4″ high and are well made.



Mini Cookie Jars | Taylor Street Favors

These jars are a good value, sturdy & definitely something your guests will easily be able to find uses for at home.  Only consideration – they are small.  Note the 3.75″ X 2.75″ dimension.  Depending on what you are putting inside of these, their size could be an advantage…less needed to fill these jars!


Gold Foil Confetti Mini Glass Favor Jar

These jars are AWESOME.  They look better in person than even the image.  They have a heavy [‘expensive’] weight to them and the lid fit is nice and snug.  They are sleek and modern, a nice alternative to many of the other options available.  Downside – they are a bit pricey.


Glass Milk Bottles with Cork Stopper

These continue to be a very popular jar, with good reason.  They are versatile, they are really cute with a truly vintage vibe to them, and they are about the least expensive glass favor jar we carry.  Their downside is that they do not seal, so these are not appropriate for liquids and you would not want to use these in situations where they are likely to tip over.  They are sturdy too — we’ve knocked a few of these off our table onto a carpeted floor while taking photos — did not break.


Square Glass Favor Jar – Gatsby Collection | Taylor Street Favors

We love their shape and vintage feel.  We also love the unusual and vibrant colors that these come in, though that does make it impossible to clearly see what is inside if that is important.  [These are the jars in our lead image] They have the same cork top issue as the milk bottle – the cork stays put, but it’s not going to keep liquids in or prevent spills of any sort should these tip.

And TWO that didn’t make the cut:

DIY Blank Glass Milk Bottles

Glass Milk Bottle with Screw-on Lid | Taylor Street Favors

These milk bottles absolutely get the job done, and are a great choice for safely storing liquids or anything you don’t want to accidentally spill.  They are reasonably priced, and do allow for some creative personalization options with labels and ribbon or twine.  They are a bit too functional.  Especially with the lid off and the threaded finish showing, these may be too commercial for some people.  We’ve looked around for something other than the plain white metal caps as well, and have not found anything much better (other than black).

Miniature Mason Jars

Miniature Mason Jars | Taylor Street Favors

The mason jar wave crested a few years back, but they remain popular today, particularly when creating a casual & comfortable feel for an event.  These have the same screw-off lid issue as the milk bottles above – the threaded glass top and simple design give these a mass produced feel.  Our main issue with these is the size, especially when used for drinks with the cut-out lids.  These are small, holding barely 8 oz.  Further, with the flower cut lid added they also are no longer spill proof either.  They are a better choice as favor jars for small colorful candies, or mini-terrariums.  Personalization is very limited as well – really limited to the size and type of label you use.

There you have it, a short, straightforward, and we hope, helpful wedding favor jar summary.  Let us know what you’ve found that made an impression.  We are always on the look-out for new and interesting products.  Send us a picture too!



The Street · Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

SURVEY SAYS … What Your Wedding Guests Care About MOST, a couple of things they say they DON’T … & three things to AVOID

Featured Image: Kellie Pickler, Steve Harvey & Lance Bass on Celebrity Family Feud

With 2018 wedding planning here, it is worth spending a moment considering WeddingWire’s 2017 survey results about what wedding guests consider most and least important.  It is your wedding, and you (and maybe your parents and future in-laws) are paying an average of over $35,000 for your *Best. Day. Ever.*, not your guests, so you might be tempted to ignore these findings.  I totally understand, but you want friends and family to have had a good time and leave feeling glad they made the effort to attend.  So while this one survey should not determine your every decision, I think it is helpful information when thinking about how to allocate your wedding budget …  and maybe your guest list!

The good news is that 68% of guests surveyed rank celebrating with the couple as what matters most about your wedding, followed closely by the opportunity to catch up with family & friends, with 63% checking that box.

HOWEVER…when asked about what your guest is paying the most attention to, the top attention getter is  — DECOR — the setting, furnishings, attire, colors & how these all work together.  Your guests are appreciating the aesthetic your wedding and reception choices create.

Photo:  Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Aesthetic is that hard-to-define, but you-know-it-when-you-see-it vibe you feel when an event is cohesive, coordinated and pulled-off in a beautiful and tasteful manner.  Aesthetic is a sincere and focused expression of your personal style, completed with surprising details and by combining various components to create a unified whole.  And maybe most important, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how you spend it.  Style comes through best with a light touch, IT’s A PARTY after all, and it needs to be enjoyed and able to be messed-up a bit.


Taylor Street is excited to report what landed at the bottom of the list in terms of guest importance – escort cards.  We happily report this because wedding favors are usually toward the bottom of the list as well, so it is with relief and some delight that we report this result. WeddingWire’s survey also reports guests found toiletry amenities as unimportant.  I’ve honestly got nothing more to say about that finding, however…I do have a few comments on favors.

David and I also absolutely understand that wedding favors naturally are not going to rank high on a list that includes blockbusters like food, drink and dance.  It also is well known that favor shopping is left to the very end of most wedding planning — which kind of guarantees a rushed, less-than-optimal outcome with a budget that’s already maxed out.

So while trying to not sound too defensive, we suggest that wedding favors can not only be something your guests could appreciate, they absolutely contribute to your wedding’s aesthetic and help to create an overall impression that guests will carry with them (literally!) back home.

We humbly observe that wedding favors are [way] down the the priority list because they are not a concern of any of the big-ticket vendors – venue, caterer, photographer/videographer, florist.  The wedding planner is the only wedding professional who may consider favors important enough to discuss with you, and she or he is also usually already trying to stretch a budget to cover a very long priority list.

Capiz Shell Gold Trimmed Lotus Candle Holder | Taylor Street Favors

Enough on favors — if you want great favors that your guests will love, we know they exist.  If you want some ideas, check us out on instagram, our WeddingWire or the knot storefronts, or send us an email letting us know your aesthetic, your budget, your guest count, and your wedding date, and we’ll get busy.


Guests ranked what bothered them most at weddings as: (1) drunk guests; (2) not knowing anyone & feeling alone; and (3) bad music.

So, might this WeddingWire survey have any impact on you?  Maybe those friends you were going to send a stag invite to (so you could manage head count) will now receive “+1’s”, or maybe you’ll rethink the DIY DJ mix tape decision you already were feeling unsure about.  Maybe you’ll even carve out some $$$ for wedding favors!

Next post – Choose your aesthetic in 5 [mostly easy] steps.  Plan on!

Gratitude for Beginners · holidays · The Street

All American Family

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Tired of the SEO-optimized click-bait titles and bored by breathless Black Friday pre-sale announcements?

Me too. 

Add in 24/7 race-to-the-bottom political news and it’s tempting to just give-in to the sky-is-falling-so-might-as-well-get-used-to-it voice in my head and trudge silently toward December.  Tempting, but that’s an excuse to not do this Thanksgiving post I’ve committed to.  And I absolutely believe in Yoda’s “do or do not, there is no try” attitude-is-everything philosophy.  So I write.  My topic — giving thanks this Thanksgiving.

I am giving thanks to family – my family.

This year, Thanksgiving itself will be a very small gathering.  The reasons are many.  The larger local family is adjusting to a new marriage and the restructuring this brings.  With new additions to guest lists and newlywed hosts at the helm, we could sense the anxiety and ambivalence of having a really large group for dinner and graciously excused ourselves.

Our parents are also not joining us this year. My father’s worsening dementia makes it difficult for him to enjoy gatherings.  The disease makes it increasingly hard for him to have a conversation, and that plus the noise and unfamiliar surroundings causes him to withdraw. I will instead have a Thanksgiving lunch with him at his facility.  David’s mom is unable to travel by air, is unable to drive herself here, and is too far away for us to drive her to us and back.  FaceTime will have to do.

So it will be David and me, our son and one other adult, someone who consistently and passionately works (and it can be work) to remain involved in our 12 year old’s life.  He will be with us for a few days over Thanksgiving, and we are so glad that he will be here.  He is family.

He is as family as it gets in my world.  He continues to choose by his actions to be involved, to listen, to make spending time with us a priority.  He wants to.  Not many adults show that dedication and loyalty.

What defines your family?

David’s and my family is not defined by blood, it is defined by commitment.  Our family is defined by trust and support.  We care about, care for and look out for each other.

Big picture — families, however they form, are a reflection of the effort its members put into maintaining and encouraging them.  Their spirit and relevance are a direct result of a concerted effort.  Most importantly, families are worth celebrating, especially those families that do not fit neatly into a traditional definition, are seldom acknowledged, and sometimes marginalized.  These diverse & modern families are American families too.

Who will your family include this Thanksgiving? Will there be new members, whether because of relationship or circumstance changes?  Or, are you about to “be that newbie” in someone else’s family? Either way, let’s all plan to not just try, but to do — and take one definite action step that will demonstrate the importance of your family to you and how glad you are to be a part of your family this year.  Someday, they might be all the family you’ve got — and, as it turns out, all the family you’ll need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gifts · The Street

Gift Giving – 5 Simple Rules for a Sane & Successful Shopping Season

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

It is human nature — the more we value the person we are shopping for, the more we strive to find THAT one-in-a-million gift that will completely & effortlessly reflect the depth of our feelings about our relationship and be EXACTLY what he or she wants.

Warning, Will Robinson.

You know and I know that thinking this way is, at best, unhelpful & at worst, a sure path to frustration and spending (way) more than you can afford.  So why do we do this?  There is a psychology to gift giving — and there is research that demonstrates the biggest effect from giving a gift may be on ourselves — our self-perception as a result of the gift we give.  Self-perception could be a pretty powerful motivator when just one person is involved, but multiplied by a long gift list full of cherished friends and family and it is not surprising that we often lose control.

Here are 5 rules that I know, but sometimes forget to apply, when it comes to holiday shopping.   These help to keep me grounded and thoughtful as I go about checking off my Christmas gift giving list.


1. Money does not buy love.     You can be passionate about gift giving and still not blow your budget.  Giving gifts that are practical, but maybe a bit less desirable to give as gifts, is GOOD!  Handmade gifts are awesome, if you dedicate the time and materials needed to truly deliver.  But – if you haven’t yet done what you are planning to do for a DIY gift – do a practice run to make sure you have all the supplies you need and that the end result is what you envisioned.  As with all gifts — keep the recipient in mind — ‘useful’, ‘edible’ or ‘holiday keepsake’ are all great DIY categories.  And lastly – do not turn gift spending into a competitive sport – do not attempt to match spend.  Rarely turns out well, builds resentment, and just not a good headspace to be in.

Capiz Shell Candle Holder | Taylor Street Favors

2.  If they asked for it, that probably means they would like it.     There are studies that demonstrate recipients actually appreciate gifts they specifically asked for more than gifts chosen by the gift giver. (!!) Moreover, when recipients then rated the giver of the requested gift, they rated them as more thoughtful and personal than the person who gave the unrequested gift.  Long story short here — don’t guess — ask for a list.  And if you are worried that asking for a gift list may seem tacky, or obligate the person you’re asking to then give you a gift, good points!  Plan B:  going with a gift that tracks an interest (yoga) or theme (cooking, gardening) or a gift certificate (massage, bookstore, coffeeshop) could be a great alternative.

3.  Men and women not only shop differently, but truly think differently about gifts.     Gender factors into gift giving & receiving.  While a generalization, men tend to skew more pragmatic/functional & women skew in a more sentimental gift direction.  I am not saying this to let anyone “off the hook” for a poor gift choice.  No way.  I say this so that you and I can compensate for any chromosomal tendency we might have – not play to it.  So while gift cards and envelopes full of cash have their place, don’t assume that because you would like to receive your gift that everyone else would appreciate receiving it as well.

Photo by To a Heftier on Unsplash

4.  ‘Experience gifts’ are often more appreciated.  A gift of time – sharing a meal & a movie together, breakfast in bed, a day spent shopping, hiking, or museum hopping are all amazing gifts.  These gifts allow you to feel closer by spending more time together and allow you to tailor your gift to the specific interests of the person receiving it – increasing the emotional value to you both.

Personalized Turkish Towels | Taylor Street Favors

5.  It is okay to give the same gift to different people.  Placing a premium on “uniqueness” over “appropriateness” is the trap not to fall into here.  It’s okay to buy the same gift for different people if you believe each person would enjoy receiving it.   It’s efficient too!  Might need to consider if the recipients would be opening your gifts to them at the same event, but really — if I like a gift enough for more than one person, or if two people on my list have asked for the same gift, why not!

Choosing gifts based on the recipients perspective is the best way to approach your gift shopping.  Gift giving, when done with intention and thoughtfulness, can make relationships stronger, regardless of money spent.

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash
Gifts · The Street

Inspiration through Fermentation

The holiday season swings into full gear.  Christmas and Hanukkah gift shopping looms.  I drink more wine.  Which leads me to today’s article on 5 great gift ideas for wine (& cheese) lovers.


The stem versus stemless dilemma need not confuse.  [And for those of you who, like me, enjoy wading deeply into details few appreciate – know this:  stemless wine glasses actually have neither a stem nor a base & are more accurately referred to as tumblers.]   Stems are there so you do not hold the bowl, thereby warming the wine beyond its optimal drinking temperature. Stemless wine glasses have become synonymous with modern & casual, while stemmed glasses suggest, to some, a more formal and traditional affair.  Taylor Street offers both.  And rather than a colorful imprint that will not wear well over numerous cleanings, we suggest an etched personalization, with a minimal design that is beautifully etched.  Two of our most popular wine glasses:

Stemless, Etched
Bordeaux Decanter Gift Set by Viski


Too many wine glasses already? What about coasters.  Coasters can be cool.  These coasters are keepers, handmade hammered copper backed with black velvet.

Hammered Copper Coasters


For those on your list who love books and would enjoy learning as much as possible about wine from one of today’s most knowledgeable and entertaining experts, The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is the book for you.  Spoil your loved one with the hardcover edition at $22.

The Wine Bible, available on


If you believe, as I do, that wine tastes better when shared with friends,  then why not gift a cheeseboard to linger longer?   Our bamboo board has a slate strip running through it, which makes it easy to add a fun & personal chalk note to guests with each use.

Personalized Bamboo & Slate Cheese Board


There you are.  Five gifts for the wine (& cheese) lover on your guest list.

And remember — the best wines are the ones we drink with friends.

Gifts · The Street · Weddings & Receptions

Gifts for the Newly Engaged

Engagement photo provided by Nadine Cheetah of Cheetah Photography

Most of us can find an ‘okay’ gift in a heartbeat, but finding just the right gift for a newly engaged dear friend — or friends — is hard.  Fold in equal parts of what-is-customary, what-is-wanted, what-is-so-NOT-me and what-is-affordable, add a lack of available time to shop into the mix, and there – you and a white elephant might meet.  Fear not, as Taylor Street is not just a wedding favors store.  We have awesome gifts for the newly engaged — for both guys and gals (!) — and couples too.

But first, be aware of these rules of the road.  There are different gifting moments, with different generally accepted gifts for each — beginning with the engagement announcement (engagement gift), then the bridal shower / bro-bath gift, and lastly the bachelorette / bachelor party gift.

Engagement Gifts

I try to celebrate a friend’s engagement with an out-to-lunch treat, or a heartfelt card, like this one…

White Rose Love Is Love Card And Gift Box

But, if there is an engagement party, do you “have to” bring a gift you ask?  No, you don’t have to, but if your friend’s parents have put on a fairly wiz-bang catered event for the about-to-be-married, you absolutely will see other guests bringing gifts…so, yes, you ought to.  These gift suggestions range from $35 to $55.  Particularly if you know both of the newly engaged, think of gifts that a couple can enjoy together.  It does not need to be “wedding-y”.

Etched Whiskey Label Crystal Tumblers
Stoneware Sake Set by Viski
Personalized Red Picnic Cooler Set



Hammered Metal Ice Bucket



Bridal Shower / Bro-Bath Gifts

This is most definitely a party/gifting event, and is usually planned far enough in advance that the wedding registry is already available – potentially creating a dilemma – do you do your gifting based on the registry or gift “free-style”?  If you keep the registry gift costs at the lower end, I like to not only buy something from the couple’s list, but then give a smaller, personal item too, particularly if I have not yet celebrated the engagement with a gift early on.  These gifts ideas range from $15 to $150.

Stacked Initials with Date Leather Travel Diary
Script Monogram Journal
Personalized Vertical Bar Necklace
Thomas Bracelet: Wood With Gold Skull
Personalized Gold Edged Ring Dish

Bachelorette / Bachelor Party Gifts

As the last “blow-out” event of a bride or groom’s single days, the emphasis here is on fun and friends.  Your gifts ought to reflect this. Depending on the cost sharing arrangement for this last party, your gift may have already been given – helping to pay for the event itself – a Las Vegas weekend can get pricey.  If a gift is in order, gifts related to the honeymoon or travel are always welcome.  These gifts can be priced all-over-the-place, but the ones I’ve noted range from $20 to $55.

Monogram Trucker Hat
Personalized Moroccan Hanging Cosmetic Bag
Personalized Turkish Cotton Robe
Dalmatian Dot Tote – Black on White
Personalized Black Travel Dopp Kit
Personalized Canvas & Leather Messenger Bag
The Force Awakens 3 Pair Socks Gift Set
Personalized Men’s Black Travel Tie Case
Canvas Weekend Bag with Pink Stripe

There you have it – our selection of great quality gifts that are as nice to give as they are to receive.  Party on and get gifting.


Life Planning · The Street

Your FIRST MONEY meeting


This is advice “for the rest of your life” – ah yes…that part…the part after your wedding.  And as important as your wedding is (or was), this topic is so much more critical to your long term happiness.  I promise, stick with me through my “Money Meetings” blog posts and you will:

  • create a basic money management system
  • create & implement a realistic budget, and
  • set some longer term goals along with a plan to fund them.

Most of what’s written for recently engaged and newlywed couples is so generic and overly-simplified that you’ll forget about it the moment you are done reading.  Not mine – I suggest specific action steps to get you started. And, though obviously not the only way to approach these financial challenges, I provide what I believe to be “a good way”, and a proven way.  Also, everyone’s personal situation is unique, and your specifics are obviously not a part of this “one-way” communication. So, take what you need, modify if you want, but DO IT.

As a Registered Life Planner, I’ve had an opportunity to work with many couples entering, modifying and exiting relationships of varying types – and never has a person said that the time spent discussing shared and individual goals, finances and budgets was not time well spent.

STEP ONE:  Please forward this or print it out and hand it to your significant other as a way of introducing the meeting and making sure you both start with a shared understanding.  You must both be open to the idea of discussing your financial future.  If you can not agree to discuss, I suggest hiring a counselor / CFP / Registered Life Planner to provide guidance to get you started.

And no, it is not “too late” if you have been living together for awhile already, or if you married one or more years ago and are now just getting around to this.  Now is always a good time. 

STEP TWO:   Agree on a specific day/time/location to discuss your finances for one hour.

This can be over a glass (bottle) of wine, coffee, tea — probably on a weekend, with privacy, and few distractions [cell phones and pets are uninvited].  Planning to discuss  while laying in bed just before going to sleep is bad.  Why an hour?  Having a specific amount of time will keep the meeting from creating too much anxiety and will, hopefully, keep you more-or-less on task.

STEP THREE:  You are going to write some stuff down — you need a dedicated resource to document these meetings.  Flip a coin for who takes notes first [there are 6 meetings, so you’ll get equal turns].  You are writing down, at a minimum:  date & time of meeting, agreements reached, commitments made (to each other and to yourselves), unanswered questions to research, to-do’s for next meeting & date and time of next meeting.  Yes, this is old school – I am requesting a college ruled, bound binder, not your phone’s note taking app.  No need to go get a “budget binder” or some overly-structured pre-formatted “system”.  You can do that later if you decide together that you want one.

The goal of meeting #1:  Agree on the framework you will use to manage your finances as a couple for the next year.  


Why a year?  First, the topic of money may be emotionally charged for one or the both of you, and agreeing on an open ended commitment to an arrangement that may be both new, and a bit unnerving, makes it less likely you will reach agreement.  Keeping the door open to change by placing a one-year deadline on this will help.  And it is a good pattern to begin now regardless — by that I mean having regularly scheduled times to discuss & modify family “stuff” like money, budgets & long term goals that otherwise often don’t ever get discussed.  [Annual financial reviews are a great idea, and regular mini-meetings can help to course-correct before issues get too big, but I will address in meeting 6.]

I also am providing three basic “framework” options from which you will choose (though there are many variations that could work just fine):

Option A.  “Individual Account Option”  You each maintain separate checking/savings accounts into which paychecks are deposited.  You each fund a “joint account” with a specific amount on a recurring basis to pay “joint” expenses, paying individual expenses from your individual accounts

Option B.  “Joint Account Option”  You create joint checking & savings accounts into which all paychecks are deposited.  All expenses are paid from these accounts.

Option C.  “Hybrid Account Option”  You create joint checking & savings accounts into which all paychecks are deposited.  Joint expenses are paid from this account, as well as individual “allowances” you each receive from which you pay individual expenses and personal expenditures of your choosing.

Now notice – you are not discussing individual expense items right now – that’s a future meeting.  Your goal is to agree on and create just the framework that you both will use, for the next year, for transactingmonitoring and reviewing family income and expenses.

Now that you know the primary goal of this first meeting, here are important details:

Start your meeting by expressing to each other:

1.  your biggest fears about money;

2.  your aspirations for you as a couple regarding financial goals – 5 to 10 years out;

3.  what you believe you do well when it comes to managing money;

4.  what is the first weakness/past mistake that comes to mind when it comes to money and budgets.

This may or may not provide some previously unknown information, but it is intended to help you focus your thoughts and connect with each other.  There is no one “in charge” of this process – it is a shared responsibility at this point.  Listen with an intent to understand, not to reply, and no interrupting.

Then outline together what is happening with your cash now right now.  Just a quick summary of what happens currently with the money coming into the “family unit” [paychecks] & how bills are paid — both bills that may have both of your names on them as well as bills that have only one name on them — ALL bills. This is to make sure you both have the same mental picture of the “flow of things”.  Discuss “the why” of this arrangement, and your individual thoughts on how it is working and what could be done to improve this. This might provide some insight into why you each prefer one of the three checking account options over the other two, and may help create a shared vision as a couple.

Now you may (happily) find that you can easily agree on option A, B, or C, but often there will be some disagreement, particularly if talking about money is new to one or both of you or if there is a large difference in individual incomes and/or expenses (student loans, health related expenses, extended family obligations).

NOTE:  If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable during this — or any — money meeting:  Immediately announce that you are feeling this way & remind each other that neither of you [ and none of us – N O N E ! ]  is without issues when it comes to money.  {see points #1 & 4 above} Whether difficult or not, it is beyond important to know each other’s financial situation and pain-points when it comes to money.  Just get your “stuff” on the table – knowing it will be received with kindness and handled with care.


That is it for meeting #1!  Next up – figuring out a budget.  Don’t let this meeting end without making sure you’ve agreed on what needs to be done next — your personal action steps.  New accounts need to be opened? Names added to existing ones? New checks ordered/debit cards requested (or destroyed!).  What information do you each need to bring to the next [budget] meeting?  And just when is the next meeting anyway?  And since it is all written down in your Money Meetings Binder, you both know just where to look if you forget… .

And remember – the goal of marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.

Questions or comments, please send them to me at


How to's · The Street · Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

3 Tips for selecting favors your guests will take home.

Classic Baby Blue Gumball Dispenser | Taylor Street Favors

There are way too many party favors.  [We feel your pain every day]. Determining good value for the money is difficult, and even some of the better known industry names have wide variances in the quality of their products (we will not mention names).  And while some couples choose to go DIY, skill levels vary (!) and not everyone has the time or desire.

If you don’t want to make your wedding favors, we at Taylor Street want you know it is absolutely possible for you to purchase interesting or fun, well made, wedding favors.

Here are 3 tips to help make your favor selection process a success.

Tip #1:  Ask yourself the right question

Don’t start your favor search with the question: What gift would my guests be so impressed with / like enough to want to take home?

The mindset behind this question — that you must thrill your guests — is guaranteed to frustrate your efforts because:

1. you will never please everyone, and

2. you are allowing your decision to be dictated by guest preferences you can not influence and can not possibly guess correctly.

Better question:  What small gift/memento would I enjoy giving to my guests — a gift to thank them for coming that might remind them of my wedding day or make them laugh, and that I can afford — without stressing me/us out more than we already are?

Or turn it around — what small gift would I enjoy receiving if I were attending my own wedding?


Tip #2:  Incorporate your Theme…

Since most guest favors are placed on individual tables or displayed on a reception table, incorporating your theme into the favor can help you narrow your focus.   One of the simplest, and often more successful, ways to to do this is with color, and/or texture.  Every wedding or celebration has one or a few predominant recurring colors or textures.  Use something you’ve already decided on as your inspiration, and you will have streamlined your decision making process.

Tip #3:  …But don’t replicate your entire theme.

Take elements from your theme and deconstruct them.  Do not recreate your entire event theme in miniature with your favor, but rather, take just one part of it.  If your wedding reception theme is the Great Gatsby roaring twenties – repeat a deco print or black and gold color combination with your favor or tag.

Gatsby Matte White Chair Favor Box | Taylor Street Favors

…and a warning about Pinterest. It is invaluable, but it can overwhelm — too many ideas will have you second guessing yourself in no time.  Your objective is not to make your gift or favor “pin” worthy.  When you go to Pinterest – and you know you will – first set a goal and a time limit.  Get in, get out.

Your favor lets your guests know how much you appreciate them making time to celebrate with you.  It does not have to be a lasting souvenir, and it does not have to be handmade to be appreciated.  Keep it sincere, affordable – and have some fun.

Wedding Planning Essentials

What’s In (and What’s Out) when it comes to Working with Wedding Professionals


David and I do not believe that you need to have any particular thing / ritual / color or song for your wedding.  We do believe that whatever you do decide to include and however you decide to express yourselves through your wedding and reception, you ought to be able to do it with class, with style, with confidence and within budget!  Your wedding day ought to be FUN!  Everyone you hire should be focused on making your wedding day uniquely yours & the best day it can be.

I get upset when I come across wedding industry pros who willingly take advantage of a newly engaged couple’s lack of experience in planning a wedding to push their own agenda. A recent article written for a well-known publication provided wedding style comments from various wedding professionals, dismissing some wedding trends and elevating others.  It pushed me to think about how we each can identify & hire passionate, competent, and trustworthy wedding pros.  And in the spirit of the article that drove my motivation to write this, I’ve used their same “what’s out” and “what’s in” approach.

What’s OUT:   Wedding professionals who sermonize about “tired” trends — to be swept away with last year’s brides and grooms — in order to make way for a fresh crop of this year’s recruits who arrive flush with cash.  These pros take advantage of a couple’s inexperience and some insecurity, and sell “the latest trends” because “on-trend” drives compliments and new business – for them.

What’s IN:  Wedding professionals who listen to their clients, provide guidance and advice without preaching, and believe that earning their client’s trust by putting the couple’s interest & vision first is their priority.  These pros are both confident and modest.

What does “a trending wedding professional” look like in practice?  Here’s my list of the top 10 characteristics in trending wedding pros you absolutely will love working with…

TOP 10 Wedding Pro Characteristics

10.  Pros are careful to not take more clients than they can serve confidently, providing their highest level of service to every couple;

9.  Pros NEVER assume they know “what is best” for a particular couple – they listen more than they talk;

8.  Pros treat all couples, gay and straight, with equal respect — and back up “their talk” with gender neutral sales materials and contracts;

7.  Pros do not gossip;

6.  Pros are happy to share their success;

5.  Pros never allow anyone to feel as though they just asked a stupid question;

4.  Pros have no fear of having you shop around;

3.  Pros sometimes say no, knowing that they are not the best fit for every couple;

2.  Pros admit that sometimes they don’t have all the answers, but will always go find the answer if they don’t know.  Eagerness to continue learning is key;

1.  Pros still have A BLAST doing what they are doing – and it shows.

That’s how you’ll spot a real wedding professional.