First of all: this is the veil I wore for my wedding. I adore it, and I cannot wait to show you how the entire ensemble went together… but I have to wait for wedding pictures to share it all. So, there’s a tidbit for you. 😉
Someone suggested the other day that I do a wedding-planning tips post, and since I’m a huge fan of staying on budget and not overspending on things, it sounded like a fun idea to me. So, for all of you brides-to-be who are overwhelmed by the cost of weddings, or who are on a very tight budget: here are the things I learned and the sources I used to stay on budget and put together the wedding of my dreams.
1. The first and most important thing, obviously, is to know your budget. Don’t feel restricted if you have a small budget! Mine was $2,000, and I was able to have everything I wanted and still stay within the budget.
2. Once you know your budget, write out an estimate of what you think you can spend on what. Make this list from most important to least important– my top three were dress, photographer, and lanterns– so that if you get down to the last pennies and you can’t afford the last items on your list, it might not really matter. Plus, you’ll have a little guideline that will help you when you need to select things. Because if you have no price point for a bridal consultant, she won’t have a cutoff and you might spend hours more than intended trying to find the perfect dress.
3. When dress shopping, you MUST tell your bridal consultant what you can spend, and also be very, very vocal about what you like and dislike. I was reticent to tell my bridal consultant that I really hated the mermaid-style gowns she kept bringing me (instead, I vaguely said “I would like it better if it wasn’t so fitted” until she brought me a gown that was so fitted it didn’t even slide over my hips (not good if you’re self-conscious about your curves!), and I finally said “Do you have anything that’s really fluffy and tulle-y, just to be different?”). Just because you have a small budget (seriously, I could only spend AT MOST $500 on my wedding dress) doesn’t mean you can’t have the dress you’ve always wanted. My entire wedding attire, which was all pitch-perfect, cost me just under $500, and that included jewelry, shoes, tights, the dress, the veil, undergarments, and a shawl for later.
So don’t be afraid to get thrifty and stick to your budget!
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for things! I asked several people to either give me discounted prices as a wedding gift, or to do things for free, and everyone responded so graciously and willingly to work with my budget. Then again, I also have a very talented family and extremely gifted pack of friends, so it might be harder for some of you to find people to do things for you than it was for me. But don’t be afraid to ask, because everyone responded very positively when I told them honestly that I was on a budget and couldn’t afford everything full-price.
5. Don’t feel pressured to feed everyone a full meal. We had our wedding at 2pm, and it was dessert-only because we definitely could not afford to cater a full meal. Instead, we had homemade cakes in jars, pies, cookies, butter mints, and milk tarts, as well as candy canes, chocolate kisses, and pirouette cookies. And trust me: people LOVE dessert. The cake is what everyone looks forward to anyway.
6. Along with that note, make things yourself! But don’t stress if you have to buy something or something never gets made. My family and I made almost all of the desserts at the wedding, and my very talented aunt made us our cake to cut. I found two owl ornaments for $3 at Michael’s, and turned them into cake toppers. The majority of the flowers used in decoration were picked during the summer and dried, and the rest of the flowers for my and my maid-of-honor’s bouquets came from Costco and Albertson’s. And, with the help of a lovely friend, they turned out like this:
All those white flowers? Free. The baby’s breath and greenery? 3.99 from Albertson’s. The roses? $14.99 from Costco, and we used the extra petals as fresh rose petals for my flowergirl’s petal basket.
Also, if you’re getting married at a church, check out their stock before you buy anything; our church had tulle, vases, pins, baskets, and aisle runners, which saved us that bundle of money.
7. Utilize wedding websites for checklists and a free wedding blog/thing, and don’t forget online shopping. I absolutely love The Knot; along with a great list you can check off as you go, they also have a wedding shop where I purchased chocolate kisses with personalized wrappers for a great deal (they were on sale, and they have frequent sales!), an etched cake-server and knife set, personalized napkins, and bubbles. They were very quick with shipping; nothing we ordered took longer than 2 weeks to get. Luna Bazaar has paper lanterns for unbeatable prices, (we got around 100 lanterns for under $100). And, of course, I got the most adorable tights ever from Modcloth for bridal attire.
8. Have a wedding co-ordinator, even if it’s just a friend or family member telling people what to do! My sister-in-law was very excited to help us out in that area, and it was such a relief to have someone in charge of queuing people down the aisle, making sure tables were in place, and looking after all the little details I didn’t have time for.
9. Finally… don’t stress it. Any location can be made special with your own personal touches, and I love what one of my dear friends said about her wedding planning– if it’s too stressful, drop it. You don’t need something that will make you pull your hair out, because in the end the most important thing is not feeding guests or having every flower in place or wearing the perfect dress.
The most important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life, and you are lucky enough to have found someone who adores you and wants to spend the rest of their life with you.
And if you have that, your wedding will be perfect, no matter what.
I hope those tips help you as you plan your wedding; don’t be afraid to ask me more questions about budget or prices or whatever you want! I would love to help you make your day as special as possible.
What advice would those of you that are married give a bride?