So, my handsome and genius brother is marrying his gorgeous fiancee in August. We are honored, that they have asked us to be a part of their special day! This does, however mean that I've been reminiscing, and thinking about our wedding.
Which brings me to my confession. I am a wedding freak. Dan has to remind me, whenever I talk to someone getting married, that unless they specifically asked for my opinion, I shouldn't be giving it. I would never want to marry anyone but Dan, but I would be happy to renew our vows... as many times as humanly possible.
I have entire weddings planned on pinterest, and I honestly LOVED planning our wedding! We had a limited budget, but I was determined to have an elegant and unique wedding. There is nothing that I would change, everything went off without a hitch, and we had the best time!
I learned a lot, and thought I would share my knowledge with you.
So, here are my 10 tips for having your own perfect, elegant, budget-conscious wedding:
1. Get a wedding planner (book- not person) - I found mine and Barnes and Noble. It's called "Simple Stunning Wedding Organizer". You can find it here. It became a life saver! I could put all my information in one place, and it even had pockets for things like business cards, fabric swatches, brochures, etc. It had pages and pages for invitees, with boxes to check concerning their RSVP, gift, thank you note... SO HELPFUL!!! It's a must!
2. Find out/figure out you budget - and STICK TO IT - This one was a big one. It sickens me, when I hear how much people spend on their weddings! Between my parents, my hugely generous uncle, and myself we had about $5500 - $6000. Considering the average wedding in America is over $20,000, that is a very small budget. But keep reading, to find out how to make it go as far as it can.
3. Have a long engagement - but nail down a date as soon as possible! Of course, this isn't possible for everyone. However, I found that being engaged for 2 years was a blessing. The reason? Sales. With that long to plan a wedding, I could track things as they went on sale, and buy them at their best price. Best example? My wedding dress. It was originally an $800 dollar dress at David's Bridal, which I watched go on sale, all the way to $99.99!!! What a steal! This is a really great thing to remember if your colors/themes revolve around a specific holiday, or a holiday color. For example, if you're incorporating pink, wait until the after-Valentine's Day sale to buy things like ribbon, candles, candies, paper, favor bags, etc. If you're having a spring wedding, if you're already engaged at least a year in advance, you can snatch up those seasonal sale items.
|My gorgeous dress!|
|I fell in love with the beaded back the minute I saw it!|
I also liked that it wasn't strapless, like all the other
styles you see around.
4. Be smart about flowers - Flowers tend to take up a huge chunk of your budget. So to keep things inexpensive, think seasonal, and local for your best prices. Another great option, is to buy the flowers whole-sale, and have someone who is creative, or knows a thing or two about arrangements, put them together. That's what we did! I wanted these specific calla lilies, called Diva Maria. I found a wholesaler, flowers.pacificcallas.com. I got ALL my flowers (all bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, pew decorations and centerpieces) for $500. Pacific Callas delivered my flowers a couple days before the wedding, and then my mom arranged them. Here's another quick idea concerning flowers; I just had callas as my pew decorations, and centerpieces (they're so elegant all on their own). So, I had someone take off the pew decorations, and run them over to the reception before everyone else got there. Got double use out of them! :)
|Our fabulous pew decorations.|
|My beautiful niece, and a great shot of my bouquet.|
|Another great shot of my flowers. :)|
5. DIY - Not everyone is crafty, and I totally get that. But there are a couple things you definitely shouldn't spend a whole lot of money on. One is invitations, and other paper products, such as programs. Michael's and other craft stores have boxed sets of everything you need to do print your own. THEN, if you use your coupons - even more savings!!! They always have 40% off one regular priced item ones. (Download the Hobby Lobby and Michael's apps. You can thank me later.) I also made my bridesmaids', mothers' and grandmothers' thank you gifts. I made them jewelry sets. You can see them in the picture of the bridesmaids' bouquet. If there's anything you're crafty at, put it to good use.
6. Choose what's most important to you - splurge there! - This also means cut back on things you don't feel are as important. We splurged on the food (Dan's most important), photography (my most important), Georgetown Cupcakes and the calla lilies. If you're smart about it though, even your "splurges" can be reduced. I already told you about the flowers. Well, as far as the cupcakes, we got married in D.C., so the cupcake thing worked out well. Their cupcakes are $35/dozen, we got ten dozen - so the cake was only $350! Other wedding cakes can cost $1000 or more. So, score! Also, a friend of mine is a photographer, so she just charged us $500, and the plane ticket to get there. I had miles saved up, and bought her ticket with that. Voila! :) So, be smart with where you spend your money. Things that weren't important - music. I know, I know, terrible! But it really wasn't. So, we had a playlist. No band, no DJ... saved a ton that way! Also, our families don't drink, so we didn't spend money on alcohol, which is also a generally large wedding cost that we avoided. We didn't rent a limo or car - my uncle has a really nice Infinity, and was gracious enough to drive us. So, spend where it matters, forget about what doesn't.
|Love this shot!|
|One of my favorites!|
|Our cupcake cake! (My cousin baked the top layer, |
and a friend built the stand)
7. Have your pictures taken before the ceremony - I love the idea of the groom not seeing the bride until she walks down the aisle. However, people really dislike long waits between ceremonies and receptions. So, when people get their pictures taken before the ceremony, it lets you and your guests go right to the reception. Also, if you have your pictures taken before the ceremony, you will look your best. All your makeup and hair will be fresh. Also, you can go to more places, and take your time. You won't feel as rushed as you would if you were doing it between the ceremony and reception. We went to the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, and even the actual Georgetown Cupcake shop!
8. EAT - make it your maid of honor and best man's job to get you and your new hubby plates of food. Then, actually sit down, eat, and THEN make the rounds. It'll help you stay calm, not jittery, and as much as you're spending on it, you want to at least try it.
9. Have a "Day of Coordinator" - ask an aunt, cousin or friend (not bridesmaid) you trust, to be your right hand on the big day. Go over your schedule, have them direct people to the reception, run pew decorations over to reception (as mentioned earlier), start playlists, make sure people get seated, and things start on time. Make sure it's someone who can make decisions, and whose decisions you trust. Mine were two dear friends, who happened to be sisters. One of them even did my makeup! They were so helpful, and I appreciated them more than I can say. Hopefully this goes without saying, but DO make sure you show your gratitude. I gave gift cards, and thank you notes.
10. Relax on your special day! - The more you have planned ahead, the less you'll be worried about it on the actual day! I wasn't at ALL stressed, because I figured, if hadn't been planned yet, and didn't go the way I wanted, no amount of planning would've helped. At the end of the day, if you're marrying the man of your dreams, and your family and loved ones are around you, that's all that really matters!
|You may kiss your wife!|
So, basically plan ahead, be a savvy spender, and enjoy your day!
Please, share any tips or ideas, of what made your wedding day (or planning) perfect!