Spring means there are a lot of happy couples fully emersed into wedding planning, last minute craziness leading up to their special spring day or heading into the home stretch for their summer weddings. But, it also means that those of you newly engaged from the winter are setting out to explore all the wedding world has to offer – and boy is it *OVERWHELMING*.
Over the next four weeks I’m planning on diving into different aspects of wedding planning for those DIY’ers out there trying to keep their budget small but their wedding day as exciting as any other (even in this COVID era). We’re going to dive into some of our favorite go to shops, websites and idea boards to bring you closer to the wedding of your dreams, while sticking to your smaller budget! Just because they say the average wedding costs $30k does not mean you need to spend that, to have a day as beautiful and unique as you!
First thing first, SET YOUR BUDGET!
This is important, set the budget that YOU are most comfortable with and stick to it. The best way to stick to your budget is by allotting certain maximums to each category of your weddings, i.e. Clothing & Accessories, Photography/Videography, Reception including music & food, stationary (save the dates, invites, place cards, menus, etc). Once you have your MAX comfortable budget you can start picking away at the different venders and venues. My suggestion is to start with the items you want to spend the most on, in most cases these items tend to be the Reception items, Photography/Videography and the Dress.
Let’s start with vendors!
Taking your theme and feel of the wedding that you’re looking for into account, search out different places in the area of your wedding destination (home or away). Look for smaller places, local parks, barns, historical locations managed by the county or township. Many times, these places have a smaller rental fee to use the facilities for a few hours and to lower the cost you can always plan a Sunday wedding as this is a less popular day!
After choosing your location for ceremony and reception (if you’re having one), food is usually the next choice on the list. I highly suggest choosing food that is very much YOU and not so much the food that would be served at Cinderella’s ball (unless you’re into that sort of eating). For our own wedding we had an amazing (I cannot express how good it was) dinner of comfort food. Fried Chicken, Pork BBQ, Mashed Potatoes. You know. The good home comfort food. I’ll label this as “Normal” food, Normal food is easier to come by, cook and serve and can end up saving a few bucks per person than the traditional steak and seafood menus. As always, try to negotiate the price and ask for ways to bring the cost down a smidge, good vendors are willing to work with you. As for the cake my best suggestion is to have a smaller cake for you to cut and to look snazzy for photos and then do the sheet cake or two to slice for guests! Honestly, our cake was a yellow box cake mix made by my Mom and decorated by my cousin’s two young girls. Talk about budget friendly!
Flowers are a beautiful addition to all of your wedding details. I have two suggestions for budget flowers, the first are the silk or fake flowers! I have seen BEAUTIFUL wedding bouquets simply made from the artificial flowers purchased from craft stores. The benefit of the artificial flowers is you can purchase them in advance when they’re on sale or you find a store discount and you can play around with the arrangements until the big day and they won’t die, while also saving you money on your budget!
My second flower suggestion for budgets is finding cut your own flowers if they’re in season or to pick up flowers from your local grocery store or wholesale flower shop. Flowers at these locations tend to be a little more budget friendly for those DIY’ers. Obviously, if you’re not into creating your own bouquets maybe spending the money on a florist to arrange is a better idea for you. In this case, maybe reach out to friends or family and see if they have a talent for choosing and arranging flowers for you, help them pick the flowers and then you can pay them for their talent instead of the florist!
Usually, and I’m sure this differs depending on circumstances, but normally the wedding party purchases their own outfits so we’re going to assume that’s the situation here. The Bride & Groom can surely save some budget money in the realm of attire. Personally, my husband purchased his wedding attire from the Perry Ellis Outlet near us. Everything was on super sale, and he ended up getting other everyday clothes the same day for less than a suit rental. Depending on your dress for the big day, options like outlet stores or even online shops can have exactly what you need for a significant discount!
The dress can be a slightly different story, wedding dresses tend to be exceptionally higher in price than a suit or tux rental. But, there are a few rent a dress options online that have emerged in recent years. You can also shop thrift stores, consignment or standard department stores as well to find a deal on a dress that is perfect for you. No one is going to know if your dress came from Kleinfeld’s or Target. Additional options for dresses are to make your own (I know a bride that created and made her own dress and it was beautiful), you can have someone you know make your dress and it will be perfect for you! Our friend Briana over at Fry Side Designs, had her lovely and super talented Mom make her wedding dress and it was divine!