Saturday, December 25, 2010

Can you have a wedding on a budget of less than $5,000?

Someone posted a thread on a wedding forum I go on and asked this question. So far her guest list is at 47 people. A lot of people are saying DIY stuff and have a smaller guest list. Here was my response. I think it can be helpful to any bride out there who is on a very tight budget.

We have a guest list of 170 and we're trying to keep it under $3000. Definitely possible! We're doing great so far. It's all about priorities and the big picture.

By big picture I mean this: are your guests or even you going to remember 1 year, 5 years, 10 years down the road that you had fake flowers over real flowers? Didn't have favors? Had a friend taking the pictures? Probably not.

Here's what I recommend, even without having a smaller guest list to cut costs!

Brunch is much cheaper than dinner. Plus you can get away with not having alcohol (since it's so early in the day) but if you must have alcohol, mimosas and sangria are perfect brunch drinks that don't break the budget.

Call in favors from friends! If you know someone who loves taking pictures and has a nice camera, see if they're willing to do your photography as a gift to you! You can save sometimes thousands that way...photographers in my town go up to $1500 for 6 hours of shooting the day of. That's most of our budget! So we're getting it for free from a friend and his wife who are gifting their talents to us.

Network! Ask around about bridal shops, flower places, music, etc! A girl I work with told me about a bridal consignment shop. I was iffy on buying a used dress (I'm superstitious) but it turns out "consignment" to that shop meant inventory buy outs, so I got a BRAND NEW dress, valued at $2300, for $200. AND I asked the shop owner about alterations. Got my dress altered almost completely for less than $50 because of a lady she knows.

Consignment and thrift shops are awesome. You can get great stuff there. I got all of my centerpiece vases for less than a buck each at Goodwill.

I'm saving money on my hair and makeup the day of the wedding by having a friend do it for me with the makeup and hair stuff I already own. No need to buy extras.

Our friend's dad is a notary (all you need to marry you in our state) and he's marrying us for free.

We're having our wedding at a state park. The venue cost for the WHOLE day, including ceremony and reception with tables and chairs included? $160.

My shoes were $20 brand new. My necklace and earrings for the day of were $4 (yep. But I didn't see it as a priority though so I didn't want to spend a lot there).

I paid $50 for my bridal portraits from a professional photographer (and by professional I mean someone just starting out in the business...much cheaper prices than "seasoned" professionals and pictures just as great)
Our invitations were from VistaPrint and we got 100 of them for FREE. Sign up for the emails on VP b/c they send around free stuff all the time. Our invitations are awesome and were free. FREE! Can't beat that! Well, we did pay shipping, but who can really say they got invitations for $6 for 170 people?

If you do Save the Dates and RSVP cards, go postcard style! The postage for that is 28 cents as opposed to mailing an envelope for 44 or something cents. Our RSVP cards (bought off of VistaPrint) were free and they're postcards and we're saving a whole lot on postage. Same with the STDs...bought them when they were free (told you they have a lot of free deals on that site) and they were postcards so postage was much cheaper.

Make your own food. We're doing a brunch reception with NO caterer at all. I work in a restaurant and so many of my coworkers have offered to be our "staff" that day and help make the food. But you don't need to work in a restaurant to get that kind of help. Family and friends are usually willing to help with it. We're having all sorts of food with the help of our family and friends, so it'll be much cheaper than paying for a caterer.

I have an app on my phone that sends you coupons. Watch for coupons. I got a coupon for Party City that was 50% off of one item. No lie, and I know this sounds bad, maybe a little trashy, and probably a little dumb, but I printed off like 5 or 6 of those and went to Party City two different times and used all of the coupons. I went through the line as many times as I had a coupon (luckily there was no line, and the kid behind the register was fine starting a new transaction for me each time...b/c it was Christmas time). So I bought all of our silverware for our guests (the plastic kind that looks real) and spent $15 on all of it as opposed to $30. I looked stupid going throug the line that many times but hey, I saved money!

Same wth Hobby Lobby and Michael's. They have coupons like that all of the time and I've saved a bunch that way too.

That's all I can think of right now. If I think of more, I'll post again! But it's totally possible to have a wedding for so much cheaper than $5000.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pictures, again.

I've been trying to compile a list of all the types of pictures I want the day of the wedding. As I said before, the pictures are the whole reason we're not just eloping. We want the memories and the pictures to look back on. So they're extremely important to us. I'm a bit photo-obsessed, definitely.

So in compiling this list, I've realized the ceremony pictures and the pictures of us seeing each other before the ceremony are the ones I want most. So people dancing, pictures of the centerpieces...all of those I could do without (though I want pictures of those too) as long as we get a billion pictures during the ceremony.

 I'm really set on making the ceremony sweet, fun, sentimental and very us. Jared is on board with it too, luckily. I've been to very long weddings (like Catholic masses) and very short weddings (vows, rings, kiss, done) and we both want a memorable and sentimental wedding. We want emotion, damnit! We want to laugh, cry, fall in love with each other all over again. We want it to be fun and memorable for all, though, not just us.

We've pretty much got an itinerary of how the ceremony will go. And I'm so excited for it. That will make all of the planning worth it to me. (And you all know how much I hate planning this damn wedding)

Here are examples of some of the pictures I'm set on. I pulled some of them off of a wedding forum I'm on and some are from Google Images. I don't know who the photographers are, but these pictures are very much NOT mine, they will never be mine, I didn't pay for them nor have I been paid for posting them (so there goes my copyright get-out-of-jail-free card). Of course the list goes on and on and on and poor friends who volunteered to be our photographers! I still want all the normal my BMs together, the groomsmen together, pictures of us individually, pictures wiht the parents...etc. But some of these are my favorites :)
Ok seriously, how awesome is this?

I love feet shots
A sweet shot of the couple
The first look! Oh I can't wait to do this one
I like angles.
Details like this are so sweet
Another first look shot! I LOVE THIS
I want the faces of each of us seeing each other before the ceremony for the first time
A great moment
The perspective here is awesome
I love the idea of "diving" into the dress
Very cool

Thursday, December 9, 2010

4 months.

Yep, 4.

And I'm starting to freak out a little. Just a little.

Ok a lot.

I had one bridesmaid tell me today that I'm allowing everyone to have too much freedom to choose what they wear and what not. That was sort of a wake-up to me. She said I'm the bride, it's expected of me to make decisions, and since there are 6 of them, I can't try to please everyone. I'm really grateful to her for knocking some sense into me.

But still, the people-pleaser in me wants to still step back and let them decide. But it's seeming to be a difficult task, with everyone having their own input. I feel like someone is going to be unhappy and I don't want anyone at all to be unhappy.

I don't know how to be assertive, especially when so many people are involved. I always want equality, and though I do have a hint of control-freak, mostly, I want everyone to be pleased. But it's coming time for me to make some decisions on my own and stop asking for opinions.

Things like "What do you think of these flowers?" and "What color shoes do you want to wear?" shouldn't be questions I ask of anyone except of myself and Jared. It's our wedding, yes. We know what we want, what we want our pictures to look like. We know how we want our wedding to go. So we know it's not up to everyone else. But it also doesn't help that Jared always says "That's up to you, baby." I swear he's going to have that etched on his tombstone. "Jared, do you want to do a first-look picture before the ceremony?" "That's up to you, baby."

I don't want it to be only up to me.

I just really hate wedding planning and we're in crunch time. The invitations are going out in a couple weeks. Then we'll get RSVP cards back (I hope!). Then we'll have to start buying dishes and planning food.

Money, money, money. Where will it all come from? How will we get it all done.

Someone give me an Ambien, plan and pay for our wedding, and wake me up on April 9 just before I have to walk down the aisle. Please?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Say, would you like a chocolate-covered pretzel?

This isn't wedding related at all, but I figured, what the hell, it's been too much time between blogs.

Last year, Jared and I were bored one night around the holidays so we decided to make some chocolate-covered pretzels. I couldn't fathom how to do it, but because he likes to cook so much, he decided to show me how to make them. It wasn't hard at all! Just some chocolate chips melted by a double-boiler (or a pan on top of boiling water that's in another pan) and some pretzel sticks and some sprinkles!

We made so many that I decided to give some to my friends as Christmas gifts since we were meeting for lunch the next day. They were a hit! So I really wanted to make them again this year because one of my friends mentioned how good they were last year.

So we made some tonight. We bought some pretzel rods (weird name) and went to work. Then we realized we had so much chocolate and white chocolate left that we had to do something with it all! I suddenly remembered that Jared got a little over-zealous at Sam's a couple months back and bought an entire box of small bags of pretzels, and the only one who has eaten them is Sheila, our dog, when she was able to get into the bottom cabinet they were in. Silly dog. But we still had dozens of bags left. Eureka!

And this picture is missing yet another pan and 2 plates more...
He asked me if I'm going to go overboard next year with them too and I told him yes and that we're starting our own holiday tradition. Right now we have 7 Christmas containers full of them and 2 tupperware containers full. I've been racking my brain to figure out who to give them to. We're meeting friends for dinner tomorrow night so there are a few of them gone. But who else?

Right now, I don't care, because my stomach hurts. Hurts so good...