Your wedding day is one that you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s also probably one of the most costly. If you are on a budget, I’m here to tell you that you can have a beautiful and memorable day regardless of how much you spend.
Our three year wedding anniversary is coming up on May 16th. Hard to believe but time really flies! I am a very organized person anyway, but I planned almost the entire wedding by myself and did a lot of DIY for the big day.
If you’re a bride on a budget like me, I’ve put together a few tips that might be helpful for you when planning your wedding.
Pinterest is Your Best Friend
I don’t know what we ever did without Pinterest. Wedding ideas are unlimited and right at your fingertips. Create a wedding board and start gathering ideas. It will help you decide on a theme, colors and if you’re crafty, there are plenty of easy ideas for making your own flowers or centerpieces.
DIY As Much As You Can
As you know, I’m a librarian, so I wanted to incorporate literature into my wedding somehow. I got permission from our library director to use books that were donated for the book sale and crafted them into a pretty centerpiece for our table. I chose titles I’d read as well as some classics. I wrapped those centerpieces with ribbon and lace and made book page flowers to set on top.
I also borrowed candle holders from a co-worker and used battery operated tea lights for the candles. Our local creamery gives away old milk bottles, so I got one of those for each table and attached a peacock feather and some ribbon to it instead of flowers. (Our wedding had a peacock color scheme).
Sign Up for a Knot.com Account
Even if you don’t create a wedding web site, The Knot is a great resource for finding vendors. Read all the reviews and go with your gut! You also have to remember that some people are never happy, so take all negative reviews with a grain of salt but if there seems to be a consistent problem with a vendor you’re considering, steer clear.
The Knot is also wonderful for helping you manage your guest list. I stored all invites on the site and would mark off their responses as I received their RSVPs. This was so helpful when meeting with our reception venue as they had to have guest totals throughout the planning process. When it comes time to write thank you notes, you can refer back to that master list for addresses and it saves so much time.
Find an All-Inclusive Reception Site
This was the most expensive part of our wedding and ate up the small budget my dad gave me, so finding a site that had everything in one place was wonderful. Our reception site had just about everything from the food to the cake and it was so simple to just take care of it all in one place. We had the option of bringing in outside vendors but there were extra fees to do that, so using their chef and baker was a huge cost saving to us. The food was amazing too – don’t be afraid to try out venues that have their own chef!
Etsy is Your Friend!
Support other DIY-ers and small businesses by shopping on Etsy for wedding supplies! I ordered my invitations and programs from a wonderful shop on Etsy. They were easy to work with and my invitations looked different from the standard invite.
I also ordered silk flowers from a shop on Etsy and they were exactly what I wanted but could not find in any of the craft stores around town.
DO NOT order anything from overseas. I made that mistake with my cake topper. Even thought I placed the order months in advance, it did not ship until a couple weeks before our wedding and arrived the day before. I was a stressed out mess over it and would never do that again.
Weddings Gowns Don’t Have to Cost Thousands
You can look beautiful without a thousand dollar dress. I tried some of those on even though they were way out of my budget and found I loved the selection at David’s Bridal more. You only wear your dress once – don’t go bankrupt because of it.
DO Splurge on a Photographer
The one thing I would advise you to spend more on is your photographer. Your pictures are lasting memories of your special day and you don’t want to cut corners here unless you have a friend or family member that takes professional quality photos. Even then, they’d probably rather enjoy seeing you walk down the aisle from a pew instead of from behind a camera lens.
Usually photographers will give you a small discount if you also use them for engagement photos and the ceremony. Our photographer was wonderful and sadly, she’s no longer in business – by choice. I was hoping to work with her later on down the road but she decided to pursue other interests for the time being.
Really do your research in this area and pay attention to what’s included in your photo package – you’ll want them there for at least 8 hours and a second photographers is great to capture other things that are going on while your main photographer is getting the money shots.
I hope this has been helpful in some way! Happy wedding planning and best wishes for your future together 🙂