Congratulations on getting engaged! You are about to embark on a long and beautiful journey of your lives. Word to the wise is not to jump the gun and get married too fast. A year is a good time to plan a wedding, 18 months is even better if possible. It allows you more time to save up money and gather supplies. Saving money on your wedding will help to put that money towards maybe a down payment towards a new house. A wedding is just one day, a wise investment will last you the rest of your lives.
The Wedding Palooza Polka:
First, find out if your town has a Bridal Extravaganza or some kind of mega wedding pallooza. Why? Because local business that depend on weddings to keep their doors open put their money together to create an event that brings together brides with cash to spend for their big night, but you will not be that bride. This article is a guide on how to keep your wedding budget to a minimum, so you and your significant other will be able to save that money for your future. Money that can go towards a new house to start a family. A wedding is good, but it only lasts a day, a house will last you a lifetime.
When you arrive at the Bridal Extravaganza, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of new things to buy, but you’re there for one reason and one reason only, to enter in ALL the free drawings. When you’re on a budget, the word FREE feels like a breath of fresh air. You’re on a mission! In list your fiancé, the mother of the bride and the maid of honor to help you. Even better is to make it a girls day. The more people you have the faster you can fill out all the entires and visit every vendor/booth. If you win ANYTHING it’s a blessing and one less item you need to worry about!
[Tip: visit walmart or office max and buy a small pack of mailing labels. Before you get to the bridal extravaganza, print your first and last name, your wedding date if you know it already (or an eta for wedding) your email address and your mailing address. This makes registering at each booth a breeze!]
The Right Dress at the Right Time:
Most vendors at the extravaganza will offer brides a discount on dresses just for attending. David’s Bridal offered me a great deal on my dress plus gave a discount to my entire wedding party. The staff at David’s Bridal was amazing! Very patient and extremely helpful. I am a plus size gal (size 22) and they were able to offer me SOOOO many dresses that at one point I actually felt a little overwhelmed.
I walked out with a new dress, vail, shoes, corset and petticoat for under $500. I did however, return to them to bustle my dress so I would be able to dance with my new husband at the wedding and be comfortable. ASK for their pricing first. Don’t go nuts with a super fancy bustle. Keep it simple. I recommend the one that simply has a string and loops around your wrist.
The Gorgeous Groom
http://www.amazon.com was a blessing! All the men wore Guayaveras, a traditional Cuban shirt with embroider and breezy linen pants. Because we ordered them all at the same time the price was awesome. Join amazon prime for even bigger savings, especially on delivery fees. Jessie’s total cost with shipping was under $80. He wore his own leather flip flops for the wedding, it worked with the beach theme we were doing!
Don’t Knock on Kiosk Jewelry:
The dress I picked had some very pretty beading of pearls and rhinestones, so I went very simple on my jewelry. A faux Tennis Bracelet, small hoop rhinestone earrings and a small heart shaped pendant necklace with a small rhinestone. I went to the mall and visited a few of the kiosk jewelry vendors, haggled a bit and left with all my jewelry for under $60.
More Sponsors = Increase in Budget:
I had two, my fiancé parents and my parents. We didn’t ask for much, $500 from each. It paid for the venue and the DJ. I had an outdoor wedding, under a gazebo, facing the ocean. We saved money by having a reception at the same location. The Surfside Conferrence Center is VERY reasonably priced but the dates fill up very quickly, so book ahead of time. In fact I had originally wanted October 12th as my wedding date but that date had already been taken, so I switched my wedding day to the 19th. That’s how awesome this place is!
[Tip: An awesome site I found was http://www.honeyfund.com, which you create a wedding site, register for gift there too. These days its ok to ask for monitary gifts vs actual gifts. If you are registering for items, check out Target.com and Macys.com these are 2 great sites. Make sure to register for economical items and a few top dollar items. You never know, you might get lucky. Also register (or create a list) at Home Depot or Lowes. Especially if a home is your next “big thing”]
Visit your local pubs and check out the DJ’s. Most “wedding DJ’s” are ridiculously expensive. Make sure to shop around. The DJ is by far, one of the MOST IMPORTANT items that will make your wedding reception a blast. So make sure you pick someone that’s good. Also, ask if you can pay via Pay- Pal. It protects you if the DJ flops or is a no show.
[Tip: As a major back up plan, download all your favorite songs to your device and bring it to your wedding just in case. If the DJ is a no-show, it will be good to have a back up! Make sure to pack 2 speakers as we’ll. if you don’t have any speakers, go to your near by pawn shop and buy a couple. Again, this is only a back up! And make sure you have a plug that connects from your device to you speakers.]
DIY Wedding Invitations:
They are important, but usually end up in the trash, so don’t go nuts with insanely priced invitaions. If most of your friends and family are tech savvy, simply create your wedding invitation on line and use your contacts to email everyone an invite. Or do what i did. Visit Hobby Lobby and buy the ready made invites. You feed them into your printer, personalizing them, seal and ship.
This is when things can get expensive. I was blessed to find a private chef that was able to cook all my food (110 guest) for under $800, Which is a true blessing. So here are my recommendation, I’m sure you have a few favorite restaurants in your area. Ask the manager for banquet size portion prices in trays (lasagna, salad and rolls, fajitas, spanish rice with pico de gallo, and guacamole). You don’t have to serve filet mignon or shrimp diablo to have a successful wedding. In fact, you may not even get a chance to eat during your reception. So don’t worry about what people will say, just order 3 main items and you’re good to go!
Who Drank all the Rum?
Here is my trick, and how I stayed within budget for drinks. Once a week, buy a large bottle of liquor. Once you have the basic liquor (tequila, rum, vodka, and gin) then switch to buying beers, 1 case per week. For the beer, buy 2 bud, 2 bud light, 2 miller, 2 corona, and so on until you reach the desired amount. Then switch to water bottles, then sodas. We did it so well that we had some extras that we still have around the house for parties almost a year after our wedding.
Another way to stretch your liquor is to buy mixers Such as bloody mary, margarita, and etc. make sure to pack a blender ( I had my parents and inlaws bring their blenders as well ). Ask a good friend (one what won’t drink the supply) to act as a bartender. Or do what i did, I offered my local bartender $250 plus tips to work for me. I made him a cool tip jar and placed it where he was mixing drinks. Just make sure to give him instructions on who not to serve too much liquor too. One ornery drunk family member can cause the festivities to end early.
I chose HEB for my cake and desserts. The bakery manager sat down with me, I explained I had very limited funds and couldn’t afford a big wedding cake. Instead, I wanted several small cakes and cupcakes. She thought this was a fun and cool idea. After hearing what I’d like, we came up with a theme, which was round and beachie. We ordered one coconut cake, one white cake with chocolate drizzle, and a red velvet cake. She paired this off with 4 styles of cup cakes, all beach theme. Then we added 3 different cookie flavors.
You Can Never go Wrong with Bribing Future Family Members
Visit http://www.etsy.com for the moms. I chose a dainty delicate handkerchief and personalized them both. Great prices and great colors to chose from. For the dad, we went with a good bottle of single malt scotch. Friends need Bribing too
Gifts for the bridal party. I bought each gal a beach bag, then I had their names stitched on the front of the bags. I paired the bag with a beautiful pashmina scarf in a matching color. For the fillers, I sent an email to my bridesmaids (i had 6!) and had them answer a questionnaire such as favorite soap, cream, color, movie, drinks, coffee and tea. It helped when I was out hunting for items. I printed everyones answers and put it in a simple binder. I kept it in the car at all times. I was able to buy each girl 2 or 3 small items from their list. Mainly at Hobby Lobby, which I waited for the 50% off sales!
Decorations is where I had some REAL fun. I have to thank my Mom for being so helpful especially in this department. I decorated my whole venue with second hand, estate sales and garage sale items. Rarely did i buy an item at a store. Since I had a beach theme, I spent several weekends hitting the garage sales. I was on the hunt for ocean items, shells and most importantly, clear glass flower vases in all sizes.
After cleaning all the items VERY well i started putting things together. I bought one bag of sand from Home Depot. I placed a cup or so of sand in the vases, sprinkled a few shells, then tied the outside of the vase with natural colored raffia (which i also got at a garage sale) and hot glued a small bead to keep it in place. I also hot glued a small shell at the tie. On http://www.amazon.com, we bought palm leaves (fake of course) and placed 3 on each table. Then sprinkle a few shells and add your garage sale ocean items and your done. I also bought every tea candle (in white) at every garage sale that i could. I inserted one candle in each one. Clustered 3 or 4 on each table. Done! Main center piece created
*Make sure to buy one of those long hand-held lighters for lighting the tea lights. Assign this job to a family member. While pictures are being taken and people are sitting themselves, the candles can be lit.
Go to your local community college and put up an add for a photographer on the information board. Do not mention a wedding on your post. Simply put a sign that says “I’d like to hire a photographer to take a few pictures of my family”. Trust me, you’ll get a few calls. Narrow it down to maybe 3 or 4 photographers and make them a deal.
Ask them how much they would charge to meet up at a park and take a few pictures. Ask how much for a 30 minute session. Why 30 minutes? Because you need to see how reasonable their pricing will be. They are not professionals so you’re not going to want to chose someone who already expects to be paid as a pro. Tell them you want them to direct you, to place you, to recommend shots and angles. This will show how they work under pressure, how creative they are and how fun they will be.
After they have taken their photos, pick the one that captured you best. Then ask that lucky photographer to be your wedding photographer. Make sure not to burn the bridge with the other photographers, just in case the one you pick is unable to make the wedding. Negotiate the price and you’ve got yourself a photographer. Proffesional are expensive, newbies are reasonable and want items to add to their portfolio a good letter of recommendation.
Make sure a few family members bring their iPads or devises. Great videos can be put together using your iPad! And thats FREE!!!!!
Bouquets Makes Bridesmaids Crazy
I went to Hobby Lobby and bought pre made bouquets. I jazzed them up with beautiful ribbon and even dangled a few ribbons from the bottom! From afar, they looked real. No one will even care! They are just for the pictures and for the wedding ceremony. No one ever keeps them any more. Also the history of the bride’s bouquet was because back in the olden days people had terrible hygiene including the bride and flowers were suppose to help with masking body odor. Hopefully you have access to perfume. If not then stop by a department store and spray some before your nuptials. Save your money and buy fake!
Location, Location, Location
Search your area for interesting locations. Times have changed and you don’t have to get married in a church and then have a reception in a reception hall. So many amazing venues are out there that are inexpensive and beautiful. For example, are you a book lover? Maybe your awesome day can be at the local library in the romance section. Does someone in your family have a beautiful back yard? Is there a French Bistro near your home with a beautiful patio area? And here’s a really weird one, is there a Saltgrass Steakhouse near you? Most of them have a spectacular front patio area with sofas, pergolas and romantic lighting at night. Finding the right location is eventually the most important part of your wedding. It will determine your final budget. Keep your guest list small and you’ll be able to save money for the best item of all, your future home!
If you chose to honeymoon in a warm beach climate (which we did) invest in several bathing suites. Make sure you pack one full body bathing suite in black (i will explain in a bit ) and pack a few sarongs and nice flip flops. You can pair the full suit with the sarong at the waist for a casual lunch or brunch. You’ll be at the pool or beach most of the time anyways. Make sure to pack at least one sun dress and a nice top. Make sure each person brings one formal outfit. Some resorts have a dress code at their high end dining venues. Leave room in you travel bags for souvenirs and items you buy while on your honeymoon. Its essential.