Your wedding, your way…..how to have a wedding on a budget

blingWe all have that one friend that spent well over $100,00 on their wedding. While it may have been gorgeous and amazing and who doesn’t love a good s’mores bar at midnight….was it really what the couple was going for? When they first got engaged…did they sit down and actively decide that their wedding was going to cost as much as a house? Some couples have a really hard time saying no. To family, to friends, to each other. Their wedding becomes all about the “Show”. It’s not really what they want to do as a couple but sadly it has snowballed into becoming it’s own creature. I’ve seen it happen to countless brides. It even happened to me with my first wedding. By the time the actual wedding came around, I hated it. It was everything I didn’t want and sadly I let people push me into thinking it was what I wanted. How do you tell friends and family…..or even your fiancé…..that you don’t want a big, expensive wedding? How can you have the small, intimate wedding that you so crave without hurting people’s feelings? It’s not easy….but it can be done. You first have to get honest with yourself about what you envision for your wedding day. Where will it be? Who will be there? How much can you actually afford to spend? All of these factors make your day exactly what it is…..yours. Before you buy into the wedding hype, sit down with your fiancé over a cup of joe or a few beers and write out two things: a budget and a plan. Once you get honest about what you can comfortably afford and what you truly want, then you can come up with the exact wedding that you want, your way.

DF is probably going to kill me for writing this since we have a good majority of our wedding already planned but here goes for the sake of journalistic excellence. My ultimate dream wedding is a tad unconventional. It is small, quaint, meaningful, and would cost less than $1500 for the whole wedding. Yes that’s right…less than $1500. You see….I don’t like crowds. What I hate even more than that is being the center of attention. While I have a very outgoing personality that makes me a great wedding planner, when someone turns the spotlight on me, I freeze. Sad but very, very true. The thought of standing in front of a bunch of people just makes me cringe. If I could plan the perfect wedding (for me that is), I would only have about 20 of our closest friend and family members there. I would want it to be private. I have always dreamed about getting married outside in the elements and I know just the perfect place.

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There is this park in Raleigh that used to be a farm many moons ago. It is the perfect little nook away from the rest of the world. Gorgeous landscape, rolling fields. I love the fall so of course the trees in October would be an amazing back drop to our ceremony.

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There would be no one in the wedding party….just the two of us. Our guests would stand in a circle around us instead of sitting to help give off good energy to our traditional handfasting. No fancy decorations save maybe a few pumpkins and some fall mums to decorate the ceremony space. We would seal everything with a kiss while our guests rang bells to wish us luck as we ventured out into the world as a married couple. There would be no elaborate reception either. Just everyone meeting for a quaint meal at my favorite restaurant, Levant Bistro, a place that has an all gluten free menu with the most delicious food. We would cut our small wedding cake there as well, and just spend a few hours enjoying great food and having a few drinks. Very simple, very affordable, and a perfect way to spend a wedding day. Nothing fancy. No set up and take down. No stress. Just making good memories.

This type of wedding isn’t for everyone. Some people have no issue spending thousands of dollars for their big day. But let’s be a tad realistic for a second. Is it necessary spend a lot of money just to impress your guests? Or should you choose something smaller scale, something that won’t break your budget while still making wonderful memories that you two will always cherish? Only you know the right answer. Go with your gut feeling. The two most important people there on that day are you and your fiancé. Well and maybe the officiant. But that’s it. Anything else is just extra.

I personally find DIY weddings very satisfying. There is just something about saving money while getting what you want that gets me excited. It’s like a challenge really. Here are a few ways I have saved money for my wedding while still getting exactly what I want.

  • I wanted a tulle skirt for my wedding but didn’t want to pay the $600 price tag. So I am making the exact same skirt of less than $30 (see the tulle skirt tutorial I posted in an earlier blog post).

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  • I want a gorgeous fall bouquet to carry down the aisle but didn’t want to pay the $350 for it. I am making one just as nice for less than $40.

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  • I wanted a very different cake than the traditional wedding cake. My cake designer found this awesome sugar lace pattern and I cannot be more happy with it

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  • I don’t like fussy decorations. With us getting married in the fall, I am all about using what’s seasonal. Not only is this cheaper, but things are easier to find and use if they are in season.

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You don’t have to have an extravagant wedding to have a memorable one.

As far as friends and family goes, prevent the hurt feelings up front by telling them you are having a private ceremony with a small group. You can have a cook out or an after party later on after the actual wedding if you feel like you need to include everyone. Just stay true to what you want. Don’ t have a larger wedding just because you feel obligated to. Keep it small, keep it private, and maximize your budget. Spend all of the extra money you have saved by having a smaller wedding on something like a nice honeymoon or a down payment on a new house. The last thing you want to do is enter into your new marriage in debt. Being a new couple is stressful enough. Don’t add to that by spending more than you can afford.

Hope some of my advice helps. Remember…you aren’t obligated to please anyone on your wedding day. Just yourselves!

Happy Planning!   Gigi

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