This past summer, I did a really great job of putting all the details of my wedding onto this blog. Once school started, I stopped doing that. However, one of my bridesmaids recently got engaged, and she has been asking me a lot of questions about how I planned my wedding. Answering all those questions has brought back a lot of memories of my wedding, and I wanted to do a little bit of a Top 5 today, especially related to my budget. My wedding cost right around $5,000. I honestly don’t have an exact figure, because so much of the money was spent the day before the wedding. I was so excited, nervous and EXCITED (yes, I did say that twice) that I forgot to write down all that stuff that was bought.
So, without further ado….Top 5.
Top 5 Expenses
5. My nails! In the grand scheme of the budget, they were not THAT expensive, but they sure were more expensive than I thought they would be! Make sure you check into every option before committing. I committed before I realized how pricey they were.
4. Invitations. Those little buggers are pricey! I looked and looked and looked online, trying to find my cheapest option. I talked to other brides, asking where they got theirs. Nothing I found appealed to me for cheap. So I decided to make my own. Be warned, though…even making your own invitations is pricier than you might expect and takes a lot of time. However, it was certainly the best and cheapest option for me!
3. Food. Well, we did feed 300 people, so that is going to be pricey!
2. Photography. Yep, it was pricey. But it was worth it for me. My advice is to not skimp on photography…it is the one decision that you will not be able to push out of your memory. All other mistakes or things that you used to cut cost can be forgotten, but the pictures from your wedding will last a lifetime.
1. Tent- the tent was pretty expensive as it came with lights, siding and a dance floor. However, it was still much cheaper than renting a venue (especially when most venues required me to also get their catering!)
Top 5 Ways I saved money/cut budget
5. No alchohol. I know this sounds like a given, but having an open bar or any time of alchohol at a wedding can raise the price several thousand dollars. Since my budget was only several thousand dollars, that could not work for us.
4. Ordering my dress online. It seemed kind of crazy…but it was $400 cheaper when I ordered it online. And the place I ordered it from adjusted it for me based on the sizes I entered, so I didn’t have to pay for alterations…that also saved an arm and a leg!
3. Skip the full meal. No, seriously. Skip it. It will save so much money. We had fruit, veggies and dessert for everyone. And there was plenty to go around. No one left hungry, and no one complained. We avoided the full meal by having our wedding later in the day (ceremony at 6, reception at 7), but I have also heard of people doing the ceremony around 1, reception at 2, avoiding both lunch and dinner.
2. Venue. We looked at different locations to have our wedding/reception. I figured a reception venue would be pricey, but I didn’t think that our church would charge us. But they did, and it wasn’t a nice price! So we asked how much it would cost to have our wedding out in the soccer behind the church. $0. Yep, that saved us $300 right off the bat, and then we simply add the tent for our reception.
1. Friends. Yes, you heard me. Use your friends. Not in a bad way, but use those resources! Our photography, cake maker, DJ, officiant and hair/make-up were all good friends. Most of them charged minimum and saved us an arm and a leg! And none of their services were less than best….they went above and beyond for us!
***the food….buffet style.
Top 5 Stressors
5. Long-Distance. It was really hard for me to plan my wedding away from my family, his family and the area in which we were having our wedding. Not to mention the fact that all but two of my bridesmaids were scattered across the country. That was difficult and made for some stressful moments.
4. Family. Now, nothing wrong with getting stressed out by family, but I’m just being honest that it played a part. EVERYONE has an opinion, and you are expected to honor your family members. This was difficult, especially the week of the wedding. I don’t think that there is any way to avoid this, but prepare yourself beforehand and pray for grace and patience with BOTH families…trust me.
3. Bridesmaid Dresses. This was a big problem for me, as I had a tailor making my girls dresses. The tailor was excellent, but had a very hard time making dresses for girls she had never seen. I do not recommend having a tailor make the dresses if she cannot see and measure each girl in person. Otherwise, it is a great idea and a money saver!
2. Flowers. I thought I had it all planned out, but then a week before the wedding the plans suddenly went into the air and changed. It was a very stressful week trying to figure out what to do with flowers. In the end it all worked out ok, but not how I had originally planned.
1. Budget. No surprise here. My budget was my biggest stressor. Planning a wedding in under $5,000 was not an easy task!
***the bridesmaids dresses. I didn’t know until the morning of if everyone’s dresses even fit! But look how beautiful they turned out!
Top 5 Regrets/Mistakes
5. Pictures. There were some pictures that I completely missed asking the photographer to get. My photographer(s) were excellent, and did a great job of getting a lot of great shots. However, they do not know what I am expecting and I wish I had been clear at communicating that. For example, I didn’t get any pictures of the girls getting dressed, and hardly any pictures of the boys getting ready. Be really clear with the photographer about what you expect, or if you see a shot that you want!
4. Guest List. While planning for my wedding, I made the guest list as small as I could. My reasoning was that the less people came, the less money I would spend. I am so glad for al the people who came, but I feel bad that I left some people out simply because I wanted to save a couple of dollars. I don’t think a couple more people would have made that big of a dent on my money saving.
3. Prayer. Before the wedding, I wanted to pray with my girls. We all completely forgot in the excitement of the moment! Woops.
2. Wedding Party. I felt like I really didn’t get to hang out with the wedding party too much. Apparently, many of them had a great time hanging out after the wedding, but it didn’t happen much before. I felt bad about this because I wanted to make sure that everyone had fun, and I don’t think that this happened too much. I also wished I had slept with all my girls the night before. I slept with my maid of honor while everyone else crashed in the basement. I also found out that not everyone had a place to sleep (sorry, Sarah!)…whoooops!
1. Pictures. We took all our pictures before the ceremony, except the ones with extended family. Those were supposed to happen right after the ceremony, but I completely forgot! I feel bad that I didn’t get any pictures with my Grandparents or Theo’s extended family.
**A couple of my family members requested this picture, and that was when I remembered the extended family pictures! I love this one, but also would have loved one with my Grandparents, my cousins, etc.
Top 5 Moments
5. Time with my girls before the big day. I loved waking up and being able to spend some time in the Word with two of my ladies. Getting ready together was also a lot of fun, with all the nervous and excited jitters. I will also cherish that morning that we all spent together.
4. Dancing at the reception. This was so incredibly fun to watch and participate in. And the pictures are amazing. Dancing at the reception is a must!
3. When my Dad first saw me. He made loud exclamations of wonder, laughed and then cried. Everyone in the room was crying.
2. Our first kiss. Yes, this was pretty wonderful!
1. Our Ceremony. I loved every part of it, from the walk down the aisle, my Dad giving me away (a tear-jerker and one of the most special moment of my life!), our vows, the message to us, the unity sand and communion together. It was all so perfect. Plus, that is what the wedding is all about, isn’t it?