Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wedding on a budget (no, really)

Whenever I read blogs or articles about how to have a wedding on a tight budget, they are still spending over $5,000 for the whole thing. That is RIDICULOUS.
A reader has asked me to blog about tips on how to save money while planning the wedding so that's what I'm going to try to do.
First, I will break it down to about how much I spent in certain categories. Keep in mind that I didn't keep exact track of everything so these won't be right on but I will do my best. I would suggest keeping track of every dollar spent for your wedding so that you can see where you are.

Invitations and postage: $20
Dress and veil: $250
Alterations: $70
Shoes: $0 (Already owned from being a bridesmaid a couple years before)
Rings: $440 (we splurged a little here, we think)
My other jewelry: $7 (no joke, I bought a set in the clearance at Fred Meyer)
Isaac's suit and shoes: $200
Photography: $300
Hair and makeup: $0
Venue: $500
Cupcakes: $60
Officiant: $70
Music: $3 (we used music we already owned but had to buy a couple)
Decorations: $40
Misc: $40
Total: About $2,000

Areas of which we could have spent less:

Dress and suit.
We could have gotten these used or on a better sale but overall, we also could have spent MUCH more than we did so I am not too worried about that.

Rings. I originally planned on spending under $100 on my ring and was even considering a simple band. But the ring will be with me all the time and once I saw the one we ending up getting, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is perfect for me. Honestly though, there are a ton of beautiful rings out there for under $100. Just make sure you are happy with your purchase.

Venue. We got a GREAT deal on our venue. We had our wedding at a bed and breakfast but since we had less than 30 guests and did not need tables, etc, they lowered the price dramatically. That being said, we would have even loved having our wedding in a nice park.

DIY. Sometimes I got a little over my head with DIY ideas. Before thinking about if I could really finish it on time, I would go out and buy the supplies only to realize I didn't like it in the end or sometimes I wouldn't even get around to it. Really think about what you want to do your self and set a limit on how much you will do.

DIY did save me more money than I lost, though.

I made my own invitations and I was very happy with them. When I see kits to make invites, they are normally in the $40 up range. I just bought some scrapbooking paper, photo corners, and got creative.

I also made my own cupcake picks. This time I just needed cardstock, toothpicks (dollar store) and double stick tape. They added a nice personalized touch, I thought.

I also replaced the idea of a guest book with guest notes. I got supplies mostly from the dollar store but also on sale in craft stores. I set it up so that guest could fill out a note card with a little note, drawing, and/or stickers and hang it from some twine.

I also made my own bouquet and dropped the idea of having real flowers everywhere. Florals can get expensive.

Some people spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars just to feed their guests. This fact made me automatically drop the idea of a dinner and we had our wedding at 2 PM in hopes that people would have already had lunch but it would be too early for dinner. We just served cupcakes and had drinks. This saved us SO MUCH MONEY.

Another area people blow money on is music. Many people will get a live band or DJ, which may be fun. But if you are like us and don't find much joy in dancing but love music, a CD will do just fine. We compiled a list of music that we loved and didn't care if it was "wedding music". My wonderful friend Lindsay was our "dj" and started and stopped the music for a ceremony but during the ceremony, we just let it play as background music.
In case you're curious, here's our playlist:

I walked to the naked version of Across the Universe by the Beatles.

Thank You - Led Zeppelin
Dear My Love - Miyavi
Here Comes The Sun - Beatles
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
Heroes (single version) - David Bowie
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp - Led Zeppelin
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
Strangers When We Meet (Outside version) - David Bowie
Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros
Music For a Nurse - Oceansize

Another tip I have for saving money is MAKE THIS WEDDING ABOUT YOU GUYS, not about pleasing the guests or following traditions. We did not have bridesmaids, groomsmen, flowergirls, etc. While they traditionally buy their own dresses and stuff on their own, money is still spent on gifts, flowers, and things for them. Guests may expect catering and a giant cake but honestly, is it their wedding? Try not to have the wedding at a time they may expect a meal. If they only come for food, they shouldn't come anyways.

You may have noticed how much we spent on photography. If you have already looked into the average cost of wedding photography you may wonder how we got someone so cheap. Most wedding photographers charge $600 for a basic package and they may not even give you the rights to print the photos yourself. Ripoff. I looked into beginning photographers and student photographers. After a bunch of research, I finally found a girl on craigslist. She was charging only $200 when I found her and then soon after was at $300. I looked at her portfolio and thought she had a natural talent so I booked her without hesitation. If I would have waited longer, it would have cost more. Try to look around. If you can't afford anything, see if your family knows someone that can give you a good deal. If you're lucky, a family member or friend with talent might even do it for free! Don't be afraid to ask.

Well this is getting long and rambly. I'm not sure how much I even helped anyone out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.