It's wedding season and I was thinking back on our wedding and what a perfect day it was for us! Along the way, Tim and I learned some tips and tricks on how to save major bucks and how to pull off planning a DIY wedding in six months with a limited budget. It is possible to have your dream day on a budget!
1. You have to make a WRITTEN BUDGET.
If you and your fiance are paying for the wedding yourselves like we did, you HAVE to agree on the amount you're going to spend before the planning begins. And you absolutely cannot exceed that. Have a written budget and look over it often. This is key because it's so easy to have the mentality that "this is only ONE day, it will never happen again. I HAVE to have this" because that's how people start to overspend. There is so much unnecessary crap out there you wouldn't believe it. One day while browsing Pinterest, I saw a wedding cake that was a true-to-size replica of the bride in her wedding gown. I wonder if people were shouting out what piece they'd like. "I call her right elbow!"
And absolutely do NOT go into debt. It will make you enjoy your wedding photos less if you know you're still paying off that ice sculpture of two dolphins in the shape of a heart that you just had to have. You do not want to start your life together with wedding debt following you around.
2. Pinterest is dangerous! But also helpful!
Speaking of Pinterest, be careful not to spend too much time "pinning" because it creates unfair wedding expectations. :) If you're like me, you're really only concerned with the fact that you're marrying your dream guy, so making decisions can just be driven by budget/time. Meaning, you're not obsessing over every tiny detail and making sure it's fancy enough. I didn't care about any of that. My reception was in an actual barn and that's exactly what I wanted. There were some good ideas that I found on Pinterest that I did actually use though. Just don't overdo it.
3. Find a venue!
We won the lottery with our venue. The property belonged to some friends of our dear friends and it was the perfect place. We had alot of challenges before we found the perfect place and we were only looking at one weekend which made it even harder. So if you're a little flexible with your date, that helps. The size of the guest list will also affect venue choices (the capacity of our venue was 150 people). A lot of venues in our town were all-inclusive, meaning they were basically a one-stop shop when it comes to tables, chairs, catering etc. which is really convenient but that can be really expensive.
4. Make sure you call around.
Another large expense was tables, chairs and linens. My husband called every party rental place in a 60 mile radius and found the cheapest place to rent tables and chairs and we saved a lot of money doing that.
5. Craigslist will be your best friend.
We ended up actually buying brand new linens from someone on Craigslist it ended up being way cheaper than renting them!
Flower girl baskets, vases, teacups, and a few other things I can't remember were all bought at the thrift store.
6. Don't buy expensive invitations!
Invitations can get expensive fast. Luckily we had a friend design ours for free and it was under $200 for printing and envelopes. The postage is what made that really expensive since we did RSVP cards too so there were two stamps per invite. I'm sure you know a graphic designer. Call in a favor! My cousin Brittany and I assembled mine with twine and did all of the addressing ourselves. I LOVE how they turned out and I LOVED the price. (Thanks again Michael!)
7. DIY Flowers and Decorations!
A sweet friend from assembled them and we only bought real flowers for the bridal party. She did an amazing job and completely blew me away. Baby's breath is super cheap and totally in style right now, that's what all of the bridesmaids carried and the groomsmen boutonnieres were made of. My flowers were David Austen garden roses and totally gorgeous and the friend who put them all together got them at the flower market the day before. I think the final number on flowers, ribbons, pins, etc. was $147. So cheap! And there are so many tutorials online if you want to do it yourself and have the bridesmaids help the night before.
We had the ceremony outside under a big tree and it was gorgeous enough on it's own. We didn't decorate the ceremony at all.
For the reception, I had more of a challenge because we were turning an actual working barn into a venue. So I made a lot of decorations and hung a lot of fabric. That took time to make on the front end but I LOVE making things so I really enjoyed it. We also draped muslin everywhere and I think we only paid $14 for all of it. All in all, I probably spent $200 on decorations.
8. It can't be done without your friends and family.
In addition to friends doing our invitations and flowers, we had a friend deejay for free. And someone let us use their sound equipment (and they set it up for us!).
A friend's dad did our sound for the ceremony.
A friend went to the jewelry store the night before the wedding to pick up Tim's ring that he forgot about.
I think the best thing we did was have a day-of wedding coordinator. Absolutely necessary if you ask me because she made sure everything was done and taken care of and I didn't have to worry about a thing. She also ran the ceremony and made sure everyone was on cue. Plus she was my sweet friend and took such great care of us.
Friends helped us find the perfect venue and helped us work for hours to get it ready for the wedding.
A sweet friend made our cake.
Friends did the photography and the videography.
I don't even know who all helped pull it together day-of but I know there were friends running all over town and helping set up.
I think it's pretty obvious that we have the most amazing people in our lives.
Did you plan your wedding on a limited budget? What are some tips you have to offer?