These are some of the plans for my dream wedding on a small budget. Weddings can be beautiful and meaningful even when you don't spend the national average for a wedding. Try using some of these tips.
1. Keep the guest list down. Only invite the people that you really want to be there and that you would be disappointed if they didn't show. The more people that come the bigger the venue for the ceremony and reception, the more food and drinks for everyone, the more tables and decorations for everyone, and the more favors for all the guests.
2. Don't marry on a holiday weekend. Gas, airfare, and hotels are more expensive then. Any out of town guests will have to pay more to come to the wedding, and vendors will charge more as well.
3. Get married on an off day or time. Sat pm is the most expensive. Try Sat around lunch, Sunday brunch, Sun pm, Fri pm, or Tue pm (if Jewish since it is doubly blessed.) Venors will charge less during these times since they have less going on.
4. Getting married at a hotel? Try an airport hotel. During the week they cater to business people, but on the weekends they are dead. They have ball rooms but fewer than a downtown hotel. This means that your wedding may be the only one that day so everyone will be focused on you and not the 10 other wedding that day at a downtown hotel. Hotels have event planners on staff. This means that when you paid for the venue you paid for a wedding planner too. Out of town guest will stay at this hotel and be picked up by the hotels airport transfer bus, which means you don't have to worry about picking them up. You can get a good deal on their rooms because it is the weekend and the hotel is less busy and you have an event there. Most of these hotels have chefs, tables, chairs, and basic linens. All you will need is the florist, photographer, and videographer. Notice that there is no need for wedding transportation. And most hotels will give the bride and groom their room for free and an anniversary gift of a hotel room to use on your 1st anv.
5. The time of year of the wedding plays a big role in the cost. Feb is expensive because flowers cost more because of Valentines Day. May is expensive due to Mother's Day. June is the top month for weddings so all venors will charge more. Dec is expensive for obvious reasons, vendors charge more then too.
6. Wedding cakes can be expensive. Bakers use cake stand ins for their display cakes. Have the bulk of the cake displayed at your wedding made from stand ins and only one layer of actual cake so you can cut it and have the normal photos. The quests will be served sheet cake that tastes as great as you would have had for the actual wedding cake, but costs a ton less. Since the caterer or hotel staff would take the cake back to the kitchen to cut anyway, no one will know.
7. Pick flowers that are in season or are readily available all year long. Flowers that are out of season are more expensive since they have to be shipped in from out of the country (usually Holland or Ecuador.) Some types of flowers are just expensive period cause their growing season is very short a great example is peonies. Any flower that is difficult to grow will cost more to use for your wedding. If you plan to use expensive floral be prepared to cut back in other areas.
8. If you are getting married in a church, then consider having the reception there too. Most churches have a fellowship hall with a kitchen attached. The church may even have tables, chairs, and basic linens that can be used. Be prepared to pay a clean up fee unless your family will be cleaning up after the wedding. This will make things easier for the wedding day as far as transportation goes. Just be sure you know your house of worships rules regarding alcohol if you plan to serve it. Another consideration is photography. If your wedding and ceremony are at the same location then you should consider taking most pictures before the wedding if you are not having the cocktail hour. Since cocktail hour is more food and drink for everyone, it may be best for the budget to just skip it. This means that your guests will be waiting a long time for you to take all your pictures if you do them after the ceremony. This may not seem like much, but since you can't have them just sitting there for up to an hour you have to let them go ahead and eat. This means that when you get there they are just about done eating. Therefore, they will inevitably come up to you and congratulate you while you are trying to eat the meal you put so much thought into. You will end up not eating at the reception and taking to go boxes to the hotel to eat. I have seen this time after time.
9. Consider your family and friends. They all have been blessed with talent. Use their talent. Need musicians for the ceremony, use your childhood friend that play piano every week for her church. There may be some great voices, musicians, poets, photographers, bakers, florists, cooks...in your family that could help you with your wedding and their part could be considered their gift. Just be sure to give them a gift of money for all the time that they took in preparing. (Example: Shirley is a church pianist and is often asked to play for weddings. She enjoys making others happy so she says yes. She finds out what the bride and groom have visioned for the ceremony. Then she goes through all her books of music to find the wedding songs for the entire ceremony and learns each piece. She has to be available for the rehearsal and be at the piano playing long before the actual wedding while all the guest are being seated. This is a lot of time, consideration, and work. Even if Shirley is not charging for her services, she should be tipped.)
10. Think out of the box. If you enjoy doing makeup but want a special look for the big day, then look to the department store makeup counters. They will do free makeovers. They are hoping to be able to sell you some cosmetics in the process. If the eyeshadow or lipstick she used were fab, then buy just that. Your regular makeup with the new makeup and tips learned and the all you need to create a fab look. Be sure to take pics of how it looked and practice before the wedding. You may have to try several makeup counters to get a look you like. Live music is great for the ceremony and reception. Try a local college with a music department. The students will be great and cost less than a normal musician/vocalist. No money for a live band for the after party, then rent the ipod dj station. These have been used for many weddings and with a well thought out playlist the dancing can go all night.
11. For more tips check the online resources. A lot of the information here I leaned from watching Get Married hosted by Colin Cowie or another wedding show on tv. Get Married is available for free download on video podcast.
My engagement ring is similar to this but an original design created for me.
My ring with hebrew writing (a passage from Song of Solomon) and amethysts. His ring with same writing in Hebrew.
I have always loved statement earrings. So I may or may not wear a necklace. I also love the more modern look of wearing a cuff. I think that a great pair of earrings and a bracelet of some sort would be a great gift for the bridesmaids.
I have always loved roses. I plan on having a large round bouquet with only roses. There will be three shades of red and white roses. The bridesmaids will hold a small round bouquet with red roses only. The mob and mog will have similar bouquets to the bridesmaids, but they will also include a flower that is special to them. For example, my mom's mom grew lilacs and that is a special flower to my mom, so regardless purple lilacs will be in her bouquet.
Candles and roses will be the decorative focus of my wedding. I love the idea of marking the pathway to the ceremony site (which will be outdoors) with candles. These are some inspirations for that.
I love large floral arrangements just before you walk down the aisle. These are examples of some inspirations for that purpose, of course, the colors would match the scheme we choose.
These are inspiations for the aisle decor. I love rose petals along the aisle. The last photo of rose petals shows hearts all the way down the aisle. This would be a great idea espically if the invitations we choose have a similar heart shape on them. The chuppah (jewish wedding structure) decoration will be like the big photo. Roses along the top of the chuppah and roses used to hide the ties of the fabric along the four posts of the chuppah.
The candles are inspiration for the unity candle we will be lighting.
I love the idea of having the guests sign the matte board of an engagement photo as the guest book. After all, these are my closest friends and family that will be attending the wedding and seeing their notes hanging on the wall of our home willl be a constant reminder of the love we share and the blessing that each one is to our lives. I also love the thought behind the other photo. Having the wedding photos of your family for several generations at a table possiblely with candles in memory of those that weren't able to witness the event.
These are inspiration for the centerpieces and table decor. I love the black and white tablecloths and candles. I also love the ribbon detail on th vase. Since my mom was a teacher and her mom was a teacher, I love the idea of small chalk boards being used as the table numbers.
These are photos of inspiration for the specialty tables. I definately want a sweetheart table. I love the large floral arangements as the centerpiece for the guest card table. The boxes stacked up to look like a wedding cake with a slit on top is a nice way of collecting the cards on the gift table for those last minute gifts. It also serves as decoration for the table.
I love square wedding cakes and real roses used as decoration. These are inspiration for possible wedding cake design. I also love the "I DO" on the table.
MOTHER OF THE BRIDE DRESS INSPIRATION:
I plan to combine Jewish and Christian traditions in my wedding. I will be signing a messianic ketubah (a wedding contract) in a signing ceremony meant for very close friends and family only which will take place before the wedding ceremony. As is customary in a Jewish wedding, I plan to have the groom walk down the aisle at the beginning of the wedding processional with his parents. The bridesmaids and groomsmen will follow and then I will walk down with my mother, since my father has passed away. The tradition of the parents walking their children down the aisle to get married is really wonderful and meaningful. We will be married under a chuppah (jewish wedding structure that symbolizes God being the head of the marriage.) We will light a unity candle. This is a Christian tradition that symbolizes that the bride and groom are leaving their parents and coming together to marry and create a family. In Jewish tradition when you pray you have a prayer shawl cover your head as a sign of reverance to God. At the end of the ceremony when we ask the guests to pray for us and as we pray as a couple together we will have a prayer shawl cover the two of us together.
I love making a wedding ceremony special to the bride and groom. Taking elements that are special to each of them and creating something that isn't cookie cutter. After all, each couple is unique and special. Why make your wedding ceremony the same as everyone else?
Here is a list of PW friends that have inspired me. More will be added as I locate them.
a10626 -for the BEST pro pics I have ever seen
1908girl -for the unique and personal touches she had.
MrzLemUS -for hair and makeup inspiration
jjpeng -for photos and design of wedding
lex484 -for flowers and design of wedding
pmnunes83 -for engagement photos (when I saw them they weren't on her biography only it the photos)
labrumwedding -for her wedding design. black, white and damask.
gametight -for her wedding style and organization
All My Life -KC and Jojo Prelude
Everything I Do -Byran Adams Prelude
Here and Now -Luther Vandross Prelude
Household of Faith -Steve Green Prelude
Cherish the Treasure -Steve Green Prelude
Here With You -Donnie McClurkin Processional
You For Me -Johnny Gill Bride Entrance
I Will Be Here -Steven Curtis Chapman Unity Candle
The Prayer-Donnie McClurkin and Yonlanda Adams (an all English version) Prayer
Can't Get Enough of Your Love Baby-Barry White Recessional
Its Your Love-Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Interlude
When I Said I Do-Clint and Lisa Heartman Black Interlude
I let some of the prelude songs be played again for interlude
From This Moment-Shania Twain Grand Entrance to Reception
At Last -Etta James First Dance
I had instrumental music for during the dinner.