What a great site! I stumbled upon it while searching ring ideas for my boyfriend, and so glad I did. Yes, boyfriend, not fiance... YET!! :) As backward as it may seem to some, we have been gathering wedding ideas for several months, in lieu of The Ring. I was married once before, very young, and we did the whole traditional engagement/wedding thing. While the tradition of The Ring and a white dress are still important to me, I have learned that the logistics of getting engaged and married really are not. When I bring up wedding dates to my friends they always ask, "Where's your ring?". The thing is, we already know we want to get married and also that we don't want a big, traditional wedding or long engagement. BUT, I do want the day to be special! So I figure I better get a headstart on the planning so I'm not overwhelmed when the day officially comes. We have already chosen our venue, theme, photographer, guest list, and color palette... but the date will depend on when The Ring is placed on my finger (my one stipulation to my groom... no date will be set without The Ring!). So now that you know my story, let me tell you what I hope to accomplish with this site...
1. Offer helpful advice to brides on a budget. My first wedding was very traditional, complete with big white dress, big stone church, big guest list, big dinner, big reception, and big STRESS; all on a very small budget. We were young and had very little help from our parents, but refused to go into debt for a wedding. I will share with you how I kept my large wedding around $5,000, and also some things I would have done differently to avoid the stress you don't want on your big day.
2. Find and share creative DIY ideas to fit your (and my) budget. This is a learning experience for me, as well! I have found many helpful ideas online that I plan to use in my own wedding, and would love to share them with you all! One thing in my first wedding that I wished I'd done differently was to find inexpensive, creative avenues for decorating and accessorizing. I devoted little time to this and therefore did minimal decorating. While simple and still beautiful, I later found many fabulous ideas I would have loved to incorporate in my wedding, had I only done some searching! So now with the opportunity for a "do-over", I invite you all to share your own creative ideas as I hope to do the same for you!
3. Share my journey through the planning process. Through my own wedding planning journey, I will document the process (including receival of The Ring, when we can finally set a date!). I am definitely A Planner at heart and would LOVE to be a Wedding Planner someday... though unfortunately there is not much of a market for it where I live. So for now, I hope my little blog will help other brides-to-be in some little way. Happy planning!!!
1. Skip the engagement photos. I have a son from my previous marriage, and we had family pictures taken this fall (including my now-boyfriend). Our session fee with an amazing photographer was just $35, and we had them take some pictures of just the two of us as well. Now we can use those photos as our engagement pictures (when the time comes) and save on our wedding photo package. You could also find a nice outdoor location and have a friend take some candid shots. If the wedding package you choose includes an engagement session, ask them if they will discount the package in lieu of taking engagement pictures or if they will substitute with a wedding album or another service. Here are a few of our "family session" photos:
2. Don't serve a full meal. Our ceremony will be held at 7:00 pm with an hors' doeuvre and wine tasting reception immediately following, at the same location. We have chosen several unique finger foods and the cost will be less than half of what a full meal would cost. But if you would still prefer to provide a meal, try to find a caterer who will take a deposit up-front and let you pay the balance after the wedding. We did this for my first wedding and paid the balance with money we received in cards.
3. Don't insist on a designer gown. I've found dresses I love for thousands of dollars, and just as many for less than a grand. Nobody's going to know what designer you're wearing! Give the nobodies a chance... you may be surprised. But if you fall in love with a designer gown, try buying the floor sample. My wedding dress from my first wedding was purchased off-the-rack, 3 sizes too big, for a third of the original cost. Alterations can create miracles!
Our wedding is taking place at a vineyard, so our centerpieces will include hurricane vases filled with used wine corks and cork candles atop used wine bottles. The corks will be free and I got the vases for $3 each in the Valentine's Day isle at Wal-Mart. The wine bottles will also be free and I got the cork candles for $7 per box of 12. Examples below:
I found a great idea for DIY tissue pomanders on PW. These will hang off the chairs along the isle:
DIY Tissue Pomanders
Styrofoam Balls: Sold at craft stores such as Michaels. For this guide, Marina used 3” balls.
Tissue Paper: For each pomander, you’ll need approximately 72 sheets of tissue paper cut to be 5” x 7”
Wire: Sold at hardware stores
Wire Cutters: Sold at hardware stores
Cost: $2 - $5 each
Cut each sheet of tissue paper to 5” x 7”.
Stack 4 sheets of tissue and fan fold all the way up.
Tie some wire around the middle of the tissue. You’ll need to play around with it to get a feel for how much you’ll need. Be sure to leave a little extra since that’s what you stick in the Styrofoam.
Start pulling the tissue sheets up one at a time. Left then Right. Continue until all the tissue is pulled up and it looks like a flower.
Stick the wire under the flower in the Styrofoam ball. Keep placing flowers all the way the ball until it’s full. Play around with the placement to make the flower as tight or loose as you’d like.